There’s no justice just court costs

2013-09-08 16.12.36-1

Being an activist usually means at some point in your activist career you will be committing some form of disobedience, be it civil or criminal. Ranging from trespassing in buildings highlighting tax avoiding corporations, locking on to lorries carrying chemicals into fracking sites, or obstructing entrances to highlight the sale of illegal torture equipment in our Capital city. What ever or how ever we protest we will be and should be working outside the establishment rules otherwise what’s the point ?

It’s a costly affair protest, from getting arrested, to having to attend bail dates, trips to the solicitors, then to court cases, delayed hearings, and fines. The thing about being arrested for an action and the following legal proceedings is that we will always plead not guilty because this isn’t about the law, this is about morals and ethics. We are doing this because we believe that our actions are valid. So the new “Criminal court charge” that was introduced through the back door this week is another attack on our right to protest.


These costs are not means tested and are across the board for whatever your “crime”  We are all too aware of what a profitable business crime is for the establishment and you as a protester will be given the same court costs as a person that has violently attacked somebody. So for an activist that has somehow crossed the line i.e. entered the Arms Fair and refuses to leave protesting about the illegal sale of torture equipment by an exhibitor, may then finds themselves in a magistrates court for aggravated trespass. Of course goes “Not Guilty” but subsequently found guilty, you will be expected to pay your fines of around £200 -£300 and also pay court costs of £520


So what’s going to happen? Will it be only rich people can protest? Are we going to see protesters unable to carry on protesting because they are in debt bondage to the courts. “Sorry I can’t come to stop the Arms dealers till I pay off my debt to the courts” Are orders going to be made against earnings, benefits, possessions? Is this going to put people off protesting?  Are people going to be pushed to pleading guilty so as to not incur such high costs. Pleading guilty at a magistrates only costs you a mere £150 a snip of the cost.

So with cuts in legal aid and now court costs we seem to have one legal system for them and one for us. The rich versus the poor. And it’s not going to get any easier. So what can we do? We could create a legal aid type funding system through the help of benefactors, philanthropists, and funding. Or we could just up our game become more militant and make sure we don’t get “court” .

To quote Netpol………..

The potential impact of the new Criminal Court Charge is one more reason why campaign organisers need to ensure they ask for legal observer support at their protests – and why, if you can help, we need more people to train and volunteer to carry out this important supporting role.

Contact GBC Legal at for further details about future legal observer training.
Hampstead Mum

I ♡ Hampstead Heath

In recent weeks during my daily walk across the heath I have noticed red hearts appearing. You can see them through the undergrowth, from the paths and across the dell. There are lots of broken hearts all over the Heath and they look amazing. There seems to be a theme here as all the broken hearts are sprayed on the exposed internal rings of recently cut down trees. So I can only assume that these hearts are to do with the destruction of 166 trees on the Heath.


I have nearly always been impressed with the management of Hampstead Heath and seeing The City of London’s approach to be sympathetic to the needs of the people and the wild life until now, altogether 166 trees are in the process of being chopped down to make way for work on the Hampstead dam systems. Some stunning oaks and London planes are being lost during this work, work that a lot of people are questioning if essential at all. What ever the arguments I find the destruction of so many trees heart breaking and it looks like someone else thinks so too.


I use the heath every day and all of a sudden there are big swathes of the heath being cleared and trees felled. It looks like a war zone. I can’t explain how upsetting it is to see so many trees lying on the ground. But to see the hearts appearing is a fitting tribute to the loss of these great trees.  Well done that person they are beautiful.


Thank you,

Hampstead Mum

Stop NATO Stop and Search

Harassment from the state is part of the territory if your an activist. It shouldn’t be because all we are doing is exercising our right to protest and that’s what you can do in a free and democratic society. Let me say that again a Free and democratic society. But labelled as domestic extremists there is nothing free or democratic about the way we are being treated.

Last September demonstrators and Legal observers were being bussed from the Stop Nato peace camp in Tredegar Park to the Anti war demonstration taking place in Newport, where the No to Nato group joined, among others, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) to march on to Celtic Manor resort which was hosting the summit itself.

Shortly after leaving the peace camp the bus was pulled over by police using section 1 of P.A.C.E. The main power used on a daily basis by police. It allows police officers to stop and search a person or vehicle for stolen or prohibited articles. The power can only be exercised if the officer has “reasonable grounds” for suspicion. Stop and Search and Stop and Account are always being abused by the police to gain information and intelligence. Here is a prime example of that abuse of power.



The demo’s at stop NATO were peaceful and quite small.  Never at any point was the summit under any threat from these peaceful protests. The summit protected by gun ships, with a police and military operation puffing up it’s chest for the world to see. A ring of steel  which disrupted anybody going about their normal business and shops shut down for security or from fear mongering. The police and state over exaggerated the risks from the demonstrations and the numbers of protesters expected, creating an atmosphere of fear. Fear a tool of control.

At what cost ? to the community ? for our freedoms? to protect the war mongers?

Not in my name

Hampstead mum


Further information on Stop and Search

Anti war information:

Hampstead for Sale

Hampstead has become everything that is wrong with London. A few years ago there was uproar over the lease of a large shop being taken by William Hill. A premises that had been stood empty for a long time. The outcry was huge and listening to all the arguments I came to the conclusion it was simply a case of snobbery and it became an Estate Agent.


The property William Hill wanted now a large Chesterons Hampstead High Street

The rents here are so extortionate that they are unaffordable for most, so a chain like William Hill would have no problem affording it. Most businesses that can afford to be here are companies that are willing to take a loss on an individual shop, write off losses against their overall profits just to retain their visible presence on the high street. The individual independent shops have all but disappeared and the generic high street is alive and well and boring.

There are lots of unaffordable boutiques selling fur, art galleries, phone shops, and posh bakeries where you have to mortgage your soul to be able to afford a loaf of bread. That’s Hampstead, posh and unaffordable for the majority. In amongst the capitalist consumerism fest we have one grocery (expensive), one Tesco local (limited stock), and one hardware store (which is struggling to retain its place), and a newsagent (everyone needs a newsagent).

But really my issue is with the Estate agents. What is going on with all the ESTATE AGENTS they seem to be the NEW BANKERS !!!!!! I mean how many estate agents can you have in one street ? Or should I say how many estate agents do you need in one street? Well as of today we have 17 on Heath Street alone with a new one coming soon making 18.

P1150953 P1150954 P1150951 P1150950 P1150949 P1150943 P1150944 P1150945 P1150946 P1150947 P1150936 P1150939 P1150940P1150942

That’s just in one street!  Why do the same estate agents need more that one shop front?  Surely there should be a limit ? Can we not complain to the monopolies commission or some other toothless watch dog about this? This is not the only influence the scourge of the Estate Agent has on us as locals they prey on us. Daily through our letter boxes we get delivered their crap environmentally damaging junk mail.  “To the Occupier” “To the House owner” ” You will be pleased to know we have just sold a property just like yours for “Stupid amount””  Day after day these letters arrive sometimes in batches of 3 for each member of the household that is on the electoral register, So I have started sending them back and if they keep on coming I will be sending them back with some of my rubbish in it for them.

11007731_10155217351510384_8163182203961319915_n 1504523_10155217351045384_4569453886685207188_n wpid-20150216_144130.jpg

This is just an observation of their dominance of our high street but what it in fact we are seeing are Estate agents being fronts for investors in property, not people buying family homes, not property to rent out, just property to sell on for profit, a far safer investment scheme much much safer than that of anything offered in the current climate buy banks or stocks and shares, these alone play one of the major parts of the housing crisis but that’s another story so back to the high street. The government pay people like Mary Portas to save the High street. Well I can tell you how to save our High street. Firstly limit the number of Estate agents you can have there is no way on this planet they are not all in cahoots with each other. Secondly and more importantly is to have some control on rents on our high street. We have to be able to afford to shop where we live not all of Hampstead is rich and there is a large number of social housing properties. Families that can not afford to shop locally seems to be the norm here.  There is such a high turn over of shops here, we watch their interiors being torn out and replaced only to see it close in a matter of months. We have shop premises sitting empty that surely that would better serve the high street if it had a community protect running or an independent shop but no the rents make sure that that will never happen.

Savilles takes up the whole lane between The High Street and Heath Street

Savilles takes up the whole lane between The High Street and Heath Street

Hampstead used to be quirky and arty and oh so red. But now it’s all consumer capitalists blue.


Sad it’s so lost it’s “je ne se qua”

Hampstead Mum

Pay to protest – at what cost ?


2013-09-13 16.56.00

The “Time to act” organisers have come out of negotiations with Metropolitan police, the Greater London Authority and Westminster city council having been told they will have to foot a massive bill and organise security for road closures as the police will no longer facilitate the march.

This could go so many ways.

During the summer at Reclaim the Power 2014 the usual day of action went by with out any arrests. We closed down head offices of Cuadrilla, advertising companies, banks, we stopped drilling and closed down sites and the police were noticeable in their lack of action. But what there was, was higher than usual consultations between the Police and Private Companies hired by the Corporations and Institutions and were being played out in a very public way. The security were very heavy in their presence and mingled with the more vulnerable protesters targeting them for conversation with out addressing the fact that they were security sub contracted for the company that was being targeted. When asked to show ID refused and became dismissive or aggressive at times.

G4S demo 2012Imagine if it is a private security company you are protesting against. You could find yourself in the absurd situation say G4S facilitating a protest against G4S and so on. This is a very sinister direction we find ourselves going. Private security can collect data and keep it for as long as they can say there is a valid reason. Where as even though we know they don’t under the data protection act the police are meant to destroy data if not used by a certain time. It is also questionable about the intelligence that is being shared between private security firms and the police considering most firms are run by ex service employees, it’s almost a given that there is mutual aid between the two.


So with the cut backs is it a case that “our” police force is no longer fit for purpose and can not afford to police the people and are hiring this out to the security services. They can not deny the line between the 2 is so blurry undoubtedly there will be conflicts of interest? Or have they just decided that they shouldn’t have to foot the bill of the actions of the people against these corporations and that the corporations foot the bill so they can get on with “real” police work. Or just the continuing privatisation of our already non -independent police force.


On to organised protests that are supported by NGO’s can’t there be the same sort of philosophy used here, that they should contribute as some of these are worth millions, in fact some of them are worth more than the whole police force put together. We could then sell tickets to the Protest make it into a carnival and everyone could make money. Or alternatively we could employ ourselves zero hour contracts to do the security for the day paid for by the supporting NGO’s ( Someone will think of a way ).  But wait, to be in negotiations with the council and the police you have to have notified them that you are planning a demonstration. So it’s simple. Anyone that is seriously angry and wants to protest about something and can’t afford the costs of policing then just don’t tell the police that you are going to do it. No police no violence.


We must not go down the road of private security firms this is dangerous territory and who would police them? At the moment they are not policed and there are no controls about data they hold on us. Our freedoms such as the right to protest and the freedom of assembly and the rights of association will be null and void. Please “Time to Act ” don’t go down that route.

And just a last thought. What if it’s a counter demonstration who’s going to police that ?


How much will it really cost?  It’s not the money we should be looking at it is the cost on our freedoms.

Hampstead Mum


Freedom comes in many shapes and sizes. Why I have deleted my facebook app, my email app and many more.

google-iphone-update-makes-icloud-s-photo-stream-redundant-3bf3e4fb40Ping, zip whizz. The phone notifies me a hundred times a day that I have mail, somebody has sent me a fb message, somebody has tagged me, I have a comment, somebody has re tweeted and more. At what point did I allow my phone to control my life. All of a sudden I am living an on demand response system. I can hear the thing in my sleep as the different time zones come into play. Enough stop already. The point of technology is to make your life easier, but it doesn’t it just means you have to do things at other people’s beck and call. An urgent system full of inconsequential information has become a daily onslaught that can’t be healthy.

For example the fact that with fb messages you can see exactly when the person looked at your message. Some people may get agitated/stressed and wonder why no response. Have I upset them? Why aren’t they dealing with it? Looking and checking. ( I didn’t even entertain the downloading of the messenger App). Also phone calls asking if you received an email from a colleague at work because you haven’t responded.


So here it is.  I have taken plunge and deleted all the apps. The silence is deafening. But my day has become mine again.  I now log on to fb or my email once or twice a day through my browser and deal with them in a solid batch instead of the constant dribble of tosh. Don’t get me wrong sometimes whilst sitting at my desk I will have Facebook, Hotmail and Twitter open but they are open at my bequest.
I also have a problem with all this apps and their terms and conditions. No you can’t access my phone, accounts, location and use my data.

Another little thing I have done recently is clear up my email. Instead of just deleting the junk email I scroll down to the bottom and unsubscibe. My emails have halved since I started do this at the new year. Goodbye Groupon, Teletext holidays and freecycle. I’ll look you up when I need you.
Oh the amount of time this is giving back to me is unquantifiable. What it has done it seems is given me back control of my virtual life.
I am now going to try this with my mail. When I get the endless letters from Foxton and the like, they are now going to get a mesage back telling them to remove me off their mailing list and if they don’t start making complaints or even send them back some of my rubbish.

Get rid the clutter think of yourself, the planet. We only have so much time left here on this planet and I am not wasting my time anymore with non essential external demands.


There is no such thing as a little freedom. Either you are all free, or you are not free.

Hampstead mum

I can tell it’s you filming. Shake yourself known


For all you live streamers/filmers and all those that try and remain anonymous when filming please note the way you shake gives you away.

So there are many ways that can get you recognised from your recording there is the standard activity recognition. This involves looking at what’s being filmed, a glimpse of hands, object recognition, limited to controlled environments and limited to types of activities. This type of profiling is standard and takes man power, then there is the social interaction, where they are looking, who is looking where, recognising “important” people that can be used to create the scene giving more information about the person recording, but now it has all gone and got technical and Shmuel Peleg and Yadid Hoshen at Israel ‘ s Hebrew University of Jerusalem have developed a software that can identify film makers in seconds making people like, base jumpers who often trespass large corporations to complete their mission and protesters that can be of interest to the authorities easier to identify. This can also work against the authorities with more police/ private security wearing body cameras they will no longer be able to cover things up by exchanging cameras with colleagues.

So if it is a fixed camera things like the height of the camera, the gait of the person wearing the camera and your shake can identify you with in seconds. The video is easier to match when it is short term recording and Shmuel Peleg and Yadid Hoshen at Israel collected footage from a sample of 34 people wearing go pro’s on baseball caps and ran it through an algorithm that recognised motion signatures to a particular person. This was achieved by dividing frames into non-overlapping blocks. Movement of these blocks between frames reveals the vertical and lateral motion of the camera. The system identified the camera wearer by movement alone 88% of the time and only 12 seconds of footage where needed to make the identification

This also raises issues with the use and sharing of camera’s they could well have software in the future that recognises the recorder and only allows that person to use the equipment. This may well be integrated with in the software in things like Google glasses and even for insurance purposes if a camera is stolen it could be blocked and no longer usable.

As with all forms of control and surveillance it is a constant battle of technologies against our personal freedoms and already there is talk of ways to beat this software when uploading by using programmes that can change the optical flow pattern without significantly changing the content. It may even be possible to tamper with video to make it look as if it were filmed by somebody else.

What we have to do now is to make sure the police/private security are wearing body cameras that they can not turn on and off at their own discretion and that all body cams are person specific.

Citizen journalism is needed for real unbiased reporting and is an essential part of our freedoms in revealing the oppression of the state. So we need to counter this somehow. Open source of programs to be used whilst uploading our footage is a place to start.

So back to filming …….

Hampstead mum