Cambridge’s Community Paper

No 10.

may-—june 79


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S LC Pee eae + + Trouble at Marshall's... . ‘Terh ahi hear Cambridge? .. . Seer eh

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Dear Grapevine,

I was interested to read the letter about social security in the last Grapevine, as I

am a single parent with two

young children,

Recently the government raised the level of child benefit for single parents, so this now ex- ceeds the allowance per child made by the D.H.S.S. The result is that I no longer re- ceive any benefit from the S.S. for my children, and as the child benefit is in excess of the S.S. allowance, my own per- sonal allowance has been reduced.

M.T. Saffron Walden

Dear Grapevine,

I think girls and boys should Somat both play the same sport, be- rae cause girls dont know what it

; is like to play football and boys don't know what it is like to play hockey or netball. If an they were taught to I'm sure

ay they would be able to.

p.-s. I think they should be- cause at Parkside and St. Paul's (my school) it isn't allowed at the moment.

Ronan Macdonald aged eight


Re. at my school we have to walk to _ the dinner hall and class 1 can have their dinner at the school.

ig ki macdonald (aged 5)

_ Dear Grapevine, I am eight years old and Jewish. me at school assembly a r was talking about Easter. teacher then brought out 28 of Matzo (unleavened

a G4 tl

Te. 64845 : CA


A here ens eMMertammers, artisans ae oOonithi den and the like on MIDSUMMER COMMON CAMBRIDGE

Satu rday Sune g*

We Proclaim + thot ortigons craftsmen + ea of = = set up stalls + disglays ab this fayre.Eoch croftsman is calles upon ta re B stnl/ sali far ik we nsk a tall, Pull on from Friday afternoon: “THATs performers and showmen of every variety ars tolled or) to attend this Fayre Sp as

to entertain those frequenting it: expenses granted to seitabls applicants | - Procession he re L& Ie os aE ik


n ast grissc bk CER ERAS : IN The City of CAMBRIGCE : yore: Fearsome DRAGON, pianes , olen engines , borrel organs, clowns... Au and sundry requested to join in Able bodied persons required te set wp+ this in bre irt,andto bing de- = man such rvstic sports as cae al crated carts, prams, horses wd bees Rrpies, Bash the Rat, Tip the Pail etrsten for the occasion. [ther protesstonal Thers will be competitions with Rizes in and carnival items welcome. Sports, Yards of nile, Tug o' WAR etéstern, PIRYPOLE, COUNTRY, INTERNATIONAL etc. DANCERS REGUIRED. Foop + REFRESH CONCESSIONS AVAILABLE FOR “TENDERERS.


PROTECTS peng Mayon


\ Road ¢ frour 2. brig,

You can buy Grapevine at the following shops:

Arjuna, 12 Mill Rd.

Dillons Bookshop, Silver St. Browne's Bookshop, Mill Rd. The Bookshop, Magdalene St. The Post Office, Castle St. Potters, Fitzroy St. Waffles, Fitzroy St. Anarchist bookstall, CCAT, Outside canteen, Thursdays

p.s a: e did,

ll - 2 The meeting to pl Stes g to plan the next White's i » Ki Baron of Grapevine and to Baker's’ ee scuss this issue will be Gray's inema Passage ?

held at 41a Fitzroy St on Wed, 30th May at 8 pm, Anyone is welcome with ideas

_ Suggestions, criticisms or

praise, or offers of help with

_ the production of th

_ P-8. If you think Spel ; you you missed the

Ssue - well you didn't,

wt ingto . tadds, Braaeente Si Pendeli‘a, Mill Rd. Bridge

en oa noenta, 38 Lambert and Ward, 46 Hills Rd: Norfolk st, Newsagents. cooe tat Brooks Rd. /Coid-

Thanks to all these shops ¢ pe for Stocking the magazine. , ° Kimberley Rd., ' Cambri - Tels 6544

NEws (4

The local election on May 3rd resulted in a dramatic change for Cambridge City Council. The Conservatives lost two seats - one to Labour and one to the Liberals - reducing their num- ber of seats from 22 to 20, and losing their overall control of the 42 seat council.

John Powley (see our obituary page), leader of the Tory group, lost his seat in Castle ward to David Pickles, a liberal. News of his defeat was received with jubilation by groups which have opposed

Powley's Kite redevelopment scheme.

Powley's defeat shows the continuing local opposition

to the scheme. In last year's elections the Conservatives lost their seat in Market Ward (which includes the Kite area) in a landslide defeat by Margaret Reiss, who stood as an independent explicitly on the issue of Kite redevelop- ment. The tories also lost

a seat in a neighbouring ward - Petersfield - to a Labour candidate whose opposition to the redevelopment was a major part of his electoral platform.

This trend shows an increasingly strong opposition to the rede- lopment from the electorate. Labour group on the Council o some extent committed ves to opposing the and have gained a lot s and a couple of seats yee



~<— =

electoral pledge for

sfield Ward this year hall do all that we

to alter the

ourse in its plans—

| the Kite Co-

aL hee

a he

and Lower ss Stream House. y * eit - ge oey ; nee


WEEACIM aitvtcte a motion proposing a pact

with the Liberals was rejected; and it was even proposed by Jack Warren that there should be a pact with the conserva- tives, although this was also defeated.

At the same meeting it was agreed that the labour group should press for a renego- tiation with Grosvenor Estates, the firm which has been con- tracted to undertake the redevelopment. There are doubts about the possible legal prob- lems involved in renegotiating the contract to which the previous council has committed the City. However Lisa Jardine of KCC told Grapevine that she was optimistic on this point, and said that legal advice which the Labour group was currently taking indicated that “one can be hopeful that there will be ways of getting round the con- tract". She was also confident that the attitude of Labour members of the Council would be one of opposition to the redevelopment, and said that the KCC will be watching very closely indeed for the slight- est sign of any wavering from this position.

Gwil Colenso

BIKE RALLY FOR SAFER CYCLING 2.30, 10th June, Trafalgar

Square. For details ring FoE on 312800. A special train is being arranged: £ 3-25 with bike.



The National Women's Aid Federa- tion National Conference was held this year at Netherhall School in Cambridge.

400 women and 200 children from refuges all over the country

were here over the weekend of

4,5,6 May. Accommodation was xt provided by many people in the city, and during the day 3

creches were run for different

age groups at Netherhall Upper

wer Schools and Over-

National conference is the y policy making body of the sderation, and therefore plays central role in determining future direction of the me Ri * 7 Fn 2 .


t; they should get their ‘conants to pay rent in less pei 2) ways,


yr =


A recent Shelter report on “Distraint™ names Cambridge City Council, East Cambs. District Council, and South Cambs. District Council as frequent users of the law

of distraint against council tenants.

The law is a medieval relic which gives councils the right to seize property - furniture, electrical goods, etc - if a council tenant falls behind on his rent.

The important fact about distraint is that the council doesn*t have to go to a court before sending in the bailiffs to seize property. If the Council Housing department de- cides that a particular tenant hasn't got a good excuse, they can seize goods without even the formality of convincing a magistrate that the tenant is in the wrong.

South Cambs. Council issue 150 "Distress orders" a year, warning tenants that their goodwill be confiscated if they don't pay

up. About 45 of these threats are carried out. That means one household a weeK where a bailiff takes property away from the occupants.

According to Mr. Robinson, de- puty housing manager at the Guildhall, Cambridge City Council use this power quite responsibly. He told Grapevine

-that only if the rent collector,

the chief rent collector and

his department are convinced : that the tenant hasn't got a

good excuse, is distraint

used, and then only against

things like “music centres”

and luxury goods, not essen-

tials like bedding. He admi-

tted that there was scope for irresponsible use of dis-

traint, but said that his

department did not abuse its power; and that in any case, the tenant had 14 days to reclaim his/her property before it was disposed of. Try and imagine what would happen if a council tenant dec iaed that the council weren't making good repairs to his home, seized a type- writer from the housing department, and then sold it off to pay for the repairs. But that's how distraint would work if tenants had the same power.

In a situation where a tenant was withholding rent because repairs weren't being done, would the rent collector think that the tenant had a good excuse for not paying? The point is that it is a court which should decide on the rights and wrongs of the


Of course, there are some bloody

minded tenants who don't have

a good reason for not paying

rent. But there is often wrong

on both sides, and it should-

n't be up to the Housing

Department to be judge and

jury. Distraint should be

abolished - as a proposed i housing act, scrapped pvecause He

lof the recent election, _ would have abolished it. And ‘councils should stop using

Ol ah Cl, ea a



Im 1966 the inspectors of the Central Electricity Generating Board riggs tas a site of 300 acres a r, near Downham Market {about 25 miles from Cambridge) for possible use

@S a site for a nuclear we station. Pe aas

A year later the CEGB bought this site. But it wasn't until i978 that the plans were made public in the Norfolk County Council structure plan, at the imsistence of the CEGB.

If the power station was to be built, excellent farming land would be lost; a continual supply of large quantities of cooling water would be needed, and eight 350 foot cooling towers would dominate the area. This is quite apart from the usual objections to any nu- Clear power stations (they're dangerous, expensive, and create plutonium waste which is dangerous for thousands

of years; the money would be better spent on insulation projects, which create jobs and don‘t endanger lives).

As recently as December 1977 the CEGB officially “scotched" any rumours that such plans were in the pipeline, and prospective property buyers

of property in the area were mot told of the proposed Gevelopment. This despite the fact that the iocal Conser- wative M.P., Paul Hawkins,

had known "confidentially"

of the scheme up to ten years ago.

As Mr. Alam Rosenberg, defeated Labour candidate and outspoken critic of the scheme, has said: “We may have to fight this scheme for the next ten years, g0 we may as well start now”.

Barbara Searle

hs a] > Ae

Several people from Cambridge went up to Torness in Scotland from May 4th to 6th to pro- test against the proposed nuclear power station there. Grapevine asked some of them to talk about Torness:

The occupation was organised by the Torness alliance (all the groups opposed to the nuclear power plant) at a cost of £5,000 and a lot of


Organisation was prominent and slightly alienating. The camp- site was set out in the re- gions of Britain; eachgroup had a spokesperson who went to the meetings, a support person to help those arrested. There was training in non-violent direct action, even one-to-one encounters on "Why did you come to Torness?” Some came simply for the festival, some to occupy non-violently, and some who were just plain angry at what the state was doing. The occupation was planned for Monday.

On Saturday night the organi- sation was upset. People appeared in a van, a large crowd gathered, announced that the fence had been cut in several places, and called

for an occupation.

The Torness alliance were now forced to hold their own meet- ing, the main question being whether to cut the fence or go under or over it. This took a long time to sort out, some saying that they wouldn't even occupy if the fence was touched!


Defenders of the "Free enter- prise" system like to boast that it gets things done, whereas publicly owned indus- tries get bogged down in a mass of useless bureaucracy. And a group Called The Cam- paign against Building In- dustry Nationalisation,

which proclaims the virtues of the private building industry, has recently been making a lot of noise.

Well, private builders have been making a right old mess of bits of Cambridge lately On Histon Rd. there stand a large number of half-finished houses, which a building firm called Smart's was con- structing for the council. Smart's went bankrupt earlier this year, and the council have been unable to find a builder who will finish the job at a reasonable price - this after paying Smart's

1.3 million out of the £1.7 million agreed for th con-

Bales of Hay were provided by a local farmer and a bridge made over the fence. The occupation © began. Some people blocked off the main gate so that the police couldn’t enter. But the whole site wasn’t occupied, there still remained the inner compound, where the huts and earth-wrecking machinery stood. In a burst of anger and energy a section of fence was torn down, the only spontaneous e- vent of the whole day. Damage was done inside the compound. People arrived from the hill

a mile away and just shouted Out Out Out to those inside. Speeches were made. A meeting was held on the hill to decide what we were all to do next! "Tt was democratically decided not to destroy” someone said. “Fuck You” came the reply.

Last year things were peaceful. This year people were very up- set over the damage done. Will the occupation stop the con- struction? Torness was a success in that it turned a lot of people on to the evils of nuclear power, and I for one will return next time. It brought Torness onto the TV screen, but will it halt the plans? There was a very big split between the non-

violent and the angry. But how will those who dogmatically believe in non-violence feel when the only answer to Torness is to tear it apart piece by

; o a Fight the Power

Cambridge Torness Alliance Meeting at the bath house on Tue 22nd may at 8pm All welcome.

tract. A smaller number of houses lie uncompleted on Vicarage Terrace, where Smart's was in the process of building them for Granta Housing Association.

Smart's basically went bust because they were putting in unrealistic bids for contracts to get work. Apart ae the people of Cambridge, ones who suffer are those who had shares in Smart's, woes are now worthless. No oubt Mr. Smart himself has something stashed away for a rainy day.

a fierce competition in the : ilding industry is what has ed to this mess, If the Commarh had had a decent direct —_ force, this wouldn’t

appened: see the obituary page for more about this. Ano- ther Cambridge construction company , Kerridge's constructs recently went bust too, in- creasing unemployment in the area,

What price the free enterpris® System, folks? Pat

are true and took place at

«> . ~ . . = Shalls Of Cambridge during 1978 =e Q

Still work there the have

of rank



series of events that follow



AS some of the people names omitted for obvious The story is a tale and file action and its suppression by a dictator- lal management and "sensible" shop stewards and their

been .



Everybody in Cambridge knows of Marshalls and how Sir Arthur’ owns it. active trade unionist also knows the name of Marshalls convenor and what's more relevant, how he gerrymandered his own and his friends' elections. Also well-known is the fact that the said convenor is a virulent ‘anti-communist' to the point

Of paranoia. Now that we have set the stage, let battle commence.



An aircraft hangar containing 20 workers building aircraft wings. This figure is soon to be increased to over 100 so naturally those already there want their own shop steward. (preferably an active one, not in the management'S or the convenor's pocket). To this end, a few of the aircraft workers start discussions on the subject; bring in Rank & File Trade Union papers and s stickers and generally stir things up..

A brother is found who will stand for Shop Steward and he is militant and prepared to fight. (He is not a left- winger, he is in fact, a part- time Special Policeman but is also ‘anti the convenor' a point in his favour!)


Three days before his 3 month probationary period is up, on of the 'stirrers' (a semi- skilled fitter) is told that his work is not up to stan- dard and he will have to leave the department and MAYBE he will be found other work. His non-suitability is based on one job not done properly but his fellow worker on the same job is not even spoken to.


The prespective shop steward mentioned earlier is taken out

of the department the day before the elections! The reason given jg that he is a ‘disruptive influence’ on the young trainees?! ( are lads who missed out

on getting apprenticeships and

are employed by Marshalls for pea- nuts.) Jone is See

rby shop steward is approached A merganise a fightback to in the PION eae ine steward , delayin 3, prom- put with de eight refusals, 5

capitalism and right wing convenors

page 5


The semi-skilled fitter who by this time has been fixed up with another job (In a tin-hut right across the other side of the works working with 3 other fitters, as their labourer!), is seen writing on the union notice board by a rate-fixer and reported to his supervisor. His short messag

on the board is directed at his foreman and supervisor telling them not to remove notices from the union notice board! (They hav: in the past pulled them off and ripped them up! He is given a

bollocking by supervisor and man- agement and told to await a dec- ision on whether he is going to

be sacked or not! His rights as a member of a democratic society are scorned and is told inr»- uncertain manner that he has Nt. rights at arshalls. Two hour.; later he is told that he will be transferred to his tin hut as agreed (out of harm's

way) but that he is on a further 2 weeks probation and unless a marked improvement in his attitude to work and his output are shown then he will be sacked!


Another stirrer, 2 hours after the very last even described is also hauled up in front of the manage- ment and told that he had better find another job as he is not wanted at Marshalls with his political ideas! Protests from the worker that he work is faultless are dis- missed as irrelevant and he is told to start looking for another job!


The ‘ex-prospective’ shop steward (now on a dirty job in another pa of the works ) informs the pers- onnel manager that he is sueing him in a civil court for "Deformation of Character" to his effect on the young trainees).



The convenor hurries over to our ex-prospective shop steward and asks him if he would like to be an inspector!? (In exchange for what, I wonder?!!!! He is

told NO and storms off very upset.


Well, there is no Scne 8 yet, that is still to come, but i could be literally anything. It’s no accident that during the above described events, wage negoti- ations have been going on between the management and the convenor. (The membership by the way, have

not been involved at any time in *he negotiations! )

So what looked like a growing. centre of rank and file scrutiny at a crucial time and place has

been stamped upon in no uncertain terms. The true face of

has been revealed once again!

This is not the end however, as people can be moved, sacked or P ueHe out, but ideas once planted have a habit of growing and this time, I think the soil

is just about righ Be eormin


On Saturday March 17th, 950 people Rocked Against Racism

at the Corm &xchange, opening night of the nationwide Mjl- itant Entertainment Tour '79. The stage was illuminated with a forty foot by thirty foot red rhino (“once a rhino starts it never stops”) which vibrated in the flashing lights as Misty skanked, the Ruts rutted, Gang of Four jerked and Red Express zoomed, filling the hall with energy. More active members of the Ruts Appreciation Society from Southall added to the ent- ertainment with swallow dives & back flips from the stage. ACCARAF , Anti-Apartheid, Wom- en*s Group, Friends of the Earth, Chile Solidarity Cam- paign and the Anarchist group assisted in decorating badge addicts with every radical slo- gan ever Conceived, Meanwhile the Chilean Women's Group filled

the air with mysterious aromas of hot empanadas.


By Sunday April 22md, thousands had Rocked Against Racism- Misty were back at the People Unite collective in Southall which is the local community centre and a musicians Co-op, where both Misty and tne Ruts are based.The People Unite Community includes a women's Law Centre and tuition groups in mechanics,carpentry,arts and crafts,literacy and numer- cy,Black history,drama,danee and photography.

On that Sunday in Southall,a number of cultural and politi- cal groups including the Asian Southall Youth Movement, brought together by a series of racist

A victim of the police violence relates:"I am a doctor .1I re asked to come to the First Al station,in Southall on Sunday. The station was in a room in

a house in Park View Avenue. There was myself,a lawyer and a bloke who was an ambulance man for six years.Also several othe

-r people. ' at ame in,beating down

The police c the door. They herded us down-

stairs,and in the hall they systematically hit each of us in the head with a truncheon, including myself. . We were all bleeding from this. qe ex-ambulance driver I saw in a corner whimpering - by the time the ambulance arrived he was shivering,unconcious - and his pulse rate over 120. He is still in New Ealing Hospital. Another bloke, black,was shoved into the room.He also had been hit badly by the police.By the time the ambulance came he also was an unconcious heap on the floor.

The police refused to put him in the ambulance - they said that he was shamming.

The rest of us were taken to the hospital.I had six stitch- es."

Melody Maker: "All the work put in to gathering equip- ment for the People Unite creative arts and education centre has been literally demolished by the police Special Patrol Group."

New Musical Express: "His (Baker's) injuries are al- most identical, we're told, to those sustained by Blair Peach, the New Zealand teacher and Anti-Nazi League member who later died as a result. Baker's injuries were reportedly received only a half hour before

murders and clashes with both CLARENCE BAKER (far left, with loudshailer) acts as a Peach's." the National Front and the pol- steward outside the Peoples Unite Centre the police

ce,decided to hold a peaceful oot. demonstration on the Monday against the decision by the local council to allow an NF election meeting to go ahead - a decision totally contrary to the wishes of the local commun- ity.. :

On the afternoon of Monday 23rd April Peoples Unite Centre was being used by lawyers and medic -s helping those who required assistance after suffering

Popular Press and Television focussed on the injured police- men “with families",

One of those injured was Cla- rence Baker, Misty's manager and a respected youth leader in the community. His skull was frac- tured by a truncheon and he was dragged from the building by his hair. The resulting blood clot he received on his brain has

led to a possibly permanent speech defect.

A member of Misty: “Because we weren't prepared to lick their boots they had to mash up what were doin'.

“After what I saw on Monday I Can Only see the police force aS a rod of oppression. . .”

Contact People Unite Defence Fund, 45 Lea Rd., Southall.

at the hands of the five thousa ~nd police who were present.By the end of the afternoon the centre had been systematically emashed up by the Special Patr- ol Group and many members of the collective arrested or badly injured by the police after the SPG had forced their way into the centre,.all of Misty’s and the musicians co- operative’s equipment was deatroyed,windows and fittings broken,records taken from their sleeves and smashed.

SOD Et a>


ACCARAF was geared up for inten sive activity during the elect- ion. We knew that the National Front Nazis were going to put up around 300 candidates around the country, and that their message of hate would go out in the national and local media. So when the time came, we were ready.

A day after the forthdoming el- ection was announced, we stock- ed up with 40,000 leaflets from the Anti Nazi League. We then worked hard to find a couple of hundred people to help distri- bute them to every house in Cam bridge. The leafletting took place on the evening of May lst We got soaked by driving rain, but the enthusiasm of the vol- unteers was tremendous,and the job got done. ACCARAF activists were helped by Labour and Lib- eral party members. Our heart- felt thanks to all those who helped and to Cambridge Labour Party for letting us put the cost of the leaflets on their election expenses.

On the day before the leaflet- ting we were surprised to see

a large advert by the NF can- didate on page 3 of the C.E.N. After expressing our concern to the paper, they agreed to let us put in our own advert, warn- ing people that the NF appears respectable, but in fact they spread fear and violence and are a dangerous threat to free- dom.

Members of the Campaign joined with ANL comrades from Peter- borough in leafleting an

estate in Huntingdon, where the NF were also standing a candid- ate. And some of us, in an ex- cess of zeal want down to leaf- let several tower blocks in Hackney an area rife with rac- ism where Tyndall, the NF Fihrer, was a candidate. Earlier, 23 of us had zoomed up to Leicester.(See Anne's art- icle for more on this).

Throughout this time we contin- ued to leaflet and sell badges 4 papers on Saturdays in tty Cuury. CSU, after consult ACCAR&F's steering committ- ee, produced a leaflet for stu- dents warning them about the a of Fascism in Cambridge aker fom the article in

2vine 9 ~- wish they’d said ‘eae a sag voi ey Cambridge was e p, waa 700 in the - despite a

n out, Their Vv A re, but 191 mroee in

“Friends, we're only trying to make England safe again for psychopaths, morons, inadequates, sadists and power mad bastards like ourselves!”


“Front march on as police fight back mob", ran the headline in the Leicester Mercury on April 21st. The paper told of how a "mob" of 350 or so antifascists had tried to disrupt a 2000 strong National Front march through the city.

I might have believed some of this (for example the numbers involved) had I not been there. In actual fact the Mer- cury's reporting of the events read as if they had made up their minds what to write be- fore it happened.

What did happen at Leicester is a different story altogether. The day was supposed to start with a rally in Victoria Park, called by the Community

Relations Council, to demonstrate

the opposition to the NF march, especially in Leicester, with its large immigrant population, and to a avoid a direct con- frontation between the NF and protesters in the streets.

A number of Anti-Nazi League branches, including the Cam- bridge branch, decided in- stead to assemble at a couple of points where the march was believed to be routed. At one of these points an attempt to rush police lines (which had us hemmed in on all sides) allowed a mere 20 people to get through to the National Front.

The police then decided to let us move away down the street, where after a pitched battle between the more irate demon- strators and police intent

on protecting the NF some- where behind them, both

groups of anti-fascists met


The most spectacular moment of the whole afternoon was

when 60 or so policemen

2 t. '

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oy a= ? {= vy.


suddenly turned and fled from the crowd after their attempt at violence towards a demon- strator had provoked a repri- sal. For a while after this everyone was running about, completely disorganised, being chased, or imagining theywere being chased, by the police, who seemed to be trying to hedge us in somewhere.

Eventually the police managed to control themselves, and stood by peacefully to allow us to walk past them to Victoria Park and the Uni- versity campus. An impromptu rally was held there, where

we congratulated ourselves upon the fact that the NF had not been allowed to march through Leicester unopposed, that their march had had to be rerouted from the first corner it came to; and that we had by far outnumbered them. Just as the coming NF march through Southall was being discussed we found ourselves running again. Nobody was really sure why, but it appeared that the police had started closing in on the crowd with their riot chields. Those unfortunate

to be the last to escape were Savaged by either policemen or their dogs, and at least two people hadtheir legs ripped open by the alsatians. Nobody understood why this happened.

Events of the day were so different from those reported by the Mercury and other news- papers that this should be en- ough to confirm anyone's doubts that the press is less than objective and that it is infact partisan and biased. Take the numbers quoted for example: 2,000 NF and 350 counter-dem- onstrators. This is utter rubbish; there were no more than 350 or so NF and we must have been around 2,000.

The Mercury were intent on por- traying the NF as brave demo- crats marching to preserve their rights against the brutal and unwarranted pees en of a

small and ineffective group of left-wing extremists. This was a total distortion of the real facts.

To be fair, the coverage given by the television was better, with the BBC giving a Slightly more accurate report than An- glia. Some newspapers gave a less distorted coverage than the Mercury.

So next time you see the emot- ive words ‘Left wing’ or ‘ex- tremists' used in a press story - be careful!

- Anne

page 8


Cambridge City has an acute

housing Shortage. What housing

there is, is often inadequate.

But t here doesn't seem to be

any political will to recog-

nise this, let alone do any-

thing about it,

eee op Still about 400 empty saline) oe in Or near the city aoe Empty Property Action P Survey, March 1979). The sop estates to the north of coe Ss Hedges are half-complete look like staying that way. Most Private lets of reasonable price are Substandard, with severe restrictions of use,

In December 1978 there were 3,275 families on the local authority waiting list (Shelter

Report: Buy Up, Brick p C Up and Demolish). The number of young

Single people (not only students)

who are without suitable acco-

mmodation is considerable. Despite

this, housing was hardly an issue in issue in the recent election (except the callous letter from Mrs. Thatcher to a council house tenant which caused such a stink).

The demolition of nos. 4-14 James St. last month prompted

a motion to the City Council. The motion drew attention to Government circulars of 1974 and 1977 urging constructive use of empty property, and suggested that the city should not dispose of empty property until the last possible moment. The motion was deferred to several sub- committees, but is still to be debated by the council. With the change of power on the

council we are Mel for more rational decisions. (It is well

worth lobbying your councillors to support this motion. All this needs is phone call or a letter to express your concern about homelessness and the waste of

the housing stock.

Nearly 150 empty properties are in the Kite area, and not just the blighted part. The environ- ment minister in the last. government wrote to Cambr idge City Council criticising it for its management of empty property in the Fitzroy/Burleigh area, particularly the policy of prior demolition, It is not surprising that homes are squatted, both to save the area‘s charac~ ter and to provide homes. nen is nothing to stop the counc letting these properties on Oe short-term basis, even the su standard ones ~ bad homes are better than no homes.

_-_— *

Another problem is a poten- tially "difficult to let" councilestate in the Akeman St./Darwin Drive area. These houses have been used by the council for people whom it considers to be bad tenants. The area is increasingly un- popular among home seekers, presumably because of the stigma attached and the shoddy services. Many inner city boroughs have prepared policies for such areas, including lett- ing houses to single people on a short-term basis. If the num- ber of empty properties contin- ues to rise, then the city might bear this in mind.

General Improvement Areas don‘t seem to be all that they might be. Over the past two years the number of empty properties in both Prospect Row and St. Matt- hews GIA‘s has doubled. This is partly due to the large scale renovation of old terrace houses; but this surely cannot help the social life of an