Thursday, 26 July 2012

The Domino Effect

Yesterday evening JENGbA was invited to talk to the community group The Tottenham Defence League by their Chair Dougie Williams. Dougie had met myself, Sharon Spenser and Patrick Davis a few weeks ago in North London - we explained our campaign to him, highlighting the cases we represent. Dougie, a respect community campaigner,  like most people you tell about how the doctrine of joint enterprise is being abused was shocked and angered by what we told him.

When I arrived at the Wellborne Centre you could see this vital community building had seen better days.  Another community space, used by the public for their own meetings threatened by the Council for closure as they say it is no longer 'fit for purpose' yet same Council take rent on a building they say is now longer 'fit for purpose'. I suppose it depends on whose purpose?  The Tottenham Elders were partaking in their regular dominoes gathering; a social event but also a highly competitive tournament.

I was struck by the noise of the competitors banging the dominoes onto the table. I told Dougie that the last time Kenneth had called me from prison he had a rant (which is unlike him),  He said he was pissed off with being told when to go to bed and when to get up, pissed off with the smell of manure which wafts through the prison, and amongst many other things (long rant)  he was pissed off with being told he was playing dominoes too loudly. Now, seeing how this Elders were playing it I could understand, one woman did a dramatic jump up before slamming her domino down.  Dougie laughed and said it was a great way to release anger and stress. So as hard as it was to hear Ken sound so low, at least he has some way to vent his anger rather than take it out on others, just like these Elders who face losing the space they had long created to socialise and play a simple game of dominoes.

The meeting with the TDL was not hugely attended but all who did expressed their outrage at learning about how joint enterprise was targeting working class and BEM groups.  But numbers are never important in the meetings we attend - if the nine people who were there go out and tell nine others, who go on to tell nine other - we have our very own JENGbA Domino effect.

Since meeting Dougie that first time,  he has invited us to do local radio SLR several times, which led to other local radio stations contacting us. He introduced us to Professor Alan Gilbert who is blogging and supporting us in the USA. He also gave us the contact number for BEN TV and Sharon and myself  record a live interview with them a couple of weeks ago.  Domino effect indeed.