Socialist Worker

The Troublemaker —300,000 homes could be built on London golf courses 

Issue No. 2770

Londons golf courses are inaccessible to most

London's golf courses are inaccessible to most (Pic: CK Golf/Flickr)


London’s golf courses make up an area larger than the borough of Brent and there is enough space on publicly owned courses to house 300,000 people, according to new research.

Nearly half of the capital’s 94 active golf courses are owned by London boroughs or other public bodies, such as the Church Commissioners, and yet serve a tiny fraction of the capital’s nine million residents.

Russell Curtis, author if a new study said, “This is not a war on golf.

“There surely has to be a way of improving the social utility and accessibility of golf courses to benefit the wider population.

“The redevelopment of golf courses is always presented as a binary choice between beautiful green fields or concrete.

“But there’s a model in the middle where you could provide new homes and social infrastructure while achieving biodiversity gain.”

Britain is home to a quarter of all the golf courses in Europe.

Troublemaker thinks a “war on golf” sounds like quite a good idea, actually.


Black people tasered more

Police deploy Taser stun guns too often, with black people more likely to face prolonged use lasting over five seconds, an official report has found.

Previous data have shown that black people face greater Taser use, leading to claims of racial bias.

The report found that 60 percent of black people who were subject to Taser discharges endured them for more than five seconds, compared with 29 peercent of white people.

In June PC Benjamin Monk was convicted of the manslaughter of the former Premier League footballer Dalian Atkinson in Telford, Shropshire.

Monk used a Taser for 33 seconds and kicked Atkinson twice in the head.


Vaccines made in Africa head to West

Johnson & Johnson’s Covid vaccine was supposed to be one of Africa’s most important weapons against Covid-19.

The US-based firm said it would sell enough of its shots to eventually inoculate a third of the continent’s residents.

And the vaccine would be produced in part by a South African manufacturer.

But South Africa is still waiting to receive the overwhelming majority of the 31 million vaccine doses it ordered.

At the same time, Johnson & Johnson has been exporting millions of doses that were bottled and packaged in South Africa for distribution in Europe.

Many Western countries have kept domestically manufactured doses for themselves. That wasn’t possible in South Africa because of an unusual stipulation in the contract the government signed with Johnson & Johnson.

Popo Maja, a spokesman for the South African health ministry, said, “The government was not given any choice. Sign contract or no vaccine.”


‘I can’t breathe’ plea ignored in police case

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has been forced to reopen its investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Kevin Clarke.

Clarke was a black man who could be heard saying the words “I can’t breathe” while he was being restrained by police shortly before he died.

The tame watchdog admitted the words heard on body-cam footage were not explored with officers when they were interviewed by IOPC officials.

The decision to look at the case again follows findings by an inquest jury last October. It found that police’s inappropriate use of restraints contributed to Clarke’s death.

Deborah Coles, director of the charity Inquest, said, “It defies belief that a black man can die at the hands of the police with audio recordings saying he cannot breathe and the IOPC fail to interrogate this with police officers. What an indictment of the investigation.”


  • More than 2.4 million people in England will lose access to free prescriptions if the government goes ahead with plans to change the benefit in line with the state pension age.

And it could lead to people skipping vital medication to avoid the costs of treatment.

Currently people qualify for free prescriptions—which cost £9.35 per medicine—at the age of 60.

However, last month the government launched a consultation on raising the age to 66 to tie in with the present state pension age.


  • Betting shops are ten times more likely to be found in deprived towns than in affluent areas, according to a study by the University of Bristol.

The areas with the highest number of betting shops per capita included Glasgow, Liverpool, London and Middlesbrough, the study found. Gambling sites in Britain outnumber supermarkets. 


The things they say 

‘The biggest debacle that Nato has suffered since its founding’

Armin Laschet, the conservative candidate to succeed Angela Merkel as Germany’s chancellor, on the defeat in Afghanistan

‘The greatest defeat for Nato in history’

Janez Jansa, Slovenian prime minister

‘We’ve got to be the party of the police. We’ve got to be able to say at some point, if you want to ‘defund the police’, join the Tories’

A Labour Party insider gives details of the party’s policy strategy to the media

‘Our businesses are leaving no stone unturned to find workers, including contacting the prison service’

Nick Allen of the British Meat Processors Association, explains employers’ hope to fill labour shortages with prisoners


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