Black Lives Matter painted across Woolwich square

General Gordon Square in Woolwich has seen Black Lives Matter painted in large yellow letters this morning reminiscent of scenes in US cities such as Washington DC.

The gesture is not directly funded by the authority but their contractor Riney, though the authority are closely linked with a ceremony planned for this afternoon.

Timing is interesting. There has been disquiet just this past week within the local Labour party over the treatment of a black councillor.

Cynics may see this as more of a PR stunt. Towns, estates and parks in areas with a large ethnic minority population in the borough have frequently been overlooked for funds and investment including Woolwich. Some areas were in terrible shape. Many still are.

This is prevalent when it comes to income derived from new developments in the borough. A continual failure to spend income on improving living conditions for existing communities has helped to exacerbate divides in places such as Woolwich.

Public space not maintained in certain areas

Estates and parks have been long neglected (and it predates cuts) while regeneration projects such as “One Woolwich” have seen a large reduction in the number of truly affordable social housing. Nearly 1000 social homes are going with just over 500 “affordable” homes (35% of 1600) built as replacements. So called “affordable” homes are more expensive than social homes.

Areas like Plumstead see some of the worst maintained estates and High Streets in London, if not the country, and numerous promises of funding for the High Street have so far come to little. To give one example, £190,000 derived from a new development in Plumstead was allocated to Greenwich and Eltham as seen in this screenshot from a Greenwich Council report:

Click to enlarge

Paint and PR is easy. Meaningful action to improve certain parts of the borough with a large ethnic minority population is a bigger test – and one yet to be met.



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J Smith

I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

    22 thoughts on “Black Lives Matter painted across Woolwich square

    • If I saw this and lived the other side of London I’d think good on them.

      Living here and seeing how poor areas with large number of BAME are treated I think nah. Hollow.

      It just looks like a publicity stunt to me to boost the profile of politicians for their careers. They don’t care about Plumstead and Thamesmead all through the year. We get nothing.

      • As a local resident, I can’t echo the above comment enough.

        This looks great and I’m glad it’s been done. But it should be part of a much wider plan to look at the injustice in our own area, support our neighbours and protect our community.

        Statements like this from public bodies need to be supported with action, otherwise they lose their meaning.

        However, I do appreciate the first step and I hope that people who see it recognise the message of hope and community it stands for.

        PS – thank you for continuing to cover BLM issues on this blog, thank you for continuing to weed out the racist bullies in the comments and thank you for all you do to lift up local voices.

    • I agree Murky with your comments that areas like Plumstead see some of the worst maintained estates and High Streets in London, Many areas and estates in the Borough have poor public realm.

      Despite Greenwich Council receiving money from developers to provide improvements to public realm and public transport near new where developments are built.

      We do get a lot of lip service from Greenwich Councillors they often say what they think people want to hear.

      With regard to black lives matter. Yes of course they do but then so does every single life matters regardless of race age, sex or sexual orientation. There is no place for racism in anyway shape or from in 2020 everyone needs to learn to respect each other. .

      I would like to see more people get on in life by their own merits. Opportunites are offered to the BAME community along with anyone else in the way of education health housing and employment. It is what you make of it which really counts.

      I would like to see more young people getting out of gangs etc. So they can get a education go to college or University and go on to make a great career for themeslves. There are also
      apprenticeships young people can apply for.

      We need to do more to help young people and especially those from the BAME community in the 18-25 age group to get in to education apprenticeship, training schemes or employment. I would like to see more investment in this area from both the Government and Local Authorities so we can work to build a better future for us all equally and fairly

    • I think Black Lives Matter has the potential to divide the community and should be discouraged.

      The campaigners seem very slow to suggest any practical steps to make life fairer. They sometimes mention stop and search, most statistics suggest that the ratio of stops to arrests is very similar for all ethnic groups. Sometimes they mention deaths in police custody, one is one too many, but 85% of such deaths involve white people.

      It can be used as a cover for bullying, see the nasty letter that Labour MPs sent to Priti Patel.

      The statue issue is nonsense, see the community response over Baden Powell. Even with Edward Colston in Bristol no-one really knows what the community thinks, the horrible Mayor is using Black lives Matter as a means of suppressing debate and bullying people.

      • 100% agree Gary J – I’m from the ‘BAME’ community (I hate that term), and this movement ironically is going to go to cause an immense reversal of the progress in race relations that have been made in the last few decades.
        BLM are just a face of the extreme far left who are using the genuine grievances of the black community to advance their agenda. Just look at the demands their stated goals on their official website!
        Also look on the official website donation page. The funds go to ‘Actblue’! Then look who Actblue channels those funds too….
        Justice and equality for the black ‘community’? Absolutely! Black Lives Matter the organisation? Absolutely not!

        Whoever is leading this movement (not the vast majority of supporters, they are genuinely wanting to stand up for justice and condemn racism), is going to have the opposite effect and push/side vast swathes of the public to the hard right!

        • Well said HK. I totally agree with all your points raised by yourself, Gary J, Charles and Kevin. The opportunities are out there for the BAME community if they want them.

          • Had a look at the BLM webpage and it looks completely fine (not extreme left at all)…. Campaigns like supporting people to vote – not sure how this is extreme, surely it’s exactly what’s needed?

            Actblue appears to be a fundraising platform – a piece of tech enabling charities to collect funds. All the causes look fine to me… I’m no expert though but not seeing the evidence that substantiates the post…

            • The first half of what they say they are about seems fine, but then they insert their marxist intersectionality politics (bait & swtich tactic)
              Actblue funnel the funds to the DNC candidates – you can look up their financials! The evidence can be found online (financial declaration regulation) referencing official sources.
              Over $100m given to Joe Biden’s PAC for eg.
              There are many prominent ‘black’/pan-african activists who are saying the very same thing (youtube ‘Sa Ra Garvey’) and saying that you shouldn’t join and the BLM ‘organisation’.

    • Totally agree with you Gary J.

    • Firstly and most importantly ALL LIVES MATTER regardless of Race, Age, Sex, Sexual Orientation or Disability.

      I do believe the BAME community are offered plenty of opportunities the UK when it comes to Education, College, Employment, Health Care and Housing etc and are treated equally and fairly the same as everyone of else.

      It is what the BAME community make of these opprtunities that mater. Many large public employers have support groups for employees from the BAME community employed with them to help and support them get promotions etc. So do believe inequalities are now being addressed by the majority of employers.

      I have not witnessed any inequalities in the NHS.

      • You’ve missed the point of the term Black Lives Matter. Of course all lives matter. There’s plenty of good analogies out there, such as clapping for the NHS doesn’t mean other jobs are worthless or not worth celebrating.

        • When I clapped on a Thursday I clapped for all key workers and not just my colleagues in the NHS.

          People need to learn to respect for all our key workers whether serving you in a supermarket, delivering your take away on a scooter, home shopping drivers.

          Public transport workers,Bus drivers, Train Drivers, Bin men & women emptying your bins, providing home care to the elderly and disabled.

          Serving in our Armed Forces and emergency services (Police Fire ambulance & CostGuard). Also staff working extra hard to make sure people receive the beneits and pensions.

          I never said no jobs were worthless !!!

      • My house is on fire and I call the Fire Brigade, they arrive and tell me they need to check all the houses on the street, “but only my house is on fire” I say, “all houses matter” the fireman responds.

        The whole point of BLACK LIVES MATTER is our lives are under threat and we need help right now, nobody is saying other lives don’t matter.

        Regarding your points about equal opportunity, you’re ignorant. I’m black, educated and work in financial services and have made it to middle management, despite achieving more than white colleagues (and being explicitly told I have) I’ve seen them progress to senior management roles whilst I’ve been over looked. I’m also the only BAME in a team of over 20.

        I used to get followed around the Waitrose Local in Cannon Street by the security guard every lunchtime.

        I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been refused entry into nightclubs if I’m with another BAME friend.

        Your point about the NHS, again do you work in the NHS?

        My aunt is on the front line and has told me that they haven’t been risk assessed (basic duty of care). This involves understand underlying health conditions and risk and redeploying staff appropriately based on that risk. They have also had less access to PPE than white colleagues.

        All of the above are not obvious racist incidents but are part of the institutional racism that is ingrained in this country.

        • I agree with some of your points, but many black lives are lost or destroyed at the hands of other black people. The opportunities are there but you make this purely into a black vs White issue. Why does the asian (SE Asian, some African immigrants, Sikh & Hindu’s) disproportionately become so successful? Look at the home ownership rates of Sikh’s and Hindu’s despite facing similar struggles.

          In terms of Covid BAME deaths, has anyone looked at the diets of these communities (co-morbility illnesses seem to be a huge factor on deaths). Diabetes and heart disease is unfortunately incredibly common across my relatives.

          Most of the issues are down to culture (not race). Look at the single mother rates among south & south east asian communities and many African communities – incredible emphasis on core education (ie STEM fields, not gender studies for eg.!) hence the asian stereotype of doctors, lawyers and accountants.

          I am not saying there isn’t an increased level prejudice towards the black or any other marginalised communities or there isn’t racism at all, I believe that most of the attention is being directed at the metaphorical broken toe instead of the killer disease!

          Thomas Sowell (look him up, he’s highly regarded) hammers many of these points.

          • Just to clarify, i’m not bashing single parents, just making the point that there is a correlation with poverty, generational wealth etc!

    • Pride crossings, BLM decorations: the Council probably begrudge every tin of paint. Like the panic alarm system I once installed at a City bank, not for the safety of the employees but to reduce annual insurance costs.

      In the US there’s growing data on the amount of immigrant-owned businesses being targeted by the mobs (the Arab-American businesses in particular that settled into predominantly black areas in the early 2000s after an uptick in hostility against them). I suspect the Council have taken a look at Woolwich and concluded that the Spray Street development may be interpreted as a sign of unfavourable attitudes to BAME business. Hence the low budget Potemkin Village, a sop to keep criticism away without having to address any issues at all.

      The Council are not racist. They dismiss everyone under a certain wage

      • 100% on point Charles. The council, celebs, companies are just virtual signally. They don’t really care about the core issues. They are self serving!

      • Precisely why poor white and black people need to stand together on the injustices. Blacks were enslaved and poor whites used as serfs, indentured labour in the industrial revolution and the servant culture pervading this nation. Of course, if the poor and disenfranchised did stand together on the poverty of opportunity and achievement offered, they would be a formidable force, Hence it suits politicians to keep them apart and at war. It suits politicians to talk about statues, this is called appeasement nothing more and nothing less.

    • Not trying to flame you all, but you’ll find that the black community is disproportionately impacted than their white counterparts.

      South Asian and Black people have a greater prevalence of diabetes etc as a proportion of their respective populations in the country, however in terms of numbers there are more white people with diabetes in the country, than their are asian and black people. If having diabetes etc was an issue with Covid-19, you should have seen a greater proportion of the white population with the comorbitiy dying of Covid-19 as well.

      Racism, Sexism, Ageism, and Xenophobia are all issues and that’s not denying that there are economically and socially disadvantaged amongst the white community as well, which encounter problems not of their own making. eg white males from poorer households.

    • Can nobody see the irony of the placement of this declaration. George Floyd died after being pinned to the ground and sustained pressure having been applied to his neck. For anyone who still doesn’t get it, people will be walking over those words. Talk about clueless. How will anything ever change if this stupidity is the mark of the right thing to do?

    • Wow. Just wow. Amazing that there’s so much money around for racist anti-white Leninist propaganda. I thought the council was paid for services not to graffiti the public realm and waste taxpayer funds for pathetic feelings over facts.


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