NEW YEARS ‘EVE MAPGAP TEAM VISIT LONDON UNEMPLOYMENT STIMULATED FRACAS

MapGap.org is a campaign by Global MapAid to raise £38,880 for two projects that will map the underlying solutions to unemployment poverty. One is in the UK, for vocational education, the other in Ethiopia to map micro-credit.

Today one of our team Colin, was campaigning in London and this is mostly his write-up.

London

I began my journey by going to Shadwell in London’s East End. The East End has been one of the most deprived parts of London for centuries – indeed its wealth relative to surrounding areas has changed very little since Charles Booth made his famous map of London poverty in 1899.

On the way to the News International office, I passed a mural depicting the Battle of Cable Street, a large riot that occurred in 1936 when the British Union of Fascists marched through the area, which was then predominantly Jewish.

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Although the march was halted and Fascism never flourished in Britain, its success in Italy and Germany is a sobering reminder of the often violent discontent which can spring up when young people, particularly male youth, do not have sufficient employment.

Let me illustrate, in May 2013 the Prison Reform Trust reported there were 83,151 prisoners in England & Wales. Inside this group, were 3,893 women. Are men intrinsically more bad than women ? That’s a philosophical question beyond the scope of today’s blog, but whatever else is true or false, it seems that young men are not as well ‘designed’ to fit into a society that is going through an economic recession and probably never have been.

Finally reaching the News International offices at Thomas More Square, I was conveyed to the loading bay where two kind gentlemen with the somewhat mismatched names of Augustine and Russ took the gifts and promised to pass them on David Dinsmore and John Witherow, the editors of The Sun and The Times respectively.

From there I walked west towards Tower Hill. Reaching the City, I was once again struck by the inequality of London, how one can start in a very poor area, walk 20 minutes, and end up in one of the world’s richest financial centres.

I went onward to Mansion House, to see the Lord Mayor, Fiona Woolf. Arriving at Mansion House I found it being renovated, but with the help of some of the builders I was able to find the reception. I talked for a while with Louis, the man on the desk, who was very pleasant but also rather bored, since the Lord Mayor was not there and I was the first visitor he’d had all day. He took my gift and promised to pass it on to Fiona Woolf when she returned.

 

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From there I went north to Old Street, to go to Fifteen London, one of Jamie Oliver’s restaurants. Though Oliver is best known as a celebrity chef, he is also a noted philanthropist, having given GB £2.1m to charitable causes last year. The restaurant wasn’t open but I was able to attract the attention of the staff who kindly let me in and assured me that they would give my gift to Jamie Oliver when he was next in.

Finally, I took a long journey westward, hoping to visit the agencies representing Elton John and One Direction, who have also been very generous givers. Unfortunately both were closed for New Years’.

Making my way back home I was in high spirits, despite the rain, as I felt that I’d hopefully contributed towards making 2014 a year of more positive change for young people in Great Britain.

Berkshire

Meantime…over in Berkshire today Rupert has been having his vehicle fixed and also campaigning, with a visit to Jon Snow.

This is Jon Snow the ITN newscaster and not the “Game of Thrones” man.

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Our Jon Snow is a positive acquaintance of Rupert and in the past we have had conversations about humanitarian mapping and Jon has always been most practical and kind in his suggestions. It seemed appropriate to include him in the campaign. His wife, Precious, is also humanitarian.

Unfortunately he was not in, however a neighbour Lucy promised to look after the campaigning materials and give them to Jon when he comes home.

It is New Years Eve today, what adventures and progress will 2014 hold for MapGap ?