Last posting dates for your Mark Thomas merchandise

100 Acts of Minor Dissent book cover

If their present lists contain any of our books, CDs, stickers, badges, tea towels or aprons then make sure you family and friends are not disappointed!

Last postage dates for the UK are 19th December for 2nd class post and 21st December for first class post.  Due to an imminent move of premises shortly before those dates we may have fun tracking down the stock but we are looking at alternative shipping arrangements to reduce any delays but please order earlier than the last posting dates if you can.

Domestic Extremist?

If Mark is a Domestic Extremist, there’s a good chance you are too!

Mark is one of several journalists who have found themselves unlawfully snooped on by a Scotland Yard unit dedicated to Domestic Extremists. “The fact that none of the journalists are suspected of criminality but all of them cover stories of police and corporate wrong doing hints at something more sinister,” says Mark, “The inclusion of journalists on the domestic extremist database seems to be a part of a disturbing police spying network, from the Stephen Lawrence family campaign to Hillsborough families.”

Police files released to Mark after he made an FoI request include notes of him attending demonstrations, carrying a tray of cress and “appearing confident”.

Mark and five other journalists are taking legal action against the Metropolitan Police over this political policing.

Now you can have a bit of Domestic Extremism in your very own kitchen, or get the perfect gift for the Domestic Extremist in your life.  Ideal as a Christmas presents.  Click here to buy online.

Domestic Extremist Set
Domestic Extremist

Tea towel – 77 x 50cm
100% ethically-sourced premium cotton, water or vegetable based ink, made in the UK.

Apron – 86 x 58cm (adult)
100% ethically-sourced premium cotton drill, water or vegetable based ink, made in the UK.

Brought to you by our friends at the Craftivists project run by HFS, with cupcake design by Gary (https://garyjbuckland.artstation.com/)

http://www.craftivists.org.uk/

http://www.hfs.org.uk

And here is one of HFS’s sultry male models showing you how to flaunt your apron without the use of an iron.

MT in his DE Apron
MT in his DE Apron

Cuckooed in New York

The God of Visas has smiled upon him and Mark is now in New York until 21st November performing Cuckooed at the 59e59 Theatre (near the south east corner of Central Park).

The show won the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression award 2014.

So tell your American friends and comrades, and anyone lucky enough to be on holiday in the area come and say hello.

There is a discount of 20% with the code THOMASNYC – details are on the attached flyer.

59E59-CUCKOOED-EBLAST

Oxford Beggar Traps Update

This Monday morning saw the installation of ‘beggar traps’ outside Oxford City Council offices. These boxes big enough for a human, have metal grills propped open with sticks, string is attached to the stick ready to pull away the support and shut the trap. Inside is a cup of tea to lure beggars. Two young women walk past with their children and loudly proclaim,

“That is disgusting.”

“That is outrageous,” says the other, “they shouldn’t be doing that!”

IMG_7522

As it turned out they were the first of quite a few who believed the traps to be real, with passers-by tutting,

“Bastards,”

“Haven’t they got better things to do!” and

“Dreadful.”

That so many thought the traps real either speaks volumes of human credulity or council belligerence, quite possibly both.

The traps were made by local artist Lois Muddiman – with whom I concocted the idea after a show – and were made to highlight Oxford City Council’s plans to entrap beggars. Here is how they will do it:

The council intends to vote through a Public Space Protection Order this Thursday (15th Oct) which will make “aggressive begging” – by which they mean begging near a cash point machine  – in the designated area of the city centre an offence liable to a fine, a Fixed Penalty Notice, of £100.

 

When I posted about this last week Oxford City Council went on the offensive.

Writing on the Change.Org website in response the council claimed, “The redrafted PSPO now only targets those begging aggressively, such as those begging next to cash points, and categorically will not require them to pay a fine.”

Oxford City Council claimed instead they would be helping beggars access services by sending them to a Magistrates Court – making them automatically liable for the mandatory court charge of £150 if they plead guilty (much more if they are foolish enough to plead not guilty). And of course a likely additional fine and a criminal record. Not exactly the help most beggars need.

 

“We will not be fining homeless people.” The council tweeted at me. “We want to use PSPO to take aggressive beggars to court to require them to get help they need, ie rehab”

 

When I had the audacity to claim they were being disingenuous the council fired off another missive,

IMG_7655

“we will not be fining beggars. Please change your website to reflect this.”

After taking legal advice, they were today forced into admitting the truth:

Chief Exec Peter Sloman wrote, “I understand that a Council posting on Change.org last week stated the Council would not impose a Fixed Penalty Notice for aggressively begging. That is not correct.”

He lists what the council could do: “Report the offense to the police; Issue a fixed penalty notice; Prosecute in the Magistrates Court,” and notes that “Court does charge a court fee and could decide to issue a fine.”

So exactly as I had described. The Council is voting to give itself the powers to issue on the spot fines to people begging or take them to court where more punitive charges and costs will be levied at them and thus entrap beggars in debt and the criminal justice system.

“I am sorry if our statement…was misleading” Sloman went on. On Saturday I asked Oxford City Council whether they were being incompetent or disingenuous. Today’s events suggest they are both.

BEGGAR TRAPS?!

JOIN US IN INSTALLING BEGGAR TRAPS AROUND OXFORD TOWN HALL ON MONDAY 12 OCTOBER
AT 10AM

oxford2

Oxford City Council are giving themselves new powers to entrap the poor, to criminalise them, put them into debt and into prison.

This Thursday the council vote on a measure to punish people begging near cashpoint machines by making them pay an on the spot £100 fine.

The council know most beggars won’t be able to pay this.

They know beggars will be forced to a Magistrates’ court and will have to pay at least another £150 in court charges.

They know most won’t be able to pay the increasing burden of debt and fines.

They know people will be imprisoned… for the crime of begging near a cashpoint machine.

The council’s defence is as weak as it is absurd. They say:

“…the intention is not to use the fixed penalty approach as the people concerned are unlikely in many cases to have the financial resources to meet a fine.”

So why bother bringing in this measure? They say:

“Instead, the PSPO will be used as a route to the Magistrates’ Court where magistrates have the power to require them to engage with the extensive and effective drugs, alcohol or homelessness services that are available in the city”

But what this means in reality is beggars will be subject to Grayling’s mandatory court charge of at least £150 as well as facing further punishment as is happening now:

Mark Smith, 38, of no fixed address, admitted persistently begging in a public place, Cornmarket Street, Oxford, in May. Also admitted breaching an antisocial behaviour order made on December 12 prohibiting him from sitting within 10 metres of a cash machine in Cornmarket Street. Sent to prison for 30 days and ordered to pay a £150 criminal courts charge.

Matthew Dobbs, 26, of Speedwell Street, Oxford, admitted begging in Cornmarket Street, Oxford, on March 28. Also admitted failing to surrender to custody at Oxford Magistrates’ Court without good reason on April 22. Fined £50 and ordered to pay a £20 victims’ surcharge and a £150 criminal courts charge.

Oxford City Council know that as soon as a beggar is sent to a Magistrates’ court they are setting them further on a path of indebtedness and exclusion

This is not about helping people, it is about punishing people for the crime of being poor. Begging prosecutions have increased by nearly 400% in the Thames Valley area and the new powers will only allow more. This has nothing to do with offering people help. All the council care about is socially cleansing the centre of Oxford so it looks nice. Oxford City Council are the Hyacinth Bucket of the Labour movement – they are concerned only with appearances.

Come and join us in taking action against Oxford City Council’s proposed PSPO (Public Space Protection Order) on MONDAY 12 OCTOBER. Meet at 10am at Carfax Tower where we will be installing street art to protest the measure.

Chester event details

Chester are currently consulting on a PSPO which will outlaw lying down and sleeping in a large part of Chester, as well as busking, begging and feeding birds. So sleeping or lying down could result in an on the spot £100 fine and a criminal record.

Come and join me in a quick forty winks outside Chester town hall at MIDDAY on THURSDAY 17 SEPTEMBER followed by a sleep around the boundary of the proposed area. Lullabies, hot chocolate and a good bedtime story all welcome, In fact anything that will aid a good nap. Let’s snooze away the afternoon or at least a lunchtime!

Shaun the Sheep – 26th September 2015

0e62102b-c093-4f1c-a9d1-e9c9055f7d6b.jpg

Some of you may know I have been banned for life from walking in 6 London streets owned and controlled by the Oxford Properties Group, these streets are in Paternoster Sq.

As we have had a right of way on these streets since Anglo Saxon times it seems a tad excessive, as my crime was walking dressed as a sheep.

So I am organising a Mass Trespass of Shaun the Sheep! The aim is to get as many people as possible on to the Square wearing Shaun the Sheep masks and do a walk.

Place: Meet in front of St Paul’s cathedral (Front steps on the West side)

Date: 26th September 2015

Time: Meet at 2.30 – 2:45 pm – grazing, stroling and enjoying the weather will commence at 3pm (Could last 5 minutes if we are asked to leave – if we are not we shall do a walk – 1 hour)

 

Bring Shaun the Sheep cardboard mask or any sheep type visage though we will bring some along for you to use.

LET’S get as many as possible out there!

Mark

PS This is NOT an official Shaun The Sheep Event. The nice people at Aardman (they came to the show and liked it) have asked if we could remind people.

 

 

Punk on the Thames – 26th September 2015

After a wander in the City what better way to unwind and relax than a free punk rock gig on the beach of the River Thames. For those in the know on matters of punk rock Oi Polloi are a name to be reckoned with, they are doing a free gig with me compering in the Waterloo area.

Exact time and place to be announced on twitter slightly nearer the time, follow either @markthomasinfo or @loiterers

Here is the leaflet please circulate widely.