Canalside House: Ballymore Using Feilding-Mellen Playbook

The international property developer set to profit handsomely from the transformation of the Gas Works site in North Kensington / Kensal Green has abandoned its offer to meet with the resident organisations of Canalside House. The historic community building on Ladbroke Grove has been pulled into plans for the ‘Kensal Canalside Opportunity Area’ despite sitting outside the site, and will be demolished by Ballymore once they complete the purchase. Instead of meeting with the Canalside organisations together, Ballymore is now offering individual drop-ins. For their part, Kensington & Chelsea council is pretending these public drop-ins are “consultations” – reprising the tactics and vocabulary of the discredited, disgraced Rock Feilding-Mellen, former deputy leader of the council. Let’s not fall for it again.


There is reason to suspect that Ballymore is ignorant about the work done at Canalside House and keen to avoid gaining knowledge of the problems that will be caused by the demolition of one of North Kensington’s last remaining community assets. To date the developer has offered only vague platitudes regarding their intentions towards the resident organisations – “our proposals incorporate all the community-focused activities of Canalside house” – that have increased suspicion in a local community that has endured it all before, including six years of public relations spin from its council.

At a public meeting in March, Ballymore’s PR representatives from Comm Comm (Community Communications) offered to meet Canalside House residents at Canalside House so that they could express their concerns about Ballymore’s plans. But Ballymore has now jettisoned this proposal and the collective of charities, community groups, care agencies, housing co-ops and small businesses are expected to content themselves with attending Ballymore’s public exhibition and drop-in hub on Kensal Road. Comm Comm told Urban Dandy “We have already met some people from the buildings at our consultation hub and hope to meet others over the coming weeks.”

Using “buildings” instead of “building” suggests Ballymore considers Canalside House and neighbouring Canalside Activity Centre to be one and the same. Ballymore can then claim that whatever green space and sports activities are included on the new development represent the “community-focused activities” of Canalside House.


In 2016, at the height of Feilding-Mellen’s aggressive asset strip, the organisations of Canalside House were invited to ‘consultations’ at the Town Hall. To their surprise, no other resident organisations were present, and they were informed they would be moved to a converted industrial site on Latimer Road. Half the size of Canalside, the hot desking space offered zero privacy and no storage. I pointed out to the council’s Head of Property, Social Investment & Property (not a typo, real job title) that it was not a consultation and asked if there would be a consultation. He was emphatic that there would not be, telling the residents “take it or leave it.” The same person remains in the role today.

Are Ballymore aware that they are aping the divide-and-rule approach of the most hated politicians in North Kensington?


Comm Comm also told us: “We understand that all tenants of the buildings have been contacted by their landlords to be updated.”

Most, but not all, Canalside House tenants, have received letters from the council that offer little to no reassurance, but plenty of carefully-worded vagueness. The same message sent to Urban Dandy by the council’s PR department in response to our reporting on the planned sale has been sent to Canalside House residents, sometimes signed by Fielding-Mellen’s replacement Kim Taylor-Smith; sometimes by the Head of Property, Social Investment & Property. Minor edits have been made to provide a friendlier tone to some organisations, but it is mainly copied and pasted from the PR statement.

Ballymore is hiding behind the ragged notion that Canalside House’s resident organisations are happy to passively receive updates this way, from the same institution that has repeatedly sought to deprive them of their building, thereby jeopardising their ability to deliver vital services in one of the most economically depressed areas of the country.

Kensington & Chelsea council tells Canalside House residents: “We would only sell the building if Ballymore were able to meet our proposed terms, including the reprovision of community space.”

But this is disingenuous, and not just because of the council’s managed decline of the building and past attempts to sell it. Multiple sources from multiple meetings with Ballymore have said that the developer told them that Taylor-Smith and the council insisted that Ballymore take Canalside House off their hands, hinting that the deal is contingent on the purchase of the building.

Play off

Ballymore and Kensington & Chelsea are attempting to play us off against each other; hiding behind each other’s statements when it is convenient and claiming ignorance of their partner’s intentions when that suits their interests. If they succeed and Canalside House is demolished, we won’t be able to say we didn’t see it coming.

by Tom Charles @tomhcharles

Review: ‘Grenfell’ by Steve McQueen, from a Semiotic Gaze

By Chris Arning

“Film is too obviously a message for one not to assume that it is coded.”(Christian Metz – the Language of Cinema)

So I’ve just been to a showing of the Grenfell film by Steve McQueen and was blown away by it. The film is a 24 minute, two second colour video which contains no dialogue or commentary. It starts with bird song faded to black then we are on board a helicopter camera panoramic shot. We move steadily over green stretches of England, punctuated by clusters of terraced houses, the occasional football field, canals and sewage tanks. Throughout we hear the unsettling noises of what sounds like industrial machinery intermingled with copter blades and this seems to take at least five minutes. It is both meditative and disturbing because we think this is meant to be about Grenfell Tower, so why are we seemingly travelling across the hinterland of England? The suburbs is where we start. The denizens of most of the houses were most likely unaffected by the tragedy unfolding in June 2017. Does this also point to the cultural and political divide that has grown in the UK over the last decade?

It is when we see Wembley Stadium with its distinctive arch and the cluster of new builds around it that we gain our bearings, realise we are in North West London we realise we are only kilometres away from the Grenfell site. As we pass over Harlesden, the sound suddenly cuts out. Whatever we are travelling in becomes a glider; we become a disembodied seeing entity. When we arrive at the building it is shocking how raw it all is. It is a charred and gutted sarcophagus supported by scaffolding. In the years since the filming, clearly the building has been covered up the way the wounds of an incinerated body would be shrouded away. This has been done for many reasons, trauma reduction but also health and safety. As local residents we have become used to the green love heart emblazoned atop the tower; a symbol of unity and remembrance for campaigners, but seeing the tower in its raw state again was very salutary.

The Drone Gaze

The value of the film is to transform our gaze – but we start with something that is just unsettling: a disembodied perspective making its way steadily, ominously across the landscape. Although filmed using helicam, it has a deliberate drone effect and this is a drone view.

As Adam Rothstein author of Drone Theory writes: “Drones at their current level of technology allow us to observe large swathes of ground for an extended period of time. CCTV and satellite imagery each have their particular advantages for different surveillance and reconnaissance tasks. But drones allow a mobile platform that can remain over the ground at a distance that minimised the targe’s awareness of the platform, while also allowing live re-targeting of the area of focus.”

Rothstein continues: “This ever present visual relationship permanently alters human perception. Drone sensor operators talk about the range of way that starting through the drone’s camera for hours on end can change a person. This vernacular technology outlines the odd technological relationship the drone allows – that of generally passive observer, but with the extreme power that constant observation gives.”

Marshal McLuhan said the medium is the message. Drone or CCTV footage is about social control. When we are looking at aerial drone views, we are usually in the realm of invigilating savannah animals, of cadastral surveys, but also of crowd surveillance and of extra judicial assassinations. The drone view privileges the power of the voyeur to surveil others. Drone footage is never particularly relaxing: there is a sense of foreboding to it – especially when accompanied by the sonic concomitants of such footage, the humming buzz or industrial white noise devoid of emotion. Drone noise intimidates populations under occupation. Military drone executions take place at a distance. Drones are therefore the epitome of the banality of evil in the technological realm. They enable heinous acts to be done with the minimal fuss, personal involvement or moral embroilment. The famous philosophical thought experiment with the trolley car demonstrates that people tend to have fewer qualms pulling the lever than pushing the man onto the train tracks.

Kensington & Chelsea councillors can’t recall at enquiry hearings if the blandishments of more aesthetically pleasing cladding options blinded them to the more critical safety considerations that should have been prioritised in refurbishing Grenfell Tower. When being cloistered away from the consequences meets asymmetric power decisions made at a distance – whether operating a drone or managing housing stock – it can have terrifying repercussions.

The drone gaze is bereft of all empathy for what it takes in, akin to the beast ‘moving its slow thighs’ in the poem The Second Coming described by WB Yeats as having a “gaze blank and pitiless as the sun.”

So, the drone gaze is how we start the film with the sense of alienation and foreboding that that brings. 

The spiritual gaze

But soon we settled into a sequence which feels closer to much of Steve McQueen’s video art oeuvre. McQueen’s films contain long uninterrupted takes that build tension, emphasise a need, or track real time.

Paul Gilroy writes of this section in the programme notes: “a soundless camera wheels around the damaged structure. The vertiginous movement of orbiting that fixed point induces nausea as viewers are pulled into the gyre. We move in close still and the animated geometry of the broken building disorders perception. The rotary motion becomes hypnotic and, as this monument to loss begins to transmit its own traumatising rhythm, we start to see the interior of the scaffolded structure”.

Like a massive aerial lathe, the ‘coptercam’ hones our reverence for the stricken object with its every rotation.

A reviewer put it like this: “McQueen likes to linger. And he is much less likely to use flashy camerawork or editing techniques to manipulate the viewer. Instead, he wants one to marinate in the moment…To frame it in a way to draw attention to what’s actually happening. Look at this. Look at this. Look at this.” I know I’m looking.”

This was forensic scrutiny but the camera also sacralised the space for the moments we were invited to stay in it – so it was also a guided visit and chance for a harsh, confronting contemplation.

The gaze undoubtedly deepened many viewers’ appreciation of a devastating trauma. We see the tattered exoskeleton with beams and girders still hanging off it and blackened interiors. The helicopter comes disturbingly close to the building and lingers upon facets of the upper parts of the structure. We are mesmerised by the visual spectacle. For my part, before long I passed into a form of meditative reverie, devoting my attention to every cell. I tried to sympathetically imagine in each cell the suffering though I knew I never could know the enormity of it. All I could do was murmur a mantra, may all beings be happy, and free from suffering. It was harrowing viewing, it became hard to watch eventually and admit I welled up at one point.

The invitation to contemplate was excruciating but also moving. In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, monks and adepts of meditation visit burial grounds to remember the dead and muse on impermanence and get in touch with their own mortality. Grenfell Tower and the deceased are honoured here as such.

Cinematographic Tribute

As the cam repeatedly spins is where the power of the film really begins for me because the circumambulation of the building has huge significance. Beyond the forensic vista it provides into the guts of the structure to reveal a full picture of the devastation, there is a reverence. Circumambulation has a strong spiritual significance. In Islam, pilgrims to Mecca circumambulate the black stone Ka’aba, to demonstrate a unity of faith. I do not know whether the symbolism was deliberate but the resemblance was not lost on me. As someone who is affiliated with Buddhism I know that you pay tribute to the passing of a spiritual person by walking around a stupa or burial mound. This is how the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, said he wanted to be honoured. I have myself done this at a memorial for a deceased friend. Of course, being Steve McQueen, all this is implicit. There is no overt sentiment in the shooting of the film. It was very stark. Indeed, the beauty of the film to my mind is the way it combines intense focus on the rapid destruction of a whole living ecosystem while at the same time displaying a tender monument to the dignity of those who keep pushing for justice, to keep the memory of the dearly departed alive. This is a McQueen hallmark:

“He inserts moments that are Deleuzian time-images, disrupting expectations, pausing the conventional narrative progression and in the process implicating the viewer in the content. The features, for this reason, function as unique hybrids between the time-image and the moving image.”

For me, the greatness of this simple film was precisely the way it subtly oscillates between the technologized, minatory gaze of the drone – the tool of surveillance and death – and a more sympathetic and reverential, human gaze; still harsh but with the transmutation of spiritual wrath confined to spiritual beings and suffused with knowledge and empathy for the monumental importance of what happened here. The omniscient gaze of a God consciousness. McQueen achieves this collision of gazes toggling between these two views aesthetically through skilful use of camera work and manipulation of sound. The dignified circumambulation is the cinematic equivalent of the Grenfell silent walks that were initially organised monthly and are now held 11 days before Christmas and on the anniversary of the disaster.

The silent dénouement

The end of the film is poignant and beautiful. Unexpectedly, the director breaks the silence and brings the ambient noise back. We hear the ingress of a Hammersmith and City line train into Latimer Road. The everyday hustle and bustle around the Lancaster West Estate rushes back. This is a place where I have a close friend; which houses the Aldridge Academy where I have volunteered many times at a homeless shelter, and the Kensington Leisure Centre where I swim every week in the shadow of the tower. In other words, life goes on – this is a reminder that those closest to the deceased have to deal with a crushing attrition; calls for justice in the face of implacable systems of law, government and media that long ago stopped responding to demands for justice for the crime. This is a visual protest against the enormous condescension of the British establishment in the face of a horrendous atrocity.

Even the process of planning a fitting memorial, undertaken by bereaved and local residents has been subjected to myopic control by the government a further indignity. As Tom, editor of Urban Dandy writes: “There must be no fait accompli regarding the way we, as a community and as a nation, honour the victims of Grenfell. The site must never become a reflection of establishment control; devoid of imagination and empathy, a symbol of class war and indifference.”

It is precisely this indifference the film is designed to shake us out of. Estrangement – a term identified by the Russian formalists to name the way we are shaken out of our sleep walking. All the best art works recalibrate our senses through estrangement. It is an antidote to complacency and indifference. A quote from Paul Gilroy in the film programme seems apposite: “The implicit obscenity of the Grenfell fire has been made to look normal, to appear routine. We have been habituated to that blankness and are encouraged to imagine that there can be no alternatives to this particular way of organising human life and calculating its minimal transient value”

Everyone involved with the Grenfell Inquiry should be forced to watch this amazing film. TS Eliot winning poet Roger Robinson writes in a tribute in his 2019 collection Portable Paradise:


The building burned,

so the council blamed the contractors

who shredded all the papers;

so the contractors blamed

health and safety for passing

all the required tests;

so the prime ministers

came, saw and left,

and talked to no one

and shook no-one’s hand

meanwhile its tenants are left

to grieve in sterile hotels,

with nothing to bury but ash,

and survivors walk up like zombies

trying not to look up

at the charred gravestone.

people still cry

nobody took the blame.

We cannot really talk about this film without mentioning trauma. We CoProduce organised an event in June 2019 with Dr Gabor Maté in order to invite local residents to explore their trauma in the aftermath of the fire. From an article in Urban Dandy:  “Trauma from a huge-scale disaster starts to manifest two years after an event; it is what we carry inside ourselves. So many local people had filled the vacuum left by the council and national government; mindful of those who had lost everything, or everyone, the trauma was suppressed but easily triggered.”

This reflects the breadth and depth of the PTSD across North Kensington. Of course, the healing needs to happen but the impacted communities do not want this event to be brushed under the carpet. Grenfell United continue to campaign to prevent another atrocity elsewhere, while in the absence of any sustained media interest, local campaigners struggle against the council as it returns to its pre-fire policies, shielded by a formidable PR budget. This sedulously stunning film coming before the Government Inquiry will publish its findings, reminds us that our anger as local residents at the continuing impunity was, and is, righteous, and the 72 lives needlessly lost are being grieved as keenly every day.

Chris Arning, 2023

BIBLIOGRAPHY (unfinished)

The Drone Theory – Adam Rothstein

The Language of Cinema – Christian Metz

The Auteur Theory: Steve McQueen – Paolo’s film blog

Portable Paradise – Roger Robinson

Grenfell: Programme – Paul Gilroy

Urban Dandy (blogs, multiple) – Thomas Charles

Celebrating The Charnel Ground: Notes on Death and Meditation – Stephen Butterfield

Images from Serpentine Galleries




Often in the silence

When I sit alone

At times I feel an emptiness deep inside my soul

The price I have surely paid

For not having a heart of stone…

I have walked a lonesome path

Not going with the flow, learnt so much about myself

Through sorrow hurt n’ pain

But if I had another chance

I would do it all again…

Knowing I am no man’s judge

I’ve never walked your path

We all hide our shameful acts 

Behind a virtuous mask…

So welcome to the human race

Now it’s time to dance

The Devil is playing the hypocrite’s tune 

Appeasing to the flesh 

Ending in a crescendo of misery, insanity, death!

Oh! God please have mercy 

Upon this wandering soul

Grant me grace 

Through my saviours blood

Restore and make me whole…

Forgive the many times I left you

For sin-For pleasure seek

My heart was always willing 

My body was always weak…

I know I’m not a righteous man

Yet the truth I always sought

Many battles against myself 

I’ve won I’ve lost I’ve fought

So slowly as as I pen this verse

Trying to make amends

Just a simple flawed sinful man

Looking for a friend….


From Ukraine. What the news doesn’t tell you

Editor’s Note

The words below were sent to us anonymously. The author is in northern Ukraine and therefore writing at risk to their own security.

The author contacted us after reading an article we published on attitudes to the Ukraine war.

As our anonymous contact expressed views that aren’t given coverage, and could be said to be suppressed, in Britain, I responded with some questions, and the article below is their answer to one of these questions.

The author is an eyewitness, a historian by education and a keen observer of legislative and political trends in Ukrainian society.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine last February, the prominent role of the far-right in Ukrainian politics has been carefully avoided in the British media’s coverage of the war.

Stepan Bandera, referred to throughout the article, was a Ukrainian Nazi collaborator responsible for atrocities committed against Jews, Poles and Russians during the second world war.

Recently, leaked documents from the Pentagon revealed that the UK provides the majority of NATO states’ Special Operations Forces in Ukraine. This is in addition to the UK training Ukrainian troops; the donation of 14 British tanks to fire depleted uranium darts; hundreds of British citizens joining Ukraine’s foreign legion; and the UK’s intelligence-gathering surveillance on behalf of Volodymyr Zelenskky government, among other significant British contributions to Ukraine’s war effort.

The leaks also revealed that the claim consistently made by leaders of NATO states, that Russia is struggling to defeat Ukraine, is false.

English is not the author’s first language and I made some minor edits for fluency, but otherwise the text is as they sent it, and the links are the ones they included. Where there are two links, the first is the one provided by the author, and the second is one I added if the first did not work.

Tom Charles @tomhcharles

Answers to questions about Ukrainian fascism

By Anonymous

First of all, it should be said that English is not my native language. In this regard, there may be translation inaccuracies and incorrect wording. Please take this into account when reading this document.

In addition, you raised questions that require evidence.

I am a historian by education, so I know the method of proof.

In this regard, as a specialist, I must immediately warn that it will take considerable time (weeks, months) and resources to provide systematic and comprehensive evidence on your questions.

Therefore, in this relatively short answer, I will refer to a few, but the most significant or characteristic evidence that reflects the system.

Moreover, what I am talking about, one way or another, I see with my own eyes through the media directly from the Ukrainian authorities, I personally see in the legislative acts of my country (Ukraine), I see with my own eyes on the streets of my hometown and my country, I perceive in personal communication with their friends and so on.

I also use the analytics of trusted anti-fascist authors, whose words I passed through my own internal and very strict critical apparatus and aroused confidence.

QUESTION: How are Stepan Bandera and the Azov battalion glorified today in Ukraine?

About Stepan Bandera.

One of the first, most noticeable for the whole society, attempts to glorify S. Bandera was made back in 2010 by the third President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko.

By his decree No. 46/2010 of January 20, 2010, he awarded S. Bandera the title of Hero of Ukraine (posthumously).

Link to the decree on the official website here or here.

It should be noted that later, in 2011, the Ukrainian court cancelled the above decree of the President of Ukraine. However, it was cancelled for a formal reason, since, according to current Ukrainian laws, it is only the citizens of the state of Ukraine that was created after 1991 that can be awarded the title of ‘Hero of Ukraine’. And Bandera was not formally a citizen of present-day Ukraine. On the very fact of the glorification of Bandera, the presidential decree was not appealed.

The above decree of the President of Ukraine caused a public outcry and was actively covered in the media.

Link to news for example, here.

Thus, the glorification of Bandera began.

However, one should take into account the time when this first major attempt to officially glorify S. Bandera took place – 2010. This is the period in Ukraine when the fascist ideology has not yet finally won in Ukraine and the entire repressive state mechanism had not been activated against those who do not agree with the glorification of Bandera and reasonably consider him a fascist. Such a turning point occurred after the so-called Euromaidan (Revolution of Dignity) in 2014, after which the glorification of Bandera acquired a new, comprehensive scale.

So, after 2014, the total glorification of Stepan Bandera was as follows:

• Bandera began to be glorified by the highest bodies of state power in Ukraine, as well as

their representatives;

• Streets were named after Bandera;

• Popular cultural figures began to glorify Bandera;

• They began to establish awards named after Bandera;

• Bandera began to be glorified in the media by journalists, public figures, and

opinion leaders;

• Bandera began to be glorified at rallies and in other ways.

As a result, S. Bandera began to gain popularity among the masses. In support of the above theses, I can refer to the following evidence:

As mentioned above, Stepan Bandera cannot be officially awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine for purely formal reasons. However, this does not prevent him from being glorified in the public consciousness by all other available means.

Let’s start with the highest state authorities of Ukraine, as well as their representatives.

In 2018, the highest legislative body of Ukraine, the Verkhovna Rada (parliament) of Ukraine, adopted the Decree of December 18, 2018 “On honoring anniversaries and anniversaries in 2019”. Among the memorable dates was the 110th anniversary of the birth of Stepan Bandera.

Link to the official website with the specified resolution here.

It should be noted that this resolution was adopted in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine by a collective majority of 450 deputies. That is, this decision is not the desire of one person, but is a conscious policy of a large group of people who have power in Ukraine.

Moreover, this resolution, as indicated above, was adopted at the time when Petro Poroshenko was the fifth President of Ukraine (2014-2019). At the moment, Petro Poroshenko is the head of the European Solidarity party and a people’s deputy of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, that is, a representative of the highest state authority in Ukraine.

During a visit to Ukrainian volunteers on January 2, 2023 in the city of Kherson, Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, together with volunteers, sang the famous and popular song of Ukrainian nationalists, “Our Father Bandera”.

Note. The text of this song has the following line: “Our father is Bandera, Ukraine is mother, we will fight for Ukraine.” Thus, the song elevates Bandera to the scale of Ukraine itself, in fact identifying them, which praises and glorifies Bandera. To date, this song is famous and iconic in Ukrainian society.

Link to the site with this news, where there is a video of the performance of the song by the fifth President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko: here or here.

Next, let’s talk about naming streets after Stepan Bandera.

So, for example, one of the central streets in the capital of Ukraine – the city of Kyiv, is named after S. Bandera, namely “Prospect S. Bandera”.

Link to the name of this street in Wikipedia

Also, the name of this street is reflected in Google maps.

In Ukraine, mostly in western Ukraine, many streets are named after Bandera. This can be checked on Google maps.

Popularization of Stepan Bandera by cultural figures.

There is a famous singer in Ukraine, Verka Serduchka, a fictional drag character played by actor Andrey Danilko.

Verka Serduchka is extremely popular in Ukraine, Russia and other countries and in 2007 at Eurovision, Serduchka took second place.

And this very popular singer also sang the above-mentioned song of Ukrainian nationalists, “Our Father Bandera”.

Here is a link to the performance of the song on YouTube

I think it is not necessary to explain that the performance of such a song by a star of such a level could only happen at the direction of the Ukrainian authorities in the framework of the nationwide policy of glorifying Bandera.

And I pay attention to how enthusiastically the audience meets the song.

Prize named after Stepan Bandera

In Ukraine, in 2012, the Lviv Regional Council (local authority) established the “Award named after the Hero of Ukraine Stepan Bandera”.

Link to information about the award on Wikipedia or on Lviv council’s website.

The glorification of Stepan Bandera in the media by journalists, public figures, opinion leaders

In Ukraine, there is a very famous and popular journalist and opinion leader, Dmitry Gordon.

Dmitry Gordon has always taken a position that was clearly and unequivocally against Stepan Bandera without any reservations, since Bandera is an executioner and a murderer.

However, even Dmitry Gordon, under the pressure of the political situation, changed his position. Now he says that if someone in western Ukraine wants to, let them glorify Bandera; and in eastern Ukraine, if they don’t want to, let them not do it.

Note: historically, it was western Ukraine that sympathized with S. Bandera, and the east of Ukraine was his opponent.

Here is a link to a YouTube video where Dmitry Gordon talks about this.

I specifically cited these words of this particular public figure as an example, which is quite important in the context of the topic we are discussing. This example vividly shows the breakdown of the psychology of the citizens of Ukraine. Let me explain. Until 2010, the general and open glorification of Stepan Bandera was generally impossible. At the same time, the specified public figure Dmitry Gordon, as mentioned above, took a sharply negative position in relation to Bandera without any reservations or assumptions. However, after 2010, as I already said, Bandera was openly imposed on the entire Ukrainian society, at the state level, as an ideal. 

The above words of Dmitry Gordon are a reflection of this change in attitude towards Bandera. Now he speaks as a fait accompli that for at least half of Ukrainian society Bandera is a hero and such people have the right to openly honor him. Moreover, Dmitry Gordon himself changed his position towards Bandera from a sharply negative one to a position that allows him to be glorified by those for whom he is a hero.

And in this case, regarding the words of Dmitry Gordon, also make a reservation. Dmitry Gordon is clearly disingenuous when he talks about the freedom of choice in whether to glorify S. Bandera or not. Dmitry Gordon is a hostage to his publicity and his former attitude towards S. Bandera. Therefore, even under the influence of the new political situation, which glorifies Bandera, he cannot sharply change his position to the exact opposite and come out completely in defence of S. Bandera. That is why he voiced such a half-hearted position. 

Moreover, such a crafty position is nothing but an Overton Window for those who used to condemn Bandera. Such a half-hearted position is intended to remove the taboo from the personality of Bandera. And in the future, under the influence of the methods described in this document, these people will be forced to accept that Bandera is a hero. The classic Overton Window in action. Therefore, in fact, there is no freedom of opinion in relation to Stepan Bandera in our country. The denial of Bandera’s ideal is literally life-threatening.

A torchlit procession marking Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera’s birthday, Kiev, 2019. Image: Youtube/Euronews

The glorification of S. Bandera at rallies and in other ways

On January 1st 2019 in the capital of Ukraine – the city of Kyiv – the birthday of Stepan Bandera was celebrated with a torchlight procession.

Link to video of the torchlight procession on YouTube.

In this video, posters with images of S. Bandera are clearly visible, the participants in the procession give comments that S. Bandera is a hero for them.

Also, the name of Stepan Bandera was given to the home-made weapon “Bandera Smoothie” (a bottle with incendiary mixture). The name of this weapon is a play on words. During World War II, Soviet soldiers used a homemade weapon (a bottle with incendiary mixture) against Nazi tanks, which was called the Molotov Cocktail. Now the same home-made weapon that Ukrainian propaganda proposed to use against Russians (descendants of Soviet citizens) began to be called “Bandera Smoothie”.

Here is a link to a site where it is proposed to make this homemade weapon with this name. Also in Ukraine, car stickers with the inscription “Bandera Smoothie” are sold. Here is a link to a site selling these stickers.

In addition, the name of Stepan Bandera was given to a military vehicle – “Banderomobil”. 

Note. “Banderomobil” is the unofficial name of the car brand, this is folk art, but quite characteristic. The name is written in large letters on the side of the car and is a play on words, namely the addition of the words “Bandera” and “automobile”.

Link to a car site with a photo of such a car here, or here

It is also necessary to pay attention to the fact that the same fifth President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, is driving the above-mentioned “Banderomobil”. That is, he created a PR campaign with “Banderomobil” and he himself participates in it.

We move on.

Even in my professional environment, colleagues have ceased to be shy, and some of them have begun to publicly, openly congratulate each other on S. Bandera’s birthday. The author of this document personally witnessed such congratulations.

Also, the author of this document personally witnessed how on the facade of a house on the central avenue of one of the large industrial cities in the south-east of Ukraine, around 2018, a portrait of R. Shukhevych was painted (a close associate of S. Bandera, a war criminal, a participant in the “Volyn Massacre” in 1943).

Summary – the rise of Bandera in modern Ukraine

Summing up, it should be said that there are many such examples. However, I think that in the context of this short essay, these examples are weighty, characteristic and sufficient.

As stated above, the actions of the authorities (plus a clearly aggressive attitude towards those who deny the glorification of Stepan Bandera) brought results and Bandera began to gain popularity in society.

I also consider it my duty to note that the glorification of Stepan Bandera absolutely clearly coincided with the development of anti-Russian rhetoric and the incitement of causeless, unjustified hatred towards Russians and everything Russian in our country.

The author of this document has personally witnessed the incitement of such hatred in the media by politicians, journalists, public figures and so on.

As a result, personal acquaintances of the author of this document after 2014 dramatically changed their minds and began to openly speak aggressively against Russians. Moreover, these people cannot explain an adequate reason for hatred.

It is also noteworthy that many of these aggressive people are themselves Russian-speaking and have ties to Russia: some have relatives in Russia, some from Russia receive a pension, and some even teach Russian literature.

However, even they became unreasonably aggressive towards the Russians.

As a conclusion: I personally believe that the incitement of unreasonable hatred towards everything Russian is inextricably linked with the glorification of S. Bandera; glorification of S. Bandera initially pursued the goal of inciting unreasonable hatred of everything Russian.

About the Azov Battalion

Note: the Azov battalion at different times had different numbers and composition, so it can also be called a separate special forces detachment “Azov” or the regiment “Azov”.

Arguments and evidence regarding the glorification and popularization of the Azov Regiment and its militants in society are generally similar to those given regarding the glorification of Stepan Bandera.

Such evidence includes, in particular, the following:

• The official status of the Azov Regiment in the Ukrainian state;

• Rewarding the militants of the Azov Regiment with state awards;

• Popularisation of the Azov Regiment in society with the help of social advertising, celebrities, and so on.

The official status of the Azov Regiment

The Azov Battalion was created in May 2014 (after the coup d’état) as a power unit within the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine.

Further, the Azov Battalion was reorganized and expanded as part of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine.

Link to the Wikipedia article, which indicates the creation and development of the Azov Battalion here.

Thus, the Azov Regiment initially had a legal and official status as a power unit of the state of Ukraine.

This alone already confirms the fact that the fascist military unit “Azov” is officially recognized and approved by the state of Ukraine.

Rewarding the militants of the Azov Regiment with state awards

In August 2022, Senior Lieutenant Vitaly Gritsaenko, Deputy Commander of the Azov

Special Forces Detachment, was posthumously awarded. This is stated on the official website of the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky. Link to the official website of the President of Ukraine with information about the award here.

Popularization of the Azov Regiment in society with the help of approving articles in the media, social advertising, celebrities, and so on

For example, I give a link to an article about one of the fighters of the Azov Regiment here:

Also, the author of this document personally in his town saw on the central avenue a lot of billboards with social advertising of the Azov Regiment (and with the image of their logo in the form of Wolfsangel) and calls to become a militant of this regiment.

In addition, the Azov Regiment is popularized and glorified by pop culture figures.

So, in Ukraine there is a famous singer, Tina Karol. She met with the fighters of the Azov Regiment, about which there is an approving article on the media resource.

Link to the article here.

Summing up, I will say that, as in the case of the glorification of Stepan Bandera, the glorification of the militants of the Azov Regiment and the creation of a positive image by them is systemic and national in nature, for which there is a lot of evidence, some of which was given above.


RBKC & Ballymore: Contradiction & Confusion at Canalside

Numerous property developers are set to profit from the huge development of the Kensal Gas Works site. Sadly for North Kensington, one of these property developers has a side hustle as Deputy Leader of Kensington & Chelsea Council. Kim Taylor-Smith is attempting to fulfil the plan of his predecessor, Rock Feilding-Mellen, in selling Canalside House for demolition. Taylor-Smith denies that he has struck a secret deal to sell the historic building, but as you will read below, the council and the developer have yet to get their story straight.


In February we exposed Kensington & Chelsea Council (RBKC)’s secret deal to sell one of North Kensington’s last surviving community assets, Canalside House. Councillor Taylor-Smith was unimpressed by our reporting, labelling it “misinformed” while admitting that secret talks had been held with Ballymore.

RBKC’s deputy leader, who is also Lead Member for Grenfell Housing and Social Investment, told Byline Times last month, “We would only sell the building if Ballymore were able to meet the proposed terms, including on reprovision of community space, and if they are also able to get planning permission from the council.”

Taken at face value, Councillor Taylor-Smith was suggesting that RBKC might reject Ballymore. However, we now know that it was the council who approached Ballymore about Canalside House, not the other way around. See the section below on Ballymore for evidence. Canalside House does not sit on the site of the Kensal Canalside Gas Works development, and therefore could be maintained and upgraded as a community asset, as Taylor-Smith has repeatedly promised since the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017.

Under the watch of Councillor Taylor-Smith, Canalside House has been in managed decline. See our previous articles for details of his duplicitous dealings over the building.

Via a council press officer, the deputy council leader told Urban Dandy: “We recently wrote to all Canalside House tenants to provide them with the most up to date information about the future of the building and will continue to communicate directly with them and keep them informed of any developments.”

We have checked with several Canalside organisations, who all confirmed that they have received no such communication from the council.

One organisation showed us an email from Taylor-Smith himself, sent in response to our article, in which he claims “We’ve been open with you, the tenants in Canalside House about these discussion and I wanted to reassure you that no agreement has been reached with Ballymore.”

But RBKC’s dealings with Ballymore were kept entirely secret and were not subject to any democratic oversight at the Town Hall. Without us having reported on the deal, it is improbable that anybody in North Kensington, including the building’s residents, would know that Canalside House had been allocated to property developers to be added to the area for development.

RBKC’s response

Councillor Taylor-Smith’s response to our questions included a denial that a deal has been made with Ballymore, as well as a claim that the council had written to all Canalside organisations and a vow that RBKC will continue to communicate with all residents directly.

On Ballymore, Taylor-Smith conceded that the developer is putting its proposals together and these will include the land occupied by Canalside House since 1929.

In what could be interpreted as a contradiction of his denial of a secret deal, Taylor-Smith also told Urban Dandy “Should a time come when Canalside tenants may have to move out of the building, we would work closely with them to find them suitable alternative accommodation in the local area, with a view to them moving back on to the site once it is finished should they wish to do so.”

Public meeting

A chaotic public meeting hosted by Ballymore at Moberly Sports Centre a fortnight ago was surely a sign of things to come. With thousands of people across North Kensington and Kensal Green to be impacted by the Gas Works development, Ballymore’s Project Manager was ill-prepared for the wide range of questions from attendees.

Ballymore might be hoping that public confusion will enable their plans to proceed without too much input from the communities set to be impacted. Comm Comm UK, Ballymore’s communications consultancy for the project suggested to us that a meeting specifically about Canalside House could be held, at Canalside House. We haven’t heard from them since.

Questioned about Canalside House, Ballymore’s representative at Moberly confirmed that it was RBKC that had instigated the deal. He also said that the council had told Ballymore that they were looking into the possibility of moving the Canalside organisations into the Gramophone Works on Kensal Road. The building was purchased for £18 million by Resolution Property in 2015 and is marketed as a “contemporary workplace in the heart of creative West London” and “industrial style workspace.”

Screenshot 2023-04-13 at 21.02.57

For the care agencies, youth groups and housing co-ops of Canalside House, echoing around an open plan building that provides zero privacy for clients would be impossible. It seems highly unlikely that RBKC would dip into its famous reserves to pay the rent at the Gramophone Works for the displaced Canalside organisations. It does however seem likely that RBKC told Ballymore that the Gramophone Works is being considered as a way of allaying any concerns the developer might have about bulldozing a cherished community building.

RBKC’s vague reassurances about the fate of the community groups might be sufficient for Ballymore but Taylor-Smith’s characteristic chicanery is not convincing anybody locally and the deputy leader seems to have exhausted any lingering goodwill he had cultivated since 2017.

Ballymore’s response

Via Comm Comm, Ballymore told Urban Dandy that the purchase and demolition of Canalside House represents “an opportunity to work with RBKC to increase the already significant community, work, leisure and activity space we are planning within Kensal Canalside.”

They did not mention the specific groups or activities currently at Canalside House, but they stated “our proposals incorporate all the community-focused activities of Canalside house as part of what the wider development will offer, and including this additional land will allow it to be opened up as another area of public space for the community to use.”

This vague claim was repeated by Ballymore’s representative at the Moberly meeting.

The developer’s response to us also confirmed that the council is offering reassurances to Ballymore that the community might find difficult to stomach: “We understand RBKC is working closely with the remaining charities based at Canalside House to find them a new home in a more modern building with better facilities nearby.”

According to multiple sources who are based at Canalside House, this is categorically untrue.

by Tom Charles @tomhcharles

Canalside House, centre left, seen from the Gramophone Works. Image from


The Sun is not my star

I’ve travelled from afar

My quest to find my true love

As through this universe I roam

An inner longing once more

To walk through marbled halls

Where jewel-encrusted shields

Hang from golden walls

To wear robes gleaming white

Forever walking in the light…

The Sun is not my star

I’ve travelled from afar

My quest to find my true love

As through this universe I roam…

Journeying through space, dimension, time

To sit once again beside my Queen

A woman of the purest beauty

Who I see only in my dreams

But I found you here my true love

Upon this earthly place

My quest surely guided

By your majesty – By your grace…

The Sun is not my star

I’ve travelled from afar

My quest to find my true love

As through this universe I roam…

Yet now is not our time

To leave, to run, to fly

I will wait for you my true love

Together we’ll journey through the sky

Maybe for a thousand years

Until the sun is out of sight

To find the place that was once our home

Never again like nomads roam

The Sun is not my star

I’ve travelled from afar

My quest to find my true love

As through this universe I roamed…….

M.C. Bolton, March 2023

Tory Councillor Under Scrutiny from Charity Commission

Former Mayor of Kensington & Chelsea, the councillor Gerard Hargreaves, has been questioned by the Charity Commission as part of its probe into apparent corruption at al-Manaar Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre in North Kensington. Councillor Hargreaves, who represents Chelsea Riverside ward, is accused of proposing that a long-standing debt of thousands of pounds owed to al-Manaar by a fellow trustee be written off. And Hargreaves is understood to be among a faction of trustees suspected of trying to force through the removal of the mosque’s CEO.

Cllr Hargreaves, left, with al-Manaar CEO Abdurahman Sayed

Charity Commission

We have seen the 15 questions sent by the Charity Commission to al-Manaar’s nine trustees, which reveal why the government department consider the concerns raised to be serious enough to meet the threshold for investigation. The alleged abuses at the mosque have dogged the charity for years and are suggestive of abject mismanagement and a culture of bullying.

With the Charity Commission involved, it seems unlikely that all the mosque’s trustees will survive in their positions unless they can offer evidence that they are taking steps to ensure the centre’s governance is fully transparent and compliant with Charity Commission guidelines. The circumstances could be serious enough for the Charity Commission to utilise sweeping powers to impose new systems and personnel on al-Manaar to help it move on from its internal strife and focus on its role as an integral and much-respected community hub and place of healing.


A source told Urban Dandy that much of the unrest at the mosque has been directly or indirectly connected to Dr Abdulkarim Khalil, a mainstay at al-Manaar from its foundation, when he led fundraising efforts. He has been al-Manaar’s CEO, Chair of Trustees (twice) and remains a trustee.

The debt that Councillor Hargreaves allegedly suggested be written off was rent arrears owed by Dr Khalil for use of al-Manaar’s two-bedroom flat. Trustees had set the rent at the local social housing rate of just under £9,000 a year in 2012.

With NATO having overthrown the government of Libya, Dr Khalil travelled to Tripoli in 2012 to work at what had been the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation, essentially the Libyan state charity. This was salaried work, but al Manaar’s trustees apparently viewed it as a sabbatical and for six months kept Dr Khalil in receipt of his mosque salary.

It was during his period of working in Libya that Dr Khalil incurred his debt for non-payment of rent to the charity. Year after year, the figure was questioned as accountants prepared the charity’s annual accounts, until 2018 when trustees decided to write of the debt.

Minutes for the January 6th 2018 trustees meeting sent to Urban Dandy include two matters discussed without Dr Khalil, Chair of Trustees at the time, in the room. One was a request from Dr Khalil that al-Manaar contribute to his travel costs for flights to and from Libya. This request was deemed “inappropriate” by trustees as Dr Khalil was not travelling on al-Manaar business.

However, the second matter produced a better outcome for Dr Khalil as the trustees wrote off £8923 of rent arrears accrued between 2012 and 2015. The decision is justified in the minutes by “uncertainties that surrounded the unfolding situation in his home country (Libya) at the time;” that “while in the flat he attended to Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre matters on a daily basis” and the flat had been “long empty following the departure of the Care Taker.”

The minutes do not suggest that comments were made on the legality of the decision or its impact on other areas of al-Manaar’s work.        

A source told us that it was Councillor Hargreaves who proposed writing off the debt, and that at the time, only months after the Grenfell tower fire, there was so much going on at al-Manaar that it was quite easy for such a decision to be taken without scrutiny.

The Charity Commission’s questions to the trustees, issued early this year, include the following:

“Why did you write off £9000? How did that serve the best interests of the charity?”

And the Charity Commission instructs the trustees to:

“Comment upon the Annual Accounts AC 18 and the reference to a party disclosure for £8923 to a trustee Dr Khalil which was written off.”


Another matter related to Dr Khalil that the Charity Commission questioned the trustees about was any relationship between trustees and Zubaidah Trust, a charity founded by Dr Khalil with virtually nothing to show in successive annual account submissions. “Trustees to comment if the charity has any relationship with Zubaidah Trust.”

The relevance of this Trust is not clear.

It was during the period of Dr Khalil’s work in Libya that al-Manaar appointed Abdurahman Sayed as CEO. Kensington & Chelsea Social Council oversaw the recruitment process, which, it is claimed by our source, took decision-making power away from those who had previously been able to steer the charity in directions of their choosing. As a result of Sayed’s appointment, various disgruntled staff and board members sought to make the CEO’s life uncomfortable and, early this year, managed to oust him from his role, albeit temporarily.


According to our source, five trustees, including Councillor Hargreaves, took it upon themselves to suspend Abdurahman Sayed, without consulting the other four trustees or calling a trustees’ meeting, on 13th January. They had been apparently angered by the CEO’s firing of an Imam who Sayed claimed was receiving a full-time salary for working part-time.

Two trustees allegedly told al-Manaar staff “You are not allowed to communicate with Abdurahman” and a supporter of this faction addressed the congregation at the mosque, urging them to turn against the CEO. He was apparently ejected by people who had gone there to worship.

The other faction of the trustees, none of whom were in place at the time of the decision to write-off Dr Khalil’s arrears, urged the CEO to return to work and somebody reported events to the Charity Commission.

Our source told us that Councillor Hargreaves “does not behave like a trustee, he is completely untransparent.” They accuse Hargreaves of not following any procedures, including complaints procedures, and of participating in a culture in which disputes are treated as personal rather than professional issues.

Adding to this impression, our source told us that Hargreaves complained to council leader Elizabeth Campbell about the presence of a Labour councillor, nominated by the local authority, on the board of trustees.

We contacted Councillor Hargreaves requesting a comment on the allegations made against him and on the more general situation at al-Manaar, but he had not replied at the time of writing.

More Questions  

In their letter to al-Manaar’s trustees, the Charity Commission asked:

“Who voted to get rid of the CEO?”

And instructed them to confirm:

“Which trustees voted for the suspension of the CEO and which voted against.”

The deadline for the trustees to respond was in late February, by which point Abdurahman Sayed had returned to work, his suspension having being shown to carry no legal weight.

Three trustees remain from the time of the apparent financial corruption in 2018. These are Esmail Jasat, who was Treasurer at the time and is now Chair; Dr Abdulkarim Khalil, the beneficiary of the decision, who was then Chair and remains a trustee; and Councillor Gerard Hargreaves, who was part of the council’s Cabinet at the time of the Grenfell Tower fire. The former Mayor remains a trustee at al Manaar and is Chairman of Kensington & Chelsea Council Council’s Audit and Transparency Committee.

By Tom Charles


Starmer’s Officials Lied About Antisemitism in Kensington

image from twitter / keir_starmer

Senior Labour Party officials repeatedly lied about antisemitism in the ranks of Kensington Labour Party, generating fear in Jewish communities and defaming the party’s local membership in order to neuter democracy in the constituency. Under the leadership of Sir Keir Starmer and General Secretary David Evans, unelected bureaucrats have been afforded dictatorial powers to subvert rules, supplant local candidates and silence members. In Kensington, they been ruthlessly effective.

In late 2022 we reported on senior Labour Party officials’ interventions in the democratic processes of Kensington Constituency Labour Party (CLP) to prevent local councillors from gaining the nomination to become the party’s candidate to challenge Conservative MP Felicity Buchan at the next general election. The National Executive Committee (NEC) and Greater London Region Labour Party both made decisive interventions to ensure a candidate more aligned with the leadership of Sir Keir Starmer prevailed.

General Secretary David Evans, image from twitter / labtowin

NEC blocked Cllr Emma Dent Coad

In October, Emma Dent Coad, the constituency’s only ever Labour MP, was unilaterally removed from the longlist of candidates by the NEC. Part of a purge by the Starmer regime of left-wing politicians and members, Dent Coad was called to a “due diligence” interview. The three-person interview panel was chaired by a prominent NEC member who was alone able to decide that Dent Coad should be excluded for “bad judgement.” The former MP described the accusations against her as “thoughtcrime”. Read full details and our interview with Emma Dent Coad here.   

London Region took out Cllr Kasim Ali

In November, Councillor Kasim Ali led the CLP’s longlist branch votes when London Region suddenly intervened to prevent him from securing his place on the shortlist. The previous month, Pearleen Sangha, Director of London Region Labour Party, had accused two selection committee members of openly supporting a candidate, using the accusation as a pretext to take personal control of every aspect of Kensington’s selection process.

Ali won the first of the three branch selection votes, requiring just one more branch to secure his place on the shortlist, Sangha took over the remaining two branch meetings and votes.

Circumstantial evidence suggests that London Region’s move against Ali was pre-planned. First, Sangha postponed the North West branch (Ali’s home branch) vote, which created time for a way to sabotage Kasim Ali to be concocted. On the day of the North West vote, a dubious-looking email was circulated to CLP members attacking another candidate as a supporter of Israel. The email was immediately picked up by a local blog and Jewish News, with both publications using it to attack Ali and his supporters as antisemites, offering no evidence of a connection.

This was the pretext Sangha needed. With no checks and balances against her power, the Regional Director blocked whomever she did not want to admit to the Zoom meetings, including up to 20 British Somali members at the North West Kensington Branch meeting. Sangha kept the nomination results secret and declared the winners without reference to the members’ votes, keeping Kasim Ali off the shortlist.

image from linkedin / pearleensangha

Sangha’s Lies

On the day of the North West vote, following the antisemitism smear against Ali and the local membership, Sangha emailed CLP members to explain her “serious concerns” over apparent antisemitism in Kensington Labour Party. She stated that members had been suspended and that there would be a “serious investigation” into the antisemitism that had forced her to take over of the process.

In December we contacted Sangha to ask about the events that had led to Cllr Ali being denied a place on the shortlist. A press officer replied to confirm Labour “had to” commence a “serious investigation” into antisemitism in Kensington CLP and that local members had been suspended “due to antisemitism”.

Multiple sources have confirmed to us that, to date, there have been no suspensions of party members in Kensington for suspected antisemitism. These sources include people with access to the members’ database.

Our sources also confirm that there has been no investigation of any type, let alone a “serious investigation” into antisemitism locally. Many Kensington Labour members have also separately reported to us that they have heard nothing about any suspensions or investigations.

Nothing to add

We contacted London Region again asking them how many Kensington members had been suspended and if there had been an investigation into antisemitism. A press officer replied that he had “nothing further to add” to the claims made against the CLP membership.

We understand that members have not yet raised any concerns at Kensington CLP meetings regarding the conduct of the NEC; the lies of London Region officials; the treatment of local Jewish communities; the disenfranchisement of a score of British Somalis in a local branch; the subversion of local democratic procedures and the character assassinations of elected local politicians by unelected officials.

By Tom Charles


Complicity Felicity’s Simplicity

On Friday, Kensington MP Felicity Buchan attended a series of events locally to commemorate the anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Dressed in the colours of the Ukrainian flag, Buchan smiled like a friend to refugee children and their parents, but the words she spoke revealed a simplistic view of the conflict and no appetite for doing anything to stop the death and destruction.

Virtually all 650 MPs in parliament have been in lockstep to prolong the Ukrainians’ agony as they lose both territory and population in the war against their far stronger neighbour. As Ukraine is crushed, our politicians virtue signal from a safe distance. Diplomacy is a dirty word, and we’re repeatedly told that peace is impossible. Sir Keir Starmer has banned Labour MPs from questioning NATO’s provocation of the war and Boris Johnson intervened to prevent Presidents Zelensky and Putin from holding peace talks last April, as reported in Ukrainian media (the British press ignored it).

From 2014 to February 2022, over 14,000 were killed in Ukraine’s civil war following the US-backed coup that overthrew a president who favoured close ties to Russia. In the coup, the ensuing civil war and now the war with Russia, Ukrainian neo-Nazi groups and army battalions have played a prominent role.

The situation is intensely complex and dangerous, yet Buchan pledged Kensington’s and the UK’s unwavering support for the people of Ukraine. Her platitudes and clichés masked the ugly reality: Britain will support the Ukrainians on the condition that they keep fighting the Russians in an unwinnable war.


Buchan wrote about her experience of the anniversary: “I was honoured to attend the very moving remembrance service at the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral. Tragically, more than 450 children have died in the conflict. Paper angels were suspended from the ceiling in their honour. Ukraine will prevail. Slava Ukraini.”

Slava Ukraini – Glory to Ukraine. But where is the glory? And what right does a British politician have to declare glory to a country they are, knowingly or unknowingly, sacrificing?

Outside the Ukrainian embassy, Buchan declared “We will not tire, we will be there to the end.”

These words are almost unfathomably vacuous. But soundbites are all we hear from our leaders as they mindlessly provoke Russia and China, two countries that needn’t be enemies of Britain. 

“We will be there to the end” of what? Ukraine as a functioning state? Or are our rulers really set on decades of existential wars to impoverish and terrify us as they play brinkmanship over nuclear annihilation?

Outside the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain on Holland Park Avenue, Buchan told the assembled refugee children that the war against Russia “isn’t just about Ukraine. It’s about western values, good values.”

We emailed Felicity Buchan asking her to clarify what she meant, given that Ukraine is an eastern country, but at the time of writing, she had not replied.


Dubbed “Complicity Felicity” in North Kensington due to her part in voting down the fire safety recommendations of the Grenfell Inquiry, Buchan enjoyed her moment posing as a liberal humanitarian. But her words were loaded with the complacency, fanaticism and racism of the British political establishment. Ukrainian lives mean so little that Britain sends enough weapons to keep them hanging on in the war, guaranteeing humanitarian catastrophe. This is justified through profound Russophobia and the puerile demonisation of Putin as the epitome of evil. It’s a familiar tactic, most recently used against Bashar al-Assad in Syria, a country illegally occupied by both the United States and Israel – western values? Before Assad, it was Gaddafi, sodomised to death by our allies in Libya. “We came, we conquered, he died!” squealed Hillary Clinton in delight – western values.  

All this recent history, including Russia’s intervention in Syria to prevent its fall to ISIS and al Qaeda; the Ukrainian government’s role in persecuting ethnic Russians in the Donbas; the Ukrainians’ own values, traditions and their intrinsic value as humans, is all swept away with simplistic concepts like “Western values…good values.”

Like most MPs, Kensington’s “Complicity Felicity” frames the war in babyish terms, Good West v Bad East. By shunning diplomacy but acting as a friend of the Ukrainian people, Buchan is adding duplicity to her complicity and simplicity.

By Tom Charles