This issue marks the second anniversary of the Hereford Heckler, first printed back in February 2008. Almost 40,000 copies have been distributed during this time through pubs, shops, out on the streets but mostly door-to-door across many areas of Hereford.
The first issue focused on the planned closure of almost 40 schools across the county and was launched by Hereford Solidarity League members who took part in the ‘save our schools’ march in Hereford. The campaign was successful with the council agreeing to keep the schools open, although a review is planned for 2011.
As well as this we have campaigned against the closure of the LEA swimming pool, which was used by many schools and community groups across Hereford. We have also written extensively about the housing shortage in the county. At the start of 2009 it was revealed that the council’s housing waiting list hit over 5,000 and with plenty of empty buildings and available land across the county we found this a disgrace!
Anti-fascism and anti-racism has always been a major part of our politics. In an interview for BBC Hereford & Worcester radio in May 2009 we exposed the Hereford Farmers’ Club as a venue hosting local BNP meetings. Despite our contradicting evidence, the club claimed to be ‘unaware’ they were taking place.
In the run-up to the European elections last year we extensively delivered thousands of anti-BNP leaflets across Hereford. And in October we organised a protest against a major BNP fundraising event being held in Ross-on-Wye, which saw many local people turn out to show their opposition.
In recent months we have been campaigning against the Edgar Street Grid development. We have covered the councils’ disgraceful lack of public consultation, the greed of the developers and the idiocy of the plans. In November 2009 we organised our own ‘march against the ESG’, which linked up with hundreds of supporters from the It’s Our City campaign for a lobby at the Shire Hall. The council largely ignored the 10,000-strong petition–bring on round two!
Our own group has grown during this time, backed up a large group of supporters. In November we held a successful fundraising gig that packed out the venue, with similar events planned for 2010. Hereford Solidarity League now also has an internet presence with a blog, a Youtube channel and a Facebook page.
Over the coming months we will be planning an ‘election campaign’ and launching a manifesto of our own, and upping the ante in the fight against the ESG. Watch this space.
Here’s to another two years of the Hereford Heckler!