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From: The Socialist issue 917, 21 September 2016: #KeepCorbyn: Kick out the Tories and the Blairites

Search site for keywords: Leisure - Austerity - Council - London - Islington - Cuts - Policing - Police - Drugs - Culture

Comment: nightlife

Iconic nightclub Fabric closes doors - another victim of austerity?

Inside Fabric before closure - there will be no more light shows like this at the Farringdon nightclub, photo by xxnu (Creative Commons)

Inside Fabric before closure - there will be no more light shows like this at the Farringdon nightclub, photo by xxnu (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge)

Sam Gleaden

London's most iconic night club, Fabric, had its licence revoked by Islington council on 7 September. This comes after the very tragic drug-related deaths of 18-year-olds Ryan Browne and Jack Crossley.

Fabric has been incredibly important in UK dance music culture since its creation in 1999. It's given my friends and I some of the best nights of live music of my life, and I'm deeply distressed to see it go.

The council claims to be taking the decision with the safety of clubbers in mind. However, just eight months ago, a judge called Fabric a "beacon of best practice", even sending other clubs' managements to look at how Fabric dealt with drugs.

It also completely ignores reality for clubbers. Thousands will now turn to unregulated venues across the capital, which inevitably means higher risk.

Islington council faces 70 million worth of cuts in the next four years, with a reduction of 44% in its police force. This creates pressure for councils to save money on policing, while creating higher taxable income from property development if the venue is turned into flats.

London's new Labour mayor, Sadiq Khan, marketed himself as a defender of London's nightlife in his election campaign. However, his record shows him as a supporter of the selling public premises in favour of private luxury homes.

The defence of council houses, public services and leisure facilities are one and the same battle.

Instead of Blairites like Khan, we need councils prepared to refuse to implement cuts and sell-offs and fight to get the money back. Build truly affordable, high-quality council housing, and stop the closure of our nightlife in favour of turning cities into private playgrounds for millionaires.

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