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Camden forced to back down

Keith Parkins | 30.07.2004 13:42 | Repression | Social Struggles

Camden were to have prosecuted an anti-privatisation campaigner for daring to stick up a poster opposing their sell off of council housing. Public outcry has forced Camden to drop the case.

Neo-Labour Camden wanted to sell off their council housing. They threw £500,000 into the campaign to say yes. Opponents said no with a 77% No vote.

Camden then decided to victimise those who had help organise the NO campaign. A prosecution (persecution may be a better word) was launched against Alan Walter, one of the campaigners for a no vote. He had, allegedly, committed the heinous crime of “placing posters on a bus shelter by means of sticky brown tape”. The poster, advertising an anti-ALMO meeting last November, could have cost Walter £1,460 in fines and court costs if the council had won the case.

A public outcry has forced Camden to back down and the case has been dropped.

Neo-Labour are trying to bludgeon and bribe council tenants into voting yes to privatisation of their homes. This is what neo-Labour calls choice

Neo-Labour believe in democracy, but only if you vote the right way. If you don't, you will be victimised as individuals by means foul, and as a group you will be victimised by the withholding of all grant aid to improve your homes to bring them up to the Decent Homes standard by 2010.

But it is now back firing on neo-Labour. Tenants have wised up to what a yes vote means, and are voting No. They are not only voting no to the neo-Labour policy of privatisation, they are voting no when neo-Labour put themselves forward in elections.

In Aldershot, community activist Peter Sandy took a safe Labour seat on a programme of fighting on behalf of tenants. The Tories were forced into a humiliating third place. In Newcastle, a safe Labour stronghold was toppled. Part of the reason was the treatment of council tenants.

If council tenants do not know what a yes vote will mean, they only have to look at the situation former council tenants in Aldershot and Farnborough in the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor find themselves in. Ten years ago they were conned into voting yes. It is a decision they have all lived to regret. They were transferred into what is now Pavilion Housing Association. The Audit Commission has recently published on Pavilion one of its most damning reports on a housing association. If Pavilion tenants were given a choice today, with what they now know, there would be a resounding NO vote for privatisation.


Roy Hattersley, Give council tenants a real choice, The Guardian, 5 July 2004,8146,1254286,00.html

Keith Parkins, Camden lashes out at opponents of council house sell off, Indymedia UK, 27 July 2004

Keith Parkins, Audit Commission savage Pavilion Housing Association, Indymedia UK, 27 July 2004

Pavilion criticised, Aldershot Mail, 27 July 2004

Tash Shifrin, Government accused of denying council tenants choice, The Guardian, 1 July 2004,8150,1251609,00.html

Alan Walter, Let us decide, The Guardian, 29 June 2004,8146,1249555,00.html

Matt Weaver, Labour may be forced into u-turn on housing policy, The Guardian, 8 July 2004,8150,1256193,00.html

Matt Weaver, Flyposting crackdown targets homes protester, The Guardian, 13 July 2004,8150,1260254,00.html

Council drops charges against bus shelter flyposter, The Guardian, 22 July 2004,8150,1266967,00.html

Matt Weaver, Labour MPs turn on minister over homes policy, The Guardian, 22 July 2004,8150,1266933,00.html

Matt Weaver, Prescott faces rebellion over council homes, The Guardian, 22 July 2004,8150,1269431,00.html

Matt Weaver, What matters is what works, The Guardian, 16 June 2004,8150,1239401,00.html

Keith Parkins