Keeping Havering Special?

The Tory administration at Havering Council being taken to task for their housing and planning policies. We’re pleased to see the Havering Special blog emerging on the scene – the more local blogs like this that spring up, the happier we’ll be:)

HAVERING SPECIAL

‘Keep Havering Special’ was the slogan that the local Conservatives used whilst campaigning here in Havering; they may claim it helped them pick up votes but in reality it was the Non-Voters Party who won.  The overall turnout was as low as ever – with a paltry 26.6% of eligible voters going to the polls in Gooshsays;  Upminster ward had the highest turnout, but even there the turnout was a not-very-impressive 45.47%. The reasons for this pitiful turnout may be discussed in a future post on this blog, but going back to the Tory slogan – what DOES it actually mean?

According to them, it means preserving the borough’s green spaces, avoiding over-development of (albeit much-needed) housing, and generally preventing the borough from looking like inner-city London – “letting Romford become a concrete jungle is something I will fight to stop!” as Romford MP Andrew Rosindell wrote in…

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Tesco Workers Strike at Dagenham Distribution Centre

This is a really thorough analysis from NOTES FROM BELOW about the strike at the Tesco distribution facility in Dagenham, the conditions workers have to endure and the potential for disruption if workers across the sector decide to get really militant.

By Achille Marotta

Warehouse operatives, drivers, and office workers at Tesco’s distribution centre in Dagenham were on strike for 24 hours from Thursday the 17th to Friday the 18th of May. The workers, organised in USDAW, are demanding a 15% pay increase against the company’s offer of 3%. Reps claim that the strike has had an effect on Tesco’s finances, as the warehouse is a central point in the distribution network of an enormous amount of necessary commodities. While the company could easily afford to give into the demanded £1.39 pay rise, it preferred to lose money re-organising its distribution network to prevent the Dagenham strike from becoming a beacon of struggle to its half a million employees. What is really at stake is the potential for a new movement in the modern centers of working class concentration.

For the rest of the article, see here.

Scheming Schemes: A Street View of Social Cleansing

We’re re-blogging this piece from ASH as we feel it will be of interest to the numerous Hammers fans living across the region we cover. It’s a long read but worth the effort as it shows how the gentrifiers have appropriated the football culture of West Ham United, sanitised it and used it as a marketing tool while trashing it at the same time!

architectsforsocialhousing

I’m dreaming dreams, I’m scheming schemes,
I’m building castles high.
They’re born anew, their days are few,
Just like a sweet butterfly.
And as the daylight is dawning,
They come again in the morning!

– Jaan Kenbrovin, I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles (1918)

There’s been a lot in the papers and on social media lately about West Ham football fans and how much they hate their new ground in the London Stadium. This culminated in the recent pitch invasion and protests during the Hammers’ home defeat to Burnley in March, when hundreds of angry fans demanded the removal of the board that oversaw the club’s move in August 2016 after 108 years at Upton Park. The London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, who last year had to take back control of the management of the stadium after it was revealed that the move has cost the public £300 million – the same cost…

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Campaigners call for a ‘People’s Newham’ as Robin Wales is voted out.

A set of demands we can fully endorse…we’ll be doing our level best to get into Newham when we can to support this campaign:)

Focus E15 Campaign

On Saturday 17 March, Focus E15 campaigners celebrated the news of Robin Wales’ deselection by riding through the streets of  Newham in a open-topped bus. The bus was draped with placards, banners and flags displaying clear political messages about the lack of social housing in the borough. Campaigners sang out the good news that the Mayor had been deselected, chanting in unison ‘Robin Wales has gone -so long so long’ and received many thumbs up and happy waves from Newham residents amazed at the sight of a bus load of campaigners. There were many joyful beeps and hoots from supportive motorists.  Back on board the bus, exhilarating live drumming kept the freezing temperatures at bay as did the constant chanting of ‘Robin Wales is Out’ all set to the sound of popping champagne corks and loud cheering.

This celebratory mood is understandable as the Labour Mayor Robin Wales has been…

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Tragedy

SKIPP press release (23-03-18)

We read with horror in today’s Echo (23rd March) that a man has been found dead in a Southend town centre public toilet. The council, police and press have labelled him as homeless as if he doesn’t matter and is somehow less than human because he had nowhere to shelter apart from a public loo. But he was not just homeless, he was a person, a human being the same as everyone else in our town.

It is to our town’s collective shame that we are seemingly just sitting back and accepting the fact that people in his situation are going to die alone and in squalor in a public bog. This may seem like a harsh statement pointing the figure of blame at the whole town, however, we live in a democracy and it is the people of this town that are responsible for electing and maintaining the current council administration in power. This is the same administration that’s response to the huge homeless situation we face is to spend £75,000 on employing consultants to investigate the situation. Maybe if they were proposing to spend that £75,000 on actually doing something rather than just talking about doing something then it might help to prevent further tragedies.

We are not naive enough to think that a mere £75,000 could solve the homeless problem, however this money could actually be used to help save people’s lives if it was given directly to the homeless shelters, service providers and soup kitchens which are run by people who are actually trying to do something to help, rather than just paying lip service to the problem by “investigating” the situation.

Given the very limited resources that the council are willing to spend to deal with the homeless situation we have to accept that all we can afford is a sticking plaster for the wound rather than a cure for the problem, however, it is no good buying the sticking plaster and then just throwing it in the bin.

Finally please remember, the majority of people living in our town are only a few missed rent or mortgage payments away from being in the same desperate situation as the ever growing number of homeless people in our town.

The SKIPP Committee
Patsy Link
Sheena Walker
Mark Sharp

Wave goodbye to Robin Wales – unpopular Mayor is deselected by Newham Labour!

Good feckin’ riddance to him and his agenda of social cleansing. Focus E15 can rightly chalk this one up as a battle won in the war:)

Focus E15 Campaign

Finally! Robin Wales has been deselected as mayoral candidate for Newham Labour after a tense battle against Rokshana Fiaz, who will now go on to face the electorate in the local elections in May and won by over 350 votes. The news of his deselection was announced on Friday 16 March 2018.  It was Robin Wales, who told the original group of 29 mothers from Focus E15 hostel (after cutting the funding to the mother and baby unit) that “if you can’t afford to live in Newham, then you can’t afford to live in Newham”. Robin Wales has been in charge of Newham council for 23 years as he was head of the Council from 1995 and Labour Mayor since 2002. He has been an unpopular and unreachable figure. He spent decades promoting policies that has led to social cleansing, forcing working class people out of the borough whilst leaving…

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Sara made ‘Intentionally Homeless’ by Newham Council

We’ve written numerous times about how the housing crisis in London has a direct impact on those of us living out along the Thames estuary. A housing crisis exacerbated by an intentional policy of social cleansing as part of the project of making the capital a welcome home for the global super rich to park their money in property ‘investment opportunities’. That’s block after block of empty apartments flipped to make a profit while the number of rough sleepers on the streets of London soars and more and more people are forced out of the capital. However, as you’ll see from this piece we’ve re-blogged, the architects of social cleansing are not getting it all their own way. Focus E15 are a Newham based group of activists who have been tirelessly standing up to the complicity of Newham Council in the project of social cleansing and this is a report of yet more actions they’ve taken to call the council to account.

Focus E15 Campaign

The following blog post is taken directly from a report written for the Revolutionary Communist Group’s website. Thank you for allowing  Focus E15 Campaign to reprint this report in full below.

No such thing as intentional homelessness – Sara must stay in Newham

Robin Wales, head of Newham Labour Council since 1995 and Labour Mayor of Newham since 2002 is facing the end of his reign. Rokhsana Fiaz is standing against him for the Labour mayoral candidacy and the results will be announced on Friday 16 March after local Labour members have voted. This situation came about after a trigger democracy process which has forced Wales to accept a challenger for the first time. All Newham wards voted for someone to stand against him. Wales is running scared and after decades of vicious treatment of working class people in the borough, he now proclaims himself a socialist leading a radical…

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