Housing Bill March on Downing Street

Sitting at home with a bag of peas on my ankle, whatever kind of mischief caused this freezing end to the day, so soon after surgery?

Well, thanks to the proposed Armageddon of the Housing and Planning Bill, incandescent Londoners had no choice but to take to the streets today in what is becoming an ever more frequent necessity.  As more and more Little People in the City are shouting out, we despise what is being foisted upon us.

This toxic piece of legislation is aimed to slam the social housing door shut once and for all, leaving London as a playground for the super-rich, whilst ordinary Londoners will either be forced out of the city on economic grounds because they simply can’t afford to live here any longer,  or else the Local Authorities want to swap its less well-off voters for those with more cash and who in even more likelihood will be more compliant and less willing to put their heads on the chopping blocks of dissent.

But thanks to Lambeth Housing Activists a march was organised in its own backyard today heading off to Downing Street. As ever little press coverage was granted, the mainstream press being far too complicit in what is going down, but local press (Link: London SE: Hundreds march against Housing & Planning Bill ) claim a participation of a few hundred.  It certainly felt like a lot more than this, as protesters marched from the Imperial War Museum up to scameron’s official pad, not the one he rather conveniently rents out further out of town.  I am sure, however that, given half a chance he would also rent out 11 Downing Street.

So, in reality, there was a strong turn out from all the activists in a highly vocal and good natured march on Westminster, ending in speeches outside the Prime Minister’s weekday bolthole.  It must be said that the very fact that the country’s leader is able to disappear elsewhere highly illustrates the obvious disparities on display in our unequal society today.

At this point, there appeared to be more plod than campaigners and withinin the peaceful nature of the march they were more mundanely engaged moving people off from the centre of Whitehall rather than with any other more meaningful roles. Once many in the crowd starting to disperse then the many police outside started to exert the authority they thought their uniforms granted and arrested one campaigner, not on any misdemeanour in the here and now but apparently based on the activist’s presence at an event last autumn!  Having been dragged off down the local nick, a fervent crowd soon congregated demanding Dan’s release, and sure enough, after a short period without laces or fags he was released without charge.

What a complete waste I hear you cry, and certainly a testament to the shouting and drumming outside the police station in his defence.

All in all, today was necessary and a strong group out on the streets made their voices heard.  But what worries me, is that the Housing and Planning Bill is being pushed through at a speed where the Little People in the City either have insufficient time to make their disapproval heard, or of far greater concern, that too few people have this planned blitzkrieg on their homes on their early warning radars.

The haste with which the Bill is being hurried through is comprehendible in as much as a brief glance shows that at least 153 MP’s are themselves private landlords.  It is clearly then not in their interest to be burdened with greater obligations to provide proper standards of accommodation to would-be tenants, their own argument being that MP’s did not want landlords to be tied up in red tape. So just leave us be to carry on renting out sub-standard homes to folk who should really be thankful for a roof, never mind that the roof might actually be falling in around their heads.  MP’s renting out property must surely be excluded from voting on the Bill, but this level of self-service should be no surprise to anyone with any kind of knowledge.

The numbers of people living in socially rented homes clearly did not reflect the campaigner numbers on the streets today.  I do not believe that they simply do not care or agree with the proposals to steadily remove them from their homes but more that they are not being properly informed, having been successfully told to cast their gaze in the opposite direction, rather than on the impending obliteration heading their way.

And so it must fall on us the campaigners, the activists, and the Little People in the City to commit to carry the torch on this, and ensure that the Little People in the City are properly informed and prepared to fight for their homes.  Once this Bill is passed it will be too late, and Lord Adonis, architect of the heinous City Villages will have had his ladder-pulling way, paving the way to decimate the council estates from which so much of London has been served, until now…

Oh, and yes, I caught my ankle on a non-existent piece of road and had to be helped up by my friends at Architects for Social Housing. Nothing is going to get in the way of the fight.

 

LPITC

30/01/2016

 

 

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