Focus E15 campaigners started the new year as we mean to go on, as thorns in the side of Newham Labour Council. This is because Newham council continue to prevaricate about dangerous cladding, keeps hundreds of homes empty on the Carpenters Estate and continues to move people out of the borough and out of London, with no regard for the health and well being of adults or children.
On Thursday 11 January, Mayoral Proceedings were held at East Ham Town Hall. Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham, due to contest his seat in May this year, opened by saying what a fair place Newham borough is, giving an example that all children, rich and poor, receive free school meals. He didn’t mention that 1 in 25 people in Newham are classified as homeless and many poor, vulnerable and immigrant families are being sent out of Newham and out of London for housing – which is not fair at all and just shows the corrupt mismanagement of the borough’s housing stock.
With vocal campaigners in the public gallery, and some fine umbrella-messages, these contradictions were pointed out and the proceedings were forced to end early with one very irate Robin Wales. Campaigners then made their way to a second meeting, The Overview and Scrutiny Committee, which heard (with a section on fire safety), superficial and inconsequential ramblings about safety in clad towers (seemingly satisfied with only having ‘fire marshals’ sitting by the front door), how important it is to engage with residents (clearly councils have to remind themselves of this regularly) and how most people are happy with their housing situation (allegedly 80% of people asked said the council are doing a good job). Yet every week on our street stall campaigners meet residents who are struggling with housing and are fed up and furious with Robin Wales and Newham Labour council.
It was at this point campaigners got to their feet with the new propaganda weapon. Impassioned speeches were made about the political reality of what is happening in Newham and the councillors were forced to adjourn to another room. Our intervention ended with a chant of ‘Newham Council, we are watching you’. We certainly are and will continue to do so.
Join Focus E15 campaign on the streets, in the meetings rooms, in the council chambers, and stand in solidarity with us to build a movement for decent, safe, secure housing for all.
The next campaign meeting, open to all, is on Saturday 3 February 2.30pm – What about the rights of children…their rights and the councils wrongs in the housing crisis. Come and discuss and make plans together.
Repopulate the Carpenters Estate!
Stop social cleansing!
Make our homes safe now!