Jeremy Corbyn and the Haringey Development Vehicle

Across the country, Labour councils are putting Labour values into action in a way that makes a real difference to millions of people. It is a proud Labour record, and each and every Labour councillor deserves our heartfelt thanks for the work they do.

– Jeremy Corbyn, Labour Party conference (28 September, 2016)

In the lead up to last night’s decision by Haringey Labour council to go ahead with the transfer of £2 billion of land and assets, including thousands of council homes, into the hands of international property developers Lendlease, Aditya Chakrabortty, who has been following the Haringey Development Vehicle, and who is the best of the journalists writing on housing at the Guardian, published an article highly critical of Haringey and other Labour councils implementing social cleansing through estate privatisation and demolition.

In response he was widely attacked on Twitter by Labourites, whose spluttering objections can be narrowed down to the one that indignantly demanded: ‘How is this helping the Labour Party!’ This conforms to everything we’ve been writing not only about the Labour Party’s antagonism to the truth, but it’s belief that the homes and lives of residents it threatens should be sacrificed to its electoral success. Apparently Chakrabortty was also told that the Haringey council leadership regard him as a ‘one man left wing Daily Mail’ (welcome to our world, Aditya: at least they didn’t denounce you as a Tory, as they have us). However, in his article Chakrabortty couldn’t refrain from absolving the Leader of the Labour Party from his accusations of corruption.

‘However easy it is for pundits to conflate today’s Labour party with Jeremy Corbyn, to do so ignores the daily experience of people under many Labour councils that are his ideological opposite. Such as the zombie Blairites who run Haringey, and who bear as much resemblance to Corbyn’s Labour as Jive Bunny does to Death Metal.’

It’s a strangely dismissive and overstated comment in an otherwise serious and measured article, and suggests the difficulty Chakrabortty has in believing what he asserts. Is Corbyn really the ‘ideological opposite’ of the Leaders of Labour councils? Is Corbyn’s Labour really Jive Bunny to Claire Kober’s Death Metal? And if so, why has Corbyn consistently refused to condemn the actions not only of Haringey council but of every other Labour council engaged in the social cleansing of working-class communities through estate regeneration schemes?

There was a strange phenomenon, which continues to this day among his admirers, that absolved Adolf Hitler from knowledge of and therefore culpability in Nazi atrocities, and even the Final Solution. The cult of Der Führer that the Nazis created around Hitler meant that not only were his decisions unquestioned, but also pure of all culpability in the event of their failure or exposure. Now, I hope it’s clear that I’m not comparing Corbyn to Hitler, but it is increasingly apparent that there is something cultish about the absurd position Corbyn’s idolisers have placed him in of being guiltless – and even ignorant – of what the Party he leads is doing, not only at council level, but even of its housing policies.

A similar sort of reverence surrounds the President of the United States of America. I remember after 9/11 when George Bush was coming out with the line that Osama Bin Laden was responsible for the attack, even though every bit of intelligence pointed to Saudi Arabia as the culprits, and in response to questions to this effect aides replied: ‘This is the President of the United States speaking here, and we need to listen.’ In response to the completely absurd and slightly worrying adulation Corbyn enjoys among his supporters, observers have pointed out that he is already assuming a Presidential air – precisely that Presidential air Tony Blair assumed when he sent us to war in Iraq on a similarly fabricated ‘evidence’.

Now, cults are based on belief, not reason, so I have no expectation of converting those of you who have taken the veil. But anyone looking for evidence that Corbyn lacks neither knowledge of nor culpability in the social cleansing of London communities through estate privatisation and demolition has only to read the Labour Party’s manifesto on housing – which ASH has written about here, and the statements by Corbyn and his Housing Ministers on the actions of the Labour councils about which he is supposedly so ignorant, which you can read about here. If you feel like stopping the chanting for a bit, getting up off your knees and having a rational discussion about what the Leader of the Labour Party is promising to do with our homes – let alone what Labour councils are already doing with his support – have a read.

Architects for Social Housing

Below is the updated list of 170 London housing estates we know of that are under threat of or already condemned to privatisation, demolition and social cleansing by Labour councils.

5 thoughts on “Jeremy Corbyn and the Haringey Development Vehicle

  1. Very good points, thanks for writing this.

    When growing up, it was very clear to me that the Labour party’s presentation that they care for the common man and woman was and continues to be bunkham. I’m very proud of my working class and council house roots but I saw it for all its glory. And typically it wasn’t good. A lot of council housing in London is badly designed, badly built, badly maintained, badly managed and has got people living there that don’t deserve it.

    Most of it is run by Labour Councils or shoddy housing associations, who are monopolistic. What Labour is doing is systematic; they want all people, including the deserving people out, they don’t care for the impoverished, they just don’t. The answer is to shake up housing associations so they become service orientated. They are institutions run by the same type of people who have a job for life.

    And as for who should get council and affordable housing, people who put most into a community should get the most out of it. Those they work locally but don’t earn enough; those that have roots in the area and parents, so they can look after them rather than leave that to the State. And housing must be well designed and great to live in. Naive? Well, costs of running shoddy associations are too high. Councils too a very poor job. The system in the UK is not fit for purpose. Sort it out and use funds wasted by paperwork and people on quality housing.

    You may not agree, but whatever I support your quest. I’m glad you bring this stuff up. Keep it up.

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  2. This is why I think this Corbyn thing is a blip, a glitch – and we won’t see real change for quite some time. UK society is a network of corruption, one man alone can’t fix it.

    Assume JC gets in and is operating in good faith. He can pass a lot of money to local councils, quangos and housing associations- but they’re the ones who get to spend it. And what do local councils, etc, like to spend money on? Why, self-serving vanity projects, social cleansing, and dodgy deals for their mates in business. These have survived the cuts and they will bloom like cancers in the face of government investment.

    I want to have a sense of hope about this thing, I really do – but experience shows that systems doesn’t change as radically as people are hoping ours will – they either reform themselves just enough to carry on, or they collapse.

    Don’t get me wrong – I’m not advocating collapse as that would be even worse than reform, and it’s definitely worth the effort of popping out to vote on Polling Day and even knocking on a few doors – but people shouldn’t just assume a Labour government will is the be-all and end-all that will fix everything. Only constant public pressure on the powers that be gets real results.

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  3. Found this very late while googling to see if Corbyn had criticised the HDV yet ( I lived in Wood Green for 26 years and I’m still attached to its fate). I agree with what you say about the cultist element in Corbynism and the limits of his radicalism in practice / for example he explicitly called on Labour councils not to set illegal budgets which just condemns them to being more or less willing implementers of Tory cuts and therefore very prone to grabbing at shoddy deals with developed though has to be said that Haringey Council shows no reluctance to be wined and dined by them. Just a small point but could affect your credibility- Bush blamed Saddam Hussein for 9/11 not Bin Laden who actually was responsible!

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