Footage from Boris Johnson’s time as London mayor has come to light. It shows the public anger towards him even in 2014. But the timing couldn’t be more appropriate. Nor could it be more damning for him. Because it sums up the dire emergency currently facing thousands of people across the UK.
The footage that shames the PM
Rachael Swindon shared a video clip of Johnson when he was London mayor. It shows homelessness campaigners and members of the public angrily calling him out over the city’s housing crisis and rough sleeping:
I didn’t know this incredible footage even existed.
Here’s Boris Johnson facing a roasting from a group of protestors, including homeless people, in London. pic.twitter.com/1fGgPNa1HU
— Rachael Swindon #UTFC (@Rachael_Swindon) February 8, 2020
The footage is from 2014. Some of the people speaking were from campaign group Beat on the Street. It was raising awareness about homeless people “criminalised”. But the anger of these people was probably justified. Because Johnson failed to do anything about homelessness while he was mayor. In 2009, he promised to end rough sleeping in London by 2012. But as Channel 4 News reported:
by his final autumn in office (2015), there were an estimated 940 people sleeping rough in the capital.
Over his tenure, rough sleeping rose by 130 per cent, although the nature of these stats means that even this could understate the true extent of the problem.
Fast-forward to Johnson’s time as prime minister, and his party’s record in government is no better.
A damning record
Research by Shelter showed that by December 2019, around 320,000 people were homeless. This was up 4% on the previous year. As the Big Issue reported, an estimated 726 homeless people died, up 22% on the previous year. In England alone, rough sleeping rose by 165% between 2010 and 2018. Meanwhile, some estimates put the rise in overall homelessness in England at 28% between 2010 and 2017.
So, it seems that the Tories’ record on homelessness is no better than Johnson’s as London mayor. But why does this matter now?
As The Canary reported, the Met Office has put amber weather warnings in place across much of the UK. This is because Storm Ciara is coming:
⚠️⚠️Amber warning updated⚠️⚠️
Latest info https://t.co/3FNEJgzqbs
— Met Office (@metoffice) February 8, 2020
To get ready for this, many charities are already making provisions for rough sleepers. As Manchester Evening News reported:
The Salvation Army is responding to a the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol – which is triggered when temperatures drop to dangerous levels or weather conditions deteriorate drastically.
When the cold or extreme weather hits, there are more than 250 SWEP spaces available in churches and Salvation Army Lifehouses for rough sleepers across the UK.
This is, of course, to be welcomed. But there’s a bigger issue here.
The fact that in over a decade of government the Tories have still not solved the homelessness crisis is damning. Last Christmas, around 135,000 children were probably homeless. 87,740 households were in emergency accommodation in March 2019. And while Johnson could previously hide behind other government ministers, he’s now PM. So, the perpetual homelessness scandal that blights the UK is directly on his watch. He was a failure for thousands of people as London mayor. Now he’s becoming an abject failure for hundreds of thousands as prime minister.
Featured image via BBC – YouTube
Support Streets Kitchen, showing solidarity not charity for homeless people.
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?