Talk of a supposed coup by Momentum is actually covering up something far more worrying

Momentum
Support us and go ad-free

Recent developments in a Labour-run council have sparked a bitter feud within the Labour Party. And campaign group Momentum has been accused of a coup of sorts. But at the heart of this story is something far more worrying. It’s the fact that a Labour-run council was trying to push through a largely unwanted privatisation deal – one which could seriously reduce the available homes for the existing community.

Democracy or coup?

In the Labour-run north London council of Haringey, 17 councillors have either lost their seats in open contests or have withdrawn as candidates in the borough’s selection race. This included three councillors from the same ward standing down on Sunday 3 December. In a letter, they said:

The current climate of Haringey Labour politics feels factional and poisonous – anger, cynicism and distrust now shape too many debates within the local party.

They also suggested they would not be judged with an “open mind” or “in a fair manner”.

Former deputy Labour leader Roy Hattersley referred to the debacle as “subversion”; and he said that Momentum, a campaign group close to Jeremy Corbyn, was the biggest crisis facing the Labour Party. Guardian journalist Owen Jones, however, called the process “democracy”.

The real story 

But local resident Phil Jackson wrote an article in The Independent headlined Momentum isn’t staging a coup in Haringey, this is about housing not Labour factions. He said the situation was not about different groupings within the Labour Party, but about the Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV). The HDV is a public-private partnership to build new homes, shops and public spaces, involving Australian property giant Lendlease.

This ‘Local Asset Backed Vehicle’ represents the biggest [pdf, p13] such transfer of property assets from any council in the UK.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

And there’s been wide support to stop the deal in its tracks since December 2016.

What’s the deal?

Previous evaluations of the HDV have suggested that it would be financially risky; that there would be little scrutiny around the activities of the HDV; and that residents and members of the council had not had sufficient time to look at all of the detail around the deal.

There were also concerns that there would not be enough social housing to replace demolished council property. So some residents might not be able to stay in the borough.

Also, HDV partner Lendlease previously built 2,469 homes on the site of South London’s Heygate Estate. But it only made 80 available for social rent. It also paid $56m in fines in “the largest construction-fraud settlement in New York City history”. And it reportedly fitted non-compliant cladding and faulty plumbing in two separate hospitals in Australia.

Therefore, the actions of Momentum shouldn’t worry Labour members. Or anyone else. The fact that a Labour council is trying to push through a potentially ill-considered and unwanted privatisation deal is, in fact, a much more worrying scenario.

Get Involved!

– Read more Canary articles on Labour, Momentum and housing.

Featured image via Flickr – Funk Dooby

Support us and go ad-free

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?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed