Saturday, 7 February 2009

Rich inherit Hammersmith & Fulham

new-face-of-hfThis week's Ealing Gazette carries the above headline and describes how H&F Council are planning to bulldoze working class people out of their homes in Fulham so that they can use the land to house "very rich" people instead. Council Leader Stephen Greenhalgh actually used the phrase "very rich people" in a public meeting, he argued that this would result in regeneration.

I beg to differ. Quite apart from this being classic Tory strategy, just as they have done over the water in Wandsworth and elsewhere, and culminating in the extreme of Dame Shirley Porter in Westminster the Tories have an electoral idea in mind rather than regeneration. Bulldozing less well off people out of their homes, with the promise that they will be bought out at "today's market rates" - a quote from H&F Homes not without some irony given whats happening in the housing market - is all about changing the vote.

And a look to east London where I have relatives shows that regeneration is the last thing to happen when things are done like this. All along the Thames there are now little hamlets of "very rich" people in very nice flats. But they rarely engage with their neighbours and in some cases live behind gates.

In our own battle to save our street we were supported by H&F Council and we appreciated that. But that support only came through once we started playing the political game and linking what happenned in our street to how we might vote as residents at the next general election. That was our right, but we knew how to do it and could stand up for ourselves, our community and our street.

This smacks of a Tory administration, intent on remaining in power and changing the voting demographics of the borough by force.


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