Ben is perfectly likeable young man in a shared house who has been paying his rent and is looking for work, which is a bit tough to come by right now. An almost complete stranger beat him up on the street and made him homeless.
The thug came to their house, entered their home, evicted them onto the streets and changed the locks . I call him advisedly a thug, for this was no bailiff, enforcing an order of the court here. Here was a landlord who couldn't be bothered to use a method which was relatively quick, easy, cheap and legal.
Ronnie and Bill have had their ups and downs. They're from Europe, work all the time, take care of an old man from Uzbekhistan who has been crippled by a stroke. Bill has too much to drink and hits Ronnie. He spends 3 days in the nick, so he hasn't got wages. Ronnie gives the landlord the money in her purse.
The thug turns up and pushed the stroke victim onto the street. I call him a thug advisedly. But yet again, he is the landlord. A lazy landlord, with no time for law.
At a time when unemployment figures are shooting up, even Germany has growth in the toilet, and a remarkable thing is happening.
In a usual year I may get one illegal eviction. In the last two weeks I have had four. It may be that this sort of criminal activity happens all the time, and I miss it, but after 17 years working here my bush telegraph is tired, but there. It reminds me of what social welfare law is for when I see it happen.
Landlords are suddenly chucking their tenants onto the streets. Without going to court. Without doing the things that the Council Advice and Options Service would recommend, to make sure that the process is legal.
I am frazzled. On the day that we get a re-entry order against a very big housing association, the Pembury Estate burns a vehicle or two. Then when I check online I am told by the Prime Minister that the causes of the break-down of law and order is “criminality pure and simple.”
Recently our Prime Minister qualified his reasoning. He indicated that bad human rights lawyers were "twisting and misrepresenting human rights in a way that has undermined personal responsibility" which apparently is exerting "a corrosive influence on behaviour and morality" which was the cause for the riots. Assuming there was a cause.
It seems that by going to court and getting a widow who had been bamboozled onto the street into her home, I am contributing to the lawlessness on Lower Clapton Road. So silly of me, why didn't I think?
Why is it that landlords have, in many cases, taken to behaving like thugs? Is it criminality pure and simple? I think not. It's Poverty Stupid!
Sorry mister Prime Minister. I will try to fight the illegal evictions that are happening. One at a time, all the time. The good ship Legal Aid will not founder upon your watch, I'm hoping, although the signs are not good. Someone's got to keep law and order round here!