Saturday, 1 October 2011

Gerrymandering Homeless Children

Henrietta left her council flat when her husband got a job abroad in Las Vegas. It seemed like a logical choice at the time. They were both going to make it big.

For a while everything was good. Her husband had a dream job, they were going to have a baby.

But when the child came along their relationship crumbled. Some men can't cope with proper responsibility. Having a real baby, shitting and grizzling is stressful- and some men can't take it. I guess they think of their dicks as a magic wand that has no payback.

When their marriage broke down, when her husband stopped paying for housekeeping for his kid, when she didn't have diapers or food, she realised that this man was no good for her or her baby, so she went home to the UK.

She stayed with a friend in Westminster, poshest of boroughs. After six months of ignoring her when she came asking for help and advice, Westminster booked her in to one of the two hotels that they have bought in Hackney.

Then Westminster told her that it was her fault that she had not hired a US lawyer to protect her interests, told her that it was her fault that her marriage broke down, that she was homeless. Told her that it was unacceptable that she should come home and ask for help for her and her baby.

And then Westminster evicted her.

And because the homeless child is now present in Hackney- where Westminster dumped the family- it so happens that social services in a poor East London borough now have to pick up the tab, try to work out how to stop Henrietta's baby being put on the street, or taken into care.

Well we got an injunction over the phone from a High Court Judge. Henrietta and her baby have an overpriced room in a hostel where the linen hasn't been changed, and both of them are eaten alive by bed bugs. The case is ongoing.

Meanwhile Westminster continues to keep its rates low by shipping unemployed people into Hackney and the East End, dumping them on our social services, and getting away scot free, smelling of roses.

Smelling of roses to the well-heeled residents of Westminster perhaps. Get rid of the poor unfortunates, send them to us. To me it smacks of gerrymandering.

Some of you with long memories will remember Dame Shirley Porter, fined millions of pounds unfairly (some might say) for trying to socially engineer the right sort of tenants and the right sort of voters in Westminster, so that we have the right sort of people in a Tory flagship borough.

This week Westminster trumpeted that it was going to give increased priority on its council flat waiting list to people with jobs because they want to reduce their Housing Benefit bill. So millionaire's row will be sending its single parents and its disabled elsewhere.

Under the new dispensation it's respectable to send people like Henrietta and her baby into poor boroughs to enable the rich boroughs to reduce their rates still further. I don't know about you, but I find the naked cynicism predictable and disgusting.


  1. It's shocking and outrageous that anyone can treat vulnerable people in this way. The council tax across London needs to equalised so that the wealthiest pay the most to support the poorest. Add that to a massive programme of council house building and we might begin to get some justice for the most vulnerable in society.

    Great article by the way.

  2. Caravan dwellers in Dale Farm, Essex are treated as scum but it seems to me they have the right idea. If we weren't all paying mortgages and had our own mobile homes we wouldn't be attractive to the landlords in Westminster as they couldn't make profit out of us. But we would have our community and our family right by us, sink or swim! I think we should all be Travellers! "The earth is a common ground for everyone to share".

  3. Why should Hackney foot the bill for Westminster.....I smell something Rotten in Westminster, keep fighting the stink Nathaniel.