- Created: Tuesday, 30 May 2017 11:41
- Written by Hannah Caller
On 18 May, the East London branch of the RCG joined the Focus E15 campaign at the Annual Council Meeting in east London to expose the corruption of Mayor Robin Wales and the Labour Council in Newham.
As he congratulated two councillors for their 25 years of service, Robin Wales spoke of the beautiful entity that is Newham after 25 years of his reign as head of the council and then mayor, lifting it up from being an 'incompetent backwater' to a shining example for other councils. The reality is that there are more registered homeless people in Newham than anywhere else in the country, that 25% of people are living in overcrowded conditions and that Newham is one of the top boroughs in terms of forcing people to move out of the borough and out of London. The council is proud of increased satisfaction rates in council surveys, Robin Wales told the 300 people in attendence, claiming that it really is putting 'power into the hands of residents'.
No mention of course was made of the Lobo loan scandal, £563m of debt from risky long-term loans, with debt repayment taking precedence over frontline services. No mention of the 46 Labour councillors in Newham who own or control almost 100 properties in the borough – including one who has 19 properties that bring in monthly rent of over £20,000.
The Olympic legacy for the working class people of Newham is empty council homes, cuts in services and rising eviction rates and social cleansing.
As the meeting drew to a close and the councillors rose to their feet to give Robin Wales a standing ovation, so too did Focus E15 campaigners who heckled Sir Robin about Lobo loans, empty homes on the Carpenters Estate, social cleansing, and slum living conditions. All he could do was mumble into the mic about next year's local elections while the music was turned up to drown us out.
Two days later, on 20 May, the Focus E15 campaign was back on the streets with Debt Resistance UK and Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! and the launch of the Newham Nag – a little publication bringing the facts to the people of Newham. It received a great reception and people stood with us, speaking on the mic, distributing the Newham Nag, and challenging the police and enforcement officers who tried to give us a penalty notice for obstructing the highway before giving up in the face of campaigners who know their rights and stand their ground.
As the general election draws closer, again we have to look at what Labour is doing locally to know that in government it will be the same corrupt, racist, imperialist party that it always has been.
Latest news on the Focus E15 website: