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A NUMBER of events in the past 10 days appear to have led to something approaching panic in the unholy clutch of interests wishing to demolish Wards Corner. This site is above Seven Sisters Underground station, Tottenham, north London. And home to the Latin Village or Pueblito Paisa.
The moment when current Haringey Council Leader Joseph Ejiofor burst out laughing. It ignited uproar in the Public Gallery.
The last 10 days of January 2020
21st—CABINET—chaotic scenes at Haringey Council Cabinet meeting (video), where inept, bumbling leader Joseph Ejiofor (1) forced through his rejection (in large measure) of the Recommendations of the council's own Scrutiny Committee. Repeatedly citing "Chair's discretion", Ejiofor refused to take questions from Councillors, who had waited patiently for some time. The Cabinet Members who were present and supinely Agreed all this, implicitly agreed also to continue to receive an extra £25,443 p.a. They were, Councillors:
23rd—MAYOR KHAN at PQT—People's Question Time—in a large theatre in Wood Green, near Haringey Council HQ. There were several questions for London Mayor Sadiq Khan about the future of the Latin Village at the PQT. Mr Khan appeared uncomfortable and irritated by the many related enquiries made in front of others including the Press, Assembly Members and hundreds of the public.
24th—EVICTIONS: the Green Light—the Cabinet's crude decision rejected most of Scrutiny's recommendations, including objectively reasonable ones, like No.13, that called for round-table talks. That particularly disappointed excellent Councillor Ruth Gordon, who put a deal of work into Scrutiny.
This deliberate crushing appears to be have been taken as a green light by the market-operator to go ahead with evictions in the Latin Village. No Statutory body wishes to take responsibility. Taken together with previously condoning conduct, the Momentum-dominated Cabinet may now be compared with well-known slum-landlords in the deploying of some tactics. And all the while, affecting innocence and shedding crocodile tears.
29th—ADJOURNMENT DEBATE—the Member of Parliament for Tottenham David Lammy, called for an Adjournment Debate in the House of Commons, about the future of Wards Corner. Though belated, he did make a good speech. He was mildly critical of the Haringey Council in public; we can only guess at Mr Lammy's views in private. And openly, he was rather more critical of the Market Manager. Mr Lammy will have relied on qualified Parliamentary privilege in naming a certain individual. (Video).
Pushing the panic button
30th—DAVE HILL’S BLOG—Hill's On-London blog can often be relied upon to speak on behalf of a loose grouping of New Labour, lobbyists and developers’ interests (4). Former Haringey New Labour Cllr. Charles Wright sometimes contributes.
The difference between Dave's normal commentary on Haringey and his latest article is that, in effect, he now sides with certain high Momentum officers (notes 1 & 2) and disgraced Councillor Charles Adje. (In the past, Cllr Adje has bent over backwards to help developers. Sometimes, he has bent too far). Disdain for the Latin traders makes for strange bedfellows.
Dave Hill's misleading article is apoplectic and vituperative (Build a new Latin Village for Seven Sisters, starting now). However, it may also reflect renewed anxiety felt by Grainger plc, Sadiq Khan, Joseph Ejiofor and his cronies. Dave's article is reminiscent of the squealing that was heard from Peter Bingle (3), in the waning days of the #HDV and the Claire Kober Cabinet.
• Aditya Chakrabortty on The Latin Village, Corbynism and Haringey's Cllr Charles Adje (BBC video)
• Political support for the demolition has been waning for some time (voting on Wards Corner motion)
• A video of a market walk-through
I am no longer a Councillor and do not speak for Haringey Liberal Democrats. If Mr Matheson is asking sincerely, rather than just asking rhetorically, then he should write, for example, to Cllr Tammy Palmer, who I know has an interest in the subject. Or to Siobhan Benita, who is the Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London and who has visited the market twice.
I would note that whatever the cost of making good Wards Corner from the public purse, it would be a fraction of the bizarre real estate deal that Joseph Ejiofor has cooked-up involving Fortismere School. (q.v.).
I understand that, over seven years, that could be £40 million. The Capital Account is actually awash with cash.
Thanks for posting this, Clive. But I suggest you avoid being drawn into pointless and fallacious whataboutery. The LibDems are not running Haringey Council.
Neither is Momentum. Although the Leader Joe Ejiofor and two of his cabinet cronies appear to be at least nominally members. But searching online I can't actually see any evidence that Haringey Momentum is currently a functioning organisation. It's probably sensible to consider them as Nonentitums if the test is new, creative and useful left-wing ideas and practical policies.
Another sensible idea would be for interested people to read the recommendations of the Council's Scrutiny Panel on the Latin Village / Wards Corner, chaired by Cllr Ruth Gordon.
Scrutiny panels and the main Scrutiny Committee are cross-party and all the better for that. I watched online as "Cabinet" councillors asked about the Wards Corner Scrutiny report. Their questions disappointed me deeply. They seemed to indicate an ignorance of the Scrutiny Report and - at least in my mind - raised the query of how many of them had read the report thoroughly - or perhaps even sketchily.
Yes I do realise that cabinet councillors are very very busy people. But surely if pressed for time they could have taken the simple direct route and picked up the phone for a chat with Ruth Gordon or her Scrutiny Colleagues. Minimal cost involved; but perhaps a real possibility of getting a better decision than what happened: the curt dismissive rejection of the work of many months.
It was also very discourteous and high-handed for Cllr Ejiofor to end the meeting without taking questions from a Labour and two LibDem councillors who had been waiting very patiently.
I can't comment on whether or not any local branch of Momentum is a functioning group, but national Momentum appears to continue; indeed the home page of this entryist organisation says, "the fight goes on". Councillors Ejiofor and Ibrahim may be Nonentitums, but they are not merely ordinary members of Momentum. They are on the National Coordinating Group (NGC). I took this screenshot this morning (Sunday, 2 February 2020):
Returning to the Scrutiny Committee's report: I endorse the suggestion to read the Recommendations (below) of the Scrutiny Panel.
A great deal of work went into this over some 12 months. As you say, it was bi-partisan. The recommendations were unanimous. Cllr Ruth Gordon won wide respect for her early shepherding of the project.
The Committees’ work was Haringey at its best.
The rejection of most of their Recommendations, was the Joe Ejiofor-led Cabinet at its worst.
LINKS to pdfs
A relevant update (5 February) by Guardian columnist, Aditya Chakrabortty:
Increased alarm: Futile & Suicidal
The panic seems to be mounting, certainly on the part of Dave Hill.
Dave's increasingly shrill comments reflect the way he sees the wind is blowing.
The question of Wards Corner and The Latin Village will probably lead to the demise of the (failed) leadership of Haringey Council by high Momentum official Joseph Ejiofor. While he achieved his goal of being leader, Joe's lack of broader political nous, feel and antennae will have been part of his downfall.
TODAY's Washington Post features an article by Ed Morales about Haringey's Latin Village:
Haringey Council Leader Joseph Ejiofor
YESTERDAY, a lengthy Wards Corner: Leader's Statement from the current council leader. Under pressure, if not in panic-mode. The political and quasi-personal statement appears on the tax-payer-funded council website and begs a few questions …
Latin Village update February 11
Yesterday, former New Labour Cllr Charles Wright, acknowledges Joseph Ejiofor is "embattled" and writes an Ejiofor-boosting piece for Dave Hill's blog (the long and supposedly "hard hitting" statement by Joe Ejiofor would of course have been written by a council officer.
This afternoon, the World Service weighed in with, Will London lose its Latin Village?
[link to BBC World Service tweet].
IN the wake of David Lammy's excellent speech in Parliament—in the Adjournment debate that he called for—the council leader and his crony crafted a Punishment meeting.
The brief, gratuitous slur on Tottenham MP David Lammy was Cllr Ejiofor’s—and crony Adje’s—best-prepared, most confident and smoothest presentation yet.
LIBERAL Democrat Cllr. Tammy Palmer makes an effective speech about Wards Corner at Monday's Full Council meeting: