Stop Jon Collins' vindictive evictionsTagged as: evictions housing housing_scandal jon_collins nottingham_city_council nottingham_city_homes nottingham_riots riots wandsworth_council
In the aftermath of the riots in Nottingham, Council Leader Jon Collins has sought to win some cheap political brownie points with reactionaries by seeking to evict the families of any rioters in council houses. This follows the first riot-related eviction notice given by Wandsworth Council in London on Friday. This double punishment for rioters as well as the collective punishment meted out to their families is not only wrong in itself but will create more of the resentment and social problems that sparked the riots in the first place. It is also extremely hypocritical for Jon Collins to call for the evictions of small-time looters whilst his Council has refused to investigate the misallocation of social housing to employees, relatives and friends of NCH employees in which a number of council members are implicated.
Jon Collins has said that the Council will seek to evict anyone directly involved, or whose children were involved in the disturbances. This is in addition to his call for 'the toughest possible sentences' to be handed out to perpetrators of disorder. So not only does he want rioters to be punished severely by the courts but he then wants to punish them again by making them homeless. It would also be a form of collective punishment, evicting families for the actions of their sons and daughters. This may well win him a few tough guy points amongst hanging-and-flogging voters but it demonstrates that he has a dangerous propensity to take justice into his own hands and punish vulnerable people i.e. people who are eligible for council housing.
It is also extremely short-sighted. The riots were sparked by the Tottenham community's feelings of being victimised, ignored and neglected by the state. Attacks on shops and looting were fuelled by resentment and the action of have-nots to take back what they felt was owed to them. By giving the people who rioted more legitimate reasons to hate the authorities these unjust punishments are making it more likely that disturbances will break out in Nottingham again.
Jon Collins must also think people have short memories. It's not too long ago that his Council's misallocation of social housing was making headlines and he has been implicated in some of these decisions himself. An internal investigation by the Council's Audit Commission investigation into the scandal found over 3,000 instances where council housing was allocated outside of the standard procedures but no houses have been repossessed and no staff have lost their jobs. Indeed the Council refused to call for an Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation into the police's decision not to investigate the scandal.
Isn't it rank hypocrisy for Jon Collins to be turfing out tennants for completely unrelated crimes whilst there are friends and family members of councillors living in NCH property that may have been misallocated? Wouldn't it have been better for him to get his own house in order and get rid of the housing criminals in his own circle of friends before claiming that others are unfit to live in council housing?
The moves by the City Council to evict rioters and their families need to be strongly resisted. It is an unjust and counter-productive move that is the result of some ill-considered populism and authoritarianism. It will cause long-term resentment and more problems. The real housing scandal should be investigated. No one should be made homeless.
If you think you might be affected by the evictions, NCCLOLs has the lowdown on the Tenancy Agreement, but I'm afraid it doesn't look good. Consider getting some legal advice soon.