Sunday, May 31, 2015

Is this what democracy looks like?

In Barnet lately (and across the country thanks to a petition on change.org), there has been a movement among residents of local council estates who fear being moved away from the area due to gentrification. The movement gathered a lot of momentum, with 200,000 signing the petition.

The Wednesday before last, they went to the Barnet Council AGM with the intention of delivering their petition. This plan was known before the AGM, and it seems that someone decided to mobilise the police to prepare for the dangerous event of handing over a few boxes of paper.

The following is quoted directly from this update:
Upon arrival we were shocked to find police vans and stacks of metal barricades waiting for us.  We tried to join the AGM but were prevented from entering the town hall altogether. No reason was given but security guards and police blocked our entrance. 

Through the course of the evening it became clear that select invites had gone out and the 'public' filling the galleries had been pre-chosen. 

Cllr Richard Cornellius, the head of the council offered to accept our petitions but would only see two members from each campaign group. He failed to then present this to the AGM meaning that our petitions went unrecognised and undiscussed by our elected councillors.

Our West Hendon petition alone represents the largest petition in the history of Barnet, along with Sweets way. Over 200,000 peoples views went unheard and unrecognised that evening.

Is this what constitutes democracy and accountability in 2015?”

Indeed.

Meanwhile, the same group that organised this petition has discovered that the Government’s Minister for Housing is, in fact, a landlord. Yet another ministerial appointment that cannot possibly have at heart the interests of the bulk of the people they supposedly represent.

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