As a Hackney Independent spokesman said in the Hackney Gazette (8 April 1999), “we have a vote, but no influence, as all parties represent middle class interests. Candidates lie during elections and ignore us until the next one.”
Because of the middle class consensus on the council, councillors seem to change parties at will – completely ignoring the people they are supposed to represent. You might vote for a councillor of one party and then they join a completely different party a few months later. Believe it or not but twenty councillors have swapped parties in the last three years! One, David Phillips, was elected as Labour, then joined the breakaway New Labour faction. He then joined the Tories, before sitting as an independent. He is now allied to the only Green councillor.
The fact is, whichever party someone like David Phillips joins they are no use to us whatsoever. We need working class councillors whose only loyalty is to Hackney’s working class majority.If the Council have persuaded you that you should let them sell off your estate, then why not take the argument further? If they say they should not be running our homes, why should we let them run anything else? Why shouldn’t we take decisions about the libraries, youth clubs and social services as well? The easiest way to do that is to take over control of the council. Why should we vote for parties that have never done anything for us? If tenant and community groups stood their own candidates in elections then we could solve two problems at the same time. We could have direct representation of working class interests, and we would be rid of all those politicians who, by their insistence on sell-offs, are admitting they cannot run our estates anyway.
Hackney IWCA (Hackney Independent as of summer 2004) will support pro-working class tenant and community groups who are prepared to put up their own candidates in any by-elections. In this way, we will be able to achieve direct representation of working class interests on Hackney Council.