Hackney or Baghdad

Letter in Hackney Gazette – 13th February 2003

Hackney North Labour Party used the Gazette letters page to announce that they are taking their banner on a march against the war on Iraq.

The obvious question is why are they protesting against the policies carried out by their own party in government, but do nothing to protest locally about the policies of our Labour Council?

If the American and British governments were closing schools, privatising and cutting services and running down estates in Baghdad I suppose the Hackney Labour Party would be against it.

Hackney’s Labour Council is pursuing a privatisation agenda in favour of the middle class, ignoring the protests of the majority working class community.

I hope that they have a good day out on the march. But while you are there have a think about the problems that our Labour council is causing at home.

Peter Sutton
Independent Working Class Association

Hackney Council Publicity Unit Member Joins Labour Councillors

Labour easily won two bye-elections in the East of the Borough tonight (Tuesday 10th December) on a greatly reduced turnout. In both Wards Labour increased their majority, while getting a reduced vote. The only conclusion can be that voters are not impressed by Labour or any of the 4 parties who opposed them.


The new Labour councillor for Leabridge Ward, Ian Rathbone, has only just left the employment of Hackney Council, as head of their press and publicity unit. We have never had any illusions about the neutrality of this unit, but it is nice to be proved right. The unit is there to put Labour’s case forward, never mind the facts. Leading Labour councillor even recently described Hackney Today as resembling Pravda (in N16 Magazine).
Hackney IWCA (Hackney Independent as of summer 2004) members were amused recently to see a Council spokeswoman give her comments in a Hackney Gazette story where Hackney Independent members and tenants had complained about the Kingsland estate being covered in rubbish. Next to a photo of bin liners piled high across the estate, the Council spkeswoman was quoted as saying the bins were “full but not overflowing.” We never believed a word they were saying. We always said it was just Labour Party propoganda. Now with Councillor Rathbone’s elevation we have the proof.

Winter 2002 Newsletter


How many councillors does it take to change a lightbulb?

The IWCA survey in Haggerston last year proved what everybody knows: that crime and anti-social behaviour is the biggest single issue in the ward. If you have not been directly affected by crime then it has probably affected one of your friends or family. This isn¹t whipping up the fear of crime ­ this is how we are living.

Tony Blair famously said that a New Labour government would be “tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime.” Recently a series of measures to punish the perpetrators of anti-social behaviour was unveiled. But much of this is like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted.

How can Labour seriously claim to be tough on the causes of crime in inner-city areas like Hackney when its local councils are cutting the resources that we depend on to ensure that young people don¹t get involved in crime in the first place?

This is not to excuse anti-social behaviour. Muggings, assaults and lesser offences make our lives a misery and should not be tolerated. But any serious solution must recognise that without access to real opportunities some young people will start to offend.

In the current issue of Hackney Today our New Labour mayor tells us that the solution to tackling crime is “by fixing or upgrading street lights and putting in CCTV in high crime areas”. This really is an insult to our intelligence. It is not just that CCTV does hardly anything to reduce crime (as government reports acknowledge). It is that New Labour also presides over the slashing of resources that would go some way to preventing young people involving themselves in crime. You just have to turn the page to see how this is happening in Haggerston.

Hackney Council cuts are causing crime.

Improved street and estate lighting would not solve all our problems but we do know that muggers prefer to operate in the dark and reports show that lighting can be an effective way of reducing criminal activity. The mayor says he wants to improve street lighting. However we don¹t believe that Labour will prioritise working class areas.

That¹s why the IWCA is launching a campaign to improve the lighting in this area. It will be the main subject at the ward meeting in December. (see box below). Come along and support the campaign. We will be contacting every tenant and community group, as well as the schools, asking for their support.

And we need to hear from you. We want you to call and tell us the blocks where the lights haven¹t been working, where the darkest spots are, and if you want to help with the campaign. You can leave a message on 7684 1743.

Together we can force this council to fulfil its responsibilities ­ by lighting up Shoreditch.

Haggerston News Updates


We reported in the last issue of this newsletter, that the Haggerston One O¹Clock Club, which is based in Haggerston Park, was due to close next year ­ due to having it¹s funding withdrawn.

The good news ­ Hackney Council has given it another year¹s funding. The bad news ­ What will happen to this valuable local service, if it can¹t get funding after that ?

We have consistently stated that Hackney Council should fulfil its obligations and fund groups like this, for the long term. Otherwise how can they plan for the future, and look to expand on and improve the services they currently offer ­ if they are continually victim to this short-term funding mentality ?

Ok, they may be able to get money from the central government Sure Start initiative (which is aimed at families with children 0-4 years of age), but this will not run for ever, and again it lets the council off the hook.

These alternative funding regimes are all well and good, but more often than not they are used to fill gaps in the existing services, rather than improve and provide new ones, which is what they are supposedly intended for ­ where¹s the logic in that ?


Mixed news from the Apples and Pears adventure playground. Earlier this year the IWCA backed the parents¹ campaign to stop the Council selling off their site for a housing development. The Council dropped these plans, but then has tried a new way of forcing Apples and Pears off the site ­ by bringing in a high rent and cutting their grant.

The Council tried to get a £1000 a year rent, with a review after two years. Bear in mid that until now there was no rent to pay ­ and why should there?

The Apples and Pears went to court and got a new seven year lease with no rent review. Bu they still need to raise the £1000 rent each year.

The Council was trying to get the Apples and Pears to run on a grant of £10,000 for 6 months. Through campaigning the parents got this increased to £20,000. This might seem like a victory ­ but again bear in mind that they used to get £40,000 for 6 months ­ so it is actually a cut of 50% – and the council want them to keep opening for the same hours for this money.

The IWCA supports the parents and believes the Council should bring back the full £80,000 a year grant, stop charging them rent and look to give further one-off grants to improve the facilities.


During the Mayoral elections the Haggerston Pool Campaign called a meeting for all Mayor candidates to ask their views. Only one candidate did not promise to re-open the Pool.

You¹ve guessed it ­ Labour¹s Jules Pipe. He then got elected as Mayor ­ with 10% of the vote.

The New Deal (or “Shoreditch Our Way”) continue to push the proposal to put private flats into Haggerston Pool. This issue was discussed at the New Deal¹s Area 4 Forum ­ covering all the estates around the Pool like St Mary¹s, Kingsland and Fellows Court. The Forum voted against the plan for private flats. What was the response of £65,000 a year New Deal Director Michael Pyner? “I¹m ruling nothing out.”

And they keep telling us that the New Deal is community-led. Community mis-led more like. The IWCA will continue to fight along with the wider community to re-open Haggerston Pool with no private flats on the site.


IWCA members toured every estate in Haggerston one week after the bin strike and found that many were still suffering the effects. Yet our inspection of surrounding street properties found no major problems. Lets be clear – we have no problem with Bin workers striking for more pay. The issue here is that yet again the council has put the maintenance of estates second.

“It was no surprise to us that the Council had left the estates till last as usual, while putting the needs of those in big houses around London Fields first. After all that¹s where the Labour vote is these days” stated the IWCA¹s Carl Taylor in the Hackney Gazette (November 21st).

“IWCA policy is that the estates should be cleared first. This is not just because we always put the needs of the working class first. It also makes sense to us that if 40 flats share one communal bin area you clear that before someone who has their own front and back garden and has a chance of managing their own rubbish.”

Kingsland Estate Tenant & Resident Association Chair Anna Maria Mari echoed the IWCA position. Standing with IWCA members and Kingsland Estate residents by a pile of rubbish that had piled up over the previous two weeks, she stated “We¹ve had enough. We¹re fed up with being at the end of the line. The Council isn¹t managing our estate properly. We¹re considering managing it ourselves.”

Margaret McTernan, pictured with her children Shannon and Sean McCarton said she thought that it was “disgusting” that the rubbish had been left for so long.

The IWCA¹s Peter Sutton said it was ” a disgrace and a health risk” that the Council had left the huge pile of rubbish at Hebden Court, Kingsland Estate. While this was the worst case, estates across the Ward were left with piles of rubbish. Peter criticised the local Labour councillors, “The IWCA may have narrowly lost the election in Haggerston to Labour, but where are our Labour councillors now? We¹re the ones going around the Ward, taking up local issues and campaigning alongside the community. What did Haggerston¹s Labour councillors do about the Council¹s failure to clear the rubbish from our estates?”

After pressure from residents, the tenant association, the IWCA and an article in the Gazette, the Council finally cleared the rubbish 13 days after the strike ended.

Hawksley 2 Orange 0

The ever-vigilant residents of Hawksley Court Estate, in Albion Road, Stoke Newington, have been out on the streets again.

This time, they have managed to prevent contractors on 2 occasions from gaining access to the estate to erect a mobile telephone mast for Orange. On the last successful blockade a few weeks ago, residents waved placards with the clear message “Hawksley 2 ­ Orange 0”.

Unfortunately, the new Mayor of Hackney, Jules Pipe, has decided to get in on the act, and showed his face on one of the blockades. Full of bluff and bluster, he issued a statement saying, “Once again I call on Orange to take the moral course of action and not enforce this contract. Otherwise I will be joining local residents in physically seeking to prevent them from getting onto the estate”.

He also goes on to add that the council “MISTAKENLY” signed the contract, which allowed companies like Orange and BT to install these masts on a number of housing estates across the borough. We would argue that Hackney Council “DELIBERATELY” signed these contracts, because it was desperate to get it¹s hands on the few thousands of pounds being offered by these companies, to install these masts on council property. Also, if it means a few working-class people getting ill due to the radiation that comes from them ­ who cares ­ certainly not the likes of Jules Pipe.

Finally, if Orange and the other mobile phone companies are to be permanently prevented from carrying out these installations, it will be down to the hard work and organisation of residents on this and other Hackney estates ­ not a few fine words from the new Mayor of Hackney.


No sooner was New Labour leader Jules Pipe elected as Hackney¹s Mayor than we hear of plans to start charging “market rents” for using the borough’s community halls. The impact this will have on groups who use the borough’s rooms and halls ­ whether for keep fit for pensioners or martial arts for youngsters, prayer meetings or line-dancing ­ is predictable. A lot of very ordinary but worthwhile activities will stop altogether if participants cannot afford to shell out.

A special case has been made for political or lobbying groups; they will not be able to use the halls AT ALL whether they can afford to or not. The IWCA uses halls and rooms in Haggerston and Hoxton to run benefit and housing surgeries for tenants and residents and local residents have made use of community halls to organise campaigns protesting against the council¹s inaction over abandoned cars or the closure of Laburnum school.

If Labour’s proposals go through they will have put another significant barrier in the way of people who want to organise to resist cuts and campaign for improved local services.

If you use a community hall for any activity and want to know how this will affect you then contact the council and ask them. Let us know what response you got by leaving a message on 020 7684 1743 letting us know what group you are from and which hall/room you use.

We almost forgot to tell you…

Stuart Craft became the IWCA’s first councillor, when he was elected to represent the Blackbird Leys Estate, on the outskirts of Oxford.

There were also very good results for our other candidates who stood in Islington and Havering. On average we gained over 25% of the vote in every area the IWCA stood.

Hackney IWCA election candidate, Peter Sutton, said, “This was a great result in Oxford, and the IWCA in Hackney and the other areas will be looking to build on this success in the 2006 elections”.

He went on to add, “We are now concentrating our efforts on getting more local residents involved in the organisation, because the bigger we are, the more effective we can and need to be, in this area. So, if you like what you read in this newsletter, and you think things need to change for working-class people in Haggerston, please get in touch with us.”


The victory of the Labour candidate, Jules Pipe, in Hackney’s mayoral election now gives them a 33 seat council majority, two MPs and a national Government. Hackney ­ or what is left after large parts of it have been handed over to a series of unelected bodies – is now completely under Labour control. Years of incompetence and corruption have led to the borough being massively in debt. One of the solutions to this problem has been to brutally cut and privatise services. Almost no area has been left untouched, apart of course from the salaries of senior council staff such as Chief Executive Max Caller and his councillor chums. (The latest kick in the teeth is the revelation that councillor salaries are set to soar.)

One other solution, part of the council’s long term plan for the borough, is to replace the working class majority with a higher earning and higher spending middle class. Fewer undesirable working class people means the council has to provide less of the services these undesirables use: nurseries, health care, school places, council housing. This social cleansing of Hackney’s most deprived areas is the reality behind all the talk about regeneration and New Deals.

Every public service in Hackney ­ like many at a national level ­ has been looked at closely with an eye to privatisation, excepting those that have already been closed down or those that cannot yet be legally farmed out to the private sector. For example, in a Council press release entitled “Exciting Improvements to Hackney Leisure Centres”, Labour outline the handing over of parts of Kings Hall and Britannia leisure centres to company Leisure Connection to turn them into private fitness clubs. We are assured that this will provide an “affordable fitness solution”. But as the IWCA asked in a recent letter to the Hackney Gazette: “Are prices going to be affordable to all sections of our community”?

In Shoreditch we have seen Haggerston Pool close with no commitment from Labour to reopen it. Local facilities are constantly under threat of grant cuts or closure. The extension of the privatisation of housing management and the stock transfer of whole estates hangs over the area. Public land is being auctioned off ­ sometimes at give-away prices ­ for developers to build yuppie flats.

Prior to the elections in May, Labour had very little to say about their plans for cuts and sell-offs.

Perhaps if they had been honest about what the council was going to do with Apples & Pears and Laburnum School our three Labour councillors would not have been elected. But of course, the Lib-Dems and the Tories are no better. The Tories¹ national record and the Lib-Dems¹ privatisation of neighbouring Islington¹s council services provides more than enough evidence of what their agenda¹s really are.

The IWCA is the real opposition to Labour in Haggerston. We came close to taking at least one of their seats in the May elections having said very clearly that we supported the campaign to reopen Haggerston Pool and opposed cuts in local services.

The IWCA’s priorities for Shoreditch could not be more different to New Labour’s. Our concern is for the ordinary people of this area ­ where we live and how we are living ­ not to try to solve our problems by either pretending they don’t exist or farming off much-needed facilities to the private sector.

Space to Breathe?

Photo of the green on Acton estate. This is the only open space on the estate.

Hackney Council had plans to sell it to developers to build houses on it.

Before the election Labour Councillor David Young won a lot of support by getting the site taken off the Council’s disposal list.

Now that the election is safely out of the way, and there is not another one due for four years? The land is back on the disposal list.

Labour Councillors Claim Abandoned Cars Are "Priority"

In this week’s Hackney Gazette, Labour councillors from Stoke Newington have gone on record as claiming that abandoned cars are a priority for them. Might there be just a touch of political opportunism about this statement with the Council Elections so close and Labour desperate to cling onto power in the council chambers? We think so. Surley Labour councillors who are already in power should be dealing with problems like this day in day out, not just at election times?

IWCA (Hackney Independent) spokesperson Peter Sutton, who is standing as a candidate in Haggerston ward, said today “It’s laughable that Labour councillors should claim this as a priority when they have done nothing about the problem since they’ve been in power. As anyone who knows what life is like on Hackney’s estates could tell them, the problem of dumped cars has got steadily worse ever since the Council started charging for their removal. The IWCA (Hackney Independent) has been active on the issue of dumped cars since September of last year, reporting them regularly to the council and posting details up on our website to shame the council into acting. We only ever see our Labour councillors when they’re scrounging for votes at elections, but the IWCA (Hackney Independent) – whether we win or lose at these elections – will be here all year round acting on the issues that local people tell us are their priorities”.

IWCA Slams "Misleading" Labour Election Leaflet

Community activists from Hackney Independent Working Class Association (Hackney Independent as of 2004) have slammed a Labour election leaflet distributed in Haggerston Ward. The IWCA – which is standing candidates in the ward – have accused Labour of trying to mislead potential voters.

“In the leaflet – the Haggerston Rose – Labour are claiming to have solved problems that they themselves caused,” said IWCA (Hackney Independent) activist and candidate Carl Taylor. “And they have claimed that things are getting better when all the evidence is that they are getting much, much worse.”

The leaflet claims that the £30 million secured by the council from central government has ended the threat to libraries and nurseries, that Labour were responsible for terminating the costly ITNet revenues and benefits contract and that they have brought improvements to schools, street cleaning and social services.

“The news that the threat to libraries and nurseries has been ended must be news to workers and users,” said Carl Taylor. “Each week in the Gazette we read about the ongoing libraries dispute and renewed threats to existing nursery provision. The ITNet contract was brought in by Labour in the first place and they were forced to sack them only in the face of the anger and misery of Hackney tenants. Thanks to Labour, ITNet nearly bankrupted this borough. Rather than claim credit for sacking them they should be apologising to all of us for their own incompetency. The massively overspent Service Team street cleaning contract and the Initial school meals fiasco shows that they haven’t learnt anything from ITNet. As for social services, how can anyone claim that reducing home care for the elderly and cutting Freedom Passes to the disabled are ‘real improvements’!?”

The IWCA (Hackney Independent) have also condemned labour councillors claims to have ‘worked hard to keep open the Apples & Pears Adventure Playground’. The IWCA’s Peter Sutton – another election candidate in Haggerston Ward – said “the only reason this valuable site is under threat in the first place is because Labour councillors are determined to sell off our facilities. Apples & Pears was only saved from the hammer at auction because volunteer workers and parents got a court injunction which has delayed the sale. Are Labour now saying they have no plans to sell the site, or do they intend to push the sale again after the election when it will be less electorally damaging? Whatever their plans are they should come out and say so. No wonder people are increasingly fed up with this kind of dishonest ‘politics’.”

The IWCA (Hackney Independent) believes that Labour’s claim that they will ‘continue to stick up for local people and vital community facilities’ is nothing more than a joke, and not a particularly funny one. “Labour’s record on community facilities is abysmal,” said Peter Sutton. “They have broken their promise in their last newsletter, put out over a year ago, to reopen Haggerston Pool. Why should people believe what they read in this one? We share people’s frustration at this kind of ‘economy with the truth’ and are committed to campaigning with local people to prevent more cuts and sell-offs. We will continue to do so whatever happens at the elections. Fortunately people now have a choice in Haggerston.”

The men who failed the voters

From the Evening Standard:
Two men, above all, bear responsibility for the failure to halt Hackney’s descent into chaos: Jules Pipe, leader of the council, and managing director Max Caller.
Mr Pipe is a journalist who moved to Hackney in 1993, became a councillor three years later and was elected leader of the Labour group in February 2000. He is a committed Blairite and when the Labour group took control in May last year the council adopted a New Labour stance.One of his goals is to stop Hackney being an embarrassment to the Government, but success is proving elusive. He has tried to plug gaps in the council’s shaky management structure and appointed new teams to take over key functions, including the administration of housing benefit, a continuing source of difficulty after an experiment with a private contractor ended in disaster.

He says he needs time to sort out Hackney’s problems, but many residents are unimpressed by what they have seen so far and Mr Pipe’s majority of five may evaporate in this May’s elections.

His popularity took a sharp dive when he personally intervened to halt a sit-in by parents at two popular nursery schools threatened with closure in a round of spending cuts. One parent said: “He gave us to understand that the schools would not be closed and we called off the occupation.” Soon after, both nurseries were shut and offered for sale.

Mr Pipe has given stalwart support to Hackney’s managing director Max Caller, known widely throughout the borough as “Mad Max”. Mr Caller was the former chief executive at Barnet and applied for the Hackney job after reading an advertisement which warned applicants that Hackney had “an absence of coherent political leadership, a disconnection between strategy and operation, poor financial management and a lack of focus on basic services”.

Mr Caller, who earns £150,000 a year, says he is doing his utmost to tackle these problems, although many feel his best is not good enough. When he turned 50 last summer, a group of Hackney residents arrived at the town hall with a birthday card that suggested he take early retirement.

According to town hall lore, he is preoccupied by concerns over his personal security after a number of threats. He has a secure car parking space and an elaborate alarm system at his home that is said to have cost the council £40,000.

Labour Halves Social Housing

From Housing Today, 12/4/01:

Labour has halved social housing construction and doubled the rate of transfers since ousting the Conservatives in 1997. This finding emerged in a pre-election analysis of the three main parties’ housing plans for the Housing Quality Network. Consultant Tim Dwelly noted in his report that in 1997 Labour gave no pledge on investment in new homes and no housebuilding targets. “That is just as well, as the government has built half as many scial housing units as the last Conservative administration,” he wrote. Dwelly notes that stock transfer has more than doubled under New Labour.

“Labour did not pledge in 1997 to ‘halve housebuilding and double privatisation’ but that it what it has done,” he told network members. All three parties gave little space to housing in their last general election manifestos. Dwelly argues that it is only a slight exaggeration to say that the view of parties’ strategists is, “we are all home owners now, except you lot that don’t really vote. “He said it is “hard to identify any major battlegrounds on housing between Labour and the Tories.”

Note: the Housing Quality Network is entirely made up of professional housing managers – there are no tenants or community activists involved. This, for once, is an honest view from the inside of the housing world.

letter in Hackney Gazette 16th November 2000

New Labour errand boy, Luke Akehurst, claims that the Gazette got it wrong in reporting the views of Hackney Labour Party. The issue is whether or not central government is going to be asked for more money during the current crisis. Anyone who can get on the internet can read what Labour is telling its own members on this subject. The IWCA was recently leaked an internal newsletter and you can read it in full here.

Leaked Labour Newsletter

A leaked Labour newsletter has come into our possession, showing what the party really thinks about the current crisis in Hackney Council. We reprint it below:


Scare stories, downright lies …. and other news

‘Shut down Hackney’, say a group calling themselves Hackney Fightback. Jules Pipe, leader of the Labour Group on the Council, made his feelings fairly clear when he walked into GC crumpling one of their posters.

It is, of course, all because of the Section 114 notice, served by the Borough Treasurer when it became clear that the Council was set to overspend. It gives Councillors 21 days to come up with a balanced budget. Meanwhile it freezes all but essential spending.

Hence the front page story of sit-ins by parents and children furious at the sudden closure of Fernbank and Atherden Road nursery schools. Hence also an emergency resolution tabled at GC which began with concern about some of the effects of the notice, urged the seeking of government cash and ended by calling on the Labour Group to urgently reconsider its alliance with the Conservative Group and not to support any further privatisations, job losses or cuts in services.

Before that debate even began, Diane Abbott had spoken with some vigour about the way the nursery closures had been handled. You simply cannot, she said, hand a working mother a letter at five o’clock on Friday, telling her that on Monday she’ll have to take her child to another nursery half an hour’s bus ride away. Diane had been to the sit-ins. The parents were not left-wing agitators, they deserved better treatment. They had even offered to pay for the sacked staff. Why did not Councillors go and talk to them ?

In fact, Cllr Jessica Crowe had been to talk to them. Also, as the staff in question did not have continuing contracts the S 114 automatically made it illegal to employ them, wherever the money came from.

By this time there was heat in the debate. Jules Pipe stepped back from the highly-charged detail and gave the broad picture. There was nothing new about this year’s overspend. Transforming Hackney, voted in against Labour opposition, had created a financial obscurity in which officers, without intending to do so, annually overspent by some £15 million. The difference this year was that a team of seconded officers under the new managing director had identified the problem, which by law forced them to serve the 3.114

But speaker after speaker argued that the scale of cuts envisaged was simply untenable in a borough like Hackney. The emergency motion urged the Group to explain this fact to government ministers and seek an extra injection of funding.

Jules Pipe, and others, thought it naive to suppose the government would bail the borough out without the Council taking steps to put its house in order first. As to the impact of the 3.114, Jules Pipe said the media had carried scare stories or downright lies. There was NO truth in stories that schools could not buy toilet paper or use fax machines, that social workers could not use interpreters, that the mobile library had been forbidden to buy petrol, that parents of disabled children had been asked to pay for school transport, or that pensioners had been left without heating.

Diane Abbott came in for criticism from Cllr John Hudson, who felt that in media appearances she might have been supportive of the Labour position. Many people still believed Labour controlled the Council, and Diane, John Hudson argued, should have pointed the finger of blame where it lay – at the Transforming Hackney programme and those who backed it.

An unrepentant Diane retorted that if she had to choose between support for an embattled Council and working mothers who were getting a raw deal, she would back the mothers every time – that was what she went into politics for. By this time GC had before it an amendment to the original resolution, which managed in a few brush strokes to turn it through something like 170 degrees, and it was this form of the resolution that it eventually adopted, taking a position which was broadly supportive of the Group’s efforts, rather than pressurizing it…

…This(Hackney Wick) is the fifth successive by-election that Labour has won in Hackney, and Jules Pipe sees it as a tribute to the election campaigning of the Labour Group and dedicated party members, as well as a vindication of the responsible actions of Labour in the Council.

The victory gives Labour 30 seats out of 60, and brings that much closer the prospect of restoring political leadership to a Council that has been hung since 1996.

So, while residents of Hackney suffer from the freeze on new spending and wait to hear which vital services will be cut, the Labour Party – and especially Jules Pipe – see the whole situation as a chance to win political advantage. Diane Abbott is the only person to come out of this leaked newsletter with any credit , but then it’s her Labour government that has failed to properly fund local government in the first place. Maybe her time would be better spent putting pressure on the government to increase funding to what is one of the country’s poorest boroughs.

Cllr Jules Pipe seems prepared to put his own political career before the interests of the working class in Hackney. He won’t even ask for more government money until Hackney has put itself in order – which presumably means closing down all the most vital services. But that’s alright, because we all know who’s to blame…don’t we ?