Wandsworth Council decided not to evict the mother and 8 year old sister of the rioter convicted last week (see my blog entry of 12 January). This marks a victory for sanity against the knee-jerk threats of eviction made by both David Cameron and the Council in August.
It is great news for the tenant and an enormous weight off her shoulders, following what Judge Darling had called the biggest tragedy of the many sentences he had imposed as a consequence of the riots. The Council was forced to recognise just how much the family was a pillar of the local community and to backdown from the gung-ho rhetoric used by the Tory party in last September’s Council Meeting.
From my point of view, opposing the evictions policy as self-defeating and deeply malicious, this family could not have been a better test case. As the judge said last week, the family are “Christian with both a capital and a small c” and an integral part of the community. There will be tougher cases coming forward, no doubt, where the convicted rioters will be more culpable than Daniel and the innocent other members of the family less vulnerable than a single mother and 8 year old. But that will not stop those other members of the family being as innocent as Maite.
I will try and defend them as much as I have done Maite.
PS This WBC decision followed an interview between tenant and local housing manager, where essentially the tenant was being interviewed for her general status as a tenant and very unsurprisingly the local housing manager could see nothing wrong with the tenant’s record as a tenant or any reason why the Council should evict her. The idea that the Council backdown was as a result of pressure from various outside fringe groups is simply farcical. Whether it was partly as a result of the pressure Labour councillors put on the Tories in Wandsworth, only senior officers and senior councillors can really say.
Tony Belton on evictions:
Cllr. Leonie Cooper on evictions: