The fight against the Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV) continues to expose the contradictions inside the Labour Party.
At a recent internal Labour Party meeting the party’s councillors voted by 24 votes to 22 to push ahead with the HDV.
The £2 billion scheme would see seven estates in the borough sold off to a private developer.
Councillors opposed to the HDV have stayed away from other votes on redevelopments in the council to avoid losing the party whip before the local elections in May.
If the whip is withdrawn it means the councillors wouldn’t have to vote with Labour policy—but they also wouldn’t be recognised as part of the Labour group on the council.
Now the Liberal Democrat group on the council have challenged the anti-HDV Labour councillors.
In a motion calling for an emergency meeting of the full council the Lib Dem leader Gail Engert argues “to stop the current plans to dispose of any Council assets through the HDV.” The motion points to the collapse of Carillion as a reason for reconsidering the HDV.
Joe, not his real name, from Haringey Labour Party spoke to Socialist Worker. He said the Lib Dems were behaving “opportunistically”.
“We’re just months away from an election which could see a raft of Labour candidates elected and an anti-HDV majority on the council,” said Joe.
“I would advise left wing Labour councillors not to take any step which would lead to a pro-HDV council being returned next time round.
“Most of them would not vote in a full council meeting against the HDV. They would have their whip withdrawn, they wouldn’t be allowed to stand at May’s election.
“They would be replaced at short notice by the London region with right wing candidates.
“In tactical terms it would be a stupid thing to do. It’s all about the best way to stop the HDV.”
The best way to stop the HDV would be to strengthen the campaign which has forced Labour councillors to pick a side. That movement, which has brought hundreds onto the streets, has forced right wingers to oppose the HDV.
Labour councillors should use every opportunity to stop the HDV. This means joining the movement on the streets—but also fighting on the floor in the council chamber.
It is wrong to stay away from key votes or hope that the HDV can be stopped at a later date.
However opportunistically the Lib Dems are behaving, Labour councillors should support their motion and others like it.
Further delay could give the right wing enough time to push the HDV through the council.
If voting against the HDV results in disciplinary action, councillors should appeal to the left leadership of Labour’s national executive committee.
The partial defeat of the Labour right has come from outside of the party and the struggle must continue there.