The Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV) is on the ropes. The HDV would have seen seven estates redeveloped in a £2 billion deal affecting 4,000 households.
On Tuesday the Labour National Executive Committee (NEC) voted unanimously to ask the council leadership to stop its plans.
However, rather than just ordering the end of the project, shadow communities secretary Andrew Gwynne was also asked to lead a mediation process with pro-HDV Haringey council leader Claire Kober.
Now an emergency full council meeting has been called for Wednesday 7 February following a motion by the Lib Dem group on the council.
22 Labour councillors voted against the HDV at a recent internal Labour Party meeting—the Haringey Labour Party’s position is against the HDV. If they and the eight Lib Dem councillors vote against the plan it will fall.
Previously the anti-HDV councillors would not vote against the leadership for fear of losing the whip.
The NEC vote changes that.
Labour Party member and Stop HDV campaigner Phil Rose spoke to Socialist Worker about what it means for the campaign in Haringey.
“This has effectively given anti-HDV councillors the green light to vote against the HDV,” he said. “We need to reassure them and put political pressure on them to remind them this is an opportunity to end the HDV.”
A protest has been called outside the council meeting on 7 February to increase that pressure.
And more mobilisations are needed. The council’s monitoring officer has argued that a full council meeting does not have the authority to overturn a cabinet decision.
The battle against the HDV has been cast as just an internal fight within the Labour Party by the mainstream media.
The purpose of that is to portray the campaign against the HDV as an ideological attack on the right of the party by a left emboldened by Jeremy Corbyn’s successes. The right wants to split rooted activists and trade unions away from people becoming involved in politics, in some cases, for the first time.
That couldn’t be further from the truth. Ordinary people have been fighting for their homes.
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“The media like to make out that it’s the left which are ideologically motivated but in fact it’s the right that are acting irrationally,” said Phil.
The attacks from the media make it doubly important to continue that fight on the streets. The news from the NEC is a victory—but if it hadn’t made the decision the fight would have continued.
The campaign has focused on mobilising local people, bringing hundreds on to the streets and pressuring councillors to oppose the HDV.
There’s a chance of victory if the pressure continues, now is no time to let up. And a win here would have implications for the state of working class housing across Britain.
“Grenfell has made a difference, what’s happening in Haringey makes a difference, the Carillion scandal makes a difference,” said Phil.
“I think people have had enough and are starting to think we need more council housing.
“It’s the cheapest way of housing people because you get the money back in rent.
“The fact is that council housing pays for itself, we’re told that it’s subsidised but it’s not. This is a lie we need to nail.”
The fight to stop the HDV has shown that a strong campaign with links to trade unions and unity across the left can force back the redevelopers.
The first spark was ordinary people getting organised and starting a campaign. Without protests on the streets and leafleting estates the HDV would not be at this position.
March and rally for the emergency council meeting, Wednesday 7 February, 5.30pm, Ducketts Common, Haringey, N15. March to Wood Green Civic Centre. Hosted by The Two Billion Pound Gamble. Details at facebook.com/events/193569801386170/