Friday, 3 June 2011

The Continuing (and Repeating) Story of the Housing Allocations Scandal

If you've been reading the Post over the last couple of days you'll have noticed that they are going with a 'drip drip' style run of articles about the housing allocations scandal.

Yesterday started with this article claiming that 'sports club members' were among those who benefited from a leg-up the housing queue. Having loftily stated that they weren't going to name the club concerned they brilliantly left the comments open (since removed) and within minutes it was full of jokes about 'West Indians' having a 'cavalier attitude' and similar. This article gives a few examples of cases that (allegedly, legal fans) happened. It includes the one where one of the properties was squatted and a group of blokes came round and violently evicted them, using a cricket bat among other weapons. This incident was reported on Indymedia back in 2006.

Today we have a nice description of a couple of cases that JoCo either got involved with, or didn't if you listen to his personal lawyer NCC Monitoring Officer Glen O'Connell. Because of course Collins himself refused to comment for fear of making a twat of himself like he did when the matter came up at a council meeting. Back then he called Tony Sutton a 'prat' and had to be calmed down by Graham Chapman in true "leave it Jon 'e's not worth it" style. That's the Leader of NCC calling an opposition councillor a 'prat', statesmanlike demeanor fans, in flagrant breach of the councillors' code of conduct.

Interestingly, and it may just be a coincidence, last week there was a big PR push in the Post on the 'zero tolerance' of NCH tenants being evicted for drugs activity. It was hilarious, a second article had Richard Antcliff dipping straight into the 'drugs are bad m'kaay?' catchphrase book, claiming that -

"Drugs can literally destroy individuals and communities". 

Bless him. A housing director, Gill Moy, claimed -

"To a lot of offenders, the prospect of going to prison is something they are not scared of, but losing their and their family's home, is a much more powerful deterrent."

This was somewhat contradicted by the main thrust of the article which was that evictions for drugs activities were increasing, which doesn't really suggest that losing their houses was much of a deterrent at all.

I could witter on for hours about the phenomenon of drugs offences occupying a special place in the crime hierarchy requiring an extra sentence of eviction in addition to what you get from the criminal justice system. One of the commenters correctly pointed out that homelessness is likely to increase the likelihood of recidivism and drugs problems getting worse. Clearly high level drug dealing can be extremely disruptive and may subject neighbours to danger but I can't see why having a crafty toke of an evening when you get back to work should result in you ending up on the streets.

But I digress. The killer quote in the context of the allocations scandal was this one from Antcliff -

"Housing is a precious commodity. There are lengthy waiting lists and we want people in properties who deserve them."

Do you think NCC got wind of the Post's campaign and tried to spoil it by throwing this story at them?

And then this afternoon, and bear in mind that he was unwilling to comment on specific allegations of his own conduct in the affair, Collins was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in a press release calling on Nottingham peeps to 'get behind' Carl Froch in his punchy game this Saturday. Got to get those priorities in order and if jumping on a populist bandwagon draws a bit more attention away from those pesky housing matters then that's just a risk he's just going to have to take.

1 comment:

alanadale said...

Interesting that, in the Post article, part of his defence was that he was too busy being leader to attend to ward issues personally and that the housing matters referred to were therefore handled by officers.

So, not only a buck-passer par excellence, but also a pretty crap ward councillor as well.

And his former secretary has apparently disappeared. Perhaps they need to dig up his patio...