Haringey Labour ‘left’ fails to dent progress of HDV

hdv haringey

The judicial review of the Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV) started on 26 October 2017. HDV is a private joint venture between Haringey Council in north London and Australian developers Lendlease to parcel up vast tracts of council-owned land and assets worth £2bn for private development. A final ruling is expected before the end of the 2017.

The local StopHDV campaign initiated the judicial review, questioning the way that the HDV was set up. Thousands of council homes and public resources, including Wood Green library, would be lost under the plan. There has been no meaningful consultation with local residents: the Labour council has made it clear it will ignore Jeremy Corbyn’s call for them to be balloted over redevelopment plans.

StopHDV has put all its energy into a twin approach of backing the judicial review and working to deselect the Labour councillors who voted for HDV. But if the judicial review supports the council’s plan, limiting campaigning to an electoral strategy that places its hopes in anti-HDV Labour councillors, will not be enough. Indeed, council leader Claire Kober, who has driven through the HDV, has just been reselected for her Seven Sisters constituency.

Kober won the reselection vote to stand in the next local elections by 64-19. There were reports that some Labour members in arrears paid up to £1,000 at the door to the reselection meeting in order to be allowed to vote, mostly in favour of Kober, raising the question of possible ‘cash for votes’.

While a handful of councillors have been deselected across Haringey and replaced with anti-HDV candidates, the majority of the Labour council still supports the leadership of Claire Kober. What the failure of this deselection attempt shows is that despite all the talk and press, Momentum and the Corbynites are not able to fight the HDV inside the Labour Party and actually challenge the strong right-wing Labour councils. It will take a real street movement, one that involves the working class communities affected, to challenge the HDV and Haringey Labour council.

As long as activists limit any fight against HDV to an internal struggle within the Labour Party, the working class will be defenceless against the social cleansing threatened against them. The StopHDV campaign has said that if the current judicial review fails they will appeal again, but this will simply delay the process. While the campaign pins its hopes on next May’s council elections, a wing and a prayer is no substitute for a real movement challenging Haringey’s plans right here and right now, built amongst those in the borough with most to lose from the brutal effects of HDV.

Jack Clayton

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 261 December 2017/January 2018

UPDATE - This article was written for FRFI 261 and was published at the end of November 2017. It did not get uploaded onto the website until 12 December 2017. In the time since it was written, additional anti-HDV candidates have been selected, meaning that, according to the Stop HDV campaign, based on their past voting record and statements, there will be 12 pro-HDV and 45 anti-HDV Labour candidates standing for the council in the May 2018 elections.  It remains to be seen whether they will be able to reverse the decision made by their predecessors.  


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