Hackney Heckler issue 9, August 1991


Renewed eviction of squatters is necessary, according to Housing Chair Linda Hibbard, because there are 3,000 families in temporary accommodation.

Yet Linda can hardly accuse anyone of queue jumping. Her stepson jumped straight into an empty flat on the Pembury estate and, surprisingly, the flat never appeared on the vacant properties list!

The Tories also know who to prioritise for local housing need. Themselves! Hackney Tory Chair Joan Hillier has wangled a brand new 2 bedroom flat in Evering Road from government funded Everbrook Housing Co-op. Not exactly homeless, Joan owns her own 3 storey house just around the corner in Nonott Road.

Queue jumping or plain corruption? This is even more sickening since this Tory government has stopped councils from building more homes. They are also pushing the sell-off of estates to private landlords using housing mismanagement by councils like Hackney to boost their argument. This can only mean higher rents and slum conditions. Hackney’s ‘keys for cash’ scandal gives council top dogs the excuse for more victimisation of both residents and employees. Council snoopers hunt ‘non-legal’ residents in all council properties.

When housing workers stage a walk-out after intimidation during the supposed ‘clamp-down’ one worker who tries to organise a union meeting on the issue is threatened with arrest. By threatening to evict people who have been sold keys in the same way as squatters and ‘putting the boot in’ to understaffed, overworked employees, the Council is once again trying to shift the blame from itself!

What we cannot do is to let ordinary workers and residents become the victims of council and government blame shifting. We should refuse to co-operate with housing snoopers, fight intimidation of workers and resist all evictions!

• HOUSING IN CRISIS A PUBLIC MEETING ON Thurs. 5th. September. AT Chats Palace Brookesby Walk Homerton,E8


After the councils last firm of bailifs got sick of wearing armour when they came to Hackney. And almost went bust, trying to collect the poll tax. Their replacements, Gauts, are trying every trick they know,to avoid the same fate. Including threats that they can break in, and steal our worldly goods. THEY CAN’T. Remember, they can only come in if we let them. If they try it we should give them the same reception as the last lot, by sticking together, with friends and neighbours to stop them. If you want more info, on baillifs and your rights, send us an S.A.E.

Janet Jones, former Director of corruption riddled Hackney Housing Department, is now reported to be living in Brazil. We all know how Ronnie Biggs made his fortune but how did Janet come by her loot…

PIOs (Protecting Intended Occupier) are a legal device for removing squatters from flats already allocated to tenants. But dodgy housing officers (and we know who you are D03….) use fake PIOs to throw people out on the street and earn a fortune by letting out the flats at rip-off rents. One high rank-ing housing officer who knows what’s going on is Robert Brewer (D02). Why isn’t he telling the truth?

Cockroach infested flats are not nice. Obvious? Not to the council it’s not. After being taken to court by fed-up Kingshold estate tenants claiming compensation for years of creepy crawly and asbestos misery, the council was ordered to pay compensation. Instead of paying up the council decided to waste thousands more pounds of our money and appealed… It lost again! The tenants were awarded even more compensation. We should all follow this example and make the council pay. If you have suffered enough and want to sue, Hackney Citizens’ Rights Croup at 136/8 Kingsland High Street may be able to help.


Council homes have been privately existent claimants have claimed, and rented, keys have been sold, non-much, much more.

Let’s be honest, who doesn’t fiddle from work? For many people it’s just another way of making life that little bit more survivable.

But some council workers have been well out of order, they’ve been not only screwing the bosses but us as well. They have been exploiting their own class like slum landlords lining their own pockets while thousands of us rot on the waiting list!

The council are doing something! They have suspended some workers and are to start a snooping campaign to find out who lives where and evict those who shouldn’t be there.

But just because people have been suspended doesn’t mean they’re guilty, and people who don’t have a tenancy still need somewhere to live. We’ve got no time for dodgy housing officers. But we’ve got even less time for the council who are using these people as scapegoats to frighten and discipline the workers and to take attention away from the cock-up called housing they’ve created.

Bosses like McCafferty and Finance Director Mike Craig are the real criminals. Not only have they happily passed on massive cuts from central government, shut libraries and stopped repairs, they have also had their fingers in the pie.

Remember that poll tax computer contract Mikey boy, remember your brother-in-law Johnny. Now that’s real crime — crime that McCafferty and Craig are joined in by the government and the bosses.


Hackney E8

Dear Hackney Heckler,

I am writing to say I think the Hackney Heckler is wonderful. When it came through the letterbox over 6 months ago, I thought oh no not another circular, but I read it and I cracked up when you suggested that some council official “very much appreciated calls to his house, his address is…” or words to that effect, and ever since I have always read it. I am tired of the cockroaches, I am tired of the rubbish, and I am tired of middle-class academics (though most of them aren’t because they aren’t that intelligent) dressing up these problems in unobtain-able English which makes them sound as if they are not that bad after all, I like it that Hackney Heckler calls a spade a spade. Keep up the good work.


PS hove your sense of humour, it is hard to laugh when you live in Hackney but you make me do it.


When the bailiffs have failed to enter my home and remove my ‘chattels’, Hackney council will probably take me back to court and I’ll get chucked in jail for being a revolting peasant.

Keeping me in jail will cost the state £300 a week and cost me my job. This will mean that my husband will have to sign on because my earnings support both of us. When I come out of prison I will have to sign on the dole and apply for housing benefit. I will have a criminal record that will make it difficult to get another job. I will have trouble adjusting to being unemployed and will become a bitter individual who will have lost faith in the judicial system. Whilst I am unemployed I will be able to devote more time and energy to activities which attack the system which put me in this predicament in the first place. I am one individual who will probably end up being a state ‘liability’ (ha ha). I will cost the state thousands of pounds. There are millions of us. Sending me to jail will not TEACH me anything, it will confirm what I already know, the system sucks!


Our health is up for grabs with hospitals all over the country being forced to ‘opt out’ leading to huge cuts in funding, job losses and obviously a deterioration in our health.

When we say our health, we don’t mean the middle class who are turning their backs on the NHS with the increase in private health schemes. Wealth = health, as the saying goes! Some say this is the end of a health service which serves the nation as a whole. Rubbish! The rich have always bought their health, from Harley Street quacks to consultants visiting them at home. Our health service has never been adequate, despite the myths about the ‘good old days’. Poor pay and lack of funding has always been a feature ef the NHS under both Tory and Labour governments.

By getting hospitals to become self-financing trusts, the government can blame individual hospitals for inefficiency whilst all the time slashing the level of funding. Advertising and sponsorship are to provide the cash in the future. A top marketing consultant backed by the government suggests “someone like Mothercare could sponsor the children’s ward, and patients would be provided with Mothercare products when they leave the ward.” No doubt they’ll be wanting British Nuclear Fuels to adopt the cancer clinics! The drug companies are already making billions out of our bad health, now others want to get a look in.

The whole thing will end up with the kind of fiasco we have with local councils like Hackney. The govern-ment blames the council, the council blame the government. The government forces cuts, the council carries them out and our services disappear down the plughole. But all is not lost.

Nurses have already organised demonstrations and pickets outside hospitals. We shouldn’t wait for the day we get too ill to complain about the long waiting lists or abysmal service. We need to stand up and fight for a decent health service now, joining demonstrations and talking to friends, neighbours and workmates about the state of the NHS. In the coming months things will be coming to a crunch over the government’s opt out schemes. We should all let it be known to health workers that we will fight with them, even if it comes to strike action, which in the short term may hit us, but in the long term will secure a better health service for us all.


In the aftermath of the well publicised raid, people on the Pembury estate did’nt fall for the “facts” they were presented with.

They saw the siege of their estate and the heavy policing afterwards, as affecting them and not just the so called drugs dealers, and got together to “sort things out”. Diane Abbot attended, and was obviously shocked by what they had to say. Because the next day, she warned the council to guard against fed-up residents,who were thinking of taking over the estate and running it for themselves.

She’s right, they should be scared! When new management practices were introduced, supposedly because of fraud. Council workers saw them for what they were, attacks on themselves, and staged several walkouts. And when the council sacked an employee because he was a squatter, the whole department went on indefinite strike until he was re-instated. Other workers, facing the same fate, have now had the threat lifted.

Yes, they’re scared of us! They know that we smashed the poll-tax and got rid of Thatcher. And we can stop their “plans” for us.

That’s why they keep trying to make us blame each other, it stops us uniting and making “plans” for them. Putting them where they belong – in the dustbin of history!


An international conference for those who want to REALLY change the world. To be held in Hackney September 23rd-27th. For more info write to London Class War, PO Box 467, London E8 3QX

  • Hackney Heckler is a bi-monthly, free news sheet produced by HACKNEY SOLIDARITY GROUP
  • We all live or work in Hackney and are sick of what we see around us and want to do some-thing about it. The Heckler aims to encourage struggle for a decent life for all.
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It’s tighten our belts time again. ‘The country” we are told, “is in deep recession. Wage demands must be sensible.”

Homes are repossessed. Holidays cancelled. Cars sold. Real wages are cut. That’s the reality of a recession for us. Hard times!

What about the fat cats? Are they suffering alongside us? How sensible are the wage increases they award themselves?

Michael Hoffman, chief executive at Thames Water. His pay has just gone up from £41,000 to £157,435. A fast flowing 383%!

Iain Vallence, boss of British Telecom, who has just sacked 20,000 workers and offered those remaining a 6.1% rise. A 43% long distance hike to £536,303. Definitely not working for us!

Robin Leigh-Pemberton, aristocratic governor of the Bank of England. An interest-raising 16.9% (almost sensible by comparison, but still way above anything we are offered) taking his whack to a modest £155,019!

One thing’s for clear, it’s one law for them and another law for us. But we’re happy to introduce some real wealth redistribution. It’s happened before and it will happen again.

In the meantime our first demand must be that our pay increases are the same! We’re sure that everyone reading the Heckler could do with an increase of 383%. We might even moderate our demands to accept 43% all round!

Some people have suggested that one solution is eating the rich. While we can understand peoples’ desires for dishes such as boiled banker, barbecured boss or politician pie, we feel that a much more permanent solution is needed.

This solution puts an end to legalised robbery carried out on us at work, at home and in the shops. It puts an end to these smug fools ordering us about. It’s about giving what we can and taking what we need — it’s about a world based on human need, not the ruthless greed of the ruling class.


If you like the Heckler you might also like our monthly video and discussion nights at the RIO cinema.

Wednesday 26th August. “Partizans” introduce videos on native peoples’ struggles against land exploitation.

Sunday 29th September. Special screening of RIFF RAF to coincide with “Our time will come” conference.

PDF version available here.

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