View from the street: Politics has become very unkind


- Credit: Archant

We have just been told by our Crouch End councillors that they will not be renewing our miniscule £1,000 grant for our carers coffee morning, needed for a day trip to the seaside and other tiny treats.

Ever since the Haringey carers centre was closed abruptly six years ago, we have tried to fill the gap with this lovely, warm, weekly carers group, provided by Abide church.

With over a hundred carers on our books, everything is given voluntarily and generously.

This was our only request to Haringey Council for financial help.

Our carers look after profoundly disabled family members around the clock, often for years, sacrificing their own sleep and health.

Most do not get a holiday or even a respite break any more.

Does anyone actually know what Haringey council is doing with this additional “adult social care precept” we are now paying in our council tax bills?

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None of our three Labour Crouch End councillors will be standing again; one, Jason Arthur, is cabinet member for finance and health.

You would have thought that instead of this parting shot they might radically - compassionately even - have thought ‘let’s leave on a high – why not give those carers their summer trip!’

That they didn’t, with nothing to lose, reveals so much.

It will be interesting to see what emerges in next week’s council elections - because the political parties, both nationally and locally, are so odd right now.

On the one hand we have the Tories, traditionally the party that claimed to understand business, now preoccupied in taking us out of the wealthiest market in the world, risking loss of the City, and long term instability. Like a snake shedding its skin, these days it appears more like a branch of Ukip.

Then we have a Labour Party whose councillors in Haringey have over the last eight years presided over the biggest privatisation of adult social care ever seen - with an apparent notion that there should be no public sector adult social care provision anymore (not even a £1k grant for a carers summer trip!)

The result has been a toxic split between the Labour Group, played out perhaps more dramatically here in Haringey than any other borough.

For as reported in last week’s Ham and High (“The Momentum effect in North elections”) the pendulum has now swung so violently in the other direction that the hard left, emerging from the political shadows, are taking over.

Here in Crouch End we have Charley Allan standing for Labour, a prolific journalist for the left wing Morning Star newspaper.

Steve Jeffreys, also from the left wing of the party, is the new Crouch End Labour Party branch secretary.

There are political wolves in sheep’s clothing on all sides.

I am not optimistic.

Politics has become very unkind, brutal even, in the last decade and right now, whoever wins, it is hard to imagine returning to a kinder time.