Following my consideration on the origins of West Green's Black Boy name back in the summer, Haringey Council has decided to rename Black Boy Lane in West Green.
The Council have called the exercise a 'renaming consultation', but the online questionnaire offers only the ability to choose from a shortlist of two new names. So it appears that the decision to rename has already been taken with only the choice of name left to be decided.
They have issued the following press release.
The council has launched a renaming consultation with residents and businesses located on Black Boy Lane, as part of the wider Review on Monuments, Buildings, Place and Street Names in Haringey – which was launched on 12 June 2020, in response to the Black Lives Matter movement.
The council believes that the names of our monuments, buildings, places and streets must reflect the values and diversity that we are so proud of in the borough. One of the street names that has been identified as not being reflective of this is Black Boy Lane.
Meanings change over time, and the term “Black Boy” is now most commonly used as a derogatory name for African heritage men.
As part of the consultation, the council is asking residents to consider new alternative names that celebrate some of the borough’s most notable influencers, and truly reflect the borough’s rich heritage.
The two names that have been shortlisted for residents to consider are, ‘Jocelyn Barrow Lane’ and ‘La Rose Lane’. The consultation will launch today, Monday 28 September and will run for a period of 4 weeks to Monday 26 October 2020.
Letters will be arriving on Black Boy Lane residents' doorsteps this week, who can respond to the consultation using one of the following methods:
- Online: www.haringey.gov.uk/renaming-black-boy-lane.
- Telephone: 020 8489 3797
- By post: Consultation Co-ordinator, The Communications Team, River Park House, 225 High Road, Wood Green, London, N22 8HQ
If Haringey residents have concerns or queries about place, street or building names in the borough, please get in touch. Send your views to Leader@haringey.gov.uk.
Dame Jocelyn Anita Barrow (15 April 1929 – 9 April 2020) was a Barbadian/Trinidadian British educator, community activist and politician, who was the Director for UK Development at Focus Consultancy Ltd. She was the first Black woman to be a governor of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and was founder and Deputy Chair of the Broadcasting Standards Council.
John La Rose was a publisher, poet and essayist. He founded the Caribbean Artists’ Movement and publishing company New Beacon Books which has a bookshop in Stroud Green. In 1975, he co-founded the Black Parents Movement from the core of the parents involved in the George Padmore Supplementary School incident in which a young Black schoolboy was beaten up by the police outside his school in Haringey.
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Michael King the Local Ombudsman (LGO) made an interesting comment, as reported in the new edition of Private Eye magazine, The LGO was sharply critical of Sheffield Council in its widely reported and controversial scheme to cut down thousands of trees.
Finding that Sheffield Council had shown "a lack of honesty" and "misled its residents" the LGO made a general point about the imperative for all councils to be honest and open. And that failing to do that risks damaging public trust.
(Private Eye, Rotten Boroughs page. Issue dated 8 November 2020.
The emphasis is my own.)
In the 1970s there was a saying among Women's Movement campaigners:
"How you do it is what you get". The insight from that saying inspired me at the time and has stuck with me ever since.
Let's assume that by deciding to change the name of Black Boy Lane, Council Leader Joe Ejofor wanted to do something which was in tune with the Black Lives Matter protests. In other words, his aim and impulse was positive. In the same way which I hope many people would see the toppling of the And the questioning of other statues elsewhere.
It seems to me that how Cllr Ejiofor set about doing this has caused the problem at least as much as the substantive issue. A "consultation" with incomplete and grossly inadequate information and a foregone conclusion is no consultation at all. Hence loss of faith and damage to public trust.
The issue is: do you want the name changed or not? When you start bringing politics into it, people either switch off or it gets their back up. Start a debate about the whys and wherefores of the Council on another string.
"When you start bringing politics into it, people either switch off or it gets their back up."
This is probably so, but "people" need to realise that it is all politics. Even religion is about politics and power.
Just voting every so often - and some people don't even do that - is not enough. "People" need to engage constantly and try to influence the decisions of our politicains at all times.
Just giving them 'carte blanche' (sic) is what leads to cynicism and frustration.
Of course not everyone has the energy/time/resources/will to do so. But then they shouldn't complain too loudly afterwards if they abdicate.
If the politicians know we are listening/paying close attention and we will react, they would be much more cautious in what they decide.
Deal with the problem in hand - Black Boy Lane - then sort out the Council If you try and deal with both issues at once, you'll lose on both.
The flaw in that assertion is that the renaming of BBL is a symptom, the problem is Haringey politics. Applying palliative measures to the symptom will leave the problem unsolved.
So are you saying that this isn’t about they whys and wherefores of the naming issue but instead is being used by people opposed to the politics of a local authority?
It's plain that the renaming of Black Boy Lane could have been and can be decided as a single stand-alone proposal. In other words a Change-the-name Yes/No involving only residents and businesses along that road.
But just as plainly, the official published information from the Council - inadequate and possibly incorrect it seems - explicitly linked it to several wider issues.
Osbawn - Sorry if I was unclear.
Trying to be a bit clearer, I wrote 'could'. Not 'should' or ‘must'. But if there were some "musts" then at minimum it was absurd & unfair to pretend to have a "consultation" which began with the outcome. And then stumbling-on. Making probably every mistake in a notional good-consultation handbook from undated letters, to lack of translation, to apparent failure to include every address along a long but not impossibly long road.
Also just to say, Osbawn, that I was responding to the suggestion that discussion should have stayed with the Black Boy Lane renaming proposal and not widened out to other issues such as Black Lives Matter.
I pointed out that the "political" issues were not shoved in by people commenting here. They were there at the start of this process - in Joe Ejiofor's and the other letters and on the Council website.
And if we want to think about wider issues, can I recommend a videoed discussion from 2018 presented by the organisation "Intelligence Squared". But don't be put-off by the pretentious name. It was full of lively and informed viewpoints on topics including statues, slavery, and re-learning the history of racism.
The event was pre-Covid and so the four speakers could challenge & debate issues face-to-face. The live audience made some useful and interesting points. The speakers were Afua Hirsch and David Olusoga - who impress me more each time I watch them. Plus Peter Frankopan and Tiffany Jenkins - new to me but also thought provoking.
If you haven't got time to watch the whole video, I suggest dipping-in. You'll probably stay longer.
Afua Hirsch would find racism in an Irish Coffee, her and Olusoga's issues are anti-British and anti-white, I rarely hear mention (if at all) of slavery by the plethora of other nations involved, especially the brutality of some Middle Eastern nations of which Hirsch probably has distant roots. Sadly, the full story is rarely told, if it is it will be rejected because it might dilute the inverted racist agenda and spoil the pick 'n mix history that suits our gutter MSM exploited to the full by the leftist academia and spoon-fed to their banner-waving student acolytes.