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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!


Can anyone explain to me what's so 'rebel' about Haringey? I feel Haringey is often lagging behind, doing things that other boroughs have done years earlier (e.g. LTNs, but not that I'm promoting them at all). What is Peray Ahmet on about? 


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As I'm sure you know rebels are brave heroes from the past. And possibly in the future. As for now? Well people may be reluctant to incur the disfavour of the Starnac flavour of Leader by expressing disagreement from the official 'line'.

I know of several respected long standing Labour Party members who looked forward to the annual Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival in Dorset marking the courage and solidarity of a group of agricultural Labourers in1834.  (Though solidarity didn't come from all Labour councillors when a rep of a teaching Union was suspended a few years back).

You may know about the proud history of radicalism partly stemming from the Five Mile Act. This led to communities in Hackney, Highgate and Tottenham with  homes and other buildings for Quakers. And for other so-called "non-conformists".

More recently we have positive and creative examples of many thousands of people who migrated here and made enormous contributions to our society. A prominent example was Bernie Grant who was Council Leader and later Tottenham's MP. Was Bernie a "rebel"? In many ways he challenged and widened conventional ways of seeing and doing things.

The infamous Bernie Grant probably isn't someone we should be celebrating. Readers unfamiliar with his anti-Police and racist views might be interested to read about his statements on the murder of PC Blakelock by the mob in the Broadwater Farm riots or about his support for the equally infamous Dianne 'Abacus' Abbott's view that the NHS shouldn't employ white foreign nurses.

"The first black MPs for almost 100 years – Bernie, Abbott and Paul Boateng – walked a tightrope to become selected and then again to get elected, and re-elected. Another candidate, Sharon Atkin, was deselected in 1987 for declaring the Labour party was racist. As they sought to establish the first black presence in parliament, there were huge expectations, and at the same time vicious abuse in the gutter press, intrusion into our families, threats of violence and, at best, condescension from parliamentarians themselves, as they sought to reflect the pressing issues facing the black community."

Thanks Gordon. Yes Bernie Grant was a racist and his comments after the BWF riots of 87 were disgusting considering a Police officer was murdered that night. Only in Haringey do ex nefarious council leaders get buildings named after them, Grant and Meehan being two examples. 

What exactly did he say, Doodle? I'm at a bit of a disadvantage as I wasn't there when he made his comments. All I've got to go on are press reports from outlets who thought it amusing to suggest he was peeling a banana and playing with fruit as he made them. The same press who subsequently claimed with confidence that the riots were instigated by Trotskyist insurgents funded and directed by the Kremlin.

You see my problem, Doodle... I'd be an absolute clown to rely on those sources, so would love to hear your firsthand account.

thanks but is there any indication that this is actually what PA is talking about or your general thoughts?

Haringey has a long history of activism and political dissent. The Haringey Anti-Poll Tax group were very active in the movement that brought down the Poll Tax in 1991. The anti-Poll Tax group reformed as Haringey Solidarity Group and are still active today. There are several long standing local groups doing great work on specific issues, such as Haringey Housing Action Group, Haringey Defend Council Housing, Haringey Migrant Support Centre (and many more). These kind of groups don't exist in many other boroughs or in most places around the country. Currently there is a network of local community groups, activist groups and trade union branches called Haringey Community Action Network, which aims to bring together the various groups working in the borough to support each others work. There are approx 25 community groups involved, plus affiliated trade unions. This group is unique to Haringey, I'm not aware of a similar group in any other borough.

These are just a few examples. You could have a look at this article for more examples of Haringey's history of anarchist and related activism: https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/cvdp18 

Or take a look at the Radical History Network website: https://radicalhistorynetwork.blogspot.com/p/about.html 

I agree with you in a sense though, it seems a bit cheeky that the council would take credit and brand themselves the 'rebel borough' when much of the activity that you could label 'rebellious' was directed in opposition to the council, who are often a bit rubbish. 



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