COULD the Islington Labour Party be about to dispense with hectoring election leaflets and get us to watch the schmaltz-pie that is It’s A Wonderful Life to properly understand the rights and wrongs of housing policies instead? Pseudo-political tweet of the festive season came from Councillor Alice Perry just when others had downed tools on Christmas Eve. Instead of weeping at Jimmy Stewart’s clunky realisation that the world would be a better place without him leaping from a bridge, she was on hand to explain how the Christmas classic was all about the importance of affordable housing. Sure thing.
If only, then, the film had been repeatedly beamed behind the eyelids of the long train of Labour housing ministers who refused to invest in Camden’s council homes for several years all because tenants refused to be blackmailed into allowing management of their homes to be transferred from local authority control to an independently run Arms-Length Management Organisation (Almo). The housing stock was essentially left to rot because council tenants dared to ask for an affordable roof over their heads run by a democratically elected landlord.
Islington, meanwhile, did get investment by agreeing to the transfer… only for Labour members locally, once they had returned to power, to tire of the Almo idea and move to pull it all back in-house. If only, if only, a guardian angel like Clarence Odbody had intervened in the whole painful farce.