Exemplary damages

It’s grovel time folks. I wish to make an unqualified apology concerning last week’s post which left readers with the clear impression that peace and harmony prevails – a rare and unusual thing in itself – on the normally vexed question of money. I have to retract everything I said, which, it transpires, was complete codswallop. And worse still, it may well be that in saying it, I have shot us all in both feet big time.

Oh dear, I hear you say, now what? I regret to report that our landlord, the Marxist-Leninist cabal that runs the People’s Republic of Haringey, has just decided to spruce up its capitalist credentials by doubling our rents from April 2013 – from £45 a year for a typical five-pole plot to £90 a year. Mass disobedience beckons, picket lines must be manned and barricades installed.

A large hole in the ground, similar to the one where all our money's going

A large hole in the ground, similar to the one where all our money’s going

Could all this be my fault? Could the politburo have read last week’s post and decided to cash in on the back of such a sang-froid view of the filthy lucre? Demands for my resignation may well merit serious consideration, if not my head.

All of this, by the way, is supposed to be top secret. I got a tip-off from one of my spies at the heart of the republican machine yesterday (Tuesday), suggesting that I should shift my ass pronto over to their bunker in Wood Green to attend the euphemistically titled “Environment and Housing Scrutiny Panel”. I was told that this could easily be a three-hour meeting, so bang went my hopes of watching Johnny Foreigner thrash the entirely useless Gooners at footy (again).

As it transpired, I was out of there after 25 minutes, but not before I had picked up one or two little nuggets of confusion and told them all what I thought. Not the least of those nuggets came from the mouth of the “lead member for the environment”, Councillor Nilgun Canver (is that an anagram for something?), who advised that £90 a year is not even the price of a modest lunch to the average burgher of this borough, resplendent as they are in their £2 million mansions on the Highgate/Crouch End/Muswell Hill border.

The psephologists amongst us may well affirm this to be the case, but sadly, it drives a coach and horses through Cllr Canver’s own back yard. Those with even the most fleeting understanding of the demographic and/or political make-up of this borough will know that it is split from stem to stern, with Cllr Canver’s Labour-voting benefit-scrounging largely unemployable heartland to the east while on the other side of the tracks (literally) lies the wall-to-wall Lib Dem opposition in the tax-avoiding Chablis-swilling bourgeois west.

So there we have it – what were once referred to as looney lefties seeking to stitch up the stockbrokers with a bill that will be no more than a flea-bite to them while poleaxeing their own hard-pressed supporters in the east with what to many will be a very hefty hike indeed. Regressive? I would say so. A political own goal? Certainly.

As for my own ha’peth, I confined myself to pointing out that the £30,000 that the republic hopes to raise from this raid (no, the sums don’t add up either) will be a drop in the bucket in dealing with the colossal backlog of outstanding infrastructure repairs (costed six or seven years ago at up to £500,000, borough-wide). And that what this amounts to is that we, the tenants of this borough, will in effect be penalised for the decades of managerial oversight, omission and neglect that has left us with such things as the environmental catastrophe that is the Rectory Farm site.

And where does all this leave us? A 50 per cent rent rise over last year and this; next year a 100 per cent rise; and then what? We all knew the flat-cap-and-ferret brigade had long since gone, but at this rate, allotment gardening – once the preserve of the urban peasantry – will become, like so many things, the exclusive preserve of the filthy rich.

Anyone for picket duty then?

Categories: Allotment blog, Allotments, Gardening, Horticulture | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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