Sunday, 4 August 2013
Migrant Political Activists Support Reverend Paul Nicolson's Anti-Benefit Cuts Stance in Haringey
On Thursday 1 August I operated as Secretary of the non-party-political Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group that benefits Brent & Camden & Beyond, as we say in the KUWG. On Friday I was in Haringey Green Party branding, supporting council tax protester Revd Paul Nicolson of Tottenham outside Tottenham Magistrates Court. Clarence was the face of the KUWG for the photo-shoot attended by a photographer from the Haringey Independent and others — including Tottenham's post thundery shower midges that left me with souvenirs of the occasion today!
The police objected to the idea of people being photographed against the backdrop of the Magistrates Court, and so we had to be photographed with our backs to the main road.
Among those who attended, there was a family from Derbyshire who read of Paul Nicolson's stand in Wednesday's Daily Mirror: “Reverend Paul Nicolson: Retired Anglican vicar ready to go to jail in his battle for poor”. Paul was also supported by Haringey Housing Action/Haringey Solidarity Group people, Claire Glasman and Petra Dando of Camden United for Benefit Justice. Clarence of KUWG was also one of those who went into the court with Paul and Paul's son and daughter. Paul's son joked with me that he had come along to disown his father when Paul gets sent down. (I had told Paul's son that it was great that he was there in support of his father, in contrast with the way that one of Mahatma Gandhi's sons was so disgusted with his own upbringing that he became a Muslim.)
Before going into the court, Paul gave a great speech that follows in the pattern of Martin Luther King's 'I Have a Dream' speech 50 years ago this 28 August, updating and relocating it to mention wiping out the meanness of sanctions, £71.60 a week JSA and low birth weight futures. (There is currently a low birth weight rate in parts of Tottenham that is higher than Turkey's.) Paul concluded by saying that he is prepared to go to prison or to only pay his Council Tax when Haringey Council start using it to genuinely help Haringey residents stay in Haringey. I summarised, "So you are keen to pay for Council services but not Council disservices.
"Absolutely!" he affirmed.
Epilogue: For information regarding what went on in the court, see Jaber Mohamed's report, “Reverend Paul Nicolson uses appearance at Enfield and Haringey Magistrates Court to appeal for leniency for victims of benefit cuts.” And more information regarding , what the Chairperson of Taxpayers Against Poverty's very public stance is about than Chairman of the bench Freddy Lawson could tolerate, go to the Taxpayers Against Poverty website.
By Alan Wheatley of Haringey Green Party and Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group