Friday, 9 March 2012

Enfield Bowes Ward: "We need good lawyers"

Cllr Alan Sitkin

"The more I think about Pinkham Way strategically, the angrier I get at people who misrepresent the realities of the situation for selfish reasons, and distract us from what we should be doing. David Burrowes MP, for instance, has been shamefully dishonest in continuing to intimate that it is productive for activists to expend energy at the level of Enfield Council, when he must know that this has absolutely no bearing on the outcome of Pinkham Way.

"The simple reality is that Enfield is a mere consultee on the proposal, meaning that the first real decision-making body, Haringey, is free to listen or ignore whatever we say. The same applies to us Bowes Labour councillors - the three of us have been opposing the Pinkham monster vociferously from the very outset, but it would weaken the cause if we were to overegg the importance of our work. Someone has to be an adult in this conversation, if we are to strategize advantageously!

"Even Enfield's position as a member of the North London Waste Authority is inconsequential. There are seven different authorities that make up the NLWA executive, and the vast majority are in favour of Pinkham Way because they're happy to fob their waste on us. We can only beat our enemies if we analyse their intentions (and strengths) dispassionately.

"So where are we and our fellow travellers most likely to exert power? If we could roll back the clock, one of Barnet Councillor Brian Coleman's fellow North London Tories would have stopped him from kickstarting the Pinkham monster in the first place. 

 "Long ago, I asked David Burrowes to try this, and he grinned back at me in his usual moonbeam manner, and did precisely nothing. Easier to let bad things happen, and then blame them on the other side, when the Tories lose control of Enfield Council.

"No help there, then.

"Now, my scenario is that, irrespective of what Haringey decides, this thing is going to get kicked upstairs to City Hall. As I've said many times, if Haringey says no, the NLWA will appeal; if Haringey says yes, the Pinkham Way Alliance will appeal. This thing is going to the Mayor.

"This indicates in turn that what the campaign needs now, 1000 times more than street protests and mutual recriminations (in Enfield, of all places!) is good lawyers, capable of making convincing arguments based on points of law. And this costs money.

"My understanding is that there is a possibility of good-hearted solicitors helping for free or cheap, but reviews are generally expensive. The question then becomes whether the Alliance has the funds for this final stage...

"I now believe that our short-term efforts might best be expended in fundraising. Is that being done? I'd be grateful if someone could tell me.

"Last word of caution. A similar situation arose a little while back in London Borough of Merton and Boris Johnson decided, after appeal, to build the waste plant in a residential area. Another reason to be angry at the duplicity of the Conservatives in this whole sorry affair (and maybe vote Ken). But these are secondary wars. Let's keep our powder dry for the real battle ahead."

Cllr Alan Sitkin
Bowes ward 
(includes letters from the NLWP and from Enfield Planning Policy)

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