Wednesday 31 January 2018

Deputy Leader of Barnet Council posts racially charged tweet about Social Housing allocations

The day has arrived when I start to fear for my children's future. The day has come where I see the UK is starting to resemble Germany in 1932. We have a weak government and a truly unstable world scene. That is bad enough, but now we have the Deputy Leader of the Barnet Council tweeting statements that the Leader of the BNP would be proud of.

Had the likes of Councillor Dan Thomas been in power in the last century, both my Grandfather and my Father would have been denied council accomodation, depsite both being war heroes. My Grandfather was an Irishman, who fought for the British Army in the first world war. With his physical health destroyed by mustard gas and his mental health destroyed by PTSD, he was lucky enough to live in a time when Councils were enlightened. They built the Watling Estate and my Grandfather moved the family to a council home Milling Road in Burnt Oak in 1940, taking his six children out of a three bedroom flat in Lady Margaret Street in Kentish Town, where they had lived since the 1930's. My grandfather died at home in 1948. According to Councillor Thomas, my Grandfather, a member of the Irish cavalry, who saw most of his friends mown down by German machine guns, is someone who allegedly "decent people" would not see fit to house.

My father in Flying suit before an RAF mission
Then there is my Father. My father was an Australian. He was born and raised in Blackall, Queensland (a free pot noodle to the first person who can find it on a map). He was home schooled by his mother and a crackling radio. This did not hold him back. When war was declared in 1939, he volunteered to join the Australian Army. After a year, he was encouraged to apply for the Empire Flying Scheme.  He dreamed of flying Spitfires. His lack of formal education did not hold him back. He excelled and passed out with the highest grades of anyone in his intake and was commissioned as an officer. By the time he was qualified, the RAF did not need fighter pilots. Winston Churchill was desperate to bring the war to the Nazi's and my father was trained to fly Wellington Bombers. By 1942, they were old technology, being replaced by the heavier, more powerful Lancasters. Wellington crews were sent to marginal bases. In my fathers case, North Africa to support the 8th Army. They lived in tents and flew in awful conditions. They then moved to Foggia in Italy as part of "The Balkan Airforce", conducting bombing raids against oil fields in Romania, as well as military targets in Germany, Yugoslavia and Italy. My father was shot down and taken prisoner of war on his 40th mission (the end of his tour of duty), escaping Bucharest in August 1944. He returned to the UK and became a flying instructor and air accident investigation officer. He was decommissioned in 1946, but was a member of the air reserve and was called up for the Berlin airlift. My mother had twins in 1946 and then my sister Cath in 1948. Despite my father being an Australian (someone "decent people" wouldn't want to see housed), he was given a Council house in Wise Lane, Mill Hill. He then founded a business in Bunns Lane Works and our family have been running businesses and employing people locally ever since.

My eldest Brothers are technically Australian citizens, despite never having set foot in Australian. They were born when my Father was still a serving officer in Royal Australian Air Force. My Eldest brother Laurie, had his first son, Christopher (who is now a BAFTA award winning animator), whilst living in a Council House by the bus stop in Montrose Avenue. In the 1970's Councils still believed in providing social housing to help young people start families back then. Even for people like my brother Laurie, who was technically a Johnny foreigner, son of a Johnny Foreigner and Grandson of a whole bunch of Johnny Foreginers.

But Councillor Daniel Thomas thinks that "Decent People" do not think my Grandfather, my father or my brother would be deserving of Social Housing. I am a priveliged, spoilt brat. I am the only one of my parents children not born in a Council house. By 1960, my parents were well off enough to buy their own house. I was born in 1962.

Of course, it would be easy for me to say "It's not my problem. My immigrant family did very well out of the system and now we want to pull up the ladder behind us so future immigrants can live in poverty and we can pay a bit less tax, and buy a couple of extra latte's a week". If  I did that, I would hope that all of my dearly departed family members would come back and haunt me and I'd hope my brother would smack me in the face.

I have a question for Councillor Thomas. What right does he have to claim that "decent people" would resent hard working people from having a decent home, just because they are born somewhere else. What right does this person, not born in the Borough of Barnet, or even London or even England, but in Wales have to suggest that there is something "indecent" about my war hero Irish Grandfather or my war hero Australian Dad? I wonder whether he thinks that the large Gurkha population of Burnt Oak, who served the British Army so well are not people worthy of social housing? Then what about all of the foreign national nurses and NHS workers, who make sure that we are treated when we get ill? I have Prostate Cancer. I have had over £40,000 worth of treatment, and I can testify that the vast majority of staff I've seen at Barnet general and UCH are not British.  Do these hero's not deserve social housing? Does Councillor Thomas not realise that if such staff do not have access to social housing, there will be no staff to run the NHS. The same is true of schools and social care.

You may well think that I am a little bit emotional about this. I am. The idea that a man who has contributed nothing to society has the right to suggest that "decent people in some way look down on immigrants, be it war heroes like my Dad or heroes who work in the NHS, Schools etc on low pay is sickening.

In the 1930's and 1940, London welcomed many Jewish refugees fleeing the holocaust. Many of us think we did not welcome enough. Many were given social housing and at the time the bedfellows of Daniel Thomas screamed that they were taking homes from "decent British workers". Last weekend I believe that Daniel Thomas was at the Holocaust memorial service. Did he tell the holocaust survivors that "decent people" would have not wanted them housed.

Councillor Thomas tweet is worthy only of a BNP or a Mosleyite. It is sickening. I intend to do everything in my power to have this man thrown out of the Conservative Party and Barnet Council. I have endured many insults in my life for my views. I have very thick skin, but once you insult the memory of my father and my grandfather, you become an enemy. Councillor Thomas has publicly stated that "decent people" do not think my father worthy, despite his war service.

Councillor Thomas has 24 hours to reflect on his words and apologise to all hard working immigrants that he has demonised. If he is not man enough to do so, then I commit to organising a campaign to remove him and his sickening racism from office.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Roger . Thank you as always for your blog ! I don't think or believe that Dan Thomas is alone in his beliefs within the Tory party , on who they believe to be deserving or undeserving ! He just says it . Bit of Brian Coleman going on here & we all know what happened there don't we . If his fellow members were upset with him then they would have done something there silence means there is tacit agreement with his view . So all I can say Roger unfortunately I think you will be waiting a very long time for any kind of apology .