I was a secret Council/Housing Association Agent…and I didn’t even know it!

As they say in Yorkshire, there’s nowt so queer as folk. You can’t please everyone. One of the lighter moments of our campaign against the sell off of our Council homes to a housing association was a series of text messages I received from one individual who clearly thought that Swindon Tenants Campaign was not up to the job. I’m afraid we couldn’t meet this individual’s exacting standards.

Your leaflet through my door… was a poor attempt”. It should have concentrated on the question of “secure tenure” he thought.

I sent a text back saying why not get involved? Tell us how you think we could improve what we are doing. Back came the message: “If you guys don’t know what ur doing (and it seems you don’t) the Council will run rings round you…”

He’s against transfer, what’s he trying to do, knock our confidence? Anyway the third text mused on the fact that many tenants wouldn’t vote. We apparently needed to find out whether or not those not voting would be counted as Yes votes.

You’re wondering what the fourth text message said, aren’t you? I can sense it.

I did more than my fair share of voluntary work for tenants 20 years ago…I washed my hands of it after seeing corruption on BOTH sides.”

Still, he did wish us luck despite our patent inadequacies.

What happened with the next leaflet? Right on queue, his staccato text messages came rolling in.

Just got your news sheet through the post. You’ve done it again – rabbiting on about KITCHENS when the real issue is about the fatal consequences of losing our ‘SECURE’ tenancies”.

I’m afraid that our material was so poor that by this stage the poor chap was apoplectic.

…are you clowns undercover Council/HA agents?”

Once the initial anger had subsided the second text was a little more forgiving of us. We had to impress upon tenants the difference between ‘secure’ and ‘assured’ tenancies.

And the third text? We needed to consult a ‘friendly’ specialist on Tenancy Law.

And the fourth? We had to contact UNITE. Apparently they have sympathies towards social housing. They know the legal issues of tenancies. “Perhaps they can help?”

And the fifth? He was warming to the theme and had forgiven us our lack of knowledge. Once tenants “are made to truly understand what they will legally lose forever – you’ll win their votes for sure. “But you must move quick – time is short now!”

Alas, as agents of the Council sent to infiltrate and undermine the campaign against ‘transfer’ I’m afraid we were utter failures. The tenants voted 72% against selling off our homes.

For God sake mate why didn’t you just give us ring?

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