Housing Vote update – A BALLOT WE CAN WIN
You will probably be aware that the ballot on whether or not to sell off our houses will go ahead. The Stage 2 letter informing tenants of the ballot has probably been sent out today. It was written and dated November 22nd, even before the Council had made a decision last night. As far as I am aware the ballot paper itself will go out next Monday, November 28th.
The ballot period is from December 1st to December 31st.
The feedback from the ‘consultation’ was reported to last night’s Council meeting. According to this 1,442 people sent back reply cards, although curiously there are no figures for other forms of reply.
The responses were said to be: 646 indicating they wanted to stay with the Council, 661 set up Swindon Housing Association, 107 not sure, 28 prefer not to say.
Even if you accept these figures can be trusted the least that can be said is that the Council’s massive propaganda campaign has not produced a brilliant result for them. Those people who thought that the Yes vote was in the bag have been proved wrong.
Given the 11% response it would be foolish to predict the outcome. However, from all our feedback and contact with tenants all over the town we know that the low level of response reflects a number of different attitudes.
- Some tenants who do not pay rent consider that the outcome will make no difference to them and will probably not bother to vote.
- Some tenants have not responded because they object to the Council asking them which way they are likely to vote.
- Some tenants have told us that they have told the Council they have not made up their minds but that they will be voting No.
- Some tenants think the Council will fiddle the vote so it does not matter whether they vote or not. This is the view that “it’s done and dusted”.
- Some tenants think that the Council will “do it anyway” even if a majority vote No.
My instinct is that there are likely to be more No voters who have not responded to the consultation than people who are likely to vote Yes, though, of course, this could be wrong.
The least that can be said is the feedback shows that opponents of transfer have a chance of winning the ballot. I am personally convinced that a majority of tenants are opposed to transfer. The only question is whether most of them will vote. Such is the level of disenchantment with the powers that be that some people believe that the Council will go ahead with the transfer however the tenants vote. We have to continue to explain to them that this is not true. A transfer can only go ahead if a majority of tenants vote in favour of it. This is the message of our final leaflet which can be downloaded from the website (https://keepourcouncilhomes.wordpress.com/downloads/ Click on ‘dontwastevote‘).
So there is everything still to play for. We would therefore appeal to tenants who are opposed to transfer to keep up their conversations with neighbours and families and try to maximise the No vote. We will be giving out this leaflet at various places around the Council estates for the next couple of weeks. If you can help with leafleting please let us know as soon as possible. If you would like us to send you some leaflets email us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
The Council’s campaign has definitely angered quite a lot of tenants who consider that they have been harassed. They have been inundated with material – Housing Matters, the DWA leaflet, the ‘offer document’, the DVD. They have had Council staff knock on their doors, they have had Council staff phone them up, and even text them. They may well have overdone it.
To those who have helped out with our leaflets, or simply tried to persuade tenants who they come into contact with, to vote No, our thanks. We need to sustain a ‘final push’ at least for the first two weeks after the ballot papers go out. Make no mistake this is a ballot that we can win and secure our Council tenancies. Swindon needs to maintain its Council housing and campaign for the building of more of it.
I have read in today’s (23rd Nov 2011) Swindon Advertiser that the results of the Stage 1 Tenant Consultation indicated that 5016 people said yes to a ballot and only 197 said no to a ballot.. These figures are somewhat unbelievable as it would amount to just under 50% of households replying and of them around 96% saying they want a ballot, it is also far in excess of the reported figures stated above – can anyone clarify what this is all about
This figure, which of course, we can’t verify, is the result of all the forms of contact with tenants, door step, phone et al. The thing is if you are asked if you want a say in the decision, what are you going to say but Yes? What hasn’t been reported in the Adver is the result of the consultation itself. According to the report given to the Council meeting on Tuesday, 646 indicated they wanted to stay with the Council, 661 to set up Swindon Housing Association, 107 not sure, 28 did not want to tell the Council. Why hasn’t the Council released these figures? Well, after the massive propaganda campaign in which they have tried to bludgeon tenants into submission, these are not very glorious results. Even if they are accurate then the least you could say is that the ballot could go either way. Those at the Council who thought they had it rapped up have been shown to be wrong. We have a good chance of blowing the transfer out of the water. Many tenants have not responded to the consultation because they think it is no business of the Council to know which way they are going to vote. Probably a majority of these are likely to vote No. If somebody thought transfer was a good idea, and they are saying Yes to what the Council is proposing, then they are unlikely to be worried about telling them how they will vote.
I was one of the people who submitted my views by email, now wondering if I did the right thing with no figures being available of the other means of registering your view apart from the “Reply Card”
I think that for the vote it will definately be by post on the forms sent, we would’nt want to find out lated that the electronic votes were missed or am I being paranoid
I have emailed Bernie Brannan about this Bob. It does seem curious. I think the safest way to vote is by post.