On Saturday, 5th of September, the Chair of the Residents Association, Mr. Ali Shah, organised a party in one of the estate's communal gardens.
The same communal gardens the Council is currently consulting us about. The same communal gardens the same Mr. Ali Shah, Chair of the Residents Association, is proposing to open up to the general public without consulting the rest of the Residents Association and despite widespread opposition from the estate's residents (more on that in a later post).
Leaflets advertising the event were randomly distributed across the estate just before the event. Some residents received the leaflet on Friday, some received the leaflet on Saturday, some received no leaflet at all.
You do have to wonder whether the plan was to make sure that no one had the chance to object before the event took place.
The leaflet advertised a free barbecue for up to 200 people, live music, a bouncy castle, and a raffle.
Tables at the barbecue would be made available on a first come, first served basis in time slots of "up to 50 minutes".
The event was described as "a socially distanced afternoon of community food and family fun".
The good news: 200 people did not turn up. Anyone with any sense, which appears to have included most of the estate's residents, stayed well away. Possibly because, you know, there's a pandemic on.
The bad news: social distancing was not at all evident. By all accounts no attempts were made to ensure that groups of attendees did not mix, that people kept to their own groups, and that those who attended the barbecue only did so for only 50 minutes (as advertised).
Is this surprising? Of course not. It's what we have come to expect.
The real question is of course: who in the Council's Housing Management Department thought authorizing such an event was even remotely sensible given current government guidance on containing the spread of COVID-19? Guidance they repeat like parrots but have clearly never read properly or actually understood.
The government is about to ban people from meeting in groups of more than six. The Council authorized an event where 200 people, over thirty times that number, would meet and mix and socialize.
And then, to make matters just that little bit worse, the current Mayor of the Royal Borough, Councillor Gerard Hargreaves, turned up and mingled and mixed with all those present as well. Leaving no one in any doubt that poor judgement in the face of an ongoing pandemic that has already killed between 40,000 and 60,000 people (significantly more than the Luftwaffe ever did throughout the Blitz) is not only endemic at the Council's Housing Management Department but appears to afflict many of our local politicians too.
We sincerely hope that no one suffers any negative consequences from this little "party" and that COVID-19 was not present in any way, shape or form. But should that not be the case who of our wonderful Council Housing Management staff and politicians will own up to an epic gaffe and willfully putting the estate's residents at risk?