INDEX July 30, 1987
Now rates fighters face hate vendetta

ANTI-RATES protesters have themselves become victims of a fresh hate campaign.

Labour councillors have long been targets of a well-publicised series of personal attacks, vendettas and abuse since the announcement of the 62 per cent rate increase.

But a new twist on the rates controversy was unveiled this week as Waltham Forest Ratepayers Action Group broke the silence and revealed that its own members now had their own catalogue of vicious attacks.

One active member had a brick thrown through a window at his home.

Another-- a mother of three small children-- was left in a slate of fear after a spate of threatening phone calls.

She explained how her husband had written a letter to the Guardian condemning the present council, although they are both strict Socialists.

On the night of a rates lobby in June, the couple were told their home would have been destroyed by the time they returned from the Town Hall.

Nothing more was heard until last Tuesday.

The mother received three calls, while her husband was out at a ratepayers' meeting.

She explained; "The first call was very chilling. There was no sound at all at the end of the line.

"About 10 minutes later I had another call, this time the smutty sort. It's a nuisance but I'm not normally put off by such remarks.

As the evening drew on she received a third call "The voice was totally different to before. He said something like 'You're on your own, you're husband's not there, is he? I'm watching you'."

She was understandably scared but is sticking to her convictions.

She added: "We haven't changed our Labour views but feel that this council is misguided."

A third member was also told over the telephone that she would have a brick thrown through her shop window unless she removed a rates protest poster.

Others have received similar calls.

Labour councillors were on holiday or unavailable for comment this week.

But Planning Implementation Chairman Jo Brind said: "I am deeply concerned to learn of these disgusting attacks.

"I would never support any attempt to achieve political ends through violence in a democratic society.

"I know that a number of Labour councillors have suffered similarly and I am sure they all feel as I do that these incidents are pointless.

"If the attackers read these words, I hope they will stop doing what they are doing. They certainly aren't helping us."

Waltham Forest Guardian August 28, 1987