A week in the life of Cllr Hirani

Being a Councillor takes a lot of commitment. Here is what I did last week to give you a flavour.

Monday

I spent Sunday evening going through the Council’s budget for 2012/2013 Budget. On Monday evening, the Labour Group were meeting at Brent Town Hall to discuss the Budget so I wanted to be ready with questions and raise any issues arising.

I do also work and have a full time job working for a national disability charity and with the changes that are happening in this sector it is a demanding role. Before I start work I go to the Swaminarayan Temple in Stanmore where my father is a trustee. My Labour Group meeting was at 7.30pm so I worked from 9am to 7pm. I managed to squeeze in a lunch time gym session as I do like to keep fit and the building I work in has a gym. After work, it was straight to the Town Hall and the meeting finished around 10pm.

Tuesday

Another day at work in the office. Squeezed in another gym session. I had no Council meetings in the evening so I took the opportunity to sit down in front of my computer and work until the late hours of the evening on casework. Most of the casework I pick up is from the doorstep. A constituent who lives nearby also came over to my house because she was flying out to India and wanted assistance in buying travel insurance. I was happy to help and hope her trip goes well!

Wednesday

I worked in the office until late afternoon. I had already worked more hours than I was required to by my employer so I took the opportunity to leave the office and meet with Council transport officers in the Neasden area of my ward. I wanted to point out a location where I believe there should be double yellow lines as the sharp bend coupled with cars parking in the spot makes visibility very poor and it is an accident waiting to happen.

In the evening, I went to the American Embassy. I was invited by the Ambassador to an event celebrating the 15 year anniversary of Operation Black Vote. I participated in the organisation’s Parliamentary Shadowing Scheme and shadowed David Lammy MP. He was also at the reception so it was great to have the chance to catch up and have a chat. I also met and spoke to Rushanara Ali MP, Diane Abbott MP (who I was to come to Brent the next day), Lee Jasper, Garth Crooks and Paul Elliott.  I had to rush back from the embassy to get back to Brent. My mates had booked a 930pm pitch at Alperton goals so I finished the evening with a night of 5-a-side football.

Thursday

I worked from home. As I had a work related meeting in central London to get to. I broke away for an hour as part of my break before my meeting to join Brent Labour’s campaign in the Willesden Green area to Save the NHS. We were joined by Diane Abbott MP who is the Shadow Public Health Minister, who handed in a letter calling on Sarah Teather to use her influence to Drop the Bill.

Friday

Again another day in the office. There are usually no Council meeting or Party meetings on Friday evenings so I got the opportunity to have a night out. That Tinseltown milkshake was well earned!

Saturday

After a work free Friday evening, the battery was charged for a weekend of campaign activity. I had time for breakfast with the family in the morning. I went on the doorstep in my Ward and knocked on doors from around 1pm as I do every Saturday. This week we went to the Willesden part of my ward and knocked on doors on Riffell Road and the Marley Walk estate. I had a member of the Party who lives in my ward and extra help is always welcome!

After I finished, I went to Dollis Hill Ward where there is a Council by-election to help with the campaign there. Parvez Ahmed is Labour’s candidate there and he will make a great colleague on the Council.

Sunday

I actioned the casework I collected on the doorstep on Saturday. I drew up an action plan and mapped out roads that I have not been out to since I was elected. I worked out that in 12 weeks time, the whole of Dudden Hill will have been canvassed since I was elected and some roads at least twice!

I then spent the afternoon, a good three hours, out with Parvez in Dollis Hill Ward knocking on doors. Afterwards, I paid home visits to two residents in the Neasden part of my ward regarding some casework. Sunday evening was again spent playing football at Alperton Goals. My mates were short one player for a 5-a-side game so I stepped in!

And so it was ready for another week. Bring on Monday!

 

Labour Landslide Produces a Council that Reflects Brent’s Diversity

An ethnic majority team for an ethnic majority borough

+++ Dumpers’ Charter to be scrapped

Labour has taken power in Brent following a landslide victory in the local elections. Labour made a staggering nineteen gains winning seats in wards like Barnhill, Northwick Park, Preston and Sudbury for the first time ever. Casualties of the Labour tide included Lib Dem Education Chief, Bob Wharton, veteran Tory councillor Irwin Van Colle and the Mayor of the borough, Jim O’Sullivan.

The new Labour group of councillors is the most representative in the history of the borough, 57.5% are of African, African-Caribbean and Asian heritage and 7.5% were born in Ireland. Councillors from the Somali and Tamil communities have been elected for the first time. Labour’s councillors include representatives of all major faith groups including Christian, Hindu, Muslim and Jewish. 40% of Labour’s councillors are women including, of course, the Leader of Council, Councillor Ann M John, OBE.

Councillor Ann John, said:

“Last November I predicted that we would win the local elections and become the first multi racial borough in the country in which the controlling group truly reflects the diversity of the community it serves. The face of the Labour Group is now the face of Brent.

We have worked hard for our victory and now we will need to work just as hard to protect local services during the difficult times which lie ahead. We intend to keep the key pledges we made during the election campaign starting with the abolition of the £25.00 charge for bulky refuse collection (the Dumpers’ Charter).

In the Guardian Today

The Labour MP for Brent South, Dawn Butler, is one of only two black women MPs and the first elected black woman Government Minister. The MP for the other constituency which will be merged into the new Brent Central seat is Liberal Democrat Sarah Teather. Ms Teather has appeared on Question Time on at least four occasions since the 2005 election and on no less than three times this year. Dawn Butler has never been invited to appear. We are truly alarmed that Nick Griffin will now appear on Question Time before Britain’s first elected black woman Government Minister. We wonder if the apparent bias against Dawn Butler is symptomatic of what Greg Dyke once called “a hideously white organisation”.


Cllr Ann John

Leader, Brent council Labour group and 19 other Brent Councillors and Councillor Navin Shah AM