News of the Week: Six weblinks from the week just gone, recommended by me

  1. Norman Tebbit of all people warns that people should write off new Labour leader Ed Miliband at their peril, describing him as ‘the man most likely to get Labour’s lost voters back to the polls’
  2. Brent Citizen’s Advice Bureau on how Housing Benefit caps will affect Brent
  3. Lib Dems ConDemned on diversity by Operation Black Vote, as Members vote down motion to improve BME representation
  4. Left Foot Forward on the graph that shames the Lib Dems, using the independent IFS figures that shows that their cuts are regressive in comparison to Labour’s proposals
  5. The work of the new generation begins”: Ed Miliband’s speech to the Labour leadership conference
  6. Ken Livingstone wins race to be Labour’s candidate for next London Mayor

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).

Well done to both Labour and the Conservatives on providing better representation for ethnic minorities in Parliament

A record number of ethnic minorities have been elected to Parliament.

There are now 27 ethnic minority MPs, 11 more than were produced at the 2005 General election. Sadly we lost Dawn Butler in Brent Central, who was the first (and so far only) black female Government Minister in the House of Commons.

Sadiq Khan was re-elected as MP for Tooting running a fantastic ‘Yes We Khan’ campaign. Unfortunately, Maryam Khan was unsuccessful in repeating this success in Bury North. Priti Patel became the first Conservative Asian female MP. Tory candidate Shaun Bailey was unsuccessful in his quest to become Hammersmith MP. Labour’s Rushanara Ali made history in becoming the first Bangladeshi MP by taking Bethnal Green and Bow from the Respect Party.

Good news for Yasmin Qureshi who was our unsuccessful Parliamentary candidate in Brent East in 2005. She has now been elected as the MP for Bolton South East.

Every single Lib Dem MP is white, and once again, the Lib Dems have failed to contribute to provide us with the representation in Parliament that the United Kingdom deserves, and only the Labour Party and the Conservative Party have contributed to make Parliament more representative of the people.

All the focus seems to be on coalitions, the hung Parliament and the Governance situation, but lets not forget that we have come a long way in the 2010 election on ethnic minority representation.

Nonetheless, we must also not forget that there is still a long way to go before we get 60 ethnic minority MPs, which is the number needed to make Parliament representative of the nation.

Lib Dems and Ethnic Minorities

The Liberal Democrats’ record when it comes to Black and Ethnic Minority representation is woeful. In Parliament, the Lib Dems have NO ethnic minority MPs at all.

The Conservatives fair slightly better by having two ethnic minority MPs and this is projected to get better in the upcoming election.

It is true that ALL political parties need to do much better on this issue, but what is also clear is which party is leading the way in bettering representation of ethnic minorities at the highest level; The Labour Party. We currently have 13.

What’s more, it is an absolute scandal that the Lib Dems did not put forward a single black or ethnic candidate out of a possible 7 for London from the European elections in 2009.

Vote Labour on May 6 for a Parliament that provides better representation to the people.

BAME Labour Bus in Wembley Park

I was out with the BAME (Black and Minority Ethnic) Labour Bus in Asda Wembley Park today which champions the progression of Ethnic Minorities in Politics through the Labour Party. There was a bit of a slow start due to the dirty tactics that had been played by an objection raised by us being there, but we firmly stood our ground.

Brent Labour are doing our bit for the advancement and the drive to improve representation of Ethnic Minorities in politics. 60% of our Brent population  are from an ethnic ‘minority’ background and 60% of our Brent Labour candidates are also ethnic ‘minorities’.

In Dawn Butler, we have the first (and only) Black female Government Minister and one of only two black female MPs in total in Parliament. Voters in the new Brent Central constituency also have the opportunity to have the new Parliamentary seat send a Black candidate in Dawn Butler to Parliament. The alternate choice is Sarah Teather of the Liberal Democrats, who was educated in a Grammar school in Leicester and is one of many Cambridge University graduates in Parliament – of which there are a disproportionate amount in Parliament already.

LABOUR’S TEAM FOR BRENT – A MULTI-RACIAL TEAM FOR A MULTI-RACIAL BOROUGH

Only 15.9% of councillors in London are Black or Asian. In parliament only 15 MPs are black or Asian – 13 of those are Labour MPs and 2 are Conservatives. Despite winning a post war record of 63 seats, the Liberal Democrats have no black or Asian MPs.

Labour’s team for the local elections spent a day at the Bridge Park Community Leisure Centre in Stonebridge to discuss policies and campaigning for 2010. Whilst a detailed manifesto has yet to be finalised, there was unanimous agreement that the next Labour administration will scrap the £25.00 charge for bulky refuse collection, which has led to an epidemic of dumping and introduce fairer care charges for elderly and disabled residents.

Labour has now selected candidates for all of the wards in Brent Central, two of the three Brent wards in Hampstead & Kilburn and several of the wards in Brent North. Most of the candidates attended the Bridge Park ‘Awayday’ where they were joined by local MPs Dawn Butler and Barry Gardiner.

Labour Leader, Councillor Ann John, said:

“Our team for 2010 is younger, more representative and more talented than at any time since I first came on the council nearly 20 years ago. 59% of Brent’s population are of Asian, African or African-Caribbean origin and so are 59% of our candidates. We will be the first party in the history of Brent to put forward an ethnic majority team of candidates for an ethnic majority borough. That team of candidates is committed to improve the environment, give a fair deal to elderly and disabled residents and the best possible start for our young people with additional school places and new sports facilities”.

A photograph of some of Labour’s candidates is below.