Middlesex Anti Racist Action

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Re: Middlesex Anti Racist Action

Postby Captain Darling » Sun Apr 06, 2014 7:30 am

MULTICULTURALISM VERSUS FEMINISM

From an essay by Pragna Patel of the Southall Black Sisters (as featured in the 2003 book “From Homebreakers to Jailbreakers”):-

Following trends in the USA, some academics in the UK, with a few notable exceptions, now consider it fashionable to talk about the gender deficit inherent in the multicultural approach in Western democracies. The debate, which is not new to us, is often couched in terms of the insurmountable tension between feminism and multiculturalism. To put it crudely, in the USA a number of voices have argued that multiculturalism should not be encouraged since women in minority communities are denied their rights by their cultures. Recognising the group rights of minority communities, they argue, does not guarantee women’s rights within them. They point to the prevalence of forced marriages, female genital mutilation and even wife-killing to argue that minority cultures are harmful to women because they are still rooted in patriarchal value systems which have diminished in Western societies. In response to such views, feminists, including those from minority communities in the USA, have argued that to reject multiculturalism is to encourage racism. Some, however, go further in warning against the use of cultural arguments in law to explain actions by women such as those who kill their violent spouses, as there is a danger of reinforcing notions of minority communities as ‘barbaric’ or ‘backward’.

Both views sit uncomfortably with our experience. It is not sufficient to reject multiculturalism because in the struggle against racism it is still viable in promoting tolerance for diversity and in recognising the rights of minority groups, to which we as women also belong. Our identities and experiences are not shaped by gender alone. On the other hand, the women who come to our centre reveal the problems inherent in the multicultural approach in which the struggle for equality has become subsumed under the struggle for recognition of diversity. Women do face oppression in the form of forced marriage, dowry deaths or honour killings, all of which are often justified in the name of cultural difference. We are acutely aware that in the absence of democratic internal community mechanisms, there can be no substitute for resorting to the law. Women do not get a fair hearing, let along justice, when they turn to the community for help. Whilst women continue to experience many setbacks in making the law accountable to their needs, nevertheless it represents a safety net without which they would be worse off.

The problem with the academic debates on multiculturalism and feminism is that the struggles by women in minority communities are completely ignored, as if activism has nothing to offer such debates. Yet without an awareness of these political struggles, there is real danger that important insights of how to negotiate the minefield of race and gender politics will be lost. The reality is that black women’s activism has both illuminated the problems women have had in negotiating their rights within their communities and in the wider society as well as pointing towards possible solutions. The solutions do not lie in either steering clear of the law or placing one’s entire faith in a legal system which allows the space for personal laws or versions of ‘community justice’ to become entrenched.

The real concern we have with the law, however, is that it either ignores difference altogether or, in its effort to reflect cultural sensitivity, adopts multicultural norms which actually reinforce the patriarchal values of our community. A number of our cases, especially in respect of rights within the family, demonstrate the potential of the law to be differentially applied. In one case, a woman of Muslim origin had been made to endure a protracted and painful battle to retain custody of her daughter following a breakdown in her marriage due to her husband’s violence and her refusal to conform as a traditional Muslim wife. Her ex-husband refused to grant her a divorce, thus forcing her into cohabitation with her boyfriend, also a Muslim, which in turn led to a community outcry. Inside the court, however, the battle over custody of her daughter took an unexpected turn. The presiding judge failed to make a final decision based on a recommendation by a court welfare officer that the child’s interests were best served by remaining with her mother, who was the prime carer. Instead, the judge allowed herself to be distracted by the husband’s arguments that, in child custody and matrimonial/family matters, the Muslim community is guided by Shariah. Introducing experts who were Muslim theologians, the husband argued that according to Shariah laws, his wife was an adulteress and transgressor and should therefore return her child to him. He also argued that the ostracisation faced by the mother would affect her daughter’s well-being and moral and religious upbringing. Such arguments clouded the court’s notion of justice for the woman and for the young child, whose fate depended on the outcome of theological debates on the position of women in Islam rather than on rights enshrined in civil law. In the end, child custody was not granted to the father because he was imprisoned for a criminal conviction for violence.

The case raises some alarming possibilities about the future development and implementation of secular civil law in relation to women and the family in the minority communities in Britain. In classic multicultural, non-interventionist style, the judge appeared to allow Muslim personal law to supersede the civil rights of the woman. The assumption is that all members of the community uniformly interpret personal laws, and that the self-appointed religious leadership is widely accepted. The consequence is that women are excluded from the construction of the minority community in legal discourses. The actions and views of women are rendered deviant, whilst those of the community leaderships are accepted as ‘authentic’.

The ultimate danger of such rulings lies in the construction of minority women as the property of their families and communities. Such constructions in turn feed into a wider social and political culture which disenfranchises many minority women from their citizenship rights, demarcating the boundary of community and the right to belong.

The law needs to accommodate both differences between communities and differences within communities and yet ensure justice is delivered equally. Admittedly this is a difficult task since we require the law to reflect cultural pluralism but at the same time ensure that individual freedom is not undermined. We may rely on the use of expert reports, encourage judicial training and so on in an effort to minimise the risk of constructing and reinforcing legal notions of minority cultures, but because they remain strictly within the parameters of the law, they are bound to be at best only partially successful.

Since the cases of Karanjit Ahluwalia and Zoora Shah (women who were imprisoned for murdering their violent partners), we have often been requested to provide expert reports in other cases involving Asian and minority women. It is impossible to avoid some generalisations about minority cultures and women’s role within them irrespective of how many provisos we insert in such reports. This dilemma has helped us understand that we ought not always look to the law to find answers to the paradoxes that we encounter in the law. We need to mount effective challenges to the law’s power from the outside, through for example the creation of effective alliances between women of different backgrounds but with common agendas. On our campaign on forced marriages, we have resisted the ‘exoticisation’ of the issue by insisting that the debate, and indeed the general and policy responses to it, be framed within the general debate on domestic violence and women’s human rights. This helps to avoid the view that the majority culture is superior since women who are pressurised into a marriage against their will require the same response as those who experience domestic violence.
Captain Darling
 
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Re: Middlesex Anti Racist Action

Postby Captain Darling » Sun Apr 27, 2014 2:36 am

LOCAL ELECTIONS - FIVE NAZIS STAND IN WEST LONDON

The BNP are standing a total of four candidates, and the National Front just one candidate, in West London wards in the council elections on 22 May.

While there are no Nazis standing in Hounslow, the Hillingdon borough has a total of three and the Ealing borough two.

In Hillingdon the BNP are fielding one candidate in the Tory/Labour marginal of Yiewsley and one in the Conservative stronghold of South Ruislip, while their NF allies are standing one candidate in Harefield (the smallest ward in the borough).

Meanwhile in Ealing the BNP are fielding a candidate in Northolt Mandeville (where the building of a mosque provoked a flurry of fascist activity in the 1990s) and in the heavily working class ward of Northolt West End.

The Hounslow borough is unscathed by fascist candidates this time round, though a former Nazi is one of three "Independent Community Group" (ICG) candidates attempting to win seats in the Labour-held ward of Isleworth. The ICG are also fielding three candidates in neighbouring Syon and one in Brentford.

There are in addition a total of 18 UKIP candidates spread across 14 of Hounslow's 20 wards, some of them quite heavily Asian areas (most notably Heston Central, where the solitary UKIP candidate is the only non-Asian person on the ballot sheet).

The failure of UKIP to stand a full quota of candidates in the Feltham area pretty well ensures Labour continued control of Hounslow Council. UKIP are fielding a total of six candidates across Feltham's five wards and even if they are all successful it will leave the way open for Labour to take the lion's share of the other nine seats in the West of the borough.

In Hillingdon, UKIP are standing a total of 24 candidates across the 22 wards. This is the only West London borough where they have managed to find at least one candidate in each ward. Meanwhile Labour's hopes of eating into the borough's Tory majority may be damaged by the decision of the "Trade Union & Socialist Coalition" to field candidates in 18 wards, many of them pivotal Tory/Labour marginals.

Finally, in Ealing, UKIP are fielding a total of 13 candidates across 23 wards - their weakest ratio in West London.
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Re: Middlesex Anti Racist Action

Postby Captain Darling » Sat May 17, 2014 12:15 pm

FELTHAM TORIES BECOME MULTI-RACIAL

Those of you who are on Facebook may like to click on the link below. It takes you to an image of a leaflet which is currently being distributed by the Feltham Conservatives and is testimony to just how racially diverse they have become compared to only a few years ago.

During the 2009 MARA launch we were slated by Feltham North Tory councillor Mark Bowen (at that time deputy leader of Hounslow Council) for highlighting the lack of diversity among his party’s then 23-strong group of councillors.

How times change. Bowen is standing down at next Thursday’s local election and in his place the Tories are fielding candidates of Sikh, Muslim and Polish origin in Feltham North.

In fact across the five mainly white wards in the West of the borough only four of the 15 Conservative candidates have traditional British-sounding names. They are standing alongside four Muslims, three Poles, two Hindus and two Sikhs.

This makes them easily the most diverse party in the Feltham area. By way of comparison Labour are fielding nine people with traditional British names together with four Muslims, one Hindu and one Sikh. For their part UKIP are fielding six standard bearers, all with conventional British names.

It’s great to see the Tories taking such long strides down the road towards racial diversity and in many ways they are being quite brave by fielding such a mixed group of candidates in a part of the borough which has not always been racially calm.

I can still remember picketing the BNP newspaper sale on Feltham High Street in the mid-1990s and as recently as 2006 one of their candidates came within less than 300 votes of winning a council seat in Feltham West. (This prompted MARA to put out a leaflet urging people to come out and vote against the Nazis in the subsequent 2010 local election).

Feltham West is currently split 1 Lab/1 Con/1 UKIP but I fear that the Tory ticket of one Asian and two Polish candidates may well cost them in a ward where they were well behind on the 2012 list vote.

In fact the contest might have ended up being a straight Labour/UKIP fight but the decision of the latter to field only one candidate in that and most other Feltham wards will likely mean Labour making straight gains from the Conservatives.

One ward where UKIP do have a realistic chance of taking all three seats is culturally conservative Hanworth Park. This is shaping up to be a fascinating battle: the Tories won it easily in 2006 and held it comfortably in 2010, but were thought to have lost the ward to Labour in the December 2011 by-election. They did, however, recover to a narrow lead on the 2012 list vote.

No fewer than two of Hanworth Park’s Conservative councillors have since defected to UKIP and it is one of the few wards in West London where the party are fielding a full slate of three candidates. The Tories are re-fielding their only incumbent Asian Councillor (Paul Jubbal) together with two new standard bearers.

Of course it is not inconceivable that Labour could come through the middle and snatch victory in the face of a possible split in the centre-right vote, though on paper this is probably the party’s least promising ward.

For the record, Hanworth Park used to be called Feltham South and some of us aging anti-fascists can recall taking part in an Anti Nazi League rally outside the count in the ward’s 1993 council by-election.

Our picket was rivalled in size by a simultaneous National Front demo which was being staged in support of an NF candidate who went on to win a then impressive 10% share of the vote. (This was achieved on the coattails of the BNP’s short-lived victory on the Isle of Dogs just a few months previously).

Earlier that evening, with red rosette pinned to lapel, I had knocked up an elderly woman in a flat in Feltham town centre. The ensuing conversation seemed to sum up the general atmosphere of the time:

I said to her “Are you coming out to vote Labour, love?” She shouted at me “I went to the civic centre today and I had to speak to an ASIAN” (spitting the word out at me), adding “My husband fought for this country in the war!”

“So did hundreds of thousands of Indians”, I politely reminded her. “That was then, this is now”, came her reply, “My husband fought for this country in the war!” Confounded by her total lack of self-irony I gave up and moved on to the next doorstep.

The result of the election for the present day Hanworth Park Ward will become known on Friday morning, along with the rest of the borough’s sixty seats.

Link to Feltham Conservative leaflet >>>
https://scontent-a-lhr.xx.fbcdn.net/hph ... 5092_n.jpg
Captain Darling
 
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Re: Middlesex Anti Racist Action

Postby Captain Darling » Wed May 28, 2014 1:27 am

LOCAL ELECTIONS ROUND-UP

The BNP and National Front polled an average of 8% in the West London wards they contested in last Thursday’s local authority elections, down from 10% in 2010.

In the Hillingdon borough there were three fascist candidates, compared to seven in 2010. This time round the NF polled 198 votes (9% of ballots cast) in the largely rural Harefield Ward, which was enough for them to secure 5th place in a 9-cornered contest. In 2010 they enjoyed the support of 14% of Harefield voters.

Their BNP colleagues polled 223 (7%) in predominantly middle class South Ruislip, coming 5th out of seven parties. This was a marginal improvement on their 6% showing here in 2010. Meanwhile in Yiewsley, a neighbourhood sandwiched between Uxbridge and West Drayton, the BNP polled 304 (9%) again finishing 5th out of seven. In 2010 they polled 12% in this ward.

The Ealing borough saw two Nazis contest wards, the same number as in 2010. In Northolt Mandeville, where the building of a mosque once sparked a local fascist rally, the BNP polled 234 votes (5% of ballots) to come 5th in a 6-cornered contest. This was a repeat of their 5% showing in Mandeville in 2010.

However, the BNP were stronger in neighbouring West End Ward (the heavily social housing area based around the White Hart Roundabout), where they took 362 votes (9%) and came 4th in a 5-cornered contest. This was a slight decline on the 10% they polled here in 2010.

The fascists failed to contest any wards in the Hounslow borough, leaving the field clear for UKIP to monopolise the hard-right vote. Turnout figures are not yet available but in terms of raw numbers it was their group leader Colin Botterill who put in their strongest showing: he polled 1,171 in Feltham West, putting him in 2nd place behind Labour.

Of the thirteen Hounslow wards contested by UKIP their weakest performance occurred in middle class Chiswick Riverside (where they polled 346 votes) followed by heavily Asian Heston Central (420) and Hounslow Central (429).

UKIP managed to turn one of the wards in the West of the borough into a near 3-way marginal: Hanworth Park, where they had sitting councillors, saw their three candidates poll an average of 884 votes (27%) against 917 (28%) for the Conservatives and 1,186 (36%) for Labour.

The UKIP performance was weaker in Ealing. In most of the 13 wards in which they fielded candidates they trailed in 4th or 5th and attracted the votes of only 11% of those who cast ballots.

As with the BNP their strongest showing came in Northolt West End, where they secured a distant 2nd place with 814 votes (21% of ballots cast), followed by Northolt Mandeville where they took 3rd place with 734 votes (17%).

The party recorded its weakest showing in Northfield, which has a large settled Polish population: here the UKIP candidate polled just 305 votes (7% of ballots cast). This was followed by Southfields (on the Acton/Chiswick borders) where their standard bearer secured 307 votes (7%) and Walpole (based around the South Ealing area), where they attracted just 330 votes (7%).

During the campaign Middlesex Anti Racist Action used the news columns of the Ealing Gazette to publicly criticise UKIP’s Walpole candidate for negative remarks he made about the effects of immigration. For readers who are on Facebook, the row can be viewed here...

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid ... 064&type=1

Unsurprisingly, UKIP also performed poorly in the only Southall ward they contested: their candidate for Lady Margaret polled 344 votes, which again represented 7% of ballots cast.

UKIP did much better in neighbouring Hillingdon, where they fielded at least one standard bearer in each of the borough’s 22 wards. Here their candidates won the support of 21% of voters and registered no fewer than nine 2nd places.

Their strongest showings were in the 2-seater Harefield Ward, where they polled 701 votes (31% of ballots) and Charville, where their tally reached four figures (1,004 votes – 27%). They also performed well in Yiewsley, garnering 892 votes (27%) to come within just 117 of winning a seat.

The ultra-middle class Northwood area provided UKIP with its weakest neighbourhood, particularly Northwood Ward itself (where they polled 434 votes – 14%) and Northwood Hills (567 votes, 16%).

In terms of the performance of the mainstream parties, Labour made gains across all three boroughs though its progress in Hillingdon was frustrated by the demographically static nature of much of the area.

The party strengthened its position in most of the split wards within John McDonnell’s Hayes and Harlington parliamentary constituency, advancing from one to two seats in both Charville and West Drayton, and from one to three in Heathrow Villages.

Labour also got on the board in Uxbridge South, where it picked up one of the seats. However the intervention of a candidate for the Trade Union & Socialist Coalition cost Labour its solitary seat in Yiewsley, where it failed by just two votes. The party finished on 23 seats (a net advance of four) against 42 for the Tories.

In Hounslow Labour advanced much more strongly, increasing its representation from 35 to 49. For the first time ever the party made a partial breakthrough in the demographically-changing Osterley & Spring Grove Ward (which is now split 2:1 in favour of the Conservatives) and swept the board in the Feltham area, where the Tories had previously held 10 of the 15 seats.

Labour also held the Independent Community Group to a distant 2nd place in the ICG’s former strongholds of Isleworth and Syon, but couldn’t dent the Tory hegemony in an increasingly gentrified Chiswick.

In Ealing MARA had predicted a 48-seat haul for Labour, but this proved to be a significant underestimate with the party picking up 53 – an advance of 14 on the 2010 local elections. The Tories, who saw their tally collapse from 23 to 12, did at least retain a BME councillor in their Ealing Broadway stronghold.

Finally, the Lib Dems succeeded in holding on where they were being challenged by the Tories (Southfield and Ealing Common) but saw their councillor in Elthorne swept away by the Labour tide.

Congratulations to all MARA members who won seats in these local elections and commiserations to those who lost out.
Captain Darling
 
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Re: Middlesex Anti Racist Action

Postby Captain Darling » Sun Sep 21, 2014 2:17 am

THE WEST LONDON SCENE

A quick look at some of the goings-on across our region...

HILLINGDON: RACISM IN THE POLLING BOOTH

An updated MARA analysis of voting trends across the Hillingdon borough shows that Labour candidates with Asian names continue to perform less well than their party colleagues, though the gap has narrowed slightly.

In this May’s local council elections Labour fielded a mixed race slate of Asian and non-Asian candidates in a total of eleven wards. Of these, candidates with Hindu, Sikh or Islamic names polled an average of just 93% of the votes won by their non-Asian counterparts. However, this is slightly better than in the previous (2010) local elections. In that year the votes won by Asian Labour candidates was equivalent to only 90% of the votes won by their non-Asian colleagues.

A candidate’s personal vote can be affected by a number of factors, chief among them where s/he comes in the alphabetical listing of names on the ballot sheet and whether or not s/he is local. However, notwithstanding these and other influences, the overall trend is pretty clear: in no fewer than nine of the eleven wards those Labour candidates who had recognisably Asian names polled less well than those with traditional English or Christian names. In fact in two of these (Manor and Uxbridge South) the Asian candidates failed to poll even 80% of the votes won by their non-Asian counterparts.

Meanwhile the level of discrimination faced by Asian Conservative candidates has actually increased over the last four years. In the 2010 Hillingdon borough elections Tory candidates with Asian names polled an average of 90% of the votes won by their non-Asian colleagues (the same as for Labour) but this figure fell to 86% in 2014.

It is clear that a significant proportion of electors are choosing to consciously discriminate on racial grounds. Of course people are entitled to do whatever they wish in the privacy of the polling booth but the implications that their actions have on wider society are quite significant: MARA’s estimate is that in one ward (Charville) the ethnicity of an Asian Conservative candidate was actually decisive in his failure to win election. In the same ward it appears that a black Labour candidate with an Islamic name lost out for similar reasons. (Coincidentally Charville happened to register the largest UKIP vote in the borough).

We can only assume that those electors who behave in a discriminatory manner also exercise the same prejudices in their various roles in the wider community, be it as employers, public service workers or possibly even law enforcers. In so doing they not only curtail the life chances of a whole section of the population, they also ensure that people are not judged on merit and are thus less able to make their contribution to society – to the detriment of us all.

HOUNSLOW: RETURNING TO THE FOLD

With the dust now settling on another colourful election in Isleworth an interesting fact has reached my ears about a, shall we say, slightly contentious alleged aspect of Labour’s campaign. (Unfortunately I cannot be more specific, though seasoned Isleworth watchers will probably know to what I am referring).

It transpires that the purported ‘strategy’, which was designed to discombobulate the Independent Community Group, was actually the brainchild of one Theo Dennison.

This is more than a little amusing given that only months earlier Cllr Dennison had been publicly praising the ICG and besmirching his own Labour colleagues (who, coincidentally, had just voted to remove him from the council cabinet). At that point he was in full ‘throw the toys out of the pram’ mode.

How quickly things change. By the time of the May local election campaign Cllr Dennison had slithered back into Labour’s arms and was publicly castigating the ICG for allegedly scaremongering about the future of Isleworth Public Hall. Not only that but subsequent to Labour’s borough-wide electoral triumph he has found himself back in the council cabinet, this time as portfolio holder for ‘Citizen Engagement’.

This raises two questions. Firstly why didn’t he hatch a similar plan in his own ward of Syon, or did he see the risks of it back-firing? Secondly, if he is demoted in the future will he once again throw a tantrum and start publicly lavishing praise on Labour’s opponents?

NB: just to reiterate – I cannot possibly comment on whether or not Cllr Dennison’s highly principled strategy was enacted. People need to judge that for themselves based upon the available evidence.

******

During his time in the wilderness Cllr Dennison tweeted a flattering remark about the then newly-defected local UKIP Councillor Colin Botterill. Posted on May 30 2013 it read: “The very amiable and able Cllr Colin Botterill (LB Hounslow, Feltham West) has joined UKIP - big loss to Tories.”

That any self-respecting socialist would wish to compliment a member of Nigel Farage’s party is surely worthy of a raised eyebrow.

It is an interesting additional fact that the recipient of Cllr Dennison’s praise went on to attack his former Tory colleagues for fielding a number of Polish candidates in this May’s local elections, tweeting “That’s why we need to get out of Europe, they control are(sic) national law, now Europe are after controlling the local one’s(sic) as well”.

What an articulate chap ex-councillor Botterill is. He evidently possesses all the literacy skills of an EDL troll.

******

All in all surely it is reasonable to conclude that Cllr Dennison’s record has been somewhat erratic…? Compare his flexible morals with the track record of former ICG councillor Paul Fisher. As Chair of Hounslow’s Community Investment Fund Cllr Fisher awarded grants to a range of BME organisations, among them the Arab Group in Hounslow, Black & Ethnic Minorities Advocacy & Counselling Service, Migrant Housing Care, Hounslow Multicultural Centre and the Bangladeshi Welfare Association.

Of particular note is that Cllr Fisher did all of this in the teeth of opposition from his Conservative allies. That shows a steadfastness and adherence to principle which some would say is distinctly lacking in the member for Syon Ward.

The quality of the Hounslow Labour group would without doubt be significantly improved if it could trade Theo Dennison for Paul Fisher. Sadly that’s not likely to happen.

EALING: TIME FOR SOME BOLD ACTION

Is it really acceptable that Southall continues to have a road, school, cemetery, Sikh temple and family centre named after the colonialist butcher General Havelock? With Labour’s emphatic victory in the recent local elections MARA will soon be making a renewed effort to get councillors to look at this issue.

We will be highlighting the historical significance of the Havelock name in the context of the British colonial rule of India and the fact that he specifically drew attention to the colour of the native population as a reason for embarking upon a programme of mass slaughter. No fewer than ten million civilians were killed during the First Indian War of Independence (the historical event with which General Havelock is most closely associated).

Of course the usual suspects will wring their hands in horror at any suggestion of a name change and will doubtless trot out the usual baseless objections, like the one about how it will leave the fire service all dazed and confused. It’s interesting that George Twyman et al did not advance that as a possible problem when their Tory friends on Ealing Council forced a name change on Blair Peach Primary School.

What is important is that the new proposed street name must be acceptable to all sections of the community. I recently bumped into Dilmohan Singh Basin on Southall Broadway: twelve years ago he led an unsuccessful campaign to have Havelock Road re-named ‘Gurdwara Way’ and based on our conversation he still seems to think that this would be feasible. My belief is that his efforts, though well-meaning, failed precisely because such a name was always going to divide an area as religiously diverse as Southall.

In contrast to revert the name to its original pre-1870 title of ‘Feeder Lane’ is reasonable, realistic and long overdue - and that is what we will be asking for.

MARA: TAKING STOCK

Once the name change campaign is over (and yes, I know it will probably fail) the style and purpose of this group needs to be modified. My own medical condition of perpetual and chronic exhaustion not only makes it impossible for me to update this blog on a regular basis but is probably made worse by the negativity of political and ideological debate.

Some conflicts will never end regardless of what any of us try to do. Maybe we need to fight less and celebrate more and to this end our Facebook page is already primarily a noticeboard for cultural events rather than campaigns and rallies.

Perhaps it is also time that we learn to assess people on what they do and say in the present, rather than on the basis of their past mistakes.

None of the above means that discrimination should be ignored but let us not lose sight of how far we have come since the very first Punjabi migrants settled in the multi-occupied squalor of Southall’s Oswald Road in the late 1950s. A half a century on the town is a triumphant burst of colour and vitality and its delights are spreading to neighbouring areas.

True, problems do remain. Maybe they always will. Nonetheless we should not overlook the battles won and the achievements secured over fifty years.
Captain Darling
 
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Re: Middlesex Anti Racist Action

Postby Captain Darling » Thu Nov 20, 2014 2:15 pm

THE ICG REPLIES

Former Independent Community Group councillor Phil Andrews has sent me the following reply to the recent article entitled "Returning to the fold" (shown above). Here are his thoughts...



Robin – re the Isleworth “UKIP” issue, my interest in this is academic now. The local election is over, the “UKIP” intervention in Isleworth demonstrably did not affect the overall outcome (if anything taking more Labour votes than it did from the ICG, due to us forewarning our own known supporters) and the ICG looks set to plough new furrows. Nevertheless I did read your comments with interest, and naturally I do still find myself reflecting upon this particular aspect of the campaign.

I’m not sure how much I buy into the notion that Councillor Theo Dennison was the mastermind behind the decision to field a “UKIP” slate in Isleworth ward to try to split the ICG vote. I’m not rejecting it out of hand, but the candidates in question were known to be close to Councillor Sue Sampson rather than to Theo. It is possible that he knows them, but even that would probably be through Sue. I find it hard to envision Theo Dennison and Kelly Males/Adams as natural drinking buddies.

All the same it could indeed be that Theo, knowing that Sue had these contacts, gave her the idea of offering them out “on loan”, as it were, to UKIP. I am aware of the connection between Theo and Colin Botterill, the local UKIP leader, although his description of him as “able” is laughable as you have yourself pointed out. This is the guy who embarrassed his national party leader by ordering his election leaflets from a German firm because they were cheaper!

Ex-councillor Botterill’s reasons for his part in all this remain a mystery to me, as does the fact that his colleagues were prepared to stand by him in his ludicrous little adventure in Isleworth. This despite the fact that the resultant publicity must have damaged the credibility of the UKIP campaign elsewhere in Hounslow, and could easily have contributed to his party’s failure to hold onto a single one of its seats, far less to make the gains that the hapless Mr. Botterill had confidently predicted. But that’s for them to ponder, and the rest of us to laugh at.

Your comments about my colleague and good friend Paul Fisher are greatly appreciated, except I would add that although his decisions as Chair of the Community Investment Fund were taken in the face of Conservative opposition they always received the unanimous blessing and support of his ICG colleagues. It may be an inconvenient truth to some but the ICG has long believed that the cause of empowering our community is served by “levelling up”, and actively resourcing groups which may be hard to reach or suffer disadvantage.

Like I say, I tend to look at these things from the perspective of a local historian these days rather than from that of a participant. I have nothing but goodwill for Sue, Kelly and all of the team and have great respect for some of the work that they are doing. Lynn Green in particular has been a revelation, bearing in mind that she is new not only to the Council but also to politics. However it is usually better that these things do find their way into the light of day in retrospect - if only for us all to have a chuckle over, rather than remaining in the closet to fester.
Captain Darling
 
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Re: Middlesex Anti Racist Action

Postby Captain Darling » Mon Dec 01, 2014 1:20 pm

WHY DOESN'T LABOUR JUST TELL IT THE WAY IT IS?

A recent conversation I had with Angie Bray, the Tory MP for Ealing Central & Acton, revealed that she does not expect UKIP to be a significant factor in her constituency at the 2015 General Election.

Despite this she has subsequently appeared on the BBC's "Sunday Politics" programme pandering to Nigel Farage's agenda by bemoaning the alleged strain which immigrants are putting on local schools.

In fairness to Ms Bray she does not always conform to the UKIP line: when a group of Europhobe Conservative MPs managed to secure a Commons debate on the EU a couple of years back hers was one of the few sane voices that tried to argue the case for our continued role in Europe.

Why, then, does she feel the need to placate UKIP on the issue of immigration? Her constituency is, after all, rich in its diversity and hardly the type of place that would be responsive to that party's ideology.

What is even more depressing is that Ed Miliband is now adopting much the same line. Yes, there are public concerns about immigration (much of them fuelled by the misreporting of the tabloid press) but we as a party should be extolling its benefits, not ceding ground to its detractors. True leadership does not involve telling the electorate they are right even when they are wrong.

By ruling out a referendum on EU membership Labour are giving the public a clear choice - vote for us if you wish to remain in. We should also given them a choice on the related issue of inward migration - vote for us if you think it's a good thing, because it most certainly is.

Thankfully the days when Labour threatened to pull Britain out of Europe (and in the process alienated good people like Dick Taverne and Shirley Williams) are well and truly behind us. As an internationalist party we are now overwhelmingly favourable to the EU, and rightly so.

It is time that we made our pro-European credentials the centrepiece of our message. In particular we should relate this to the issue of improve workers' rights.

Here are 10 'EU Facts' which we ought to highlight in the run-up to next year's general election...

(1) Europe has given us better health and safety at work.

(2) Europe has guaranteed all workers the right to four weeks paid holiday a year.

(3) Europe has ensured equal rights for all workers be they full time, part time, temporary or agency.

(4) Europe has ensured statutory maternity leave and parental leave.

(5) Europe has ensured equal pay for male and female workers doing the same job.

(6) Europe has made it so that employees do not have to work more than 48 hours per week.

(7) Europe has given us increased protection from workplace discrimination on the grounds of race, gender, sexual orientation, age and disability.

(8) Europe has given us guaranteed healthcare protection when on holiday.

In addition:

(9) Europe has given us the benefit of 2m hard-working immigrants who are net contributors to our economy.

(10) Meanwhile Europe has given British people the right to live and work in other EU member states. (No fewer than 2.2m currently do so).

Let's nail our colours firmly to the mast. We are unashamedly pro-European - both for the sake of improved workers' rights and greater cultural diversity.
Captain Darling
 
Posts: 101
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 8:58 pm

Re: Middlesex Anti Racist Action

Postby Captain Darling » Fri Dec 19, 2014 6:43 pm

XMAS AT HAYES SAINSBURY'S

While visiting this store today I happened to observe women wearing hijab buying Christmas decorations. Strange, as we're always being told by the Express/Star/Mail/UKIP that Muslims don't celebrate our country's foremost Winter festival.

The Interfaith Network is an excellent initiative which works to bring together followers of different faiths and promote greater understanding between them. Their website is well worth a visit...

https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j ... 1339,d.ZWU

This is the last post I'll be making on this thread. Seasons Greetings to all.
Captain Darling
 
Posts: 101
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 8:58 pm

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