Posts Tagged ‘race’

Time for Labour to root out the rotten politics of race in the Tower Hamlets party

25/07/2012, 07:00:14 AM

by Rob Marchant

It was with a heavy heart that Labour Uncut uncovered a little-reported nugget from seasoned east end politics commentator Ted Jeory: the expulsion of five Tower Hamlets councillors from the Labour party.

Actually, no. It was rather with delighted surprise and relief.

At last.

One of the councillors, Shahed Ali, tried to compare their floor-crossing – to join the non-Labour cabinet of independent, Respect-backed mayor Lutfur Rahman – with the failure of Dan Hodges and Alan Sugar (neither of whom are elected politicians, incidentally) to endorse Ken Livingstone.

And where Ali lost all credibility, as Jeory points out, was with his somewhat risible cry of “racism”. Ah yes, it was nothing to do with the councillors’ abject disloyalty: they were being picked on because they happened to be Bengali Muslims. Of course.

The harsh realpolitik is that Labour could not expel these councillors before the mayorals, because then they might have had to expel someone else who campaigned openly for Rahman – one Ken Livingstone.

This latest episode in the colourful history of Tower Hamlets Labour highlights not only the level to which party discipline nationally has diminished, but also how Labour is struggling to retain control over its local party in the east end.

It’s as if a small corner of the party had mutated, like in some bad sci-fi flick, and taken on a life of its own outside Labour.

This is not a criticism of long-suffering party staff, constrained by the political direction and resources they are given: nor of the many decent people in the local party, or its decent MPs such as Jim Fitzpatrick or Rushanara Ali.


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Sunday Review: There ain’t no black in the Union Jack, by Paul Gilroy

28/08/2011, 12:00:45 PM

by Anthony Painter

If the riots hadn’t spread beyond Tottenham, there is little doubt that we would now be having a far more heated discussion about “race” and British urban culture, rather than a generalised moral moan. The book that many would turn to would be Paul Gilroy’s 1987 classic: “There ain’t no black in the Union Jack”. In it, Gilroy outlines “race” as an agent of historical change alongside “class” or “gender” (note the inverted commas). And after riots in the early and mid-1980s that were more political in their nature than those we have just seen – in the sense that there was a deliberate political point being made – Gilroy’s theory of “race” as historical agent of mobilisation was forceful. But then things went a different way.

What marks out the latest edition of the book, is its introduction. Gilroy has substantially revised his approach. In fact, he declares that race is now “ordinary”. It has blended with poverty, material deprivation and inequality as a complex interplay of power, injustice and exclusion. Like other motivating social forces such as class, race has been shattered.

The “rise of identity politics, corporate multi-culture, and an imploded, narcissistic obsession with the minutiae of ethnicity” have fragmented “political blackness”. Bonds of solidarity have weakened. Rather than huddling together, the oppressed and excluded are wandering alone, facing the cold and the rain without protection. Where “blackness” was a motivating political force a quarter of a century ago, it no longer fulfils that role. (more…)

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Fabian Hustings: laughometer

15/06/2010, 08:23:14 AM

This is the laughometer from last night’s Fabian society leadership hustings.

Tiny chuckles weren’t recorded.

We maintained our rule that to score you had to get a proper laugh from a significant portion of the room.

David Miliband 5
Ed Miliband 7
Ed Balls 9
Diane Abbott 7
Andy Burnham 6

These numbers are significantly higher across the board than for previous hustings. Last night was a first outing for the Uncut reporter operating the laughometer on this occasion.  We have not yet been able to establish whether the leap in laughs was due to operator error, or to the candidates loosening up and getting funny.

Views from those present at last night’s Fabian as well as more than one other hustings would be welcome.

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