Stop the racist coup attempt on London’s only black council leader

Starmer power stance

Sir Kier Starmer at a garden party for Labour Haringey councillors last weekend where he was infamously demonstrating his power stance.

A picture paints a thousand words and sometimes its not what’s in the picture but what’s missing that matters.

Haringey is one of the UK’s most diverse local authorities, with the second-largest non-UK European-born population of any London borough

The diverse borough consists of 38% of residents from BAME groups and 26% identify as “white other”. Remarkably in that one borough 180+ languages are spoken.

Haringey council is underrepresented by BAME councillors but Sir Keir Starmer’s garden party is very telling in the fact that the LABOUR BAME counsellors are conspicuous by their absence.

What is Starmer’s issue?

The Labour Party have had an issue with what appears to be Systemic racism shown in the leaked report into antisemitism., where the leaked Labour report reveals a shocking level of racism and sexism towards its black MPs

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has appealed to Black voters not to leave the party, following backlash over an interview in which he dismissed the Black Lives Matter goal of defunding the police as “nonsense”.

In June that scores of Black people were leaving or considering leaving the party over concerns that anti-Black racism was not being adequately addressed by the leadership.

It was sparked by a leaked report into anti-Semitism in the party, drafted in March and leaked in April, which also appeared to uncover examples of Afriphobia – prompting Starmer to appoint a four-person panel to investigate.

Still, Black voters have expressed disappointment with silence on the matter from leadership while this is underway.

Dawn Butler and Diane Abbott at Labours Womens Conference in the Telford International Centre.
Dawn Butler and Diane Abbott at Labour’s Women’s Conference in the Telford International Centre. PA WIRE/PA IMAGES

Black voters are still reeling from the aftermath of the leaked report and many have told us that they now feel “politically homeless”.

The lengthy document revealed that Labour officials used a string of insults in private WhatsApp groups to describe senior Black MPs and officials including Diane Abbott, Dawn Butler and Clive Lewis.

The messages about Dawn Butler and Diane Abbott are a visceral reminder of the discrimination black women face in the workplace

Many black British women feel a particular, protective kind of kinship toward black female MPs, grateful for their representation both figuratively and literally in the face of media attacks.

So the leak of an internal report from Labour HQ, which alleges senior staff exhibiting the very prejudice they claim to fight against, has been especially hard to digest.

The 860-page document has unearthed a plethora of party horrors: allegations of misuse of funds, the continued undermining of the 2017 electoral campaign and the then-leader Jeremy Corbyn’s attempts to investigate anti-Semitism in the party, as well as vicious criticism of leading Labour figures by staff members in private messages.

The entire dossier is hard to swallow, but the messages regarding Dawn Butler and Diane Abbott left a singularly bitter aftertaste.

One staff member “engaged in a classic racist trope” by referring to the Hackney North MP as an “angry woman”, while another called her “repulsive.”

When Ms Abbott was found crying in the toilets in the wake of abuse in 2017, a female staff member suggested telling a Channel 4 journalist of her whereabouts. Another replied that he already had, followed by a wink emoji.

Yomi Adegoke writes One can only fathom the level of dehumanisation that has taken place, for peers to gleefully relish in bullying that has brought a colleague to the brink and then contribute to it.

The report appears to shows party staff organising against Labour candidates and to undermine MPs, hoping the party would fail at elections, and failing to work as instructed by the elected leadership and National Executive Committee. It appears too that this behaviour was not just protected but encouraged and co-ordinated by the most senior levels of management.

An attempted coup to remove Joe Ejiofor London’s only black council leader

Now we find there is an attempted coup to remove Joe Ejiofor London’s only black council leader Petition LINK

Right-wing Labour councillors called an ’emergency’ meeting what the ’emergency’ is supposed to be seems unclear, however, the objective is very clear it is to bring a no-confidence motion against Ejiofor at a cost in a move opponents have described as a ‘racist coup‘.

The petition started by local Labour members, which has gathered over 2000 signatures in the short time since it was launched, states:

Stop the racist coup attempt on London’s only black council leader

We stand with Joe Ejiofor against attempted leadership coup

We stand with Tottenham councillor Joe Ejiofor, London’s only black council leader, against the attempt to overthrow him while people’s backs are turned owing to the global pandemic.

Joe has come under consistent racist attacks since he took over being depicted as an African dictator, a monkey and various other racist tropes, now like the 2 black leaders of Haringey came before he is facing challenges from inside his own party.

Since Joe has been council leader he has made significant progress towards implementation of the 2018 Haringey Labour Manifesto which residents overwhelmingly supported. While much work remains to be done, the achievements of the council range from cancelling the Haringey Development vehicle, to raising the pay of care workers to the level of the London Living Wage, to making a start on bringing council services in-house, and delivering hundreds of new council homes at council rents.

All of these achievements demonstrate that Joe is a successful leader redistributing wealth and power across the borough and using his position to improve the lives of the residents of Haringey.

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the vital role local authorities play in providing the services on which all of us, and especially the most vulnerable in our communities. Haringey Council has stepped up to provide vital care and other services to the people of Haringey during the crisis.

That work must continue as lockdown starts to ease, financial support to individuals and businesses from central government is removed, landlords resume evictions, unemployment rises, poverty worsens and those who rely on universal credit are once again subjected to punitive sanctions.

There is no justification in changing the leadership of the Council, and are concerned that this could result in rowing back on the improvements already made to peoples lives.

The Labour Party has recently come under criticism for inadequate representation of Black people in positions of power.

We are asking people to sign this petition to Labour Councillors in Haringey to vote against the motion of no confidence on Wednesday.

Two local constituencies Labour party executive committees have also near-unanimously issued a statement condemning the move.


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