Archive for September 28th, 2010

A suggestion for sanctuary

I’ve had a lovely suggestion from the wonderful, Liverpool-supporting Emdad Rahman, whose blog here is a fine sanctuary from the poisonous snake pit of Tower Hamlets politics.

He says to me: “On a lighthearted note you can suggest all warring political factions and representatives to visit the East London Sukkah – an organic dwelling growing out of the Jewish celebration of the harvest. I’ve been down two days in a row and it’s a wonderful project based in Spitalfields city farm. The atmosphere is relaxed, and the company is genial and very friendly. It’s given me food for thought.”

And here’s Emdad’s take on it from his own blog:

The East London Sukkah

The sukkah is a temporary, organic and transient dwelling growing out of Jewish tradition to celebrate the harvest. It has been built across faiths and cultures that have come together under its shelter to share meals, talks, performances and dialogues on food, faith and community.

Over the weekend the organisers have assembled speakers, artists, religious teachers (of many faiths), activists, radicals and mischief makers to explore how these issues might look in a post-capitalist world.

This is the creation of a temporary and ephemeral society to imagine and dream of alternative ways of living.

From 20-29 September 2010, you can visit the Sukkah at:

Spitalfields City Farm
Buxton Street
E1 5AR

It ends on Friday.

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The magic of Lutfur Ali

Well, well….someone’s feeling sensitive aren’t they?

Within an hour of me posting Lutfur Ali’s appearance in Lutfur Rahman’s campaign video this morning, it was removed from YouTube. Fortunately, the Harry’s Place blog had taken a screen grab of Ali’s second of fame, as well as saving a copy of the original, which they then re-posted towards the end of the text here.

This evening, another version of the video has appeared on YouTube here and below.

The two versions are identical, except for one particular scene: guess who’s gone missing….

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Lutfur Ali back – video

An interesting campaign video called Lutfur for Mayor has just appeared on YouTube, showing Lutfur Rahman addressing a campaign meeting last week.

Appearing with him are a number of (Labour) councillors including Ohid Ahmed, Alibor Choudhury, Oli Rahman and Rabina Khan.

The most fascinating clip, however, is at 45 seconds in when Lutfur Ali appears.

He’s the former assistant chief executive of the council who was forced to resign in the wake of Andrew Gilligan’s Dispatches documentary in March.

There had been rumours he was back on the scene and angling for a paid fob working for a Mayor Lutfur. Those suspicions have just grown stronger.

Here’s the video. More later

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Following my post yesterday about Abul “Abz” Hussain and his charming banter on Facebook (“I should have put u on that convoy to Gaza, could have traded the Jew with the Israelis to let the aid through, but then again they’d probably reject u as ur too much of a jew by their standards!”), Respect’s top officials last night met to discuss his future.

They have removed him from his position on the National Council and expelled him from the party. Whether Lutfur Rahman will want the help I’m sure he’ll want to give on the doorstep in Tower Hamlets over the next month is unknown (he polled 1,261 votes in the Stepney Green and St Dunstan’s ward in his failed bid for a seat on Tower Hamlets council last May).

Here’s Respect’s statemement in full: 

The Respect Party is committed to opposing prejudice and racism wherever it appears. We believe that racism divides communities, undermines human dignity, leads to hate and allows those trying to reduce resources and facilities to find easy scapegoats. Anti-Semitism has been a favoured form of prejudice in Europe over the last century and Respect is totally hostile to it.

We are extremely upset to discover that recently published comments from one of our party members are indicative of anti-Semitism. The National Officers have conducted an investigation and met on Monday evening (27 September) to consider the matter. We have decided that such views are demonstrably incompatible with party membership. The individual has been removed from all positions held within the Respect Party and he has been expelled with immediate effect.

The Respect Party believes it , and its members, have a responsibility to uphold firmly anti-racist principles. It is one of our founding tenets and all forms of racist sentiment will not be tolerated.

Clive Searle, National Secretary

Dr Kay Phillips, National Chair

Chris Chilvers, National Treasurer.

Monday 27 September 2010.

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