Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Oppose UKIP Stand Together in Massive Show of Unity.

The reality is that UKIP, whatever their protestations and everday blokeish charm are, in fact a crypto-fascist party infested with racists, homophobes, islamaphobics, climate change deniers, sexist bigots and the like.

Their politics thrives on fear and hatred and, in these harsh economic times, brought on by reckless rich casino bankers. Such scapegoating becomes infectious among those who perceive themselves  too weak to take on the rich, but who are all too willing to take out their anger on the weakest members of society.

To target migrants is political and moral cowardice, to forment hate  is the refuge of the bully, to disemintate lies and propaganda as the turth is the tactic of the vicious and the venal.

We must rally now and oppose in a show of solidaity and unity that demonstrates we are not afraid, we don't believe their lies and we stand in solidarity with migrants.

We ask that you help us make this meeting a huge statement of opposition to the politics of fear and hatred by attending this meeting, promote the meeting ruthlessly and stand with in rejection of the politics of hate.

                                        STOP SCAPEGOATING IMMIGRANTS
Immigrants are getting a raw deal in this election campaign, with promises of further restrictions and the threat to free movement within Europe being promoted by UKIP and others. Throughout the life of the Coalition Government we have seen primary and secondary legislation introduced which demonises and marginalises immigrants. From the family rules of July 2012, to the Immigration Bill soon to complete its passage through Parliament, restrictions and the 'climate of hostility' have been the flavour of the day. 

This looks set to continue throughout the next year as we approach the General Election. We need to put a marker down and say NO to this competition of intolerance.

We hope you will be able to attend this meeting and that you will be able to help us promote it through your networks.

Monday 19 May 2014, 7pm
Indian YMCA , 41 Fitzroy Square
(nearest tube is Warren Street)

Friday, 11 April 2014

Open Letter to Lambeth Labour Cllr Jack Hopkins

Lambeth Labour Group.

Cllr Jack Hopkins lambeth

Lambeth Labour Group
Dear Cllr Jack Hopkins.  

I write to you today in your capacity as chair designate for the proto Lambeth Safer Neighbourhoods Board. I wanted to ask a simple question, why have ignored our request from Colourful Radio to speak to us  about the abolition of Lambeth Community Consultative Group ? 

Despite contacting your across a range of social media platforms, voicemails, email and now this, you have failed to offer us the even the most basic courtesy of a response. 

Simple professionalism and due regard for the only Black owned licensed commercial station in the UK and black people in general,  should have dictated a simple acknowledgement of our request and even if you were then to decline, at least that would be better that the sheer contempt you have exhibited in wilfully ignoring our repeated requests. 

Well I think you should know we are not going to let this drop. It's now a matter of principle and the black media and black communities are getting tired of being treated in such a tardy manner. 

I spoke about your lamentable behaviour on my show which you can listen to again on podcast on www.colourfulradio.com and have written about the abolition of the CPCG here. 


I don't expect a reply. 

Have a good day.

Lee Jasper 

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Boris Johnson Plans to Devastate Police Community Engagement in London.

Boris Johnson attempts to tackle Met crisis by silencing critics.
It’s an act so incredibly stupid as to defy belief; the Mayor of London has withdrawn funding for London’s locally accountable Community Police Consultative Groups (CPCG’S) and replaced them with a new body, local Safer Neighbourhood Boards.

Here I speak as veteran human rights, race equality activist, challenging police racism of some 30 years standing and as the longest serving Policing Director of London and a pioneer of police community engagement.

Given that Londoners will have little or no knowledge of how London police community engagement works or how much they have contributed to maintaining London’s peace and safety over the last 30 odd years, most people will be unaware of the real significance of this decision.

Their abolition by the Mayor will not, I suspect, make huge headlines given he enjoys  the uncritical support of some London media, nevertheless l believe this will rank as one the least known, yet most damaging decisions made by this Mayor. Much like the decision to stop dredging the Thames River, thought by many at the time to be innocuous, outside of a few knowledgeable specialists was, once the weather changed, a decision that proved to be critical.

Lord Scarman 
CPCG’s were created by Lord Scarman in response to the Brixton Uprisings that took place on Friday 11th April 1981. With over 32 boroughs in London some of these groups acted as gatekeepers largely uncritical of the police, whilst in other areas, particularly in inner city London, they were a dynamic force for good, fiercely independent and vigorous in holding police to account.

Brixton April 11th 1981
Back to the Brixton Uprisings, it is now some 35 years since the oppressive and brutal Police Operation SWAMP 81 that saw three thousand police officers, descend on central Brixton, stopping and searching over 1000 people and arresting hundreds in people in a 10 days period.

Operation SWAMP 81 triggered the open resistance of an entire community in response to what was seen then as a profoundly corrupt and racist police force. This uprising resulted in 299 injuries to police and 65 injuries to members of the public; over a hundred vehicles were burned, including 56 police vehicles; and almost 150 buildings were damaged, with 28 burned. There were 82 arrests.

The then Home Secretary Willie Whitelaw launched a public inquiry and in November of that year Lord Scarman was appointed to lead the inquiry. Six months later he published findings that identified, among many things, the disproportionate use of the massively oppressive and dreaded SUS law as one of the causes.

The Scarman Report, though ground breaking at the time failed to identify the institutionalised nature of police racism and stated that "complex political, social and economic factors" created a "disposition towards violent protest". 

His report highlighted problems of racial disadvantage and inner-city decline, warning that "urgent action" was needed to prevent racial disadvantage becoming an "endemic, ineradicable disease threatening the very survival of our society". He cited the lack of community based forums that facilitated discussion, monitored police activity and ventilated complaints as key.

Scarman called for substantial improvement in police community communication and the establishment of local forums that ensured people could air their concerns, grievances and complaints against their local police service.

The Lambeth Consultative Police Group, was one of the first to be established. In the last 30 years this group has pioneered some of the leading community engagement and police accountability strategies in the county.

Leading the way on deaths in custody, domestic violence and rape, the illegal and unethical use of police informers as lead to the establishment of the now discredited 

Operation Trident, the placing of video cameras in police vans, and stations, the creation of independent custody visitors, mental health nurses in police stations, racial harassment monitoring, are all issues where LCPCG has distinguished itself as making a unique and valuable contribution to improving police practice and community relations. These initiatives were born out of deep police/community partnerships in the context of police service that accepted they were institutionally racist and in doing so provided the space for deep enduring partnerships. 

Today no such context exits and the post Scarman and McPherson settlements between the Government and black communities has been betrayed by those in power.

Let us not forget that CPCG’s have prevented any number of critical policing incidents escalating into serious disorder. Members are unpaid volunteers, often on the streets in the early hours of the morning mediating between communities and the police in potentially very dangerous situations.  I know I’ve been there, holding back armed police from rushing in where angels fear to tread and in doing so have helped positively resolved thousands of potential flash points.

They hold open public meetings once a month where anyone in the community can attend and hear about what local police are doing to tackle crime and challenge officers on issues such as deaths in custody or stop and search.

These open access meetings provide a unique safety valve, allowing a community to legitimately progress concerns and complaints in an open and public forum. CPCG groups also provide another unique function, borough wide analysis of policing performance, helping to identify trends in policing, asses the allocation of resources and police officers in the borough and evaluate overall police performance. Not only do these groups inform, they also educate both the police and members of the public, on the complexities of tackling crime, dealing with Police complaints whilst maintaining community confidence.

Boris Johnson is many things, but even as one of his arch critics, I didn’t think he was this stupid.

London is a fabulous multicultural city, with enormous strengths and weaknesses, huge contrasts and great inequalities. In such a city, ensuring that those who govern and rule are diverse is not just some ‘loony left’ cosmetic equality, tick box exercise, but a critical requirement for a world city, multicultural metropolitan city like London.

Those that govern London need to ensure we are a representative democracy, one that makes decisions that are informed by the differentiated experiences of distinct cultural, ethnic, gender and religious groups in the capital. One of the most important areas where such diversity is absolutely critical is policing and the administration of criminal justice.

Following the riots of August of 2011, in the aftermath of the shooting by the Metropolitan Police of an unarmed black man and father, Mark Duggan, one would have thought the Mayor of London would have ensured that the maintenance of effective police community relations would be one of his top priorities for London.

During the 2011 riots lives were tragically lost, people’s homes and businesses destroyed in addition to millions of pounds of criminal damage. At the time, the Association of British Insurers said they expected the industry to pay out, nationally in excess of £200 million. Estimated losses in London were in the region of £100m. Such losses, both human and financial were, entirely avoidable.

I believe that the absence in 2011 of anyone with the necessary experience and understanding of the fraught historical realities between police and black communities in the capital came at enormous cost.

This lack of diversity and cultural competence at City Hall and New Scotland Yard cost the country and London dearly. In a tragic error of judgment, no one in these two institutions was alive to understanding the context of the police shooting a black man from Broadwater Farm Tottenham.

All white is not alright. City Hall London
This acute political and professional failure to understand the wider realities of policing multicultural London, is a direct consequence of ideological hostility shown by Boris and the Commissioner for radical antiracist and equality policies that are central to giving effect to the critically important principle of ‘policing by consent’. Majority white senior management teams at City Hall and New Scotland Yard reflect a London of the 1940’s not the London of the 21st century.

Whilst the Commissioner talks of adopting ‘affirmative action’ type police recruitment policies, he has presided over a net loss of fully warranted BME police officers over his term of office. 

Whatever ones view about the real causes of the August 2011 disturbances, I think we can all agree that’s it’s a no brainer to conclude that ensuring that those areas and communities, where public trust and confidence in the police is dangerously low, should have assumed an urgent political priority for both the Commissioner of Police Bernard Hogan-Howe and Boris Johnson.

‘Any man can make mistakes, but only an idiot persists in his error.’ Marcus Tullius Cicero

The public and professional reputation of Metropolitan Police Service is facing the most profound crisis in its 185 year history. A legion of high profile cases of serious police corruption, institutional racism and sexism, police brutality and indifference have all combined to deal, what I believe is a near fatal blow to London’s largest and most powerful public sector institution.

Suspicious deaths in police custody, Plebgate, racial profiling, stop and search, the shredding of masses of documents relating to police corruption, the scandals of their treatment of Daniel Morgan and Stephen Lawrence families, the mass criminalisation of black youth,  disproportionate use of police violence,  fiddling crime figures , , failure to prosecute domestic violence abusers and rapists, I could go on and on but I dare say you get my point, all these examples and a few more besides have added to the massive reputational damage  to the Met.

Now more than ever the confidence of communities need to be restored by effective engagement and that may well require us to fundamentally rethink and reshape institutions ranging from the Police to the Independent Police Complaints Commission

The replacement of CPCG’s with local Safer Neighbourhoods Boards is a monumental error.  Unlike CPCG’s they are made up of local Councillors , Chairs of the now dysfunction Safer Neighbourhood Ward panels, and a number of other organisations that will be vetted, nominated and agreed by Boris Johnson at City Hall.

Critically important groups such as the Stop and search working groups and Independent Custody Visitors (ICV’s) will now be handpicked by SNB’s locally, vetted and controlled by the Mayor himself, rather than elected in an open forum by local CPCG’s. ICV’s were given 24 hour access to police stations and suspects to provide reassurance to communities with concerns about the welfare of suspects in police stations. 

They have now been told by City Hall and local Borough Superintendents that cuts to officer numbers mean they can visit police stations once a month by appointment only.

SNB are not required to hold regular public meetings, nor is there any requirement for the public to have access to these meetings, nor are they required to publish minutes.

The Mayor has now assumed full responsibility for police community engagement in London. The decision to abolish CPCG’s is a wilful act of municipal vandalism that will increase black community anger and alienation towards the Met.

The Mayor and Commissioner both appear utterly clueless when it comes to these issues as demonstrated by this bizarre decision. The fashionable hostility against race equality policy, both agree that the Met is no longer an ‘institutionally racist organisation’, both have majority all white senior management teams, both are failing London.

When those critical policing incidents occur at the dead of night, it won’t be members of the SNB who come out to mediate between the community and the police. They will not have the commitment, the expertise, nor the community credibility to do so.

Whilst the Mayor seeks to restore the Mets credibility by removing a key platform where members of the public can raise grievances, get support and enjoy some level of real accountability, he should really be focusing on tackling the real crisis in the Met instead of shooting the messengers.

In Lambeth we intend to fight this incredibly dangerous decision all the way. It will be our communities that suffer when the Mayors idiotic plans fall apart. For London’s sake I hope we are able to convince enough people to support our case for retaining the principles of local accountability, full transparency, and public accessibility. We cannot allow the Mayor to destroy the legacy of both the Scarman and McPherson reports by removing one of the most effective mechanisms to improving trust and confidence in the police.

NB: I will be discussing these and other issue raised by this article on my radio show on www.ColourfulRadio.com between 7-10 am Friday 11th April 2014

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Nicky Jacobs Old Bailey Acquittal of the Murder of PC Blakelock

For immediate use,

Lee Jasper, former Policing Director for London and Chair of London’s Race and Criminal Justice Consortium  responds to the acquittal at the Old Bailey of Nicky Jacobs of the murder of Police Constable Keith Blakelock,

He said,   “This case has made a mockery of the notion of fair British justice and should have never have been brought to court. The evidence was non-existent and relied on the word of a man who had been paid by the police and given immunity from prosecution for serious drug charges, despite his long and serous criminal record. 

He is the same man who lied in all previous trial seeking a prosecution on this matter and for the police to rely on him again, demonstrates the Met will go to any lengths, above and beyond the law, to secure a prosecution in this case.

Nicky’s acquittal should now result in the immediate suspension of all Police officers and Crown Prosecution lawyers who were involved in bringing this ludicrous case to court. This travesty of justice has seen another nail in the Coffin of the Met Police and the Met Commissioner and will further exacerbate fraught police community relation. All those involved should be suspended immediately and be subjected to through criminal and disciplinary investigations.

What we have seen is in this case is ‘noble cause’ corruption that has sought to convict an innocent man of murder of a police officer, Nicky and his family life has been destroyed and the family of PC Blakelock have endured yet another botched attempt to secure a conviction in this tragic case.

The Commissioner Bernard Hogan Howe under whose watch this terrible travesty of justice occurred and who has to be held personally responsible for the malicious prosecution of an innocent Black man should be forced to resign. He is discredited, worst still incapable of inspiring confidence, has presided over the worst period of reputational damage in the Mets history.

I would like to pay special tribute to  my friends and colleagues Stafford Scott and Suresh Grover of The Monitoring Group, who supported Nicky from the outset, their work has proved invaluable to his cause and ultimately has helped exposed that Met campaign to convict anyone for the murder of PC Blakelock."


Friday, 28 March 2014

My Colourful Radio Podcasts Available For Your Listening Pleasure

All my breakfast show's on Colourful Radio are now available on Podcast. 

1- 3      Broadcast on  7th February 2014  Stop & Search Special

4- 6      Broadcast on 14th February 2014  Racism in the Workplace

10-12   Broadcast on 28th February 2014 Violence in the Community

13-15   Broadcast on  7 March 2014  Celebration of My Sisters

19 - 21 Broadcast on 21st March 2014 State of Black Europe

22-24  Broadcast on  28th March 2014 Rough Guide To Surviving Poverty

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Brixton College To Be Sold Off: The Process of Gentrification Continues

Demonstration Save Brixton College Thursday 27th March 5 - 7pm Brixton College Brixton Hill Lambeth

If I were to describe to you a scenario where a College in one of the most deprived diverse areas of London was to close and the site was bought by Government, with tax payers money, to be handed over to an free school organisation whose chair has a track record of articulating the most disgusting right wing racism, you would think me quite mad and rightly so.
Unfortunately in the world of Education Secretary Michael Gove such things are what dreams are made off by plans to close Brixton College.

Placards 2

Brixton is changing and changing fast, in part because of the manufactured austerity economic crisis, in addition to housing market that is out of control and a stealth agenda of creeping gentrification. 
Take a walk around Brixton and you will see what I mean, parts of it resemble Kensington and there are those, including the local council who seem more than happy with theses developments.
Brixton is the black capital of Europe and the UK. This status is now under threat as a consequence of savage public sector and welfare cuts and the ideological extremism of a Tory party that knows the cost of everything, and the value of nothing. 
Alongside the gentrification of Brixton we see a determined effort by the new middle class residents of the locale to pressurise the local Council and the Police into taking action to 'clean up' Brixton. 
What do the shiny new residents of Brixton need? Shiny new predominantly white free schools to teach their children.
Late last year staff and students at Lambeth College were shocked by the announcement  that the college is to lose 70% of its Brixton Centre campus and turned not yet anther free school. it is to be noted that there is pare capacity in Lambeth's existing free schools that are undersubscribed . 
Black Activist Against the Cuts (BARAC) have been part of a growing community campaign to stop the sale and to keep and expand the provision of further education in Brixton. Staff, students and The local community is outraged  at this recent development in the college’s plans, which will see a reduction in the Brixton centre from 6000 to 2000 sq feet, with a loss of two thirds of the current number of classrooms, as the site is sold to the government Department of Education (DfE) for £18 million. 
The hypocrisy of the Government means they are prepared to spend our tax payers money to buy the College and in effect close it rather than give that cash to Brixton College to expand further education provision. This government strategy is to close colleges, increase university student fees and build more prisons. 
We disagree  that this massive reduction of the Brixton Centre campus is  “really good news for the College and the community” as has been presented by the College and 
With 1.2 million young people in Britain out of work and in Lambeth 70% young black men unemployed, we believe that it Further Education is absolutely vital to providing a pathway out of poverty and alienation. 
Brixton College  provides vital educational opportunities for adults with disabilities and learning difficulties, for young people who need to re-engage with education, and for migrants and those with English as a 2nd language (ESOL) who need to learn English to improve their lives
The fact that local  MP Chuka Ummuna  and Lambeth Leader of the Council Liz Peck seems unconcerned  should be of no surprise to anyone. 
Despite strong local opposition the college has decided to press on with its plans to sell 70% of the Brixton Centre campus and as a result BARAC will continue to campaign alongside Lambeth Unison, the UCU, the NUT and Unite the Community
Placards 2
The proposed new Trinity Free School is even more worrying given its chaired by a Mr Dennis Sewell whose views on the issues facing poor working class and black communities are breathtaking in their arrogance , racist sentiment and patronising tone.

He writes regularly for the right wing Spectator magazine and has revealed himself as an arch bigot and right wing ideologue. Here are a number of his views as written for the Spectator.

Commentating on poor inner city neighbourhoods he says;

"The neighbourhoods in which they live are falling apart. The squalor is palpable; crime rampant; local schools are very often failing or ‘sink’ schools. If you think I’m exaggerating, choose any area with a high level of welfare-dependency and go and look for yourself."
Dennis Sewell - Spectator Nov 2009
On his attitude to inequality and poverty in the UK he says;
 "We need the filthy rich to feel right at home here."
Dennis Sewell - Spectator Sept 2011
And finally here he speak of the Tottenham disurtbances following the shooting, by Police of Mark Duggan:
 "I wonder what he made of the savagery on display in the streets of Tottenham. Would he express the same mixture of puzzlement and dismay that David Livingstone had felt when, sent out by the London Missionary Society, he first encountered the thieving Chiboque tribe beyond the Zambezi? ‘I was very struck by what seemed to be a vacuum of ethical values,’ Fr Darline says. ‘It was as if they had no system by which to judge what they should do, or not do. You would see someone presented with the opportunity to loot a shop and it was like watching a cat on a wall — will it jump this way, or that? In many cases it seemed there had been an absence of any ethical dimension in upbringing or education."

Dennis Sewell - Spectator - 21 Dec 2011
 It is scandalous that Michael Gove cannot find Brixton College but can find an &£18 million giveaway to this racist bigot who will now run a school in our community. I say hell no... Join us in defeating the mad man Gove and his attempt to give away one of most precious assets to someone who is big donor to the Tory party and arch racist too boot. 

Help us defeat this madness and circulate, share and post 

Wednesday 26 March – NUT Strike – please support striking teachers and visit picket lines to give out flyers

Sign the online petition http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/save-lambeth-college-in-brixton-no-free-school

Like our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/savebrixtoncollege?ref=hl

Follow us on Twitter www.twitter.com/brixtoncollege<http://www.twitter.com/brixtoncollege>