Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Im no religious leader...but the dead of Grenfell Tower need blessed relief...

Im not a religious leader and since I have retired I'm no longer active or representative political leader, so I can speak my mind and of course, be ignored quite reasonably.
In relation to this damned fire, can we start calling this what it is ? #GrenfellTowerMassacre
And can the authorities stop lying to the people? The remaining dead were undoubtedly eviscerated in that hellish fire. 
In my soul I feel the plaintiff agonising call off the dead wailing around that Tower like banshees. 
They're demanding their release. 
I cant help feeling that what we need, is more spiritual leadership and power on this issue. Its certainly been a feature of the response to the terrorrist attacks we've seen of late. 
We must begin the healing to the tower itself. Sounds silly huh? The pain in that building is beyond imagination.

Its needs spiritual cleansing even if that just constitutes a ritualised response that provides cognitive comfort.
I am aware of the local religious response which has been amazing, but it's that brooding tower where the dead now lie and just need to be blessed, thats what I hear in my head everyday. 
That Tower is a mass grave of cremated ashes I believe that we should have a multi faith service at the Tower urgently. The dead and the living need spiritual power, blessings and consecrcration. 
My heart tells me people need permission to grieve. That the message in my head on the daily. I am sure that most of this is being worked on somewhere by someone. and by suggesting this I mean no disrespect to work done or being planned.

These are just my thoughts.
In retirement and I ponder how my spirit has been moved to tears and sorrow, and I see that brooding tower, each and every day I am compelled to speak of my thoughts of spiritual healing, therapeutic practice, ritual, release and power. 

Release the dead from that Tower, that dreadful tower and monument of statutory indifference, pain and community tears.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

The Grenfell Tower Massacre. The PM and her Chief of Staff, Gavin Barwell have blood on their hands.

Mr Lee Jasper, veteran activist and former Policing and Equalities Director for London (2000-2008) commented,

Grenfell Tower 
My profound sorrow, prayers and thoughts are with all the victims and all those affected by this appalling tragedy.

The black, smouldering, Dreadful Tower stands as a glaring and ugly monument to London’s growing inequality, poverty and discrimination.

A city where your class or colour, dictates the quality of life and where discrimination against vulnerable communities is rife.

The Tories brutal and ideological commitment to austerity, has acted as a powerful magnifying glass that has massively amplified disadvantage, racism and a disdain for the poor.

RBKC Leader Councillor Nicholas Paget-Brown





Our sorrow and grief has been compounded by the callous incompetence of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council (RBKC) and the Prime Minister who have behaved in an appalling and deeply insensitive manner. I stand in solidarity with the local community, who are calling for the resignation of all the current Tory Council leadership at RBKC. 



I fear that the woeful disaster response of RBKC gives us a clear indication of what could happen, if there was a large scale disaster at Notting Hill Carnival. This incident demonstrates that they have no strategic response and have treated their own residents with a callous contempt that defies belief. 

I join all those who are rightly demanding that former Housing Minister,  Gavin Barwell, now the Prime Minister’s current Chief of Staff, be sacked or resign immediately.

His position is untenable given his derisory role in failing to ensure fire safety regulations recommended by the Coroner at Southwark Lakanal House fire inquest in 20013 were implemented. 
He choose to sit on that important review. 
Put simply and with moral force, Gavin Barwell has blood on his hands.



We need to support the demand that Government conduct an urgent assessment of the estimated 4,000 Tower Blocks in the UK that have the same, combustible external cladding, as a matter of extreme urgency. People and families’ are living with acute stress and fear of not knowing if their block is safe.


I’d like to personally applaud the skill and unbelievable bravery of fire-fighters, the police and in particular local residents. We should be righlty proud of their response. Their example of heroism stands in stark contrast to the total failure of leadership shown by both the Royal Borough Of Kensington and Chelsea and central Government. The leader of RBKC must resign and publically apologise for their failure. 

They cannot remain in office.


Whilst we grieve deeply with the families and those still assumed missing and those injured we urge the Metropolitan Police to urgently arrest those responsible all those officer at RBKC and the Kensington and Chelsea Management Organisation (KCTMO) along with all relevant contractors, on potential corporate manslaughter charges and to seize all available evidence before it is destroyed.

This is not only a continuing danger to public confidence in identifying these responsible but Grenfell House should be treated as a crime scene not an accident investigation. We remember all too well that when the victims are poor, black and minority people money is saved, corners cut and investigations fail as with the now infamous investigatory debacle into the London New Cross Fire Massacre.


It’s vital that London authorities comprehend the outrage this hellish fire has engendered in our communities. It is essential that wise counsel is sought and employed to guide those that are charged with responding. London authorities legitimacy and credibility is on the line and may be irreparably damaged. 





The furious reaction to the PM's visit speaks volumes. She was forced into retreat in the face of sheer outrage. May seems both emotionally sterile and illiterate.”  

Although I have now retired from activism, given the scale of this tragedy I humbly offer my own view as to what I believe should happen now;




      Suggested demands:       


  •     Demand the sacking/resignation of the entire Conservative administration of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC). They must now face a Labour vote of no confidence, or a local referendum demand for an elected Mayor.  Demand the sacking of ex housing Minister Gavin Barwell who bears the full responsibility for failing to act on the Coroners report recommendations into the 2013 Southwark Lakanal House fire;

  •       That the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan demand that Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea be taken into special measures by Government and that all disaster response responsibility is transferred to the London Mayors Office to lead through the Mayors Fund and coordinate the work or voluntary organisations and the public, seeking to donate funds and resources to those directly affected;

  •       Grenfell Tower should now be covered up to provide dignity to the dead who remain in the building. Arrange a multi faith blessing service at Grenfell Tower to bless and consecrate the dead who remain.  Call a national 1 minute silence one week on.

  •      Demand the immediate fire safety assessment of all 4,000 Tower Blocks in the UK; That UK Mayor’s and Local Government Association should convene a national Tower Block Safety Group to drive fire safety.

  •      An urgent criminal investigation is instigated by the Metropolitan Police Service into potential criminal negligence at RBKC, Kensington and Chelsea Management Organisation (KCTMO); Harley Facades, Rydon and all other private contractors that bear responsibility for the work, maintenance and surveying of the Grenfell Tower Block;

  •     The Metropolitan Police Service must immediately secure and seize all vital documentary evidence, email and communication among all those contractors and council officers responsible for fire and building safety maintenance at Grenfell Towers.

  •      Last and most important that the Mayor of London urgently convenes a City wide disaster response task force, to help coordinate and direct relief and support efforts. This includes entering partnership with Grenfell Tower residents with the Mayors Fund to lead charitable donation in support.
End.


Lee Jasper.














Friday, 9 June 2017

Britain has changed and you changed it.



Jez We Can 
This morning we wake up in a new country. A country, that feels somehow different as a result of a new and profound shift in the political tectonic plates of the UK terra firma.

I think the country expects Prime Minister Theresa May to resigned. She has failed to secure her mandate for a"hard Brexit" Im sure I smell a vengeful Tory leadership silently sharpening their knives, ready for a very long night.


Failing that, she will try and form a weak coalition with the racist and extreme right wing Democratic Unionist Party, forming her own coalition of chaos. Lets just remember there association with loyalist terrorists during the  Northern Ireland troubles. I suspect that as a result she will suffer a massive public backlash as a consequence of her desperate attempt to retain power. She should go and go now. 

I'd like to pay special tribute to the young people of this country, whose spirit never wavered, whose hope burned bright, despite the siren calls of doom and disaster. It is the Millennial generation that has rewritten and restructured the British political landscape forever.

A 72% turnout for 19 - 25 year olds is simply remarkable. Utterly staggering in fact. 

In particular, I want to acknowledge that most despised section of our community, young Black and Muslim people. The very people who despised you, who tried to rob you of your futures by promoting racism, xenophobia and hate, have been taught a salutary and brutal lesson. You did that.

Simon Woolley OBV 
I also want to pay huge tribute to the work of Operation Black Vote today, and Simon Wooley. The increased turnout in our communities represents the fulfilment of a life times ambition. The slumbering giant finally woke up, and we should all be very proud.

Much like Jeremy, often toiling in difficult circumstances, challenging the deep cynicism born of frustration and usually robbing Peter to pay Paul, Simon has persevered and stayed the course.

In addition, those Black and ethnic minority organisations who came together to produce a Black Manifesto at such short notice, too many in number to mention here, rightly deserve a mention.

This is the kind of collegiate unity our young people demand of us, This is the ethical leadership they crave, and going forward I appeal to you all, to commit to working harder together for the common good. If this election and Jeremy Corbyn has taught us anything, it's that unity delivers its own reward. 

Personally, as somebody who has worked all his life to see the slumbering giant, the black and ethnic minority vote realise its true potential, today is a day that vindicates and exemplifies our collective power to bring real change to the United Kingdom.

The politics of division and hate have been rejected, in favour of Labour’s vision of a more equal, just and fairer society. What we saw last night, reflected in these dramatic results, is the rebirth of hope and opportunity,

Britain rejected the politics of hate 
To all young people, I say the Millennium generation has saved the nation, and in doing so has restored hope and integrity to a country mired in the divisive, and bitter politics of Brexit Britain.

It is your future, it is your time and much like Julius Caesar, you came, you saw, you conquered.

Jeremy Corbyn, John MacDonald, and let us not forget our dear sister Diane Abbott triumphed against the massed ranks of the British neoliberal elite, the Murdoch media, and a vicious and unrelenting assault on their politics and personalities, and yet the British public embraced the politics of equality and justice, and called time on the great Tory austerity project.

One can only imagine the victory that could have been secured, had the Parliamentary Labour Party, who spent the best part of the last 18 months, fundamentally undermining Jeremy's authority and plunging the Labour Party into disarray.

I say to you all frankly today, you should hang your heads in shame. A united Labour Party could have secured victory, had you prioritised unity in the party, above your own political careers. 

You had no faith, you had no commitment, and you failed both party and country.

No doubt, the decent man Jeremy is, there will be no bitter recriminations, however you should reflect on the quality of his leadership and be determined to dedicate yourself, to his renewed and strengthened mandate or leave the party. That’s the choice that faces you today.  

The great Nelson Mandela once said "it is always impossible, until it's done." And today, on this bright new morning, we see full confirmation of our strategic political power and influence.

I dare venture to say, that the days when our votes were simply taken for granted and weighed in advance, are indeed well and truly over.

We have reached a watershed moment in our history, where the depth and strength of the Black and ethnic minority vote has emerged, as one of the most significant electoral blocs in the United Kingdom. And the reality is, we can only get stronger.

We now enter uncharted waters and no doubt difficult times. It will require our constant vigilance, discipline, and unity behind Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party. Together we can forever change British politics. Today as the sun shines on a glorious Britain, we can finally believe, another world is possible.  

Thank you Jeremy and well done to his loyal MP's and supporters.




Tuesday, 6 June 2017

In a tragic and often brutal British election Jeremy Corbyn’s decency shines through. A personal view.

As the election rumbles on, the excitement builds as a man thought to have Buckley’s chance of entering No 10 defies all expectations.

Jeremy Corbyn representing a Socialist party and written off by all, as a hopeless wreck, has come to inspire people, with his plain language and moderate policies whose main political aspiration is to simply reduce economic and social inequality, by delivering fairness, industry and social injustice in the UK.

I could take you down the policy road of compare; critique and contrast Labour and Tory policy but you’ve heard all that before a million times already.

But let me be clear and declare my political preference, as Victor Meldrew once famously said, “I’d sooner stick my genitals in a pan of boiling chip fat” than vote Tory

So no, I’m not going insult your intelligence. by feigning neutrality.  However, having duly declared my personal politics, I wanted to share a personal insight on leadership, rarely discussed.

I  invite you to suspend your political bias, and for a moment, consider the extraordinary political phenomenon, that is the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. 

I contend that his perseverance and endurance, under heavy from the Troy high command and his own side, demonstrates real leadership. Since his election on the 12th September 2015, Jeremy has suffered an almost constant barrage of criticism, both personal and political.

Both the scale and intensity of that criticisms has been unprecedented, in my experience. Much as been made about the individual qualities of May and Corbyn and their suitability to lead the country and it’s the qualities of these two political opponents and in particular Jeremy that I want to explore.

The reason? Well I think, despite the pundits and the media, there is a remarkable groundswell of support for Jeremy, and it's coming from ordinary working people, ground down and exhausted by the millstone of Tory manufactured poverty, that comes as a devastating consequence of their blind faith allegiance to ideological austerity. 

I invite you to agree with me, whatever your political view, that it takes a formidable amount of courage, personal self-belief, fortitude, character and tenacity to do what Jeremy Corbyn has done.

He has had to survive the last 20 or so months, enduring a daily lambasting by sections of the majority press,  a daily bout of  ritual of personal humiliation, prosecuted through the lies and propaganda of a Tory Party and aided by a largely supine British press.

To endure and succeed in such an overwhelmingly hostile climate is, I suggest,  a truly epic achievement.  Think about it serioiusly for a second, to endure that scale of personal and political attacks, and here's the truly remarkable thing,  he did so without, I repeat for added emphasis, without anger, retaliation or recrimination? How many of us can do that?

To continue in the face of that tirade each and every day, without recrimination, to face a snarling right wing press, the smears, the press intrusions, the arrogant taunts emanating from a Tory Cabinet, man I tell you, that takes a special breed of person. This trait, this aspect of his character is for me alone, a stunning example in self-discipline and adherence to principle. Both Jeremy and his closet allies should be congratulated.

Faced with these critical challenges, Jeremy Corbyn has steadfastly refused to be drawn into the Westminster yah boo sucks, Punch and Judy type political debate, a style of debate, honed, learned and crafted in the debating clubs of Oxford and Cambridge. 

Of course the Tories whose arrogance and hubris weigh in equal measure, initially laughed at the man, and assumed this election would one a walk in the park.

It was a serious miscalculation, we British, dislike being taken fro granted and we love an underdog.

The current set of Eton Tories brings to mind something said by the famous 1930’s British playwright W. Somerset Maughan, that could have been written for Boris Johnson himself, when he told a group of ambitious Tories

“ You have magnificent chance, with all the advantages of wealth and position. Don’t throw it away by an exhibition of talent.”  

The problem with the Tories, as illustrated by their unbelievably arrogant approach to this election, is that they truly believe, and one cannot overstate this, that they. and they alone are born to rule.

It appears that Jeremy, as far as the Tories are concerned, and as Winston Churchill once said in reference Labour Politician Stafford Cripps,

"Hhas all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire”.

I think it’s this type of sneering, dismissive, pomposity and arrogance that has turned the tables for Jeremy. 

As I’ve watched this man stand tall, with integrity and poise under the most sustained and intense political pressure, even from his own side, what struck me most is his Zen like ability to stay calm. 

Throughout this election, Jeremy has emerged as the paragon of patience and virtue, whilst all around him resorted to petty personal comments and silly points scoring. In this regard, he has become the very embodiment of that plucky Brit, the Squaddie described by that arch British colonialist, Rudyard Kipling’s in his most famous of poems If…

I know what its like to try and sustain ones dignity under a welter of lies and constant criticism. I can relate to this as a result of my own personal experiences during hellish  2008 London Mayoral elections.

My family and I, endured four months of hell, and when the dust settled, it left me feeling bitter and angry. It’s taken wise counsel, the love of my beautiful wife and family and the company of good friends, for me to finally exorcise the demons that haunted my own psyche, as a result of the high tech press lynching and daily political mauling I endured.

How on earth Jeremy Corbyn has successfully endured so much more than I, and remained untainted, is simply remarkable in my view, and here is my substantive and important point, it’s an incredibly important quality of principled leadership to be considered so universally 'unpopular' and yet maintain your principled course.

It’s a quality, as we’ve seen, that Prime Minister Theresa May lacks. Under public and political pressure PM May snaps, U-turns, folds, collapses at the merest whiff of grapeshot.  She has been protected and ensconced in a Tory media bubble, refusing to engage or utter anything but the rote like formulas of 'strong and stable' and 'Brexit means Brexit'. 

When she has faced the media, in the aftermath of the tragic terror attacks on my twin home towns of Manchester and London, she was shambolic,  evasive and shifty in her answers to key questions about the 20,000 cut to police officer numbers ordered by her as Home Secretary,  

Her personality and public persona, carefully crafted through public relations guru’s and developed to prosecute the fiction that she is "strong and stable" has been ruthless undermined by that most mercurial and dangerous of political dynamics, hubris and events.

It’s a stunning turnaround for the political underdog Jeremy. To see him now, being rapturously applauded by ordinary people, drawing crowds of tens of thousands to political rallies all over the country, and rising in the polls, inspiring a new generation of young voters, is a simply astonishing.

Of course I’ll be voting for Labour as I always do, but this time I wont one hiding my nose, whilst doing so, and I suspect like millions of others I will heading for the polling booth, for the first time in decades, with a hop, a skip and  smile.

With the country wracked with division in the aftermath of the Brexit vote and an overwhelming sense of  disappointment, anger and despair at the profound consequences. our man Jeremy Corbyn has done the impossible. Despite all the odds, he has restored hope in people’s hearts and minds.

He has done so by simply being honest and holding on to his cherished principles, and refusing to play the age old Westminster media election game.

To do so in such a troublesome,  hostile and toxic political environment is real evidence of authentic leadership and brings to mind that old English saying,

Remember the kettle, always up to its neck in hot water, yet still it sings.” 

Jeremy the plucky Englishman is still singing.

This Thursday let the Tories weep into their Dom Perignon. Vote Labour

Mr Lee Jasper

Former Senior Political Adviser to the Mayor of London 2000- 2008.






Thursday, 11 May 2017

Time to move on.


                      
After having the distinct honour of  founding and Co Chairing BARAC UK with my sister Zita Holbourne, I feel it time for me to stand down after seven years at the helm.

I would like to pay tribute to the BARAC executive, whose work has been exemplary in seeking to demonstrate the links between austerity, the growth of racism,  and the disproportionate impact on Black and Asian and ethnic minority communities.

We have fought and won some amazing battles together and I am proud of our many achievements.

It  is then, with great sadness, I announce that I have stood down as Co Chair.

I am taking, a much needed break, both on line in relation to social media and in real life.

After 35 years on the front line of our struggle for equality I feel, it's now time to move on.

I am confident in BARAC's future with Zita remaining as Chair, and with the support of the national executive,  and ask that you continue to support, and work with BARAC, and I look forward to watching our continued success. 

In relation to the public advocacy, I am  no longer in a position to do case work support, or representation on behalf of individuals.

I hope now to  move on to undertake a Phd.

For those seeking to contact me, the only means to do so, going forward is via email at lee-jasper@live.com 

Yours sincerely,

 Lee Jasper

Saturday, 18 March 2017

UK Black Groups Launch Unprecedented Legal Action Against Racism in the Workplace







On the day of a national UK march against racism and in an unprecedented legal challenge, a number of high profile, national British African, Caribbean and Asian organisations have just filed a historic legal precedent in the Supreme Court to protect the employment rights of Black, Asian and minority ethnic professionals such as police officers, doctors, dentists, nurses, midwives, solicitors, barristers, judges and magistrates.  

Over 100,000 BME professionals may be affected by the ruling.

In a historic case due to be heard before the UK Supreme Court on 4th May, the Metropolitan Police  Service are fighting to prevent an police officer, challenging her dismissal, by claiming that police disciplinary tribunals are protected by Judicial immunity. 

Police Misconduct tribunals are chaired by a lawyer appointed according to judicial appointment criteria. A decision by the Supreme Court is expected in September.

In addition, the UK Ministry of Justice (MOJ) is relying on the same argument, to argue that the three British Judges, currently suing the MOJ for race, sex discrimination and victimization, cannot bring their cases against the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO) and that every decision taken by nominated Judges investigating misconduct is exempt from the Equality Act.  

Image
D Peter Herbert O.B.E., former Vice Chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority, a Crown Court Recorder, and Immigration Judge, comments as Chair of Society of Black Lawyers,  

“This Amicus Curiae brief is a historic legal application summarising the institutional racism faced by BME professionals in a range of professional organisations including the police, medical, and legal profession. The action by the Metropolitan Police Service, supported by the Ministry of Justice would seek to restrict the principle of equality before the law and access to justice, undermining the Lawrence Inquiry recommendations in the process. The Supreme Court has to carefully examine the wider socio-economic consequences of their ruling in the case of P.” 
  
Ismet Rawat, President, of the Association of Muslim Lawyers said, 

“If the Supreme Court decides to extend Judicial Immunity to disciplinary tribunals within the police force there is a reasonable likelihood that it will seriously undermine the ability of many BME professionals to challenge discrimination of all forms. This will be a retrograde step at a time of increasing racism generally, Islamophobia in particular and sexism in post-Brexit UK and the post-Trump world.  


It is somewhat ironic that the highest court of the land, which is now aware of the absence of diversity in the Judiciary must itself decide on a case that goes to the heart of who is truly able to enjoy equality before the law.  BME organisations will be watching with interest.” 

Lee Jasper, Co Chair of BARAC UK and former Policing Director for London and former Equalities lead for the London Criminal Justice Board (2000-2008) said,  
  
“
This case marks the beginning of a post Brexit legal civil rights strategy that a number of national black organizations are actively considering one of whose important aims is to substantially reduce racism in the workplace. Black professionals are catching hell in the workplace and for some who suffer racism, equality law as its currently stands offers them little to no protection.  


Black professionals are important and serve as role models for a black community suffering close to 50% youth unemployment. When our young people see that Black professionals suffer unfair race discrimination, they become disenchanted, angry and alienated from society.   

If post Brexit anti discriminatory laws are now to determined here in the UK, then we say that our aim should be no less than to substantively reduce race discrimination in the workplace in a matter of years, not decades.  

We find in our experience, that wherever 'discretion' is allowed in employment grievance and disciplinary processes, there you will find discrimination. With Black graduate unemployment rising remorselessly now's the time to act. We want to establish the primacy of UK equalities legislation in all aspect of employment law, particularly the area of work place race complaints.”   

Viv Ahmun of the social movement Blaksox stated,  

“This is not some theoretical legal case restricted to so called BME professionals but will affect the aspirations and lives of all BME communities for generations to come. Our role models and professional leaders are crucially important to lift our whole community. It is pointless for the Government to back the review into the disproportionate BME prison population being conducted by David Lammy M.P. on the one hand whilst with the other it seeks to remove equality for those that seek to break through the racial barriers within British society.”

Simon Wooley, the Director of Operation Black Vote commented, 
  
“We must keep up the fight: This landmark case strikes at everything we care about; justice, equality and accountability. Any backsliding undermines all three, and in effect tells Black communities that we care little for your hard won civil rights. 

At a time when Parliament itself is failing to represent the diversity of BME communities and only 22% of race and religious discrimination cases are successful in the Employment 
Tribunal it is a disgrace that the Metropolitan Police and Justice 
Department are seeking to restrict that further by hiding behind 
Judicial immunity.”
This action is also supported by: 



For further information please contact: -

Info@societyofblacklawyers.co.uk; 
Info@blaksox.com; 

D Peter Herbert O.B.E. :  07973 794 946 
Viv Ahmun : Blaksox: 07985 395 166; 
Lee Jasper : 07984 181797; 

Ismet Rawat : 07852 146056