Thursday, 31 March 2011

Emanuel Family are treated with crass insensitivity at MPA meeting 
The Campaign for Justice for Smiley Culture (aka David Emanuel) attended the Metropolitan Police Authority  monthly meting this morning. We were there to hear a report back from the Acting Commissioner Tom Goodwin report on key policing issues over the last month. Around 100 supporters packed the meeting.

Prior to the meeting Acting Commissioner approached the family and offered his sympathy and condolences to Merlin Emanuel. Deputy Mayor and chair of the Authority Kit Malthouse  approached the public gallery and offered his apologies to the family of Daniel Morgan  who were in attendance to receive a much-deserved formal apology from the MPS. He then pointedly walked past the Emanuel family without a word to them.

He provided a report back on his activities over the last month including attending a police raid he was asked, rather insensitively given what happened to Smiley Culture, by Lord Toby Harris if he wore a stab vest whilst on police raids. This was provocative and drew disapproving comments from the crowd.
A formal written apology was read out to the family of Daniel Morgan from the police followed by a unanimous decision by the MPA to support the call for a public inquiry. That received a warm round applause from all of us in the Chamber. They waited twenty four years for that apology and have still not received justice. The Acting Commissioner read out his full apology to the family.

The Commissioner went on to report on the death of Smiley Culture. He offered his condolences and sympathies to the Emanuel family and said that as a consequence of the Independent Police Complaints Investigation he was unable to talk about what happened but there would be a full investigation.

Jenny Jones of the Green Party asked if the Commissioner was aware of the huge anger and concern that was felt by Londoners.

Val Shawcross and others asked questions all of which can be viewed on line here .

The Chair Kit Malthouse further insulted the family by then attempting to move on to next business. I asked if the MPS and the MPA had written to the family offering their sympathies and condolences.

Malthouse refused to do the decent thing. He refused to take the opportunity to acknowledge the family or give his condolonces and the public heckled and challenged the Chair. We made our point forcefully and left en masse after 5 minutes.
I find it disgraceful that neither the Acting Commissioner nor Chair of the MPA has written to the Emmanuel family offering their condolences. It is deeply insulting and indicates the contempt with which our community is viewed.

Surely it’s a matter of common courtesy that such a letter should be written to a family who finds their loved one has died whilst in the custody of the police? That the powers that be should fail to do so speaks volumes. The Emanuel family were treated with crass insensitivity.
The MPA has now cancelled their planned meeting for May in an attempt to prevent the Emanuel family addressing them formally through a delegation and halt the obvious momentum of the campaign. It won’t work and we are calling on people to email Chair and the CEO Catherine Crawford demanding the May meeting is reinstated.

Further the MPA has no consultative mechanism with the black community on London so they remain blinded by ignorance as to the import of this case.
It was disgraceful and reinforces the family’s determination to seek justice. That they should be treated with such obvious contempt will further alienate the MPA and MPS from the wider community.

Speaking to reporters  and supporters I told them that our community is at boiling point and the whole situation is reminiscent of the 1980’s . Its like we are being taken back in time.

We will be marching for truth, human rights and justice on April 16th 2011 Assembling at Southbank Club Wandsworth Road SW2  to New Scotland Yard. You can get more details here.

Lee Jasper

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

A 5 year old lies critically injured on life support after being shot in a gang shoot out in Brixton. What say you Mayor Boris Johnson and Lambeth Council Leader Steven Reed?

Lambeth is currently in the grip of a vicious gang war between three rival gangs. Every week there are casualties and the local police have imposed utilised borough wide section 60 stop and search powers in response to a huge escalation of youth violence. This has resulted in daily tit-for tat attacks that are becoming increasingly brazen taking place in public and often in broad daylight.
This huge escalation is likely to cost innocent lives and last night a five year old child was caught up in the cross fire and lies critically ill in hospital fighting for her life. In addition a man also caught in this cross fire between rival gangs has bullet shrapnel lodged in his brain.
As the Lambeth community reels with shock at such a wanton act of reckless and extreme violence, the question has to be asked what Lambeth Council is and the Mayors Office doing to respond to what is a massive increase in gang activity in the borough?
There is no funded police community partnership to tackle and confront gun and knife crime. There is no sign of the much-hyped Mayoral initiatives designed to tackle these issues despite the heartfelt pre-election promises of the Mayor, Boris Johnson to make this his number one issue.
Where are the boxing clubs? Where are the youth workers? Where are the mentors? Three years on from his election and all Boris Johnson has done is massively increase stop and search rates on black youth, without any lasting effect and at the cost of alienating large sections of the black community (and make amusing speeches). We have news for Boris: gang violence is no joke and this is no party political point.
The local Council seems equally clueless about how to respond and the reality is that we are seeing a decimation of youth services and voluntary sector projects aimed at diverting youths at risk of joining a gang. Community centres are closing down and youth workers are being sacked.  There is no clear strategy for tackling gangs and even less resources to target prevention and diversion work. Steve Reed Leader of the council, along with the Tory Mayor, Boris Johnson are responsible for grievous neglect with both bloody and murderous consequences.
This latest tragedy is the latest of a series of vicious attacks that have taken place over the least month with increasing intensity. Attempting to tackle this issue through enforcement alone will not work. That’s been the main strategic approach of the last three years and we are still seeing a rise in youth violence, violence generally and it is my belief that there would have been more deaths except for the proliferation of bullet and knife proof vests and the skills of our surgeons.
The police can only do so much and they are frankly at breaking point and will do even less with fewer officers. Lambeth cuts means that out of around 400 prolific offenders, cuts to the Youth Offending Teams means less than 150 will now be managed and supervised on a day to day basis.  Gang members are becoming increasingly aware that their supervision orders are meaningless as the cuts kick in.
To suppress and reduce gang violence all evidence points to the need for an effective community partnership such as those we have seen in the US. The community has to be fully involved in a partnership approach that works on prevention as well as enforcement.
In the current climate black communities are being abandoned in their fight against gun and knife crime. All the promises of community partnerships have come to naught and as police officers numbers reduce and community funding dry’s up the gangs become ever more reckless and the lives of the public are put at risk.
The fact is that things will now get worse as we approach the summer and the lighter nights. We will see more victims, more injuries, more body bags and more innocent lives lost.
The Mayor and Lambeth Council have to take responsibility as their failures have resulted in the lives of members of the public being at risk.

Lee Jasper
Chair of London Race and Criminal Justice Consortium

The MPA Commissioner to speak about the death of Smiley Culture tomorrow at City Hall

Campaign For Justice For Smiley Culture

The MPA Commissioner will be speaking about the death of Smiley Culture tomorrow, the 31st March at 10am at City Hall, The Queen's Walk,London,SE1 2AA.

We need to be there in numbers. Please promote. Lee Jasper and Merlin Emanuel will be attending. We ask you to come along and to encourage others to do so. We need to let them know we mean business.

Please tweet this, email the information to friends, post it on your FaceBook pages and do whatever you can to spread the word. We know it's short notice so we really need your help on this.

Thank you for your support.

No Justice No Peace! 

 If you can't make it you can watch live at

Justice for Julian Webster: Press Release

Inquest into the death of Julian Webster to start on Friday 1st April @
Manchester Crown Court
Crown Square, Manchester, M3 3FL

On the 10th April 2009, Julian was on a night out with friends at the Pitcher and Piano bar, he along with many others left the bar at around 4am when he discovered he had left his mobile phone inside, he attempted to re-enter the club in order to retrieve the phone.

The family were informed by the police that they received three phone calls from the Pitcher and Piano in the early hours of Saturday morning. Upon arrival at the club, the police found two door attendants holding Julian in a way they described as restraining him, when they eventually instructed the  door attendants to release him, Julian immediately slumped to the floor. The police and paramedics made efforts to resuscitate him but he was pronounced dead in the early hours of Saturday April 11th 2009.

The two door attendants were arrested on suspicion of murder but later released on bail.

Two years on no one yet has been charged with Julian’s tragic death.

The family and community hope the inquest will conclude a verdict of unlawful killing, followed by a criminal prosecution.

They are being supported by BRAMU one of the countries foremost agencies dealing with racial harassment and hate crimes.

Maxie Hayles chairperson of BRAMU says: “Someone is responsible; the family seeks and wants justice now”

Please contact Sonia Webster on 07817601159 (or) Maxie Hayles on 07956141554 re: Justice for Julian Webster campaign.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Trade Union Congress 26th March against the cuts demonstration was a huge success - except where diversity and anti racism are concerned.

Without doubt history was made as the TUC March fired the first real salvo across the bows of the Coalition Government. With numbers far exceeding expected numbers the clear message to this Government is that if your going to pursue this reckless agenda of dismantling the NHS, cutting thousands of public sector jobs and closing vital services then you will do so in the face of widespread opposition and yesterday is just the start.

The numbers were impressive and will no doubt there will be those in the TUC high command who will be patting each other on the back and rightly so. The turnout was truly a fantastic achievement.

As I marched with a contingent from Black Activist Rising Against The Cuts, (BARAC) Latin American Community Against the Cuts, AJAMU, NUS Black Students Campaign it was evident that black people were well represented on the march itself.

Of course thousands of black people will be disproportionately affected by these cuts not just in terms of cuts to jobs and services but the inevitable rise in racism that we are witnessing in an attempt by sections of government and right wing press to scapegoat black communities.

That’s why it was a huge disappointment to see a row of white faces standing with TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber at the start of the demonstration. For a TUC movement that has a large number of black workers within its ranks, with a black voluntary sector out in force alongside activist organisations such as BARAC the TUC failed to represent the diversity of its own movement.

The UK is a rainbow nation, the working classes particularly so and for a historic march taking place in the most diverse city in Europe the fact that the TUC commitment to anti racism was not reflected in the starting line up sent all the wrong messages to the wider public and too black workers in the Labour movement.

The TUC failure in this regard might be seen as an unthinking error. But there is an increasing level of evidence that the issue of anti racist practice and commitment to black self-organisation and representation within the TUC and Labour movement and has been sidelined reflecting a general and growing trend within the country itself. Actions on issues of race and anti racism have dropped of the priority political agenda for the TUC.

This is despite the excellent work of some Unions such as the PCS who are regarded as an exemplar union on these issues and whose General Secretary Mark Serwotka remains uniquely progressive on these issues.
Yet other than a few policy statements and supporting the fight against the likes of the extreme right wing such BNP and the EDL the TUC has no clear leadership or strategy for tackling racism in the workplace that blights the lives of thousands of black workers. Fighting fascism is important but when it comes to racism the volume end of the business is the racism faced by black workers in the workplace. That’s where black peoples lives are ruined.

In addition there are examples where black workers have to fight their own Union because of the resistance to supporting their efforts to challenge employer racism.

This reflects a systemic weakness of Unions in that despite years of high profile political commitment to fighting racism too many black sections of Unions experience internal resistance. The notable exception is the PCS who track record is one of empowering black PCS black members and that is a model that other Unions should adopt.

There are virtually no General Secretaries who are black and in the current climate we are set to see black membership of Unions will inevitably fall.

The TUC has no comprehensive strategy to promote black representation in the Labour movement. I believe that the TUC and the Labour movement are failing to effectively represent thousands of black workers. I see them every single day many of them report the same experience Union shop stewards who have little understand of the realities of racism in the workplace or wider society and little understanding of the law in relation to race.

These strategic and political failures were reflected on the 26th March. Few Unions apart from the PCS,  really promoted anything specifically mobilising their black members and/or the wider black community.

The TUC claimed the march was going to be a unique coalition between community groups and trade unionists reflecting all those communities are being most affected by spending cuts.

First and foremost, the fact that black workers are being hugely disproportionately affected by these cuts alongside black communities who represent the poorest sections of our nation, added to the reality that scapegoating and racism is on the rise, should have resulted in the TUC adopting a clear and resolute anti racist approach to these cuts. It did not.

Although the March itself was fabulously diverse, once we arrived at Hyde Park the vast majority of speakers were white men and virtually no one mentioned racism or the fact that their employers were unfairly targeting black workers. No one mentioned that black workers are taking the biggest hit in terms of redundancies and black communities in terms of cuts to Council services. Independent black organisations or community groups were largely excluded only offered tokenistic speaking slots on a platform that was overwhelming white.

Racist welfare benefit reform was not mentioned, black unemployment was not mentioned, and disproportionate impact was not mentioned. Government failure to adhere to equality legislations was not mentioned; the rise of the EDL was not mention nor was attacks on multiculturalism save for the contribution of the one black man who spoke at Hyde Park: Simon Woolley of Operation Black Vote.

Simon did a fantastic job and gave an incredibly rousing speech but OBV as a charity takes no position on the cuts as required by charity law and his view as communicated to the TUC was that BARAC, with a national network in seven cities and representing thousands of black people should be speaking in his stead. Woolley went on to name check BARAC myself and my co chair Zita Holbourne for the work we have done in mobilising black communities attend the march.

In the run up to the 26th March many representations were made on behalf of BARAC from Trade Unions, individuals and community organisations to the office of Brendan Barber requesting that BARAC be allowed to speak. None received even the simple courtesy of a reply.

Of course politics were involved too. BARAC opposed all cuts and refuses to endorse the Labour Party position as endorsed by the TUC of reducing the depth and speed of the cuts. We believe that a combination of collecting taxes from corporations and the super wealthy, cancelling the Trident nuclear submarine and bringing the troops home from Iraq, Afghanistan and now Libya could easily clear the national debt without recourse to cuts.

If the TUC is to avoid the kind of splintering of the anti cuts movement it cannot simply adopt wholesale the Labour Party line on the cuts. Yesterday was as much an opportunity to influence the Labour Party as much as it was this terrible Condem Coalition Government.

Not only did the TUC Hyde Park platform fail to reflect the real diversity of the Labour movement, they also failed to emphasise the dangers of resurgent racism in the current economic climate, failed to acknowledge the unique disproportionality impacting upon black women and failed to treat a respected organisation like BARAC with a modicum of respect .

This comes at a time where many black workers are complaining in a range of trade unions that when they suffer racism in the workplace and seek to challenge that racism their Union representation usually has little or no understanding of the dynamics of racism or the complexities of the law around workplace discrimination when it comes to race.

I meet thousands of black workers who tell me on a regular basis that there Union let them down when it came to challenging racism and now that these cuts are impacting massively upon low paid black workers some Unions seem content to let their black members take the hit.

Critically Unions are reluctant to legally challenge the failure of public sector employers to conduct an Equality Impact Assessment where it is clear that cuts to public services are racist in their effects.

The TUC march was indeed a wonderful event and there is much we can congratulate ourselves on. However the sad reality is that the TUC consciously decided to minimise black involvement and representation and it is my view that this is reflective of the fact some of the TUC high command and affiliated Unions are failing to challenge racism in their own organisations and effectively represent black workers facing workplace discrimination.

For the TUC and many Unions have a dark secret lurking within, and that is their desperate failure to challenge racism and to robustly represent millions of black members affected by these cuts.

That’s why BARAC will be calling a national conference to discuss these critical issues and explore how we as black workers and community organisations will respond to the crisis that faces black communities and agree on the strategies for tackling racism in the 21st century.

With racism on the rise in the UK and Europe and the need to consolidate a clear anti racist Labour movement strategy we need to rally what’s left of the black voluntary and community sector and reinforce the need for unity between communities.

We need to set a race equality agenda and strategy fit for the 21st century. The TUC and Unions need to step up the fight against racism and adopt clear strategies and priorities to promote black representation, effectively challenge workplace racism and reach out to independent black community organisations. BARAC will now begin to initiate these discussions with the TUC in the hope that we can work on these issues together. Lets hope the TUC and the Labour aristocracy do not in hubris and arrogance dismiss BARAC.

Lee Jasper
Co Chair of BARAC.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Merlin Emanuel: Statement given at Lambeth Town Hall Thursday 24th March 2011

Merlin Emanuel is the nephew of Smiley Culture. This is possibly the best political speech I have heard this year:

Firstly I would like to thank everybody for their attendance on behalf of all the Emanuel family, as you must be aware this is a very troubling time for the family, the senior members have asked for your understanding for not being here at this meeting but would like to let you know, they are here in spirit and thank you for your support. Also those in the background who have joined and supported the campaign, whether it be on the internet or just offering help in any way they can, we thank you, a shout out to the stewards who have volunteered their time and energy to keep everybody safe and Lambeth town hall, who let us use the building for free, Lee Jasper for his assistance in the campaign and the group, 'inquest', for their support, we thank you all from the bottom of our hearts. We thank the press for turning up and in particular the  guardian, BBC and local radio stations for their balanced and unbiased coverage, thus far.

We, the family, have a solicitor working on our behalf and have appointed a second pathologist to conduct an independent post-mortem on Smiley’s body today, that we might lay him to rest and seek some closure in that respect. We are also seeking a public enquiry into the circumstances regarding his death. It is the wish of the family to have a private funeral, just family and close friends.  However, we will be holding a memorial for the greater community to attend and pay their respect in due course, the specific date and location will be announced shortly.

You can keep in contact with the campaign by joining the Facebook group, 'Campaign for Justice for Smiley Culture'. There was also a flourishing campaign on Twitter that was suddenly suspended for unknown reasons which came back on today. That kind of mutiny won't stop us, because the family and community are determined and resilient.

We believe that marching is the way to address our deep felt concerns, as opposed to any other form of response.  We openly want to say that we do not support violence in any form, under any circumstance, and would be very disappointed with any such response which would further taint the memory of Smiley.

Once again, on behalf of the Emanuel family, we thank-you for your support and attendance.

In the name of God, the creator and author of all things. This is my personal statement, and might not necessarily reflect the views of the Emanuel family as a whole;

I, like many of you, was born here, in Britain, my parents were immigrants who came here with the hope of a better life for themselves and their families. My father is Jamaican, my mother is Guyanese.  As a family we settled and lived in the Brixton area, where Smiley lived with his mother, my Grandmother, he was the youngest of 5 children that comprised of 4 brothers and one sister, my mother.  For a period of time Smiley lived with us and was very much like a big brother to me.  Growing up as a young boy in our community, I realised very quickly there seemed to be a 2 tier state. There was one rule for the rich and another for the poor and, further to that, it was undergirded by a judicial system designed to keep it that way. 

As a consequence, most of the people from my neighbourhood had a profound and deep-rooted resentment towards British law and those who enforced it.  In the year of 1981 this animosity culminated in social unrest in the form of the Brixton riots.  Further concerns were raised that same year, when many lost their lives in the New Cross fire, which to this day, a satisfactory conclusion as to the reason for that tragic event has yet to be arrived at.

The period during my early to late teens turned out to be the most traumatic years of my live, it was then I was introduced to racism and prejudice in all its ugliness, up until then I was relatively naive.  For example, my family was personally caught up with Roland Adams death in Thamesmead, it affected us very badly as a family. The murder of Stephen Lawrence followed shortly after that. Shortly after that, my family were afforded police protection and were moved out of Thamesmead, happy to escape with our lives.

My point is that, this kind of thing hasn't just started happening. No, quite the contrary, there is a clear pattern and a trail, should you care to follow it, stained in the blood of those who have died, here, in this country, but have yet to procure the justice they deserve.

Ian Thomlinson is one of the most recent examples, my heartfelt condolences go out to his family, we want you to know, that the people of South London and the greater community, stand with you in solidarity. For we are united by our pain and our quest for justice, and until that happens, there will be no peace.

In addition to this, the IPCC themselves have stated that on average, one person a week has died in police custody in the last decade, and that's not including, mental institutions, prisons or immigration centres. Taking these chilling statistics into account, how is it that not one policeman has been convicted for the murder of a citizen under their custody? It is for this reason, and this reason alone that my confidence in the IPCC and the judicial process is minimal, to say the least.

Could it be that the system has rendered the appeals of poor whites, poor blacks impotent? Could it be that the British judicial system is designed to oppress us the common citizen and protect the establishment? These are valid questions, I'm just asking, Is it possible?

On average 400 people in the last ten years has died in police custody. It is also true that people from ethnic minorities are more likely to suffer this tragic fate, is this by co-incidence or design?

The IPCC can tell us all what happened to Smiley and others, but what they can’t do is guarantee us justice, that we have to do for self. Ourselves.  Power concedes nothing without demand, if we don't challenge the present systems of things as a people, nothing will change!

The one precious commodity that is absent from our community, that would remedy many of the social, economical, political and spiritual ailments that currently afflict us, is that wondrous word unity.  Unity, lets have a look at that word and analyse the fundamental sentiments of it's meaning. The state or quality of being one; The act, state or quality of forming a whole from separate parts; Mutual agreement, harmony, uniformity or constancy.

That's the commodity I'm talking about, it's free and by far, the most potent weapon we have at our disposal to combat this giant, this great Goliath, this system of supposed justice that protects those with influence and standing and ignores the plight of the underprivileged, the poor, the downtrodden: us! Until we take the sentiment of that word, unity, to our bosom and action it, we will never be afforded the respect or the freedom we strive for.

So we say to you Mr Cameron, and those that came before you, if you can champion justice and freedom for all in foreign territories, how can you ignore the sustained injustices on your own British citizens at home? I humbly, suggest you get your own house in order before you seek to control others.

Now, I'm not about to get into what we feel happened to Smiley, as in truth it's all speculative without hard evidence, only Smiley could tell us what truly happened that night, and he's not with us.

However, what I can say is that, under section 16 (execution of warrants)  the police have a 'duty of care' to look after a suspect in their custody and keep him or her safe, therefor the protocol, the standard procedure, should be and is, to handcuff the suspect, why? To keep him from;

a) Hurting himself b) Hurting others c) Concealing or interfering with evidence.

*The police have failed miserably to enforce these simple procedures and as a consequence, my uncle,
David Emanuel also known as Smiley Culture is dead..

Fact; David Emanuel also known as Smiley Culture would still be alive had it nor been for the police applying for a warrant to search his house and raiding his house last Wednesday.

I hear the whispers on the streets, I see the posts on the internet, the blogs in chatrooms, the articles in the tabloids, he was this, he was that, whatever you might 'think' Smiley was, is not relevant here, the fundamental principle that governs British law, is, a man is  innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Smiley never had the chance to fight his case, so we will stand in his place and fight for him, they will not taint the legacy of this great man, we will stand and fight for all those who have died in suspicious circumstances under police custody.

So we march, on, April 16th from Wandsworth Road to Scotland Yard to let the powers that be know, we will take this no more! We, the people of London and the greater community, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and beyond have had enough of this injustice, it doesn't matter what race, background, culture or religion you come from, none of us are immune. Let us do this not only for those who have gone before us but also for those who come after us, why?

Because we are simply the guardians of this earth for a new generation, and until we address the injustice and imbalance in the British judicial system that is clearly in favour of those in power, the rich and the affluent, yet shuns the poor and underprivileged, we will forever be marching and demonstrating for peace and justice but never attaining it. To clean a vessel properly, one must clean it from the inside out, the system needs change.
We are that generation to change it, we will ride the on the winds of revolution and change sweeping across the world, and harness that energy, there would be no real regime change in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain and beyond if it were not for the people uniting and standing as one, remember, God himself is the head of this campaign, the road is long and arduous but, if we trust in him and unify as a community and people, nothing is beyond our capacity to achieve.

In conclusion;

We cannot implement any lasting or sustained change for the better without utilising the essence of that most precious of words I mentioned earlier, 'unity'.

We have that, I feel that, here in this room, it's our job to spread that sentiment to the wider community that we might make a change for the better, and make this great nation a true advocate of freedom, opportunity and justice for all.
Merlin Emanuel, the nephew of Smiley Culture

 'Campaign For Justice For Smiley Culture' public meeting in Brixton on YouTube.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

TUC refuse to give black people a voice on the 26th March

The TUC is refusing to let BARAC (Black Activists Rising Against Cuts) speak at the TUC march.  There is no black community representation from independent black community organisations speaking.

Email for the urgent attention of Brendan Barber TUC Gen Sec in support of BARAC: or ring them up and ask to speak to his office and leave a message on 020 7636 4030

This is what the TUC posted yesterday:

TUC urges black and Asian people to join march against the cuts in London

Black and Asian people are today (Wednesday) being encouraged to join the TUC's March for the Alternative in London this Saturday (26 March), as new research shows that their employment prospects have already been hit hard by the recession, with many more jobs now at risk.
TUC analysis of the Labour Force Survey (LFS) shows that the unemployment rate for black and Asian workers increased from 10.2 per cent in October-December 2007 to 13 per cent in the same quarter in 2010. This figure is nearly twice as high as the 7.1 per cent unemployment rate for white workers.
The picture is even worse for young people from ethnic backgrounds, with the unemployment rate for 18-24-year-old black and Asian workers increasing from 20.1 per cent to 30.5 per cent since 2007. In contrast, the unemployment rate for white youngsters stands at 16.4 per cent.
The figures also show that 638,000 black and Asian people work in the public sector, so significant cuts to public spending are will make the situation worse for these embattled communities, says the TUC.
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: 'The government's cuts to public services are having a devastating impact all around the UK. Black and Asian jobs and vital community groups and services are being hit hard.
'Cuts to benefits such as the education maintenance allowance are already limiting the chances of large numbers of unemployed young black workers to take part in continuing education and apprenticeships.
'Job cuts announced in local authorities, schools and hospitals will lead to a fall in employment in black and Asian communities, hitting large numbers of women who work in and rely on these services.
'Please join us on Saturday 26 March to march for an alternative and give a national voice to all those affected by the cuts.
'We want to let the government know that deep cuts are not the way to solve our problems, and will almost certainly make them worse. A fairer tax system will spread the burden more fairly, and policies that create jobs and boost economic growth are the only long-term ways to close the deficit.'

Monday, 21 March 2011


Look out for the BARAC banner in Hyde Park

 Please take time to  read this.  I need you to distribute this notice to your friends and contacts. This is probably the most important demonstration we will have this year. Time to bring the Government down. Please give me twenty minutes of your time to distribute far and wide.

Marching the 26th? Join the South London Feeder March



Saturday, March 26 · 11:00am - 2:00pm


Created By

BARAC along with trade unions, communities and anti cuts groups have been campaigning against the racism of con-dem cuts and for a mass mobilisation of black people marching in London on 26th March to demonstrate our strength of feeling and send a clear message to the con-dems that black communities, workers and service users will not stand by and allow them to discriminate against us in this way. BARAC members from across the UK will be coming to London on coaches and trains in their thousands on 26th and we ask that you come with your families and friends, your vuvuzuelas, drums and whistles, your strength and determination and march on the march of our lives.

Details regarding coaches, transport, assembly points including options for disabled people can be accessed from

Look out for the BARAC banner in Hyde Park.
Join BARAC on Facebook!/group.php?gid=108132359239521

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Campaign for Justice for Smiley Culture

Smiley's family and I have set up a FaceBook page so that we can all come together and support the Emmanuel family at this difficult time. We are all together on this quest for justice for one of our own.  We will be updating the page regularly with any news or scheduled public meetings. Please 'like' the page and share it on your page, suggest it to friends: let's show this country how we can come together and fight for what is right. That is the least we can do for Smiley now.

No Justice, No Peace. 

Official Twitter account is @Justice4SmileyC

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Press release and Official Statement from the Emanuel Family in relation to the death of Smiley Culture aka David Emmanuel.

Venue: Karibu Education Centre Gresham Road, Brixton Lambeth SW9 7PT 17th March 2011

Mr Merlin Emanuel (the nephew of David Emanuel) will read the statement                 

Date and Time of Release 17.03.2011 @ 12 noon.

On behalf of the Emanuel Family I would like to express our deep sorry and anger with the events that lead to the death of our beloved David. As a family we are in a state of shock and confusion and are determined to search for the truth of what happened on the morning of 15th March 2011 a day that will now be forever etched in our minds.

I would like to thank the thousands of people right across the world and here in Britain who have sent messages of support and condolences. These messages have been the source of great comfort and support and I thank all those who have expressed their condolences and support for the family at this most difficult time.

My uncle David Emanuel, otherwise known as Smiley Culture is now dead, he was, and is, a British Icon who died under the most peculiar and suspicious of circumstances. 

Smiley Culture was a cultural ambassador a pioneer. There would be no Tinie Tempah’s or Chipmonks were it not for him, for he was the first to integrate, lyrically, the British dialect into modern urban music. Put simply, Smiley was the first, British, rapper celebrating our urban dialect.

His tragic death is not a black or white issue, although I am sure that his ethnicity has some relevance in this tragic event, no, this is an issue for all those who stand on for those fundamental principles that should be afforded to all human beings, truth, justice and equality for all.

This is not the time to hurl allegations or vent our emotions in a way that would damage our cause for justice. So, in that respect, my family and I urge restraint from those who would seek to vent their frustrations through violence and disaccord.

Rather, let us unite as a community, as a people, and let the Metropolitan Police and Government know, that in this time of great revolution and change, both at home and abroad, we, the common citizen will not stand idly by whilst our people die in the most bizarre of circumstances, that we will seek the truth, doggedly, determinedly and we not rest until that truth has been exposed.

So I call on you, the British public, to join us in this noble cause to seek truth and find justice, that the legacy of this great man will not be forever tainted, and that we might remember him for his achievements rather than lies, unproven allegations and conspiracy theories.

I can tell you that Smiley had a great deal to look forward to. It is true that he had an impending court case but it is also true that the evidence in relation to this case was non-existent and he, along with his legal team, were supremely confident of being acquitted this coming week.

Did you know Smiley was a successful international businessman trading gold, diamonds and other commodities, and was worth millions?

Did you also know that he worked with and enjoyed the support of businessmen, politicians and leaders from around the world?

Did you know he was working with the government of Azerbaijan? And had an investment portfolio that spanned Ghana, Uganda, Liberia, South Africa, India and beyond?

Knowing these truths and the circumstances under which he died, plus the fact that the case against him was void of any real evidence means both he and the family were confident, had he been tried he would have been acquitted.  Smiley was confident and looking forward to clearing his name and we have no reason to believe that he would have taken his own life. We have every obligation to investigate, procure the facts, and expose untruths, wherever they may lie and we ask those committed to justice to join us in seeking the truth.

I would also urge the press to be responsible in their reports and coverage, in that, you must present the facts in a transparent and balanced fashion. We ask that you do not print unattributable anonymous comments form people hiding on the shadows of this case. Please do not sentence Smiley and condemn him before you have heard the facts. You have an obligation, as media, to remain neutral and unbiased. My family and I pray you have the courage to do so.

One dynamic in the midst of all this confusion that is irrefutably evident is. The police have a lot of critical questions to answer and until our questions, queries and suspicions have been fully and competently answered and we will not rest!

And to the powers that be, that govern this case, until that day you will not have a moment’s peace.

We are not that kind of family, we are not that kind of community and we are not that kind of nation. Justice must be done and be seen to be done. We know the road will be long and difficult but with the support of the people we can get to our destination. In the words of the great Rev Martin Luther King “The moral arch of the universe is long but it bends towards justice” To my dear departed Uncle rest in peace and be assured and take comfort that justice will be served. Thank You.

End: Press contact Lee Jasper 07984 181797

Smiley Culture

Lee Jasper & members of the Emanuel family at the press conference

Video of the Press Conference:

Official FaceBook Campaign page:

Official Twitter Campaign:  @Justice4SmileyC

Video of Public Meeting on 24th March

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Runnymede, Race and the Right

Dr Tony Sewell and David Goodhart

Britain is moving to the right on the issues of race and race equality. The mood music for black and ethnic minorities in the UK has changed and we now hear the primal drums of racism being beaten across the country.
There is an established culture of routine denial about the reality of social and institutional racism. This represents a fundamental shift in political perspectives affecting both the right and left wing sections of the media and current academic and political discourse.
Attacks on Muslim communities, massive increase in stop and search figures, attacks on multiculturalism, huge and disproportionate spending cuts targeting black public sector workers and communities are just a few of the issues that result in the most hostile political and social environment ever faced by black communities in the UK.
Last year we saw the right wing journal Prospect  published a series of articles written by black people who rejected the primacy of race in assessing black disadvantage and laying the blame for apparent racial disadvantage at the door of ‘dysfunctional’ black families and communities. 
In such hostile environment it is important that black and anti racist organisations retain a clear perspective on the importance of challenging racism and the widespread nature and effects of structural racism. As we know when the economy dips racism rises and so we can expect to see further attacks on the concepts of black self-organisation, race equality, anti racism and multiculturalism.
Into such contentious waters I question why the liberal anti racist think tank the Runnymede Trust have inexplicably decided to hold a closed meeting to discuss the motion ‘Is race no longer a significant disadvantage?’
They promote the event with the following teaser; “Over the past two months government discourse has turned from challenging racial inequalities to encouraging greater integration. Prospect Magazine argued in late 2010 that there is a need to move on from talking about racism. Are they right?”
Runnymede are legitimate to confront a right wing agenda against race equality, but the big question here is why on earth are they allowing this right wing white journal, to set the agenda on race?
Could we ever imagine The British Board of Deputies - a body representing the Jewish community in Britain - holding a debate ‘Is anti-Semitism no longer significant in the UK?  With speakers David Irvine and Nick Griffin on one side and Jonathan Freedland and Rabbi Jonathan Sacks on the other?
Runnymede has invited David Goodhart (Founder and Former Editor, Prospect Magazine) and the ubiquitous Dr. Tony Sewell (Director, Generating Genius).
Both have a terrible reputation within anti racist groups for being apologists for racism in the UK.
This is what Trevor Phillips then head of the CRE said about Goodhart: "Is this the wit and wisdom of Enoch Powell? Jottings from the BNP leader's weblog? The xenophobes should come clean. Their argument is not about immigration at all. They are liberal Powellites: what really bothers them is race and culture."
Gary Younge Guardian journalist commentating on Goodhart stated: “When it comes to debates on race and immigration, honesty is usually the first casualty, recent contributions by David Goodhart on these pages and elsewhere being no exception.”
And Dr Tony Sewell seems to have made a career out of pathologising black parents and discounting the historical and contemporary effects of institutional racism in the British state education system.
Luckily, both are opposed in the debate by Joseph Harker (Assistant Comment Editor, the Guardian) and Afua Hirsch (Legal Affairs Correspondent, the Guardian) both of whom have great credibility and will no doubt effectively challenge the vacuous and dangerous nonsense espoused by both Sewell and Goodhart.
I believe that the Runnymede Trust has made a dangerous and unnecessary concession to the racist right in hosting this debate in this way. The right wing attack anti racism and multiculturalism with an evangelic fervour, and there is no need for anti racist organisations such as Runnymede to go out of their way to appear “balanced” in what seems to be a vain and liberal attempt to appear neutral on the issues of race and racism.
Tackling racism by its very definition is a deeply political project and yet there are those who believe that defeating racism is simply a matter of implementing a civil service approach that reduces the political project of racism and human rights to effective managerialism and theoretical legal debate.
Black and anti racist organisations are not the BBC. We don’t need to ensure academic balance. These are liberal pretensions that reflect a desire to be all things to all people.
This approach represents a largely ineffective strategy for challenging racism. Runnymede is an organisation whose principles were born out of the struggle for race equality; that they should decide to host such a debate on this premise I believe is a big mistake.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

The Mysterious Death of Smiley Culture

RIP Smiley Culture (real name David Emanuel)

The death in police custody of Smiley Culture after the police raided his home this morning leaves the *Metropolitan Police Serious and Organised Crime Squad with a lot of questions to answer as far as I am concerned.
There are reliable witness statements that confirm that Smiley was alive when the police arrived and, after allowing others in the house to leave the property, the police version of events is that Smiley stabbed himself.
Surely Smiley was handcuffed as in normal practice during any raid to prevent the suspect disposing of evidence, harming officers or him. How is it that he managed to stab himself whilst in handcuffs?
Secondly how did he get hold of a knife when surrounded by police officers? He would have been closely monitored and guarded by police officers and an officer would have supervised his every move.
Thirdly how is it, if we accept he did stab himself (and I have severe doubts about that) how is it he is surrounded by officers and yet they could not prevent him from doing so?
Finally once he was injured why could they not apply first aid and call for immediate medical assistance to save his life? What time did they arrive at the property and what time was the ambulance actually called?
This death in police custody of Smiley Culture will raise lots of critical questions and I would be advising both Surrey Police and the Independent Police Complaints Commission that they need to come up with answers and quickly if they are to avoid a serious increase in hostility within police and community relations.

*This is a correction, it was believed earlier that the raid had been carried out by the Surrey Police Force.

News update: Press release (OBV)
The family of UK reggae star Smiley Culture aka David Emanuel who died Tuesday 15th March in suspicious circumstances during a raid on his home by the Metropolitan Police Serious Crime Squad, will be holding a press conference at the Karibu Education Centre 7 Gresham Rd Brixton SW9 7PH, Thursday 17th March at 12 noon .
In attendance and speaking on behalf of the Emmanuel family will be Merlin Emanuel. A long time friend and associate of Smiley’s, Asher Senator will speak along with other members of his immediate family.
Lee Jasper Chair of the London Race and Criminal Justice Consortium will chair the press conference.
For more information contact Lee Jasper on: 07984 181797.

Press Conference: The community turns out to support the family of Smiley Culture-sadness, shock and anger in equal measure. 

I chaired the conference. There was a good turnout and  it was obvious how popular Smiley Culture was with his friends, family, the community and reggae stars and fans. The family told everyone that they want justice and they want it to be achieved in the correct way. 

The press were asked to be respectful when reporting Smiley's death and the subsequent inquiry.   

Merlin Emanuel, Smiley's nephew, was the main spokesperson for the family and he spoke with pride and dignity of the family's sad loss and their wish for justice. He said, "Smiley was a British icon, not a black icon, he was bigger than just us. He was British and he was a worldwide celebrity".

Tippa Irie was clearly shaken at the loss of his good friend and spoke about his grief on hearing the news. 

Smiley's daughter, visibly grief stricken,  bravely thanked everyone for their support and asked that they please continue to support the family at this difficult time. 

There are times when my community leaves me bursting with pride and today was one such day. However we must be on our guard against emotional venting being a substitute for action and solid work. We are on the road to justice and will need all your support.

We will be calling another meeting soon, please sign up to this blog to keep updated.

Video of the Press Conference: 

Please support the family & keep up to date with developments by clicking 'like' on the official FaceBook Campaign page:

Monday, 14 March 2011

Black Politicians Must Raise Their Game

Cllr Paul decided to play the man instead of the ball

Black politicians must raise their game: we must behave better than this.

The naked pursuit of power can be an ugly thing to see and over the years, I have seen black people aspiring to get selected and elected, behave in the most appalling ways to their fellow brothers and sisters. Its not pretty believe me, but I can tell you from personal experience that unchecked political ambition is as bad as blatant racism in its consequences and negative effects. It’s a form of internalized racism when black politicians view their brothers and sisters as the enemy.

This is not an isolated phenomenon, unfortunately in my experience it’s the norm. During countless party selection processes I have seen them attack their black opponents and collude with white racism.  They backstab and backbite, doing almost anything to gain an advantage over their black counterparts.

I learned over the weekend that Cllr Terry Paul walked into OBV offices and invited himself to the launch of OBV’s ‘support for the yes to AV vote’. He hugged and thanked OBVs Director Simon Woolley for allowing him to be part of the debate, despite his oppositional view. He also thanked him for agreeing to publish his views about the political debate on the OBV site.

The very next day bizarrely he published an article lambasting the OBV for not having an ‘inclusive’ debate. OBV genesis was and always has been electoral reform. OBV is not a debating society nor is it the BBC. The organisation born of the campaigning organisations Charter 88 and the 1990 Trust, OBV has a long and proud history of campaigning on these issues. Had Cllr Terry Paul done his homework he would have known that.

Cllr Paul publically thanked OBV and Simon at the event and yet the following day published a critical article arguing that the OBV debate lacked balance. He published this article despite the reassurances given by Simon Woolley that he would be willing to publish an article from Cllr Paul arguing against AV. Of course he did no such thing as his plan was to attack OBV.

You can see in this video where Woolley and Paul are debating the issue that it was done in a friendly and open way, in contrast to what is said in Paul’s article. The difference is almost schizophrenic.

The question is why would someone behave in such a under handed, duplicitous way? Why would you say to a colleague and friend thank for listening to me, then attempt to politically stab them in the back?  Only Cllr Terry Paul can effectively answer that question, but I’m afraid he does have a bit of form when it comes to betraying Black colleagues for either cheap political gain or just spite.

During the race for the safe Labour West Ham seat back in 2005, Terry Paul along with others were vengeful against would- be MP Dawn Butler. Her crime was to vote for an ‘all women’s’ short list which clearly didn’t serve him.  In his bitterness at not having the opportunity to stand in that seat, he and others began smearing and conspiring against Dawn in the most deplorable way.  

In the end Dawn lost the selection battle to Lynn Brown with only a handful of votes separating the two women.

Dawn’s resolve eventually won through but the smearing by Paul and his cronies left her deeply saddened.

As an activist and campaigner I’ve always wanted to see more Black politicians, but not any just politicians who happen to be Black.  The fact is some of our own are worse than extreme right wing politicians; with the latter at least you know what to expect.

Our community needs those with honesty, integrity and a willingness to be forthright but fair.  In football parlance: Cllr Paul decided to play the man instead of the ball and that’s a cheap shot.
Cllr Paul has every right to support the No to AV vote, but speaking half-truths and back stabbing other black people and organisations just to curry favour and gain cheap political points is reprehensible. Of course the reality is that in a vain attempt to toe party lines, some of us are willing to bend over backwards to gain political patronage. However anyone with an ounce of decency would at least conduct an open and honest debate.