Friday, 25 October 2013

Immigration Bill: A divisive bill that will lead to a divided Britain.
Twitter @NoXenophobia 

Thank you for those of you who made it to the Movement Against Xenophobia launch at the House of Commons and Stop The Immigration Bill protest held on Tuesday 22nd October. In seven days we have secured the support of over 65 organisations to our founding statement and as each day goes by more people and organisations are siginng up. So from all at MAX its a very b:og thanks you for all of you who helped spread the word. 

Both our Parliamentary launch and lobby was a fantastic success. 
Both were organised within seven days and yet we were able to attract around 150 people to attend Parliament and lobby their MP's.

At the lobby speakers such as Habib Rahman Chief Executive of Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants,  Unite Political Director Jennie Formby, Cllr Lester Holloway from the Lib Democrats  Jeremy Corbyn MP in addition to campaigning groups such as Southall Black Sisters and Movement for Justice

All gave powerful and moving testimony of the real danger of promoting racism, irreparably damaging community relations and the real threat to human rights legislation should this bill go through.

In the afternoon MAX joined the London Chinatown Chinese Association & Min Quan and The Monitoring Group in a demonstration in London's China Town that saw every single Chinese restaurant close down for two hours in protest at the heavy handed and repeated targeting of their businesses by UKBA deportation squads. This is an issue that is affecting every single black and ethnic minority business as UKBA under orders from Theresa May unfairly targets these businesses whether that’s in China Town, Bangla Town, Brixton or Brent the story is the same.

Black and ethnic minority business are being unfairly targeted by an aggressive and sometimes racist UKBA. The point was not lost on those in attendance that whilst Britain was Chinese investment it remains hostile to Chinese people. 

Please see below for some critical information on the Bill’s progress and action we need you to take immediately . 

We really rely on you now to help us get the message out as the Tories are seeking to rush the bill through Parliament in record time in the hope that any opposition will be ill prepared and disorganised.  

We believe the bill will lead to a divided Britain and further demonise hard working immigrant families and any one else assumed to be a foreign national.  If this bill becomes law as is,  then all our communities will be forced to demonstrate their right to be in the UK on a daily basis whenever we want to rent a flat, access health care or open a bank account. 

In essence doctors, landlords, banks are all to become border guards for the UKBA. This will lead to widespread anger confusion. 

All trade unions must refuse to comply with what in essence a codification of racism into British immigration law. As such we must now make our opposition clear to the Tory , Lib Dems and Labour Parties that such a bill in a multicultural society like Britain is a recipe for disaster.  

Len McCluksky General secretary of Unite  stated categorically that Unite and its members will 

"... oppose Home Secretary Theresa May’s Immigration Bill every step of the way." 

He added " We do not spy on our friends and neighbours on behalf of the state"

What we need from Unite and other Trade unions is a motion agreeing that union members and public sector workers should refuse to carry out nationality checks on NHS patients and bank customers.

The landlords provisions in the bill are scandalous and herald a return to the days of the Colour Bar where Carribean Windrush and Irish immigrants in the 1960's were confronted with the signs;

 No Blacks No Dogs No Irish.

Disappointingly the Labour Party has already expressed it's in principle support, for this nasty divisive bill. This completely unacceptable and we will need to bring maximum pressure to bear on Ed Millband and Labour MP's in the next days and weeks. 

Time is now of the essence and outlined below are a range of actions that we need you to take immediately to ensure that the Tories do not simply stroll this bill through Parliament on the nod. 

1.     At the second reading of the Bill there were a total of eighteen votes against it three Lib Dems, seven Labour and eight from other parties.

2.     The next stage is the Committee Stage where the Bill is analysed line by line. This is normally 3 weeks or so after the 2nd reading. In this case the Government keen to avoid controversy  or organised opposition have decided that they will begin this process next Tuesday 29th Oct. This demonstrates that the Government is running sacred of proper informed debate on the bills provisions.

3.     The Committee will take oral expert evidence on Tuesday 29th Oct and half of Thursday 31st Oct. It will then begin examining the content of the Bill. See bottom of page for details on oral evidence and scrutiny timetable.

4.     Remember organisations  and individuals with an interest can provide written evidence to the Bill Committee.  We urge your organisation to do so by clicking on this link  Have your say on the Immigration Bill

5.     The Committee will complete its consideration of the Bill by Tuesday 19th Nov and then it will go to the Report stage where all MPs debate the provisions, suggest amendments and vote.

You can find the MP members of the Immigration Bill Committee here:

If members of your organisations are constituents of the MPs who are on the Bill Committee they should really be encouraged to write to them.

People still need to write to their MPs saying why they oppose the Bill. Please see MAX website for details and feel free to forward it on for template letters etc.

People  should also urge their MPs to attend the Report stage of the  Bill and vote against it. It will especially useful if constituents of the MPs on the Committee wrote to them in large numbers opposing the Bill.

Please help us and more importantly the wider community wake up to the reality of this deeply divisive bill that will we believe lead to a more divided Britain 


Lee Jasper
Movement Against Xenophobia.


The meetings are open to the public.

Tuesday 29 October 8.55am and 2.00pm in the Boothroyd Room Portcullis House

c8.55am until no later than 9.45amProfessor J. Meirion Thomas, The Royal Marsden; and Jacqueline Bishop, Brighton and Sussex University Trust and co-chair of the Overseas Visitors Advisory Group, NHS
c9.45am until no later than 10.45amBritish Medical Association; Royal College of General Practitioners; and Academy of Medical Royal Colleges
c10.45am until no later than 11.25amImmigration Law Practitioners’ Association; and MigrationWatch UK
c2.00pm until no later than 3.00pmNational Landlords Association; Residential Landlords Association; and UK Association of Lettings Agents
c3.00pm until no later than 3.30pmCrisis
c3.30pm until no later than 4.00pmUniversities UK

Thursday 31 October 11.30am and 2.00pm in the Boothroyd Room Portcullis House

c11.30am until no later than 12.00 pmJUSTICE
c12.00pm until no later than 12.30pmLiberty
c12.30pm until no later than 1.00pmJoint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants
c2.00pm until no later than 2.45pmHome Office

Line by line scrutiny of the Bill (all in Committee Room 9, Palace of Westminster): 

Tuesday 5 November  8.55am and 2.00pm
Thursday 7 November 11.30am and 2.00pm
Tuesday 12 November 8.55am and 2.00pm
Tuesday 19 November 8.55am and 2.00pm

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Maximizing Opposition to Immigration Bill.

Britain is a multicultural nation that has always
Movement Against Xenophobia 
prided itself on its international image of a country that believes in fair play, integrity and justice. These fundamental tenants of law and morality form some of the core principles that are considered the birth right of British citizens since the signing of the Magna Carta.

21st century Britain however has now become a nation where citizen’s access to justice, fairness and equality has become heavily dependant on their economic status, nationality race and faith. If however you are non EU citizens then the depredations of discrimination condemn you to a life where human rights rarely apply to you.

I contend that British Black people, other ethnic minorities, Muslims and immigrants and any one assumed to be 'illegal' face the dual and discordant reality of being second class citizens with third rate human rights living in a supposed first class democracy.

Intolerance and racism have returned, promoted by Government that are  souring social relations between communities. The mood is distinctly febrile, hostile and worryingly will I believe get worse in the run up to the 2015 general election.
Citizenship rights denied by racism 

Coalition of Bigotry and Prejudice

In the last three years we have seen the evisceration of anti racist policies within the Coalition government. Home Secretary Theresa May Secretary of State for Justice Chris Grayling and Minister for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles have mounted a fierce ideologically driven campaign to traduce all evidence of multiculturalism and anti racism in Government policy.

Theresa May talking about immigration recently declared that she intends to make “Britain a hostile environment” and declared all out war on the Human Rights Act and the European Charter on Human Rights.

This is not news to those who wear hijabs or hoodies, those seeking to bring their scattered families back together or those escaping war, poverty and oppression as asylum seekers this is not news.

Family Reunion; A right not a privilege.

Nor will it be news to those born abroad nor those who simply wish their family members come to the UK for a wedding, christening or birthdays barred from doing so by a plethora of immigration legalisation.

A byzantine policy designed to operate like trip wires, snaring the innocent along with the guilty in a complex immigration dragnet.

The effects of these policies is to deny basic human rights of migrants and settled communities who are constantly reminded that they should ‘Go Home’ by racist advertising Home Office sponsored vans and the near impossibility of maintaining family life in the UK.

Government has in effect given a green light given to increased rates of racism and anti Muslim/immigrant sentiment. Islamaphobia, institutional racism and the demonisation of immigrants are all issues that have witnessed a strong resurgence of late as the current austerity crisis tightens its grip.

The Politics of Fear. 

The serious charge against this Government is one of promoting the politics of fear in an effort to distract the British public away from the real architects of Britain financial crisis – the banks.

The Governments explicit strategy has seen the ramping up of anti immigrant rhetoric identifying immigrants as the source of the nations economic woes.

The Government is engaged in a reprehensible campaign of racial scapegoating aided by sections of the right wing media, intent on poisoning British public opinion about immigrants in a desperate attempt to win back core support that has defected to UKIP.

Their objective is to create a political smokescreen that obscures, confuses and distracts the public from identifying the bankers as the root cause of the nations economic problems.

Immigration Bill

Bringing Britain into disrepute 
The evidence for this assertion is all around us and the newly announced Immigration Bill confirms the status of people suspected of being illegal immigrants as being something akin to a sub human being, with few if any accessible legal rights and suffering the indignity of public opprobrium.

This bill is reprehensible divisive and completely unnecessary piece of legislation. It Its principle objective is to whip up racist sentiment against people perceived as ‘immigrants’,

The policy bears all the hallmarks of the Godfather of “ dog whistle” politics and Tory Party senior election guru, Lynton Crosby. It’s the kind of bigotry dressed up as serious policy that the likes of fictional character Alf Garnet would applaud.

The bill itself is immoral, irrational and likely to be expensive. Here are its main provisions, which I believe will poison social relations between British communities.

  • New powers to check driving licence applicants' immigration status
  • Cut the number of deportation decisions that can be appealed against from 17 to four 
  • Restrict the ability of immigration detainees to apply repeatedly for bail if they have previously been refused it 
  • Make it easier for the Home Office to recover unpaid civil penalties 
  • Clamp down on people who try to gain an immigration advantage by entering into a "sham" marriage or civil partnership 
  • Require banks to check against a database of known immigration offenders before opening bank accounts

No Dogs, No Blacks, No Irish.

This scandalous provision requiries landlords to check the citizenship status of their tenants heralds the informal return of the colour bar reminiscent of the time in the 1960’s when landlords were able to display signs saying “No Dogs, No Blacks, No Irish. 

Already we have reports that even before the legislation has been introduced landlords are demanding additional deposits and increased rents for anyone they suspect as being an ‘illegal immigrants” with obvious consequences.

The Myth of NHS and Welfare Benefit Tourism. 

The Government cites its intent as seeking stop the widespread practice of “ welfare benefit tourism” by immigrants. However a report by the European Commission stated that jobless EU migrants account for less than 5 per cent of those claiming social benefits in most EU states.

The planned introduction of an NHS levy for visitors to the UK will see British families with international relations becoming further isolated as they struggle to find the money to pay. Migrants and others will be deterred from seeking to access health care increasing the risk to the wider community of an epidemic of communicable diseases costing the country millions.  
The British Medical Association called the proposals a ‘ bureaucratic nightmare that will result in GPs and medical staff forced to act as immigration.
The BMA’s Dr Richard Vautrey added  “The reality is people don’t come to the UK to use the NHS, they’re more likely to come to work in the NHS.”
The planned reduction of immigration appeal rights is an attempt to subvert the judicial process that has seen the Government lose lots of immigration cases as result of legal challenge that have brutally exposed the irrational and inhumane treatment of migrants in the UK through a discriminatory decision making process administrated by UKBA .

The banking requirements will see black and ethnic minorities routinely questioned about their status as potential illegal immigrants.

Building Alliances.

We must ensure that Labour and the Lib Dems do the right thing and oppose what is a tawdry and nasty piece of legislation. The vast majority of British people want fair immigration legislation that treats all people equally, most families these days will include someone who was born abroad and that broad progressive constituency needs to be mobilised in opposition to this dangerous and potentially inflammable legislation.

That’s why, over the summer I am along with Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants worked hard and created the Movement Against Xenophobia (MAX) with the intent of assembling the broadest possible alliance, reflecting all sections of society into a unified campaign to challenge the xenophobia of this Government, the media and others and provide a much needed positive platform in support of migrants and settled black and ethnic minority communities.

Trade unions, refugee and migrant groups , black community organisations, faith and religious groups, community organisations will need to unify in opposing legislation that will ramp up racism.

We need to stop the immigration bill and prepare for the forthcoming European and General elections where the issue of immigration will dominate the debate. 

MAX intend to hold a regional mobilizing meetings building toward a mass lobby of Parliament to press our MP’s to kill the bill.  Britain as a nation needs to live up to it stated ideals as a nation that upholds the principles of justice equality and fairness for all its citizens and non citizens alike regardless of their race or faith. 

 We are the majority and I do hope you will join us .

There will be an initial public meeting of MAX in the House of Commons on Wednesday 16 October (7pm - 9pm) There are regular planning meetings organised (next one is Wednesday 9 October, early evening) and we have a scratch website with notices, list of supporting organisations and individuals and the founding statement of MAX. We also have a facebook group you can join.

Monday, 14 October 2013

A Big Thank You !

I am delighted to have won the prestigious BEFFTA Leadership award for 2103, I won this in recognition for all the hard work of the many organisations and individuals I have had the pleasure of working with this year. I have watched this organisation grow from humble beginnings to a the space it now occupies as one of the UK's premiere black awards schemes

I have also been shortlisted for Manchester based The Nubian Times Inspirational Public Figure award for 2013. Im really pleased about this as the nominations are voted on by the readers and of course Manchester is my home town so it especially pleasing for me.

So to all of you who have supported or worked with me this year I would like to extend a great big thank you for all your efforts, I could not do the work that I do without the encouragement and support of family, friends, colleagues and supporters.

There is no "I" in the word team and this award is recognition of the work of myself and many others who are far too numerous to mention.

This is big personal thank you to all of you all from me.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Why don't black people love each other?

On Friday 30th September 2013 I gave this keynote speech at the Drum Birmingham to launch their fabulous Black History Month programme.

The Theme of my speech  was Dr King 50 Years After ' the March on Washington August 28th 1963 where he gave his world famous 'I have a dream' speech. The title of my presentation ' Why don't Black People love each other?'  I hope you like it,