My speech at the March for Windrush – 5 May 2018

Below is the speech I delivered outside Downing Street at the ‘March for Windrush’ as a newly elected Councillor.

I am honoured to have been elected yesterday to serve the people of Haringey.

And I am extremely proud to be on this stage today to make my first public appearance as a newly elected councillor and to say that I will be working every day to make Haringey a hostile environment for racists.

As long as I am Councillor, there will be no hostility towards refugees.

There will be no hostility towards asylum seekers and

There will be no hostility towards migrants.

Now, let’s turn to the disgraceful and ridiculous mainstream media coverage of the election.

They are painting this as some kind of a defeat for the Labour Party.

Labour actually won 1018 more seats than the Tories across the country. That is 1018 seats more than the Tories.

What they are not covering is that a racist Tory Councillor has just been re-admitted into the Conservative Party so that they can take control of Pendle Council.

The Tories have form in running racist election campaigns. You will remember the last London Mayoral election – the most racist election campaign in living memory that the Tories ran against Sadiq Khan.

In the 1964 by-election, the Tories ran a campaign with the slogan “If you want a coloured for your neighbour, vote Labour”. They actually used the ‘N’ word in reference to Windrush citizens who had to the UK to rebuild this country after the Second World War.

A few years after that, we had the infamous Rivers of Blood speech from Enoch Powell.

In a follow-up speech, Enoch Powell proposed a Ministry of Repatriation to send Commonwealth Cizitens back to their country of origin.

We are seeing a manifestation of that policy in Theresa May’s Go Home vans and in her ‘hostile environment’ policy.

Let’s not make any mistake about it. The hostile environment is a racist policy.

The hostile environment has treated British Citizens, the Windrush Generation in the most despicable manner, destroying lives and denying their human rights.

To give you one example, the hostile environment has refused to treat British Citizens on the NHS.

When the founding fathers of the NHS, Nye Bevan and Clement Attlee set it up, they set it up with the principle that access to healthcare is a fundamental human right.

And to refuse NHS treatment to the Windrush Generation is to deny them their human right and to treat them as less than human.

That is what racism looks like.

That is what slavery was about.

And that is what colonialism was about.

And from this stage, I would like to re-iterate our demands to Sajid Javid and Theresa May:

  • We demand that the 2014 Immigration act is repealed
  • We demand an immediate end to deportations and detention of Commonwealth Citizens
  • We demand that all those deported be brought back to Britain immediately
  • We demand a guarantee to protect of all Commonwealth Citizens and their human rights
  • We demand that all those affected in any way be given compensation for deportation, threats of deportation, detention, loss of housing, jobs, benefits and denial of NHS treatment.
  • We demand an immediate end to the hostile environment for any immigrants.

Thank you vert much for listening. Peace and solidarity to you all. 

Advertisements

My election as Labour Councillor of Noel Park, Haringey

Noel Park is considered to be a safe ward, but was not the case before 2010. That year, I was part of the team which helped to elect three Labour Councillors whereas there was only one previously. I also served as chair of Noel Park Branch Labour Party between 2010 and 2012. It is where I cut my teeth in grassroots politics. It is also where I have strong family connections. I used to live there with my parents and they continue to live there today.

It was a privilege to have been selected to represent the Labour Party as a candidate in the 2018 local elections. I ran an energetic election campaign speaking to residents in Noel Park along with my fellow candidates, Peray Ahmet and Emina Ibrahim.

The local elections count took place at Alexandra Palace on Friday 4 May 2018. I was mostly waiting around all day to find out the result. At around 5pm, it was announced that I had won along with my co-candidates. It is a huge honour to have the opportunity to serve residents in Noel Park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Haringey Stand Up to Racism Fundraising Dinner

On Sunday 29 April, anti racist campaigners from Haringey gathered to break bread together at Wightman Road Mosque with David Lammy MP giving the keynote speech on the fight to get justice for the Windrush Generation.

Seema Chandwani, co-convener of Haringey Stand Up To Racism announced that the fundraising dinner raised over £1000 which will enable it to fund important campaigns to fight racism.

I spoke about the sharp rise in Islamophobia in recent years. It is 25 years since the murders of Stephen Lawrence and Ruhullah Aramesh. Those racist murders have not stopped – Mohammed Saleem was brutally murdered five years ago as was Makram Ali outside Finsbury Park Mosque last year.

I showed a video of my recent Refugee Solidarity Trip to Calais with Haringey Stand Up To Racism activists. The evening ended with an auction of historic documents: two Anti Racist Alliance placards featuring Ruhullah Aramesh and Stephen Lawrence.

It was great to take a break from the intense local election campaign and spend a fine evening with comrades and anti racist campaigners. Thanks to Wightman Road Mosque for providing the venue and donating all the lovely food for the fundraiser.

 

Refugee Solidarity Trip to Calais Video

In February 2018, I made the most remarkable trip with activists from Haringey Stand Up to Racism to Calais to express solidarity with refugees stranded there. We took donated winter clothing and over £2000 in donations which we handed over to Care4Calais.

Calais4Calais is doing a remarkable job supporting refugees. For me, the most important thing they do is letting refugees know that we have not forgotten them and that we stand by them. At the same time, we continue to fight to change government policy so that refugees are allowed to come into the UK.

Below is a video of the Refugee Solidarity Trip to Calais.

 

 

My election as Vice Chair of the Young Labour Lawyers: 12 March 2018

At the AGM of the Young Labour Lawyers (YLL) on 12 March 2018, I was delighted to have been elected as a vice chair for the coming year. The YLL is a part of the Society of Labour Lawyers. Many of my friends and comrades eqnuired if I still qualified as ‘young’ to which I replied that I am not exactly ‘old’. However, the name ‘Young Labour Lawyers’ is a bit of a misnomer, because it welcomes any legal practitioner with less than 10 years’ post qualification experience. It has nothing to do with age. Not surprisingly, the name of the organisation did come up at the AGM as an issue. I can see it featuring prominently in the forthcoming steering group meetings.

The Society of Labour Lawyers website published the following brief report of the AGM, which elected other officers to sit on the YLL steering group:

“Young Labour Lawyers’ AGM took place on Monday night, 12 March 2018, at Committee Room 12 in the Houses of Parliament. 

In her Chair’s report, Deeba Syed encouraged members to get involved with the SLL groups in the year ahead. She reviewed the year: from our well-attended Conference Event and annual dinner with Gloria de Piero MP; and signposted her plans for the months ahead, including: campaigning in Wandsworth, meetings with Labour MPs and assembling a team for the London Legal Walk.

After a strong challenge, Deeba was elected Chair for a second year and has pledged to concentrate on improving access to the legal profession.

Two Vice-Chairs were elected: Daniel Jones, who will focus on a mentoring scheme and arranging events, such as the SLL City Group’s launch on 21 March; and Khaled Moyeed, who will take the lead on improving YLL’s membership and outreach.

YLL’s new secretary is Axel Landin, who echoed the energy and enthusiasm in the room for lots more events with a panel focus.

YLL will meet for a steering committee meeting next week, on 20 March. If you have any ideas for events over the next year or can help us campaign on improving access to a career in law, please contact younglabourlawyers@gmail.com. We are particularly keen to increase the female representation on the committee.” 

#NoelPark2018 Big Photo Launch: 17 February 2018

The big photo launch of the #NoelPark2018 local election campaign outside Wood Green Central Library was blessed with rare wintry sunshine as my fellow candidates, Emina and Peray and I were joined by comrades, friends and family. Catherine West MP and Joanna McCartney, Deputy Mayor of London addressed those gathered to join us on the campaign trail as we knock on the doors and speak to residents in the coming weeks. The more doorstep conversations we have, the better chance we have of holding Noel Park for Labour.

For me, there is no such thing as a safe seat. I will be out every week speaking to Noel Park residents until polling day. We must not take our voters for granted. We have great plans to transform Haringey under the incoming administration. It is important that we take this message to residents at their doorstep.

 

Refugee Solidarity Trip to Calais – 11 February 2018

 

On Sunday 11 February, I set off for Calais as part of a delegation of 11 comrades from Tottenham Labour Party and Stand Up to Racism. We made our way to Care4Calais warehouse around midday. There were over 100 volunteers who had gone over from the UK. We took a van full of winter clothing from Haringey. Thanks to everyone who donated clothes from Haringey Labour Party, my family and friends.

We received our briefing from Care4Calais volunteers and proceeded to a distribution point known as the ‘Eritrean roundabout’. Around 100 Eritrean young men were sleeping rough in the area under bridges and in the woods. They have little access to food, shelter or medication. With Care4Calais volunteers, we set up a generator enabling the young men to charge up their mobile phones. We also gave them cups of tea, some refreshments and packs containing warm clothing and dry snacks.

We spoke to some of the young men. They each paid on average five to six thousand dollars to cross the Mediterranean. They were articulate and enjoyed the same things as any other young person. They were into football; mostly Man Utd fans but I did find one or two fellow Arsenal supporters.

It was a real eye opener to have had the opportunity to go out and see the plight of these young men who have been robbed of a bright future. They had no roof over their heads. They didn’t know where their next meal would come from or where they would go next.

In the afternoon, there was an event where some of the refugees spoke about their experiences back home. I made a short speech and handed over £2000 in cash to the founder of Care4Calais. Thank you all my friends and family members who donated. You can still donate to Care4Calais: http://www.tinyurl/sutrx

My speech at the Noel Park selection meeting: 20 November 2017

I am truly honoured that members of the Noel Park Branch Labour Party selected me to be their candidate at the 2018 local elections in Haringey. Below is the speech I gave to the members at the selection meeting.

Good evening comrades!

 Thank you very much for your support this evening. I would like to say a few words to introduce myself, pay tribute to Councillors Alan Strickland and Stephen Mann and talk to you about my vision and priorities for Noel Park.

I moved to Haringey with my family from Bangladesh at the age of 12. Settling down in London was not easy for me. I did not speak any English. I faced bullying at school. But, I worked extremely hard and turned things around quickly. I left school with the best set of grades in my school. I went onto read law at university.

After graduation, I came back to work in Haringey as a community organiser for four years. I then worked in the Cabinet Office as a legal adviser before training to become a solicitor at a leading international law firm called Herbert Smith Freehills. I continue to practise as a lawyer in the City.

I consider Noel Park to be my home. As a family, we lived in temporary accommodation in different parts of Haringey until the Council allocated my family a permanent house on Morley Avenue on the Noel Park estate. My parents still live there. If you speak to any Asian family, they will tell you that your parents’ home is your home.  

I now live with my wife and two children in Tottenham only because it is cheaper down there. My wife is a doctor at North Middlesex Hospital.

I cut my teeth in politics in Noel Park when I was chair of the Noel Park Branch Labour Party between 2010 and 2012. I campaigned in the 2010 local election to elect Alan Strickland as a Councillor for the first time. I would like to pay tribute to him because he has served the residents to the best of his ability.

Although I have not known Stephen Mann for that long, he did come to the open day of my local mosque in September in his capacity as the current mayor of Haringey. I found him to be a rather affable and a dedicated public servant.

Both Alan and Stephen served the residents of Noel Park and the borough according to their sincerely held beliefs and ideals.

However, political choices have to be made. And as I have made clear to you in my campaign literature and conversations at the doorstep, we have a different vision for Haringey.

The most important issue locally is the Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV). I have my doubts about this scheme. And as Jeremy Corbyn said at the annual conference which I attended in September,

Regeneration is a much abused word. Too often what it really means is forced gentrification and social cleansing, as private developers move in and tenants and leaseholders are moved out.”

The HDV has all the hallmarks of a project that will lead to social cleansing and enforce gentrification. People like me and Emina who have grown up in council housing would find their homes demolished as they are displaced and moved out of the borough. A similar thing happened with Lendlease in Southwark on the Heygate estate. 1200 families were moved out and only 82 were allowed to come back. This is devastating. And this is the same Lendlease which the Council is going into joint venture partnership with for the HDV.

I do not want to see social cleansing in Haringey. Both our local MPs are against the HDV. Both Constituency Labour Parties are against it. There was a judicial review hearing in the High Court last month challenging the HDV. People have taken to the streets protesting against the HDV. I have never seen anything like it in all the years that I have lived in Haringey. I pledge to stop the HDV if I am elected in May.

I will be fighting to increase council housing stock as I believe it is the only way to tackle the housing crisis. I also support full binding ballot rights for residents in ongoing and future regeneration projects.

I am opposed to the Wood Green Area Action where it involves demolition of homes and businesses.

I also make the following pledges to you:

Support Jeremy Corbyn: I will support the national leadership both publicly and privately along with Labour’s manifesto.

Regular engagement with members: I will be accountable to members, provide regular reports and will gauge their views and opinions through regular attendance at branch meetings.

Build strong community relations: I will develop effective relationships ensuring that disadvantaged sections of the community are not neglected such as what happened at Grenfell.

Environment: I will fight for effective measures to tackle fly tipping and reduce pollution as poor air quality kills an average of 10,000 people in London every year.

Protecting services: More government cuts are planned for next year, but I will be committed to protecting services and jobs that affect local residents.

Thank you very much indeed for your support and I look forward to working with you all to win this ward for Labour in May 2018.

 

 

 

Endorsements to be Labour’s councillor candidate in Noel Park

On 15 November 2017, members of the Noel Park Labour Party shortlisted me as a potential Labour party candidate in the 2018 local election. I am honoured that 32 out of 44 members at the meeting shortlisted me. It would be my privilege to have the opportunity to represent this ward as a councillor.

I have been touched by many endorsements that I have had from various people. I hope that members will select me as their candidate at the selection meeting on Monday 20 November 2017. Below are some of the endorsements that I have had.

Narendra Makanji, Councillor of Noel Park (1982 – 2006):

I have known Khaled from 2007 when he came to live with his family in Morley Avenue, Noel Park. He went to Langham School (Park View School). His parents still live in Morley Avenue. I am glad that he is seeking nomination to represent the people in this area. 

He will be a fantastic councillor. He has the skills and the passion to do a great job. Khaled is an experienced lawyer and mediator and these skills will be a huge asset in his work as a councillor. He has good communication skills, both verbal and written. He also speaks various community languages. I am pleased to support his candidacy.

Dr Fiona English, Chair of Tottenham Green Branch Labour Party:

During his time as Chair and now Secretary of the Tottenham Green branch, Khaled has proved himself to be an extremely effective branch officer. His professionalism has enhanced the running of the branch and his tireless work in both local campaigning as well as administrative work demonstrates his commitment to the area as well as to the party more widely.

I have no doubt that Khaled would be an excellent councillor, one who would take his responsibilities seriously and who would work hard for the wellbeing of all his constituents.”

Liam McNulty, Chair of Noel Park Branch Labour Party:

Khaled is a great prospective council candidate, with strong links to Noel Park ward. His background in community activism, his experience in both Hornsey and Wood Green and Totthenham CLPs, and his understanding that solutions to our chronic housing crisis must put people before profit mean that he has my support.

 

My priorities for the Noel Park ward

Council Housing: Having grown up in council housing in a working class family, I will be committed to improving the welfare of council tenants in Noel Park. I will fight for innovative policies to increase council housing stock in the area.

Community Cohesion: Noel Park is a diverse ward and as a champion of community cohesion, I will work hard to ensure that disadvantaged sections of the community are not neglected such as what happened at Grenfell.

Environment: On average, poor air quality kills 10,000 people in London every year. If projected to Noel Park, that is 16 deaths in the ward that can be prevented. I will work on policies to improve the environment and the air quality in Noel Park.

Fly tipping: This has been a key concern for residents in Noel Park. I will get to work from day one to improve the cleanliness of the ward.

Regeneration: I am aware of the Wood Green Area Action Plan which threatens parts of the ward with demolition. I will only pursue policies that put local residents first.

Protecting services: More government cuts are planned for next year, but I will be committed to protecting services and jobs that affect local residents.