Sep 24 2013

ILG Say: Harrow Labour Does Not Get It!

ilg_roseThe attempt by the former Leader of Harrow Labour Group to rebut the allegations put forward by the Independent Labour Group highlights a guilty conscience and shows quite clearly that ‘Harrow Labour does not get it’. But let us take up his offer to “…put up” because as much as Cllr Stephenson may wish it, Independent Labour Group, won’t be intimidated by his calls to “….shut up”.

The current Harrow Labour Group continues with its general arrogance by brushing everything under the carpet. Perhaps Cllr Stephenson would like to educate himself by reading the comments made by various residents, studying the local, regional and national media coverage before putting pen to paper.

Legitimate questions about clearly discriminatory incidents, were asked by residents of the Borough and the Independent Labour Group but no convincing answers were forthcoming – just the usual party machinery rebuttals and briefings against the Independent Labour Group – rather like Damian McBride’s style.

The fact is that former Labour Members wrote to the Labour Party at various levels – national, regional and local – several times, pleading for two simple things:

  • Follow Labour Party rules as set out in the Party Rule Book and Group Standing Orders – and follow the historic traditions and customs of the Harrow Labour Group which have been the bedrock of our success in Harrow.
  • Get to the bottom of the ‘allegations of racism’ by having an independent enquiry by a national Labour figure?

But the local Party and London Region as well as the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party have up till now, completely ignored the calls for justice and fairness; they have failed to provide an opportunity to listen to both sides. There has not even been the courtesy of an acknowledgement of letters sent by loyal Labour Party members who between them have about 100 years of membership. You would think this was an important matter by the way Cllr Stephenson now seems to be hopping around to defend.

The cynical would think it is the recent national coverage of Harrow that makes him uncomfortable by pointing to a situation he has been complicit in covering up.

A motion for mediation by a Labour Party respected figure – was put forward at Harrow West’s General Committee by his own Labour Ward members – this was sabotaged by Harrow Labour’s machinery because they were afraid of the outcome of an independent investigation. Despite that, the motion in favour of independent mediation was lost by only 2 votes, in spite of immense pressure put by Harrow Labour’s machinery.

Questions for Cllr Bill Stephenson and Harrow Labour:

  • Why is Harrow Labour machinery blocking an independent investigation? – What have they got to hide?
  • Why was Harrow Labour Party’s machinery mobilised to sabotage the motion put forward by Labour Party Members calling for mediation?

It was 1998 when the McPherson Report described institutional racism. It is 2013 and “Harrow Labour still does not get it”. On a different level, the fact is that by virtue of the Public Sector Equality Duty that came into force across Great Britain on 5 April 2011, public bodies have to consider all individuals when carrying out their day-to-day work – in shaping policy, in delivering services and in relation to their own employees.

It also requires public bodies, and Labour, as a mainstream political party, to hold up the same standards, which it currently does not seem to do in Harrow:

  • to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination.
  • advance equality of opportunity.
  • foster good relations between different people when carrying out their activities.

The question is when will Harrow Labour get it? Harrow Labour failed the Macpherson test on Bill’s watch. With Cllr Stephenson still seemingly in-charge, is there any hope?

Source: Harrow Independent Labour Group

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