Monday, 31 January 2011

Mayor of London snubs families of victims of the New Cross Fire

The families of the New Cross Fire victims are still suffering.

This is my letter to the mayor of London, please support the families of the victims of the New Cross Fire by contacting Boris Johnson yourself and demand to know why he is ignoring the needs of the black community.

Boris Johnson
Mayor of London
Greater London Authority
City Hall
The Queen's Walk
More London
London SE1 2AA
Telephone: 020 7983 4100
Minicom: 020 7983 4458
Fax: 020 7983 4057

Jan 31st 2011

Dear Mayor

This year constitutes the 30th anniversary of the New Cross Fire and as I'm sure you know, there was a memorial event and the unveiling of a blue plaque dedicated to the victims and their families. You neither attended despite being invited nor acknowledged this event nor did you send a representative, offer your apologies or send the organisers and families involved a letter of support. Can you please explain to me why you should choose to treat the black community with such obvious contempt?

Further in relation to your involvement in other tragic commemorations can you provide me with a list of those events you have participated in over the the period of your Mayoralty detailing your involvement with each. Thank you.

Lee Jasper

Government breaches FOI guidelines as it fails to disclose race equality information to 1990 Trust.

The Treasury has rather bizarrely responded to the very detailed FOI request by the 1990 Trust seeking information that informed the Treasury’s  "equality impact assessment"  by stating that they do have the information requested but claiming they need more time and suggesting that they may not release all of the information requested claiming public interest immunity. Both letters are copied below.

The fact that they are seeking to with hold various Government assessments and guidance is puzzling as I can see no reason why there would be any harm to the public interest by publishing this information. These documents will allow us to assess the quality and accuracy of the information that has informed the Treasury's impact assessment.  This information should be in the public domain as it is vital in allowing black organisations to properly assess the extent to which individual departmental spending cuts are fair and free from any racial bias or potential discriminatory impact. 
The inference I draw for the stalling of Government in providing this information is that the quality of policy research that informed their assessment was poor or alternatively the Civil Service advice on potential discriminatory impact was ignored. Either way the Government has chosen not to provide the Trust with any of the information requested. This blanket initial refusal seems very odd given that most of the information should be non controversial if a proper EQIA has been completed.
With the Government already under pressure from the Equality and Human Right Commission after its announced that it would be conducting a formal investigation into the Treasury’s Comprehensive Spending Review after their failure to demonstrate full compliance with the Equality Act 2010. It can only be assumed that the Commission requested information in this regard and found that information wanting. 
This follows hot on the heels of the Fawcett Society application to the High Court for a judicial review. Fawcett has argued that Government failed to take women’s equality into account in its to budgetary policies that are seeing women disproportionately bearing the brunt of cuts in jobs, benefits and public service.
These failures are replicated in the areas of disability and age. The reality is that we have Government that has, despite pre and post election promises  singularly failed to put fairness and equality at the centre of its policy agenda.
The really worrying aspect of all this is that local authorities taking their queue from Government are also failing to conduct in depth impact assessments.
The fear is that the current spending cuts will see black communities already suffering acute socioeconomic deprivation will endure even greater levels of poverty and unemployment as a result of these inequitable public spending cuts.
I believe the Governments proposed cuts have no economic justification. This in my view is a racist and deeply ideological agenda that is a continuation of the 1980’s Thatcherite project of decimating the state. The fact is there are a myriad of ways in which the national debt could be paid without targeting the poor and the vulnerable. This Government has decided that the current crisis offers them sufficient cover to attack the poor with deeply regressive economic policies, vindictive welfare reforms and by pricing the poor out of education.
The consequence of such deeply unfair cuts are already making themselves felt right across the country with black voluntary organisations being closed down or facing drastic cuts to their funding. The consequences of these cuts are massive redundancies facing thousands of black public sector workers and the withdrawal of critical front line services.
The Government needs to be told in no uncertain terms that unfair cuts will have unfair consequences. Poor communities already grievously stressed as result of long term unemployment and large scale poverty will simply explode in frustration and anger.  Inequality and racism will thrive like a virus inculcated by a Government whose disregard for race equality is set to condemn future generations into a life lacking in both hope and opportunity.
So we will await the Governments full response and the 1990 Trust will be leading a delegation of black organisations to meet with the EHRC to demand that the Government is forced through legal action to uphold and adhere to UK equality legislation.


The Government failed to meet the deadline of 24th December and have contacted the Trust to say they are not sure when they will be able to provide the information we have requested. This is scandalous and completely unacceptable.  More than a month later the 1990 Trust still have no idea when the Government will conclusively respond. They have given no date when they are likely to respond as required by FOI legislation and guidelines.

I believe that the Government is unable to answer the questions the Trust has put to them largely because their conclusions published in their race equality impact assessments cannot be justified nor do they have the policy research that would substantively inform such conclusions.  The other reason could be that the Government acted against the advice given by Civil Servant's who may have identified huge levels of disproportionate impact on black and ethnic minority communities . This advice may have been ignored by ministers and hence their reluctance to provide the information requested by the Trust.

Whatever the reason the fact that this Government who have publicly committed to a degree of " transparency and openness" should now be seeking to deprive the public access to such important information smacks of a Government with something to hide.  The Trust will be challenging the Governments approach requesting an immediate internal review and pressing them to disclose the information requested. They have 20 days to respond so watch this space.

Here is the original letter from the Trust to George Osbourne
1990 Trust
CAN Mezzanine,
49-51 East Road, Old Street,
London N1 6AH
Thursday, 28 October 2010

Request under the Freedom of Information Act

George Osborne MP,
Chancellor of the Exchequer
1 Horse Guards Road
London SW1A 2HQ

Dear George Osborne MP,

Treasury document – ‘Overview of the impact of the spending review 2010 on

We refer to the above overview document. Please could you clarify that the
document constitutes the Treasury’s Equality Impact Assessment and that no further
Equality Impact Assessment will be produced by the Treasury in respect of the
equality impact of the Comprehensive Spending Review.

Equality Impact Assessments are not only important in terms of due regard to the
legal duty to eliminate discrimination, but also in respect of improving representation
and participation of ethnic minority people in public life. Such assessments are
known to result in efficiency savings and should have been an integral part of the
Comprehensive Spending Review.

The importance of this has also been noted by
Theresa May MP (Minister for Women and Equalities) who in a letter to you dated 9th
June, reminding you and colleagues of the legal requirements and necessity of
impact assessments, asserted that there were “real risks that women, ethnic
minorities, disabled people and older people will be disproportionately affected” in
relation to spending cuts.
We are concerned that based on the Treasury’s own document, a comprehensive
race equality assessment has not been conducted in respect of the significant cuts
announced that are likely overall to have a disproportionate adverse impact on ethnic
minority communities in the UK.
In respect of the impact document, we would be grateful if you would provide the
following further information:

1. What guidance has been provided to every Government department
regarding the duty to conduct race equality impact assessments and when
was this provided? Please provide a copy of the guidance.

2. We refer to paragraphs 1.8 of the document in respect of the screening
exercise undertaken in relation to tax and welfare measures assessing
whether any changes would have any particular impact upon men or women,
3. or people of different ethnic origins. Please provide copies of the screening
exercise (questions and outcomes data).

4. We refer to paragraph 1.9 in respect of public service pensions. Please
provide the screening exercise (questions and outcomes data).

5. With regard to paragraph 1.10 referring to spending reductions being made in
areas of departmental policy, please provide the qualitative assessment data
and outcomes referred to.

6. With regard to paragraph 1.12, please provide copies of the source data from
the various Government departments referred to. We note that this data
informed the decisions made by Minsters at various points regarding
spending levels and other policies.

7. Please confirm that the document does not equality impact assess the impact
of the cuts on services or differential outcomes of access to those services. If
so, please provide the reasons why?

8. How will the Treasury seek to ensure that any disproportionate impact
identified by the CSR is mitigated by the Government departments in their
subsequent policy decisions?

9. With regard to paragraph 1.15 please provide a comprehensive list of all
government departments included and not included in the qualitative

10. We note with concern that the Home office and Ministry of Defence (amongst
other departments) have not been included in the assessment. Given the
public service functions, organisational structure as major employing bodies
and size of these departments, please provide reasons why they were not
included in the initial qualitative impact assessment?

11. If the Government department is unable to mitigate the disproportionate
adverse impact of the policy decision due to the extent of the cuts imposed by
the CSR, will the particular spending cut be capable of review/ rescission by
the Treasury in order to mitigate the impact. If not, why not?

12. What external stakeholders (non Governmental) were consulted by the
Treasury to inform the findings in the document and what were the results?

13. What is the Treasury’s action plan in respect of findings of disproportionate

Whilst this letter specifies race equality impact assessments in particular, we would
expect the same to apply to the duty to conduct equality assessments in order to
have due regard to the public sector gender and disability duties.

Yours sincerely,

David Weaver
Chair 1990 Trust
Cc Permanent Secretaries

Thursday, 27 January 2011

BARAC Public Meeting Malcolm X Centre, Bristol

BARAC (Black Activists Rising Against Cuts) in Bristol.

Public meeting this evening.
Thursday, January 27 · 7:00pm - 10:00pm

Malcolm X Community Centre
141 City Rd
St Pauls
Tel: 0117 955 4497
Fax: 0117 941 4410

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Black Activists Rising Against the Cuts (BARAC) The first cut is the deepest...

1.    We are a coalition of black, public and voluntary sector workers, trade unionists, community organisations, service users and concerned individuals whose aim is to create a critical mass of opposition to the Government plans to cut vital services and sack thousands of public sector workers, including many black workers, across the country. BARAC has been formed to help coordinate and lead a broad based campaign involving black trade unionists, the black voluntary sector and the wider black community in opposing these devastating cuts and highlighting the massive disproportionate economic impact on black communities and black workers.
2.    We use the term black in a political context to include all visible  minority ethnic communities who have a shared history and experience of race discrimination based on their ethnicity.
3.    The campaign was formed as a joint initiative of Lee Jasper, political adviser to the 1990 Trust and Zita Holbourne, National Executive member of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) who jointly chair the organisation.  Since our launch in July 2010 we have grown incredibly and are in the process of establishing regional BARAC structures in Manchester, London, Bristol, Bedford and Birmingham, with strong expressions of interest from places such as Leicester and Leeds.
4.    Our goal is to establish a BARAC structure in major black communities across the UK, forging alliances between faith groups, voluntary and community sector organisations, public sector workers, trade unionists and the wider black community.
5.    The Comprehensive Spending Review cuts announced by UK Chancellor George Osborne on the 20th October 2010 heralded the age of austerity as massive reductions in public spending were announced in an attempt to cut the nation’s budget deficit.

What we believe.
6.    In simple terms we don’t believe that the poor, the elderly and most vulnerable members of our society should be made to pay for the reckless behaviour of irresponsible bankers who are responsible for plunging the country into a £4.8 trillion fiscal debt crisis. The debt is not ours. We believe that the ConDem budget cuts are ideologically driven and constitute a vicious attack on the poor and vulnerable. We believe that these cuts will have a disproportionate effect on all sections of our communities with a particular emphasis on:
  • Black women
  • Children
  • Young people
  • Elderly
  • Vulnerable groups
7.    We believe that the future education and employment opportunities of all our children are being sacrificed and that this government’s actions amount to gross economic vandalism. The current financial crisis is being used to give cover to a Government that wishes to significantly reduce the size of the welfare state, drive down wages and terms and conditions and attack those who are dependent on welfare benefit support.
8.    The consequences of this approach will be to launch deprived communities into a vicious cycle of increased levels unemployment, poverty, crime and racism. These cuts represent the literal death of hope and opportunity for poor communities nationwide. We believe that the poorest of these communities could potentially see large scale civil disturbance as a result of the Governments brutal economic policy. African, Bangladeshi, Caribbean and Pakistani descent communities along with other minority ethnic groups are among the most acutely deprived communities in Britain
9.    We believe that it is vital for black trade unionists, the black voluntary sector, statutory and voluntary sector service users along with faith groups, to come together in a broad based campaigning alliance with the purpose of opposing these cuts and highlighting the brutal consequences of increased racism and further economic exclusion of black communities.
10. We believe that these cuts are unnecessary and there are alternative ways of paying off the nation’s debt:
11. These alternatives could pay off the current debt and allow for significant investment in manufacturing jobs and public services, decent houses and free universal access to higher education for poor communities. All these things are possible. 

2000 – 2010: British melancholia and the post McPherson & 7/7 backlashes; The attack on race equality and multiculturalism.
12. As we have seen the slow decline of the global economic, military and political influence of Britain we have also seen a growing sense of insecurity and melancholia, particularly from white British males whose confidence about their place and status in the world has become increasingly fragile.  The press agenda is aimed at convincing people that, 'The lack of jobs is as a result of Eastern European migration, crime is caused by black youths, terrorism is the fault of  Muslims and housing shortages are the fault of asylum seekers and immigrants'.
13. Diversity and multiculturalism are equated to ethnic separatism and extremism, institutional racism is seen as a malicious anti-white concept and the routine denial of racism is commonplace. Black communities and their representative organisations have seen a significant downgrading of their relationships with the Con Dem Government. As a result we have seen the abolition of the Commission for Racial Equality, the closure of race equality councils, the undermining of many of the recommendations of the McPherson report, and a subsequent explosion of increased levels of institutional racism and Islamophobia.
14. Black workers have endured increasing rates of disciplinaries, dismissals, lower rates of promotion and endured higher rates of racism in the workplace. Black staff associations throughout Government have been politically targeted, undermined, their leadership’s attacked, smeared with unsubstantiated allegations and their funding slashed. This has been a politically conscious and sustained attempt to silence those voices that challenge institutional racism.
15. The last decade has seen rates of stop and search increase massively. We have seen the harvesting of black men’s DNA on an unprecedented scale resulting in 75% of all adult black males being registered on the national database and witnessed a huge disproportionate increase in the number of black people locked up in prison.
16. African, Bangladeshi, Caribbean and Pakistani descent communities already suffer high levels of unemployment,  low pay and high rates of child poverty, increased rates of homelessness and crime alongside very high rates of physical and mental illness.  These high rates of crime and mental illness occur as a direct result of poverty and discrimination faced by black communities.
17. Educational failure, particularly for Caribbean descent boys and the ongoing process of the continued criminalisation of their communities are about to combine in a descending vortex of higher poverty, youth and adult unemployment. Although more black students participate in higher education, there has been an increase in black graduate unemployment. Colleges and Universities have singularly failed to adopt and implement race equality policies.
18. Increased university fees and the vicious abolition of the Education Maintenance Award will result in thousands of black students being unable to take higher education courses. This is one of the most regressive policies ensuring, as it will, that the route to greater social mobility is effectively closed to thousands of black youth.
19. The Government has a duty under the Equality Act 2010 and the Race Relations (amendment) Act 2000 to ensure that all new policies are subject to robust Race Equality Impact Assessment’s assessing potential disproportionate impact of any major policy change on black and  minority ethnic communities.
20. The Treasury has failed to conduct any such meaningful assessments. The Con-Dem coalition has given a green light to statutory and local authorities to ignore the law and institute these cuts without due regard to their duty to promote good race relations, avoid racist outcomes and mitigate any disproportionate impact on black communities.
21. The Equality and Human Rights Commission as the regulator for the Equality Act has a mandate to protect black communities from state and societal racism. The EHRC has challenged the Government’s failure to adhere to Equality Act 2010. The EHRC is considering taking legal action on behalf of black communities against a Government that has demonstrated a blatant disregard for race equality and the law.
22. Black workers will be made redundant in significant numbers. Most black workers in the public sector are in the lower pay grades and those are the areas that will bear the brunt of Government cuts.
23. We would estimate that out of the combined public and private sector cuts, out of the 1 million jobs likely to be lost, around 250,000 to 350,000 black workers will lose their jobs.
24. Of great significance is the fact that the vast majority of those affected in the public sector will be black women.
25. The effect on black families will be huge and we can expect to see dramatic increases in black unemployment and a consequent increase in the level of child poverty which is already at 50% for African and Caribbean children, whilst Bangladeshi child poverty is above 70%.
26. Cuts to youth services, sports facilities, community centres, nurseries, after school projects, legal and debt advice projects, public health advice projects, libraries, the maintenance of parks, housing repairs and cultural events will all leave communities bereft of any significant social support infrastructure.
27. One of the most insidious affects of the Spending Review is the huge cut to the investment programme for social housing and the cap on housing benefit. We can predict thousands of black and ethnic minority families being forced to move out of parts of London and other metropolitan areas. The rich and the poor will be separated by income and geography with thousands of poor black families caught in this benefit bear trap being forced to leave their communities, their local schools, jobs, friends and families.
28. We urgently need to come together to determine how best we can protect our communities;
  1. How should we challenge a Government that is in the business of promoting the conditions that will lead to increases in racism?

  1. What will the future look like for black and anti racist organisations?

  1. How will the black independent political challenge to the reality of institutional racism and the defence of our communities be articulated and by whom?

  1. How will the much articulated historical call to national unity among black organisations best be facilitated?
Such questions will be paramount if we are to develop a mature, sustainable and effective overtly political strategy.
The way forward.
29. In an effort to address these and a range of other issues, BARAC will, alongside the 1990 Trust, form the Black Liaison Group whose remit will be to provide a confidential arena to discuss these and a range of other issues. The facilitation and exchange of information, exploration of synergies, sharing of scarce resources and the development of co-ordinated action in defence of black communities, will be the key to planning discussions and actions that are now urgent.
30. We are urging local activists to establish local BARAC organising committees across the UK. This should be an inclusive approach that seeks to bring together the widest possible coalition of affected communities and concerned organisations. We can provide advice and help as well as speakers and local trade union contacts for community meetings.
31. We are asking that people join the BARAC Facebook page and distribute information about BARAC to local contacts and help publicise BARAC to local communities.
32. It is important that local communities assess what the likely impact of the cuts will be for them by producing a local BARAC briefing paper.
33. We are asking local communities to organise a BARAC meeting in their area.
34. There is now a national demonstration being called by the TUC for the 26th March 2011 and we are asking activists to help mobilise black communities to attend this critically important demonstration.


Lee Jasper, Joint Chair, BARAC           

Zita Holbourne, Joint Chair, BARAC     


Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Cuts, Crime, Policing and Black Communities; the end of the post Scarman/McPherson consensus on racism.

The government cuts to policing and local authority budgets will have a dramatic impact on levels of serious youth violence; level of community safety; trust and confidence, and reduce the ability of both communities and police to tackle gangs, guns and knife crime.
Against the backdrop of the critical failure of this Condem government to deliver on its pre election promises to black communities and effectively recognise and prioritise race equality the combination of both will set police and black community relationships back 30 years.
In relation to crime in black communities, the reality of entrenched generational levels of unemployment and racism suffered by black communities over the past 40 years, high levels of poverty and teenage birth rates have resulted in an explosion of serious youth violence.
Areas where poor communities live are targeted by drug importers as lucrative open drug markets. They have flooded inner city areas with both drugs and guns. Young people, largely uneducated and unemployed and often without proper parental support, have been seduced into crime for the want of opportunity and employment. As a result we have endured extreme youth violence and too many families and communities have been devastated by the increase in youth violence.
Scarman & McPherson 30 years on…
The last 30 years have seen dramatic improvements in police and community relations. This revolution in police and community relations came about following the number of black tragic deaths in police custody, police brutality, and failure to tackle racist attacks and prosecute those guilty of racist murders.
The settlement arrived at between black communities and Government after the publication of the McPherson Report represented a social pact. The unspoken deal was that public institutions and Government would deal with their institutional racism and black communities would now consider entering into police community partnerships and end the 30 year boycott of black recruitment into the police service.
Government targets to reduce the number of racist stop and searches, joint working on policing issues in black communities through the establishment of joint working groups focussing on racial attacks, youth violence or black recruitment into the police service all began to develop as a consequence of the post Scarman/McPherson peace pact.
This consensus is now all but dead as all of the areas of race equality policy progress have been politically undermined, targets ditched whilst racism in operational policing terms has increased.
Community accountability.
The Scarman report in the 1980’s recommended the establishment of local police consultative groups to inform the work of local policing authorities and operational policing strategies. These have provided a critical forum for discussion and consultation between local communities and the police. They are an important safety valve for community tensions where critical incidents such as a death in custody or allegations of police racism and brutality can be discussed. Both Policing Authorities and Police consultative groups are to be abolished with the cuts to the Home Office and local authority budgets. This is a fundamental and critical error.
The post McPherson pact between black communities and the police has been based on an acceptance by the police of the existence and the need to deal with institutional racism and an explicit commitment from councils and the police to create tripartite partnerships that focus on black police recruitment, crime prevention and youth diversion projects.
That post Scarman/McPherson consensus is now breaking down before our very eyes. Police consultative groups that provide an important space for communities to express their concerns about local policing are under threat with their funding under review. This represents stupidity beyond belief.
Partnerships in tackling crime.
One of the key benefits of the post Scarman/McPherson settlement was the unique series of partnerships with police and local black communities to tackle gun and knife crime.
Constructive engagement and support from police Government and local authorities produced a transformation of relations with black communities working in wide ranging police community and council partnerships engendering increased levels of trust and confidence.
Over the last 10 years we have seen the establishment of many local youth diversion, prevention and mentoring projects designed to encourage confidence of black communities and fostering positive crime prevention work in partnership with the police.
The work of Operation Trident the Metropolitan Police Service partnership with London’s black communities designed to tackle gun crime is a great example.
Such partnerships recognised the importance of tackling the social conditions that produce great swathes of youth and adult unemployment in addition to deep socioeconomic alienation, which leaves people vulnerable to seduction by criminal gangs with access to a vast amount of money and huge quantities of drugs.
During that time we saw real improvements in the relationships and partnerships between police and black communities.
The benefits of these partnerships have been joint working to tackle serious violence among young people and a huge increase in black recruitment to the police service.
Today these fledging partnerships are all but dead and buried. Government, local government and police services have now abandoned any real commitment to tackling racism in the police service and the maintaining of sustainable civic partnerships.
The very basis of the fight against youth violence and criminality, created by entrenched poverty and racism is being undermined and destroyed.
Black communities, having been previously encouraged and supported to work in tripartite partnership with police and statutory authorities, in an effort to tackle serious youth violence and racist attacks have now been effectively disempowered and abandoned in the fight against these crimes.
With an expected decrease in policing numbers, likely reductions in the recruitment of black police officers, large scale increases in black youth unemployment and poverty,   the virtual decimation of local youth and community projects, alongside the closure of many police and racial attacks monitoring projects means that the critical infrastructure that supported and gave life to post Scarman/McPherson settlement is all but gone.
Back to the future: The policing cycle of reinvention.
Further, with an anticipated increase in crime as unemployment rises, fewer police officers and youth projects and support services aimed at working with alienated and disenfranchised young people, we will see a return to the aggressive and ‘ noble cause’ policing of old. This re run of history is known as the “policing cycle of reinvention”.

That cycle results in a self fulfilling prophecy of higher crime rates; leading to increased press demands for more to be done. Increased political pressure will be placed on the police to make more arrests, fewer officers dealing with more crime leads to the adoption of more aggressive policing styles and calls for relaxation of civil liberties legislation to “free officers from red tape and human rights laws”. Black communities become completely alienated from and hostile to the police in these conditions.
This specific catastrophe (and it is that serious), reflects the wider breakdown in what was a shared and widely held liberal consensus about the need to tackle institutional racism, the positive contribution of multiculturalism and the rights of black workers and communities to self organise.
The consequences of this state of affairs are extremely profound and herald the return to the time where relationships with black communities and the police were deeply antagonistic. This is a defining moment in the relationship between the Government, the police and black communities.
The incidence of domestic violence among black communities is on the increase as a consequence of the social and economic environment created in deprived neighbourhoods. At times of economic stress both women and children tend to suffer from the dire circumstances forced upon families.
Crime – Government abandons the black community.
In effect the Government has decided to abandon black communities in the fight against knife, gun and drug crime. The cuts to the policing and community safety budgets will leave the poorest communities to face increased crime levels unsupported.
Despite the long history of mistrust between black communities and the police, the post Scarman/McPherson period produced a pact between black communities and the police. This Scarman/ McPherson consensus saw the development of a broad range of confident partnerships between local black communities, the police and local authorities.
Those communities will now be left to deal with the men of violence on their own. No doubt none of the issues raised here will be recognised by those in central and local Government. Scotland Yard may yet retain senior officers who recognise the very real dangers of the Governments current approach; others will be completely oblivious and/ or dangerously complacent. 
They should be in no doubt that this brutal political and policing betrayal of black communities will ultimately cost many lives and will leave a lasting legacy of bitterness and hostility.

Help Save the African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust (ACLT) threatened with closure due to lack of funding

The ACLT could be forced to close due to a lack of funding from the government, private benefactors and public donations. This charity has worked tirelessly, in particular with finding bone marrow donors for Black people, saving countless lives. Please do all you can to support them, even if everyone gives a little it will make a lot of difference.

If you want to donate online please go to:

There is also a fundraising inititive on Facebook:

Gimme 10 - Save the ACLT

On Monday 31st Jan Martin Jay and friends are going to donate £10 each to the ‘Save the ACLT' Charity.!/pages/Gimme-10-Save-the-ACLT/176274392412010?v=wall

You can read more about the fantastic work the ACLT does by clicking here:

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Trident failures feed " Stop Snitching " campaign

Trident failures feed stop snitching campaign.

Mayor and Commissioner remain oblivious to the crisis facing Trident. Lee Jasper - Posted on 14 January 2011

You may have read of late of a nasty campaign of open witness intimidation taking place on the Pelican Estate Peckham London. This is the scene of the recent murder of teenager Sylvester Akalapara on the 29th December. Leaflets have appeared in various locations around the south London Estate and they urge non cooperation with the police.

The Stop Snitching leaflet states; “We will be able to give you first-hand accounts of how Operation Trident have ruined the lives of witnesses, you will be able to listen to real covert recordings and watch videos of how they actually deal with you. “And you will be able to hear and see for yourself how quickly they turn on you if you change your mind about helping them.”hen destroy your life. “We will be able to give you first-hand accounts of how Operation Trident have ruined the lives of witnesses, you will be able to listen to real covert recordings and watch videos of how they actually deal with you. “And you will be able to hear and see for yourself how quickly they turn on you if you change your mind about helping them.”

The fact that the leaflets are backed up with a website is extremely worrying indication of a seriously organised campaign . It says: “Don’t be deceived by promises of anonymity, protection, and rewards, they will say and do anything to make you snitch, then destroy your life. “We will be able to give you first-hand accounts of how Operation Trident have ruined the lives of witnesses, you will be able to listen to real covert recordings and watch videos of how they actually deal with you.

The Met and Trident in particular have been quick to slam the leaflets as " irresponsible" and many community leaders have stressed the importance of working with the police. Today a Metropolitan Police spokeswoman said no investigation had been launched, nor that there was any strong indication the flyers were specifically aimed at their investigation into the death of Mr Akapalara.

Of course the leaflets are to be condemned but the MPS are making a big mistake if they fail to understand the significance of the leaflet and the reality on the ground that Trident is fast losing credibility and the criminals sense that Operation Trident is weakened.  First the belief that this is not targeted at those who know what happened in the Akalapara case is nauseating in it's naivety. Unfortunately it's reflective of a trend. The reality is that Trident is in a bad way. Cuts  to Trident budgets have resulted in them ending their massively effective advertising and community engagements campaigns.

That was a critical error. The Trident posters provided massive reassurance, boosted community confidence and community events led by the Independent Trident Advisers (IAG) gave Trident the edge in the war of misinformation that is the battle ground between criminals and the police in trying to maintain community confidence.

  Videos and music slamming Trident on You Tube and on the urban underground mix tapes are becoming extremely popular. To dismiss this campaign as the work of a small group of individuals is to miss a very important point. As Trident has retreated in the battle for hearts and minds and the consequent impact on community confidence, so it has had to rely more heavily on the use of supergrass evidence.

There are real questions about the quality of witness protection and Tridents failures to meet the needs of vulnerable witnesses.  The use of protected witnesses giving evidence in court whose identities remain concealed has also backfired with a hugely corrosive effect on community confidence.  The fact that Tridents budget is to be cut further combined with the besmirching of Tridents reputation through the over reliance on supergrass evidence has not gone unnoticed on the streets.

The criminals sense that Trident has returned to the bad old days of heavy reliance on  using criminal informers and that plays right into their hands. Nightmare stories, some true some false, are circulating about Tridents ability to protect witnesses. The potential for this Stop Snitching campaign going viral with music, t-shirts and videos is massive. In my view that battle is already lost and the gangs are set to regain their psychological grip of fear on communities.

All this in the context of massive closure of youth crime prevention projects , youth clubs, removal of the EMA grants and rising black youth unemployment is creating the conditions where the battle for hearts and minds is bring lost by Trident. The fact that they have decided not to investigate who produced these leaflets is another indication of how uninformed Scotland Yard has become about the real situation . This movement is growing virally and has real potential.

There is a real danger of this insidious campaign engulfing communities as young people who feel increasingly alienated and abandoned  are won over against a backdrop of massive cuts to Trident and authority youth services and reinforced by increasing horror stories about witness protection and discredited supergrass evidence.

The Mayor and the Commissioner having no idea what's going on in these London estates remain oblivious to the fact that a once flagship policing unit whose officers enjoyed higher levels of Trust and confidence than regular Met officers is in crisis. Their failure to understand the community dynamics of black communities, youth culture and gun crime is extremely dangerous.

 The importance of advertising in maintaining confidence in communities, the rumors about Trident budget cuts and possible closure, the acidic dangers to community confidence through the over reliance on discredited supergrasses and protected witnesses amounts to a dangerous complacency that could cost lives. 

That a campaign of open witness intimidation can be dismissed in such a cavalier manner is beyond belief. This campaign is already embedded in London  youth culture and is being reinforced by these strategic failures.  The consequence will be murderers acting with relative impunity and a community too frightened and lacking in confidence to do anything about it.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Quotes - Malcom X

"Our people have made the mistake of confusing the methods with the objectives. As long as we agree on objectives, we should never fall out with each other just because we believe in different methods, or tactics, or strategy. We have to keep in mind at all times that we are not fighting for separation. We are fighting for recognition as free humans in this society."