Archive for August, 2011

Listen out for me on Radio 4

I’m going to be on the Report programme on BBC Radio 4 at 8pm this evening.

The programme, presented by James Silver, focusses on elements of extremism in the UK in the wake of the devastating events in Norway on 22 July.

I’ll be talking about the homophobic stickers that appeared around London over the last year, including in parts of our borough; and about the proposed hate march by the English Defence League through East London. I emphasised that Tower Hamlets is no place for hate of any kind.

You can hear the programme live, by tuning your radio to 92-95 FM or by following this link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/bbc_radio_fourfm

You will be able to hear the programme afterwards on BBC iPlayer here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00jkr1q

Please let me know your thoughts on these matters on Twitter.


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In praise of TELCO/Citizens UK


Today I went to a gathering of community activists from TELCO, the East London branch of Citizens UK.

I’ve always been a huge supporter of the work that TELCO does. Its inclusive approach, bringing together groupings of all faiths, workers, and charity organisations embodies everything we mean when we say One Tower Hamlets. It’s the essence of community spirit.

And it was that community spirit that meant our borough averted the worst of the scenes witnessed in other parts of London, and across the country.

I said a few words, as did TELCO leaders and a local police sergeant.

I came away from the gathering energised and encouraged by the central theme of standing in unity to defend our local community.

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A community united

Wayne and me inspecting his burnt out car

The East End is renowned for its community solidarity in difficult times.

I have been witnessing that solidarity these last 24 hours, as I have been out on the streets meeting local youth and urging calm.

I especially witnessed it in the early hours of this morning, when I responded to an emergency call to visit a family on the Isle of Dogs who had been attacked by gang of thugs. (more…)

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Thank you

In Bethnal Green during London riotsThis morning I am particularly proud to be the Mayor of Tower Hamlets.  I am heartened that our local young people have not, for the most part, got involved in these destructive events. I witnessed first hand a heroic effort by local people, local police and our youth services to ensure that our borough stayed united. To all those that contributed to keeping our borough safe at this difficult and worrying moment, I want to say from the bottom of my heart; thank you.

I offer my sincere condolences to the Duggan family for their loss. There must be a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding Mr Duggan’s death.

This violence is totally unacceptable. We cannot allow a situation where ordinary people are petrified to walk down their streets, where business are looted and destroyed, where police officers are assaulted and abused.

Since the news came through yesterday afternoon that rioting and disorder was spreading from Tottenham to Stratford to Tower Hamlets, I have been on the streets working with young people, faith leaders, council colleagues, community workers, police officers and residents, to keep the peace.

We had our anxious moments; there were bouts of violence and destruction on Bethnal Green Road, the Isle of Dogs and elsewhere, but overall, our borough witnessed nothing like the scenes that scarred other parts of London.

This is testimony to the strength of community cohesion in the borough and the selfless dedication of many individuals across the community. (more…)

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Out in the Field

The Mayor at Field DayLast Saturday I went along to the annual ‘Field Day’ music festival in Victoria Park. Amazingly, the threatening rainclouds managed to hold off, and everyone was relaxing in the sun, lying on the grass and enjoying the music.

I took the stage from US singer-songwriter Willy Mason (a hard act to follow, it goes without saying!)

The atmosphere was amazing. It was great to see so many people enjoying themselves in the heart of our borough.

My job was to welcome them all to Tower Hamlets, and I did so to encouraging cheers. I talked about music as a universal language, understood and appreciated by all, transcending barriers of class, culture, race and language. It was a theme the audience clearly warmed to.

I told the gathered crowds about the threat from the far-Right English Defence League to stage a racist march through East London on September 3rd. Tower Hamlets is no place for hate of any kind. I invited everyone to join me, and the local community, in opposing this divisive threat.

All in all, it was a very pleasant day – I heard some great music, I met some great people and had a game of ping-pong, courtesy of the English Table Tennis Association. Definitely a recommended day out, and a brilliant way to showcase the best of our borough to people from all around. I look forward to attending next year’s event.

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Welcome to my new blog.

Please bear with me whilst I’m still fine-tuning this.

I hope to write about what I’m doing as mayor, what’s going on in Tower Hamlets, as well as wider topics relating to progressive politics in general.

I’ll try to post on here as often as I can, but being Mayor of London’s greatest borough is a big job and I can’t promise I’ll always find the time!

If you have any ideas, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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