The SKWAWKBOX has covered at some length the scandal in Enfield Labour, where the LCF (local campaign forum) oversaw a deeply flawed selection process that saw numerous candidates selected without proper assessment – and was then promptly voted in by them as council leader after they became councillors.
A committee application submitted by one of the candidates showed a serious lack of communication ability – and one of the ‘essential’ questions omitted was the test of that ability.
Now the SKWAWKBOX can reveal a new and shocking aspect of the scandal has emerged in the form of a letter of protest sent by the borough’s black councillors after every sitting black councillor was deselected and replaced, in many cases, by candidates who had benefited from the flawed process overseen by now-council leader Nesil Caliskan.
In a borough where one in five residents is black.
Worse still, the councillors were deselected from some of the wards with the highest black populations in the borough – and some of the safest seats.
It’s unprecedented…it amounts to a coup by one ethnic group against another
One councillor and one candidate resigned in protest at the blatant discrimination. The councillor, twelve-year veteran Don McGowan, spoke to the SKWAWKBOX today:
In my twelve years as a councillor I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s unprecedented. The black councillors were largely in safe seats – but those who stayed on to fight, reluctantly, were given unwinnable Tory seats.
The safe seats went to – well, to people who had been planning this for some time. And a lot of them were from one particular community – the people who benefited from the whole debacle of the compilation and selection process.
People are truly disappointed. What we’ve now got, basically, are new, inexperienced councillors and a council ‘leader’ with absolutely no experience – apart from three years on the back bench – to run a council.
At first we didn’t know the extent of the manipulation that had gone on in the composition of the panel [of candidates] but we had heard of some serious violations that had gone on – especially in Edmonton, which has one of the highest black populations.
We wrote our letter months before the [3 May] local elections – and we’re still waiting for a reply. We haven’t even had an acknowledgement.
Local organisations representing the African, Somali and Caribbean communities wrote to the regional Labour office as well and I don’t think region even saw fit to reply.
The Labour Party exists to make life better for people from all ethnic backgrounds. I’m flabbergasted that region didn’t seem to have a problem with it all – I would have thought that they’d take people’s concerns seriously enough to at least look at it, but none of us has even had a response.
It’s desperately disappointing, especially given the percentage of those populations that votes Labour.
People across the party are extremely unhappy about it. Longstanding Labour members have a problem with it. Southgate CLP has a problem with it.
I wouldn’t have a problem with it if it had been done democratically, but it wasn’t and they’ve admitted that it wasn’t. Now there’s one particular group that has taken over the council – – it amounts to a coup by one ethnic group against another.
The ‘coup’ by the Labour right in Enfield is especially bitter in view of the widespread, hypocritical – and uncritical – mainstream media coverage of unfounded complaints by the same right-wing factions in neighbouring Haringey.
Council leader Nesil Caliskan and the Enfield Council press office were contacted about the black councillors’ letter and ex-councillor McGowan’s ‘coup’ allegation and asked for urgent comment. Neither has so far responded.
Changes in Haringey were achieved democratically by members and in full accordance with Labour’s rules and procedures. The right-wing purge in Enfield – by the admission of the then-LCF Secretary and now council leader – was not. The Labour Party needs to suspend Enfield Labour group until the matter is thoroughly investigated.
Many local Labour members now feel that the position of new council leader Nesil Caliskan is untenable. It’s hard to disagree.
Note: although all Enfield’s black councillors were deselected, the borough eventually had three because of changes of ward etc
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