Enfield council former deputy leader on current leader: “not fit for office”

“Over the last year we have gone from a competent and highly respected Administration to one that has proceeded from one calamity to another, where colleagues have been regularly briefed against, where colleagues have been smeared on trumped up and persistently FALSE allegations of racism and sexism, where facts have been distorted and misrepresented, and where bullying and intimidation of colleagues have become the norm.” Daniel Anderson

Daniel Anderson with council leader Nesil Caliskan, from a 2018 Enfield Cabinet photograph

The SKWAWKBOX last night revealed the ‘civil war’ in Enfield, as longstanding complaints of selection-rigging, bullying, racism and even threats of violence against the right-wing Labour council leader or her allies spilled over during the council Labour group’s delayed annual general meeting (AGM).

Frustration with the behaviour of council leader Nesil Caliskan has united a broad coalition of Labour councillors and members from the breadth of Labour’s political spectrum – and one of the most prominent has been Daniel Anderson, until recently the popular deputy leader of the council.

“Personally speaking I was not prepared to serve in a Cabinet led by Nesil Caliskan who I, and many others, deem to be unfit for holding public office, let alone be Leader of a £1bn entity”

Anderson was among members of the Enfield Cabinet who called last year for an urgent investigation by the party into the complaints of members and councillors into ‘irregularities’ in the selection of candidates, together with the deselection of every BAME councillor. Last night he spoke out on social media of his disgust at events:

Last night at the Labour Group AGM I stood down as Deputy Leader of Enfield Council and, along with a number of my experienced colleagues (Yasemin Brett, Achilleas Georgiou, Ahmet Oykener and Dino Lemonides) withdrew my nomination for a cabinet position. This is being confirmed at tonight’s Annual Council Meeting after which the most inexperienced Cabinet in Enfield’s history will then take office.

My reasoning for not participating in the elections for the Executive function was to respect the position of the Local Campaign Forum representing the 3 Constituency Labour Parties (Enfield North, Enfield Southgate and Edmonton) and over 100 party members. All of whom signed a petition rejecting the validity of the Labour Group AGM due to the many failures in the process, not least being that it was convened in contravention of both Party rules and the Labour Group’s Standing Orders.

Personally speaking I was not prepared to serve in a Cabinet led by Nesil Caliskan who I, and many others, deem to be unfit for holding public office, let alone be Leader of a £1bn entity.

Over the last year we have gone from a competent and highly respected Administration to one that has proceeded from one calamity to another, where colleagues have been regularly briefed against, where colleagues have been smeared on trumped up and persistently FALSE allegations of racism and sexism, where facts have been distorted and misrepresented, and where bullying and intimidation of colleagues have become the norm.

As Deputy Leader my role over the last year, like those of a number of now former Cabinet colleagues, has been emasculated and repeatedly undermined. My advice has been regularly ignored, though more often than not, it has not even been sought. In effect I have been Deputy Leader in name only.

I also want to make it abundantly clear that to critique and challenge the current leadership is completely legitimate and has absolutely nothing to do with race, ethnicity, culture, religion or gender, but solely to do with competence – or more to the point lack of competence. Indeed to suggest otherwise, particularly when many of the complainants are themselves representative of the above communities, is itself yet another example of the attempt to force down criticism and to smear colleagues, which has been all too prevalent this last year. I have never made my ethnic or religious identity central to my role and do not intend to do so now. All of us are elected as representatives of the Labour Party in our own right. We are all equal irrespective of our respective identities, but must be judged solely on our levels of competence and capability.

The Party’s NEC recently came forward with clear and unambiguous conclusions and recommendations about the state that Enfield’s Labour Group is in and where total responsibility lies. It is therefore disappointing that the Party’s Governance & Legal Unit, tasked with following through on the recommendations, have so far dragged their heels and failed to deal with this crisis swiftly and decisively to ensure that justice is done, instead allowing it to snowball. I hope that the resulting debacle will now spur them into action.

Anderson has now been replaced as deputy council leader by Ian Barnes – a one-year councillor who only made it onto the panel because of the ‘irregularities’ of which Cllr Caliskan stands accused. Barnes failed his ‘panel’ interview, but his papers were changed to a pass before being sent to Labour’s regional office.

Daniel Anderson made a shorter version of the same comments in the public ‘Enfield Voices’ Facebook group.

Nesil Caliskan has previously indicated that she does not wish to be contacted by the SKWAWKBOX for comment.

SKWAWKBOX view:

The breadth of the coalition of resistance to the conduct of the council leader and her allies shows that this is not a factional issue.

A situation in which councillors feel in fear of physical harm is neither tolerable nor tenable – Labour must take whatever action necessary to resolve the ‘debacle’ in Enfield and must do so quickly.

A situation in which councillors feel in fear of physical harm is not tenable – Labour must take whatever action necessary to resolve the ‘debacle’ in Enfield and must do so quickly.

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6 responses to “Enfield council former deputy leader on current leader: “not fit for office”

  1. Nesil Caliskan and her deputy must immediately be dismissed from their roles by Labour.

  2. There is a curious contrast between the urgent despatch with which a pro-Palestinian is suspended, pending expulsion, from the Labour Party for plain speaking on the horrors of modern zionist rule in the Levant, and the painfully slow response to the situation in Enfield where the services of tens of thousands of people and millions in taxes are at the disposal of councilors whose respect for rules appears to be minimal.

    • I have no particular insight into the situation within Enfield. But I reckon that the contrast that you highlight does indeed smack of serious flaws within the disciplinary processes of the NEC and the judgments being made..

      I think most of us could cite several examples of totally precipitate action taken against far less sinning (or not sinning at all) colleagues (Chris Williamson being but the last). There has been a tendency to display abject fear in the face of right-wing intimidation that uses the ‘antisemitism’ trope.

      • A further thought. If what is reported is an accurate representation of what has been happening in Enfield, is the use of accusations of racism pointing a trail back to the NEC. The ease with which the ‘pass through’ given to this smear technique has in general emboldened members such as Hodge and Ryan.

  3. The leadership of Enfield is bringing the party into disrepute. She needs to go and have her LP membership suspended.

  4. What are the senior members of Labours admin doing to earn their salaries?

    Not a lot from their track record.

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