Analysis comment Exclusive

Excl: Labour steps in to protect councillors linked to Haringey ‘racist coup’ against black council leader – including one suspended from the party for alleged antisemitism

Keir Starmer with Haringey right councillors and others in his now-infamous ‘power stance’ last weekend at a Haringey garden party. Left councillors were not invited

As the SKWAWKBOX reported last night, right-wing Labour councillors in Labour-run Haringey are this evening staging what opponents have termed a ‘racist coup attempt’ against London’s only black council leader at an ’emergency’ meeting on Wednesday evening.

And Labour’s London region has now stepped in on their behalf to protect them against media scrutiny.

Cllr Joe Ejiofor is highly regarded by local members and, in accordance with the group’s rules – and in line with the national party’s decision to postpone its annual conference because of the coronavirus pandemic – he and Haringey’s mayor had agreed to hold the group’s next annual meeting (AGM) in May next year.

But right-wing councillors have called an ’emergency’ meeting this evening – what the ’emergency’ is supposed to be seems unclear – to bring a no-confidence motion against Ejiofor at a cost in a move opponents have described as a ‘racist coup‘.

‘Consistent racist attacks’

petition started by local Labour members, which has gathered almost 1,700 signatures in the short time since it was launched, states:

Stop the racist coup attempt on London’s only black council leader

We stand with Joe Ejiofor against attempted leadership coup

We stand with Tottenham councillor Joe Ejiofor, London’s only black council leader, against the attempt to overthrow him while people’s backs are turned owing to the global pandemic.

Joe has come under consistent racist attacks since he took over being depicted as an African dictator, a monkey and various other racist tropes, now like the 2 black leaders of Haringey came before he is facing challenges from inside his own party.

Since Joe has been council leader he has made significant progress towards implementation of the 2018 Haringey Labour Manifesto which residents overwhelmingly supported. While much work remains to be done, the achievements of the council range from cancelling the Haringey Development vehicle, to raising the pay of care workers to the level of the London Living Wage, to making a start on bringing council services in-house, and delivering hundreds of new council homes at council rents.

All of these achievements demonstrate that Joe is a successful leader redistributing wealth and power across the borough and using his position to improve the lives of the residents of Haringey.

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the vital role local authorities play in providing the services on which all of us, and especially the most vulnerable in our communities. Haringey Council has stepped up to provide vital care and other services to the people of Haringey during the crisis.

That work must continue as lockdown starts to ease, financial support to individuals and businesses from central government is removed, landlords resume evictions, unemployment rises, poverty worsens and those who rely on universal credit are once again subjected to punitive sanctions.

There is no justification in changing the leadership of the Council, and are concerned that this could result in rowing back on the improvements already made to peoples lives.

The Labour Party has recently come under criticism for inadequate representation of Black people in positions of power.

We are asking people to sign this petition to Labour Councillors in Haringey to vote against the motion of no confidence on Wednesday.

Two local constituency Labour party executive committees have also near-unanimously issued a statement condemning the move.

Antisemitism complaints

One Labour councillor has already been suspended over alleged antisemitism and threatening behaviour toward Mayor Sheila Peacock, a Jewish woman in her eighties on the right of the party, for her agreement with Ejiofor to hold the AGM next May.

And one ex-councillor, who is married to another involved in the ‘coup’, has been slammed for tweets depicting Ejiofor as an African military dictator and using an image of a chimpanzee:

Antisemitic abuse and physical threats have also been directed at Haringey mayor Sheila Peacock, a Jewish woman in her eighties, despite belonging to the right of the party herself, for agreeing the AGM date with Ejiofor.

The executives of two local constituency Labour parties (CLPS), Tottenham and Hornsey and Wood Green, have also approved – almost unanimously, including branch officers – a joint statement condemning the manoeuvers by a small group of right-wing councillors.

Tea with Keir, then a ‘coup’

The attempt to remove Ejiofor comes just days after a photograph was released showing Keir Starmer in the much-derided ‘power stance’. The picture was taken last weekend at a garden party arranged by right-wing Haringey councillors – and locals say that left-wing councillors were not invited.

London Labour steps in

The SKWAWKBOX wrote to three councillors with questions about the ‘coup’:

  • Patrick Berryman, the former hedge-fund trader who is said to be the right’s leader-in-waiting if Ejiofor is removed
  • Zena Brabazon, who is married to Alan
  • Stanton, shown above posting tweets about Ejiofor as an African dictator and associating him with an ignorant chimp
  • Vincent Carroll, who has been suspended by Labour – reportedly pending investigation of messages to Mayor Peacock that triggered complaints of antisemitism and threatening language. In spite of his suspension, local Labour sources have told the SKWAWKBOX that he is still working with the ‘coup’, in spite of Keir Starmer’s promise to adhere to demands by the Board of Deputies to outlaw such cooperation

The SKWAWKBOX wrote to all three councillors with variants of the following questions (Berryman version):

Please provide your comments by return on the following:

– a petition in support of Cllr Ejiofor against what it calls a ‘racist coup’ now has almost 1,700 signatures. How do you respond to the signatories to that petition, which says:
“Joe has come under consistent racist attacks since he took over, being depicted as an African dictator, a monkey and various other racist tropes’?
– the petition also notes that Ejiofor has “made significant progress towards implementation of the 2018 Haringey Labour manifesto which residents overwhelmingly supported”. How do you justify to Labour members and local residents an attempt outside the party’s rules to remove him?
– the mayor and the council leader had agreed, within the rules, to hold the next group AGM in May 2021. Given that the Labour Party has postponed its national annual conference because of the pandemic, while other organisations have acted similarly, on what basis is the meeting you have called an ’emergency’ meeting that cannot wait until May?
– ex-Cllr Alan Stanton has posted tweets of Ejiofor as an African military dictator and comparing him to a chimpanzee. Why are you not condemning him publicly and standing in solidarity with Cllr Ejiofor against racism? Why are you cooperating with Stanton’s wife Zena Brabazon to remove Ejiofor?
– Vincent Carroll has been suspended for antisemitic and threatening tweets against mayor Sheila Peacock, but is said to be still involved in the manoeuvres to remove Ejiofor. Keir Starmer’s pledges prohibit such cooperation and support. Why are you working with someone who threatened to physically remove a Jewish woman in her 80s and accused her of being focused on money, rather than supporting her agreement with Ejiofor to hold the AGM in May?
– the vote you are intending to hold will cost local council-tax payers around £400. Why are you spending their money on this attempt to retake control of the council?

Cllr Brabazon responded asking for a discussion by phone. However, when called she did not pick up.

This morning, the press officer of the London Labour regional office emailed the SKWAWKBOX to insist that no more emails be sent to the councillors:

I know you’ve reached out to some of councillors in Haringey, about multiple questions.

We won’t be providing any comment to your questions. Direct any further questions you have to me not the councillors as they will just pass it onto me anyway.

We won’t be providing any comment” on questions directed to three councillors personally about racism allegations – questions that were not directed to the Labour Party because both sides in the situation are Labour, yet Labour’s regional office is has intervened to defend one side.

When the SKWAWKBOX queried whether the response really meant that Labour would not be commenting on tweets comparing London’s only black council leader with a chimpanzee etc, the no-comment was confirmed.

When the SKWAWKBOX further queried whether London region’s press office is acting for a councillor who is no longer even a Labour councillor because of antisemitism allegations, this was also confirmed.

A senior Haringey Labour source told the SKWAWKBOX last night:

This is a manoeuvre driven by the right’s opportunism. They think that with Keir Starmer running the party it’s their time to re-take control and they certainly seem to be getting the assistance of regional Labour officials. But the meeting has no basis – there’s no ’emergency’ and no grounds for calling an emergency meeting.

The behaviour toward Joe Ejiofor and Sheila Peacock has been appalling. Sheila’s on the right of the party so her agreement with Joe on a date can hardly be called factional, but these councillors are just not willing to bide their time until May so they’re pulling this disgraceful stunt.

It’s a blatant factional attack on a good council leader, with racism in the mix.

Now, as the right on Haringey council prepares to launch its ‘coup’ tonight against the popular black leader of Haringey council, Labour’s regional office for London has not only stepped in to protect two right-wing Labour councillors from scrutiny over their involvement – it is also defending a non-Labour councillor suspended from the party over complaints of antisemitism and who is now sitting as an independent councillor.

‘Zero tolerance’? ‘Black lives matter’?

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  1. What a stupid mess. Starmer is welcome to friends like these. No good can come of an organisation as petty and foolish as this lot. As to the ‘power stance’ it is obviously the beginning of the goose step.

    1. That whole bunch of cowboys can trace their birth to the ousting of Reg Race. This party has become a circus of misanthropes and incompetents. Good luck Remainders. I have no idea where this road will lead to but the results will be both hysterical and very sad. Keep well all and good luck, I mean no ill will towards the members who are noble and honourable class warriors.

    2. The smudger used a wide angle lens, a fast shutter speed to freeze movement and will likely have shot in continuous mode at a high frame rate – also probably pressed the release a moment before saying “Smile” in an attempt to inject a little movement and interest into what’s essentally a boring, static situation – then selected the best of the ten or more frames a high end camera can shoot in a second.
      You can see some people are still moving and a little off balance, ie pink top woman.
      Little tricks like that are common.
      Most photographers are failed artists 😕

      1. Failed artists? No such thing; the quality of the ‘artwork’ is irrelevant as it is the selling & the PR/Media work involved that dictates value……..see Marc Quinn (who?) now see MSM.

        Who is Marc Quinn? Lives in London (not Bristol) & a big chum of Damien Hurst & Tracy Emin & now at least another 15 minutes of fame guaranteed. Quinn was educated @ Millfield; a private school famous for its Toffs, but its the networking that’s important. Spent early years in Paris as father worked as gov’t physicist. Fine Art is not produced by ‘the Plebs’.

        After the ‘harbouring’ of Edward Colston’s statue, there was an amazing series of ‘spontaneous’ events as a black female demonstrator climbed the empty plinth & is photographed by MSM in the famous ‘Statue of Liberty’ stance. Iconic MSM event. An innocent & spontaneous expression to be the preparation for a sculpture.

        The amount of preparation necessary to produce the sculpture betrays the fact that far from being a spontaneous event, it was carefully contrived & structured. BLM as constructed by MSM & establishment dominant culture. The same journalists who destroyed Jeremy Corbyn, now embrace BLM.

    3. They are terrified in case it’s their round next. Don’t worry the rate payers have got your backs. Exes doncha know. What a shower. Regards ☮️

  2. To suggest someone is a tinpot dictator with a cartoonish image might be good knockabout political repartee, I can’t see how the monkey images shown can be anything other than completely out of place in this age and should never have been posted. I think the people involved should have some explaining to do.

    1. I disagree. Depicting black politicians as tinpot dictators dressed in over elaborate uniforms and bedecked with medals and jewelry is a classic racist trope. It implies that black people have a child like fascination for such things and that they are always deluded by their own self importance and seek flattery. It harks back to racism of the C19th imperialists who believed that black people were so simple minded whole countries could be obtained by the offer of a few strings of beads a mirror and top hat or two.

      I know nothing of Joe Ejiofor or his politics. Criticise him if you feel justified in doing so but I am disgusted that such a racist image of him is being circulated by Labour Party members. By coincidence I worked in Harlesden in Brent some 40 years ago and encountered Alan Stanton quite often in his role as a Social Worker there. I am saddened that seemingly he has drawn so little from his many years of working within what was predominately an Afro Caribbean and Indian community.

  3. Have you got the right Stanton? the tweets from an Alan but you refer to a John

  4. Surely the London Regional Party offering its support and being prepared to act on behalf of a suspended LP member is a misuse of LP funds and resources ?

    1. Not only misuse of party funds but the arrogance of a LP Regional office telling a journalist how to do their job is breathtaking.

  5. I have never heard before, of Zena Brabazon been on the right of the Labour Party. Hence, starting to wonder is this is another left split, and former “left” now turning back to the right., to keep intouch with the current leadership.
    Most probably this is in the wake of Brabazon been sacked by Ejiofor as the Lead member for Children Services over the failures of Children Services in Haringey. No excuse for presenting Joe Ejiofor as a monkey, shameful!!

    1. Thankfully, many people will see it differently. If the vast majority of left members stay, these uppity right wing plotters will know that even with Sir Nicely Power Stance behind them, their knavish tricks will come to nothing.

      Stay and confound them.

    2. On the contrary, it just makes it more certain that people will leave. The whole thing is a microcosm of the party. Sad but true. Regards

  6. Does anyone know of any socialist who would seriously contemplate voting for a Starmer government?

    His tenure as party leader is already seriously overdue.

    Only the gullible will be in the least part surprised.

    1. I’ll be choosing apathy.

      Absolutely no way I can give Labour my vote after events such as 2017, McNicol and others etc etc

      I’m sure some floating Tory will replace my vote, and I’m sure more Tories will be painful but at least I won’t feel dirty aiding Stoma and his politics which aren’t that far removed from the Tories themselves…

      The woman to left of Stoma has also shat her pants…

  7. Remember when starmer and his 70% wilfully ignored the electorate’s requirements and mood, and bulldozed the 2nd ref into policy?

    Well now he’s after appeasing the Zionists above everything and everyone else…He wants to gain the Finchley & golders green and Chipping Barnet seats, and he couldn’t – or rather doesn’t – give a fuck about what happens in the rest of the country

    Slimy,arrogant prick. Fuck him and his overtly anti-black racist party off.

  8. Yes, all these things. So until there’s something else, which I’m sure will come, then don’t run away from the fight and be just another ranter. Don’t moan, organise. (Jack Jones)…..

    1. Oh, there’ll be loads more to come…and you don’t have long to wait.

      It’s just the scale of his next shithouse manoeuvre that’s unknown. Like de piffle and the toerags, stammers hoping these things’ll all blow over before the next election.

      And his indolence and refusal to deal with issues WE the people want him dealing with show us all exactly what he’s about. It won’t be long until he gets rid of dissent within the PLP and does what de piffle did to the EU dissidents, thinking it’ll garner support and show stammer to be a “hard man” (stop laughing) like it did Johnson…

      But the only way you’ll get a vote on stammer before the next election is to vote with your wallet.

      I withdrew financial backing from the party in late 1994… They can now no longer count on my vote with him as the leader …And even bliar had the benefit of that (while I held me nose & baulked)

      Stammers shown his hand. He has no objection to anti-black racism and nor do certain members of his cabinet, and a plethora of his backers.

      1. I’m uncomfortably 100% with you on this Toffee. Even the Blair-led Labour Party could count on my vote in the past, but, now, Labour will get my vote ONLY when/if a candidate impress me with his or her socialist commitment and courage

        My intention is to stay in the party and only stuff envelopes, knock doors and openly campaign for SCG-supporting candidates – even if that means I have to fight for constituencies and wards that are miles away from my own.

        To be honest, it’s the organise and fight bits that I feel least confident about. I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling more than a bit isolated and unsure how the left members who stay are going to organise and fight for the soul of the Labour Party. (Maybe rejoining Momentum?)

  9. Just came across the following – albeit from a couple of weeks ago – which I hadn’t heard about before:

    BBC bosses BAN pundits and hosts from wearing ‘political’ Black Lives Matter badges – after Sky Sports presenters ALL donned the button again last night despite row over movement’s ‘left-wing ideology’

    Since WHEN is caring and empathy an ideology, but Yes, it tends to stem fom people on the left, as opposed to the right!

    1. You haven’t fallen for that BLM garbage have you? What’s wrong with Socialism? Regards.

  10. The Observer ought to change its name to the Starmer on Sunday.
    Pages and pages of praise for him in the last edition.

    1. The whole Guardian operation is full of it. Oozing Starmerite insincerity from every page just as hitherto every page had a space for an attack on Corbyn and socialism, no matter how oblique. Freedland, Cohen, Behr and friends are creaming themselves that working class power has been seen off for the foreseeable future. I haven’t seen anything from Toynbee recently, probably because she’s either suffocating on Starmer’s private parts or busy sticking her hatchet-jobs on Corbyn into a scrapbook somewhere.

      1. Post of the year. I shall use it and say it was mine all mine. Best Laughs Matter. Regards ☮️

  11. They should vacate their positions and be disciplined for their actions that are racist and extremely obnoxious. I am horrified.

  12. It would seem they were right; the party IS endemically racist, just not in the way they meant. As for copping the “bellend stance” from the Tories as if it was a good idea, it’s obvious they don’t even care about being taken seriously. Just as long as they’re on the gravy train…

  13. Jonathan Cook (@Jonathan_K_Cook) Tweeted:
    Labour reportedly plans to apologise and make payouts to the so-called antisemitism ‘whistleblowers’, even though lawyers say Labour would have won the defamation suit and a recent leaked report exposed a campaign by former senior staff to malign Corbyn

    It’s an exclusive in the ‘owned’ Guardian too.

    Membership money being used to compensate people who should have been given the boot. Despicable

  14. Still no information leaking out from tonight’s ’emergency’ meeting then?

  15. In my experience as a ec Labour councillor it reminds me of groundhog day.ITs all very familiar,.Corrupt pigs in the trough helped by usually HQ and region backed by corrupted Mps and a supportive pigs in the trough PLP.So called left and right ,none with a “proper job” as I once observed to my group leader in the last century.Nothing changes and its all repitition with decent people who are members of the Labour party seeing the membership fees squandered on rabble dressed up as leaders of the community….sad and shaming.

  16. Are Labour, and by extension, Starmer, institutionally racist towards black people?
    If it looks like a duck, etc.

    1. As Joe Ejiofor still appears to be in office as Council Leader I’m guessing the ‘coup’ failed.

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