Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Inappropriate Behaviour

"As soon as Blair got in, if you came out as lesbian or gay you immediately got a job."
 This is taken from an interview by Jemima Khan in the New Statesman.  The person who said it, Ken Livingstone, Labour's candidate for Mayor of London.  His comments get worse:
"It was just knew the Tory party was riddled with it like everywhere else is."
As yet I'm unaware of any reaction from Ed Miliband, yet it's been out on Twitter since about 5 pm.  Ken's sentiments are disgusting.  Being lesbian or gay is not a disease people are "riddled" with.  London deserves better.

Closer to home, here in Reading the ex Director of RCRE - a charity that is meant to promote racial equality - wrote to the press calling a local politician a "bigot" and making out the latter has a "track record of supporting white racist leaders" (all complete nonsense - the politician has, amongst other things, worked to encourage ethnic minority representatives to join the Conservatives and stand as candidates; and then invested considerable time and effort to get them elected). 

The ex Director's name calling was a knee-jerk response to the politician's blogged statement that last year's Holocaust Memorial Day event had been politicised by RCRE (true - I witnessed it).

There are two causes for concern: 
  1. How on earth did this man, with his flagrant lack of ability to behave in a civil manner, thereby promote cohesion and good race relations become director of such a charity?
  2. Why did the Reading Post see fit to put the ex Director's words into print, especially given they hadn't even bothered to interview all those concerned?
Both Ken Livingston and the recently retired ex Director of RCRE are Labour men.  As yet I have seen no condemnation whatsoever of either man by Labour.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Fighting Injustice Under Dictatorship

Last year I wrote about Mugabe & the White African, a book written by Ben Freeth MBE (a cousin of mine).

"If Good Men Do Nothing, Evil Will Prevail" is the title of what is anticipated to be an amazing evening on 14 March, 7 pm at the Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore. 

Kate Hoey MP, who was a member of the first British Parliamentary delegation to Zimbabwe in 1990 and is Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Zimbabwe, is introducing the speakers:

The Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu; Dr Paul Negrut (from Romania); & Ben Freeth

The event launches the Mike Campbell Foundation, a charity set up in memory of Ben's father-in-law Mike Campbell.  Together Mike & Ben took President Robert Mugabe to court over Mugabe's programme of land seizures, both in Zimbabwe and by appeal to the Tribunal of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), whose rulings were in Mike's favour and against the Zimbabwean Government.

As the Foundation sets out, its "...essential goal is to work to restore human rights and the rule of law in Zimbabwe and other SADC countries. Its priority project is to restore the SADC Tribunal, in a manner which ensures its fully effective functionality.The need for the restoration of the Tribunal follows the decision of the Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of SADC members on May 20 to suspend its operation. With such suspension in place and the prospect of changes to the role of the Tribunal there is now no appeal court in which any individual, company or group can challenge human rights abuses in Zimbabwe or in any other SADC countries."

Please see the Foundation's website for more details about its work and also to book the £15 tickets for the 14 March launch.  I'm looking forward to it!