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Haley’s comet flies out of Labour’s orbit

brian_haleyIn a shock move, a leading environmental expert has been axed as a Tottenham councillor. Labour apparatchiks deselected Brian Haley (pictured) as a candidate for next year’s local elections

A nationally-recognised figure in the world of waste management, Cllr Haley is the third sitting Black councillor in Haringey to be removed.

Former mayor Sheik Thompson and Jayanti Patel have also been denied a chance to represent Labour in their wards next May.

But it is the axing of Haley, an honorary fellow of the Chartered Institute of Waste Management, which will cause most alarm.


Cllr Sheik Thompson

Local residents have already written protest letters to the council leader and there are suggestions that voters could organise a petition to reinstate him.

Haley said that he had not yet made a decision about his future and told OBV Blog: ‘Right now, I’m quite happy to be out of it.’

He said that Labour in Haringey had ‘taken us for granted’, adding: ‘They [Labour] consider the black vote as fodder. But there are alternatives out there.’

One prominent Labour activist in St Ann’s ward has already resigned his party membership to join the Tories. Accountant Michael Olajide, who was the constituency treasurer in 2007, is quoted as saying: “The Tottenham Labour Party takes black and working-class voters for granted.

“If you’re black, they assume they ‘own’ you. But the truth is that Labour has let hard-working and law-abiding people of all colours down.”

Sheik Thompson, a much-loved eccentric character and jazz saxophone player, also expressed unhappiness after he was deselected as councillor for the Tottenham Hale ward.

Thompson was replaced by veteran former councillor Reg Rice, who is also Black. Thompson said: ‘This was a stitch-up. There has been a lot of untoward behaviour. I am considering my position.’

It is not believed that either Thompson or Haley will appeal against their deselections.

Councillor Jayanti Patel, who represents the Woodside area, has also been axed as a candidate. One white councillor, Bob Harris from St Ann’s, has also lost out.

The Haringey deselections follows similar unhappiness about the removal of Black councillors in other London boroughs. Denise Headley in Enfield defected from Labour to the Conservatives.

In Waltham Forest, Milton Martin has left Labour to join the Lib Dems, after he and a number of other sitting councillors were deselected, including the serving mayor Anna Mbachu.

In Barking and Dagenham, former mayor Emmanuel Obasohan and Alok Agrawal were deselected.

Brixton Hill councillor Betty Evans Jacas crossed the floor to join the Conservatives in Lambeth, while in Lewisham – as we reported this week – the founder of the Black Police Association David Michael has resigned his Labour membership.

By Lester Holloway


4 Responses

  1. Labour is crumbling faster and faster. All the comments made re treatment towards black and poor candidates are things I recognise from my own experiences in the party in Edmonton.

  2. As a black member of the Tottenham Labour Party, I have to say Brian Haley’s laid back manner was bound to get him deselected. He’s got a reputation for being a rude, lazy and personally ambitious brother. On the plus side, sure, he’s a black councillor, on the negative side, he doesn’t do his surgeries, reply to email or make any wheels go round for the people, see.

    Sheik Thompson, well, he been replaced by another black CLP member, Reg Rice, who used to be a councillor, in the past. What is the problem here? If Thompson had been any good, he’d have been reselected. Nobody made this fuss when Thompson, who takes eccentric to a whole new level, replaced Peter Hillman, another black councillor, four years ago.

    These guys you want us all to cry tears for are, in fact, poor councillors whatever they saying to you.

  3. The thing you need to publish is that Haringey Labour has actually increased BME representation this time round. This is good news, surely. It also means maybe that there is a new maturity in race politics if we can finally dump the sort of people who only get there in the first place because of their colour and then, when they get there, they don’t do the job properly. They were removed by their ward members who were fed up with them.

    I love the idea of Brian Haley as a victim. Local residents loathe him. He’d become unelectable in his own ward after a series of terrible mistakes and arrogant behaviour towards the people whose support he actually needed . And Michael Olajide goes on about hard-working local residents when he hasn’t actually got a job himself. In Sheik Thompson’s ward, people had got so weary of him pontificating and staggering about shouting at people for being racist, they replaced him with an experienced black former councillor who will do the job with a bit of intelligence and dignity.

    In the words of the aforementioned ‘nationally recognised figure in the world of waste management’, ‘Good riddance to bad rubbish.’

  4. I don’t buy your arguement Labour Apparachick. It’s the typical mean spirited response we get from people who are found wanting. Simply talking about increased representation is meaningless. Tokenism is insulting. Just having a bit of a database of black people who are not valued and respected means nothing.

    I don’t defend the indefensible. No one should be selected or elected simply to have a quota. But your arguments are so inconsistent because in all Labour Groups you have the tired and non-productive non-BME members / Councillors. You do not round on them, bad mouth them and de-select them in the same way.

    You are only showing publicly the bad faith, mean spirits and hard hearts that too many in the Labour Party harbour against BME members. You ignore their many glaring attributes and judge them against inconsistent criteria within your narrow tight knit groups.

    If someone is not up to the mark you can articulate that without trashing them so dismissively. I know a number of Councillors in Lewisham who have become tired and unproductive. I would never feel the need to trash them as though they have never made a positive contribution. At the very least they pay their Labour Party subscription and I believe most Party members do much more than that.

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