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An open letter to the next prime minister

New power at No10

Dear Prime Minister

May I be the first to offer my commiserations. Yours will be a difficult job and one that will require strong leadership and effective management.

The reality of a hung parliament will test the best of your diplomatic and political skills. The overwhelming conclusion of the election result is that it is a clear signal that all of the parties have failed to inspire a nation that has lost faith in the politics of a two party first past the post system.

You will have many priorities and of course tackling the economic crisis is of paramount concern and will be an urgent priority for your Government. The tough decisions you will need to take will require a popular mandate and that will require the urgent introduction of electoral reform if the country is not to become further divided.

Britain’s black communities were decisive in this election and the result in many inner city areas reflects the growing power of the black electorate. Throughout the country Britain’s black citizens voted in increased numbers.

Whilst this is to be welcomed our communities are in terrible shape. Any cursory examination of the life chances of black Britons demonstrates that the Government has failed to protect black people whose misery been made acute by the effects of poverty and racism. Prime Minister, we are reduced to third class citizens in a country that claims to be a first class democracy.

Black communities are suffering from the general effects of the economic crisis, magnified through the lens of racism. We never really recovered from the recession of the 1990s. We are currently seeing rises in unemployment likely to be further aggravated by a reduction in public sector spending.

You see Prime Minister, because the Government failed to tackle the scandal of racism in the private sector the vast majority of us lucky enough to be in work are employed in the public sector.

Our communities cannot stomach any continued increase in levels of unemployment without severe economic and social consequences. We are starved of real opportunity, increasingly devoid of hope for the future and becoming increasingly angry that our children’s futures are set to evaporate before our eyes.

We need Government to protect our communities from the acute failure of the private sector labour market that refuses to employ black people.

Your Government can tackle these issues by strengthening race equality legislation and the introduction of affirmative action laws as currently enjoyed by Catholic communities in Northern Ireland. These laws have dramatically reduced their unemployment levels. It cannot be right that black Catholics living in Northern Ireland are better protected from employment discrimination than are black people living in England.

You should also consider introducing laws to ensure that local authorities, and public and private sector organisations open up their procurement contracts to black businesses. As tax payers it is a scandal that our businesses cannot gain access to tax payer funded contracts. Furthermore, if want you to empower our entrepreneurs please ensure that banks do not continue to discriminate in the provision of business loans. Opening up public and private sector contracts to black businesses and incentivised private sector investment in our areas is essential if we are to reverse the continued rapid descent into an angry swollen black underclass. We can start by opening up the huge multi million pound contracts of the Olympics games.

You will also be aware Prime Minister that whilst one in one thousand white people are in jail, that figure is seven in a thousand for black people.

A criminal justice system which force feeds black people through massive rates of stop and search is a scandal and unjustly condemns thousands of our people to jail. In the context of continued economic decline of inner city areas such oppressive policing stop and search tactics are exacerbating an already grievous situation.

In relation to DNA, the levels of trust and confidence in the process of criminal justice and policing amongst Britain’s black communities continue to drop at an alarming rate.

We are deeply suspicious of a criminal justice system that wishes to retain the DNA of innocent black people and we want you to tackle this by immediately removing the DNA of all people who are either found innocent by a court of any crime or who are arrested and not charged with any crime.

Such is the level of deep alienation, particularly amongst our young people, that some sections of our community are witnessing huge levels of serious violence and teenage murders.

The number of young people who now die as a consequence of mindless violence is a national scandal. Prime Minister, if these were young white people, there would be a national outcry and urgent intervention. Because these kids are black, much is promised and little is actually delivered.

Too many schools in the areas where we live are little more than holding pens, failing to teach, failing to inspire and ignite aspiration and ambition. Our children suffer exclusions at far too high a level and too many of those in school are failing to achieve. Prime Minister, we need our own schools and you should introduce legislation so that those black parents who wish to opt out of the state school system can and can take full responsibility for the education of their children.

We fear a decimation of the black voluntary sector providing essential services to our communities. In the toxic atmosphere of inner city deprivation, such cuts would be suicidal for any Government seeking to secure support from poor inner city communities. Huge cuts would severely impact the poorest and most alienated section of our communities.

These are just a few of the big ticket items that you will need to address. You can get more detailed suggestions by asking your Permanent Secretaries in the civil service and by reading the Black Manifesto which will help you in initiating a new consultative framework for tackling race equality in Britain.

We know you will be back to see us soon and how we vote tomorrow will be determined by what you do today.

Yours truly,

Lee Jasper

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