Last week saw Londoners vote in both local and European elections, to decide who we want to run our councils and who we want to represent us in the European Parliament. Here in Wandsworth the Labour party saw one of our best results for decades, gaining six councillors across the Borough and winning more councillors in Tooting constituency since Argentina last won the World Cup!
It was an exciting evening at the Town Hall – you can catch up on the night’s events in a rundown by Wandsworth Guardian reporter Sophia Sleigh here. You can find a summary of the results across London here.
Many of you will have heard the sad news that Burt Luthers, who served as a councillor in Tooting for 17 years, sadly passed away last week at the age of 77. Burt was at the first ever Labour Party meeting I attended as a 15-year-old. He encouraged me to get more involved and suggested I stand for the council, which I did in 1994. Over the last two decades he provided me with wise counsel and has been a good friend too. As the first ever BAME councillor elected in Tooting he leaves an important political legacy, and you can read more about his life and some of the many tributes paid to him here.
No room for complacency
The most recent census showed that Britain has embraced diversity. People marry across racial, ethnic and cultural divides; they bring up kids and make a future for themselves. As the MP for Tooting, and as Shadow Minister for London, I understand the contribution that ethnic minority communities make to our society. Tooting is a fantastic part of London and somewhere people don’t just tolerate each other but build friendships, families and businesses across communities.
Yet this week saw new data released from the British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey, which showed that the percentage of people who describe themselves as ‘racially prejudiced’ in the UK has risen since 2001. These findings should come as a wake-up call, and provide clear evidence that we cannot be complacent about racial prejudice. And a big part of this is ending race inequality in our communities. Last week, I spoke at Operation Black Vote about what a Labour Government would do to end race inequality and why this would benefit everyone in Britain; Black, Asian, ethnic minority and White. Click here to read my speech.
Until next time.
p.s. For all those too young to remember - the answer is 1986!