Tackling race inequality benefits us all
In Tooting we are lucky to live in such a diverse community, where people of different faiths, backgrounds and ethnicities live happily side by side. We have some great organisations that help us to celebrate our diversity such as the Balham and Tooting Community Association (BATCA), as well as our local churches, mosques and temples.
Things haven’t always been this way. My bus driver Dad could only have dreamed, as a new arrival to London in the 1960’s from Pakistan, that three decades later his son would be the first Asian MP to attend cabinet. We’ve come a long way, but still have far to go. Statistics out this week revealed that whilst unemployment amongst White Britons fell by almost 15% over the last year, in mixed race, Bangladeshi origin, and Black and African Caribbean communities unemployment has risen. We still do not have enough people of ethnic minorities in our board rooms, on our televisions or in our police force. And so last night, 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. I’m also welcoming your ideas on what else needs to change to address the issue, click here to have your say.
Were you ever a Scout or a Guide when you were younger? I was a proud member of the 4th Balham and Tooting Scout group when I was a boy and loved it. Anyone who has ever been involved with the Scouts will know that they do a fantastic job teaching valuable skills, helping young people to get involved in their local community - and it’s also great fun!
I’m pleased to say that scouting is as popular as ever in Wandsworth, but there is one Scout group that is at risk, and needs our help. The 1st Wandsworth Scouts are based at ‘The Romany’ in Lyford Road, in Earlsfield. It’s not just home to the Scouts, but is used by a playgroup, Wandsworth’s only twins group, a ballroom dancing group and by local families for children’s birthday parties too. The Romany is treasured by all who use it, and I got to see why on Friday, when I was invited to visit, to discuss how I could help prevent the site from being developed.
The site isn’t owned by the Scouts, it is leased to them by Magdalen Tennis Club, and sadly there are fears that it could be sold to a developer. I don’t want to see this community asset lost, and so I am working with the Scouts and local parents and residents to fight for The Romany. You can find out more about my recent visit here. If you would like to receive updates on the campaign and attend an upcoming public meeting, please reply to this email with ‘Save The Romany’ as the subject and I will be in touch.
From the Scouts to the Women’s Institute....
This week I was invited to speak at a Wandsworth Women’s Institute’s meeting, where discussion topics ranged from local campaigns to ‘Save Our High Street’, to FGM, and to the role of women in politics. If you’d like to find out more about the group- click here for more information.
Until next time.
Tune into BBC Radio 4 tonight for Any Questions and you’ll hear me debating the big issues of the week with Sir Menzies Campbell MP and Michael Fallon MP in St Anselm’s School (in Kent, not Tooting!)