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The Respect Party this morning gave its full support to the strike action being taken by Tower Hamlets Unison members and members of the National Union of Teachers on 30th March.
“This government is implementing savage cuts in Tower Hamlets and at the same time redistributing resources from this deprived borough, with the highest rate of child poverty in the country, to the leafy suburbs where the majority of Tory and Lib Dem voters live,” said Councillor Fozol Miah, the leader of the Respect group on Tower Hamlets council. “These cuts will plunge the economy back into recession, with unemployment already at a 17 year high and inflation at a 20 year high. What a disaster.
“Teachers and council workers have clearly concluded they have no alternative but to strike in defence of jobs and services in this borough. No-one takes strike action lightly, especially such a dedicated workforce as we have in the council and the schools. But this government is not listening.
"I hope everyone will also be on the TUC march on 26th March to show this government that it has no mandate for these draconian cuts.”
Shadwell residents are furious that the King Edward Memorial park will be ruined if Thames Water has its way.
Thames Water, the privatised supplier of water and sewerage services to London, has proposed the construction of a “super” sewer across the park culminating in two enormous towers which are to allow the noxious gases to escape.
The proposals mean digging up the park and laying a huge pipe through it which will then be concreted over. The towers will not only emit gases, they will block the view down to the river.
Tower Hamlets already has far less green space than many other boroughs. The proposals from Thames Water would clearly have a very detrimental effect on the use of the park and its aesthetic qualities.
However residents are not going to allow Thames Water to ride roughshod over their park without a big fight. Already over 4,000 signatures have been collected on a petition opposing the plans and residents aim to have up to 10,000 signatures by the end of the month. A letter signed by residents opposing the plans was also handed in to Boris Johnson's office at City Hall by a delegation earlier this month.
The campaign is being led by Karl and Emma, two local residents, but Respect members have thrown themselves into the campaign wholeheartedly and there has been a terrific response from the mosques in the area.
Local resident and Respect candidate Mamun Alom said: “My kids play in this park as do many others. It’s a beautiful park and an essential asset in this overcrowded area where there is also such a high incidence of child poverty. The response from the local community has been tremendous.
Mamun continued: “Thames Water does not need to put the so-called “super” sewer in the park at all. There are alternative plans which would meet the need just as well and save the park from destruction. This has been confirmed by engineers who have worked on the project.”
Former Respect group leader and councillor Abjol Miah said: “We should remember what happened when Crossrail tried to put an enormous hole behind Brick Lane in the heart of Banglatown. The community campaign forced them to abandon this and suddenly discover a completely different way of constructing the tunnel which avoided the potentially disastrous disruption and despoliation of the area. The same kind of high profile campaign involving the community and embarrassing Thames Water and the politicians who have control over planning permission will be just as effective.”
The electoral system for the election of the British parliament is grossly unfair. No party has received an absolute majority of the votes since the Second World War and yet parties have almost invariably received an absolute majority of seats and sometimes a huge majority. As time has gone on the difference between the votes received by parties and their seats has become more and more grossly disproportionate.
Now as part of a deal between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, we are to have a referendum nationwide on the electoral system on 5th May. However we are not being asked to vote to make the electoral system fairer. The proposal is that we either stick with the present system or change to a system which will benefit the Liberal Democrats without making the votes any more proportional than they are now.
In fact it has been estimated by experts that the new system that some are urging us to adopt would have made no difference to the results of the elections held in the last 30 years. In other words we would still have had Thatcher, Major and Blair with large majorities enabling them to do exactly what they wanted to do and messing the country up as a result.
The changes being proposed by the government are the product of a cynical attempt to benefit the government parties and nothing else. The Tories are reducing the number of seats in the Commons abolishing a lot of inner city seats held by Labour. The only reason for them to do this is to make it harder for Labour to win elections. And the Alternative Vote system is designed to boost the representation of the Liberal Democrats who are facing electoral oblivion at the next election because of the lies they told during the election and the promises they have broken in order to get their ministerial cars.
What is the Alternative Vote system. Instead of just placing a cross against the party or candidate you most prefer, under AV you will place candidate in order of preference. If no candidate has an absolute majority of votes in a constituency, the least popular candidate is eliminated and their votes redistributed according to second preference. That process continues until a candidate does have an absolute majority.
That makes it sound as though it is fairer but it isn’t, first of all it gives the opportunity for voters for the British National Party, for example, to decide who the MP will be. BNP candidates are likely to be eliminated at an early stage and all those BNP votes will then be transferred to other candidates, probably ensuring the election of that candidate. This will give a strong incentive for Conservative candidates in particular to make even more extreme anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim statements than they already are prone to do.
Anyway why should those who vote for fringe parties decide who are MP should be? The Liberal Democrats like this system of course because they think that Labour or Conservative voters will transfer to them to keep out, respectively the Conservative or Labour candidate. So they are hoping this will enable them to hold on to seats they would otherwise certainly lose at the next General Election.
The overall effect of the AV system is that there will still be a huge difference between the proportion of votes won by a party and the seats they win. So this system is just as unfair and in some circumstances more unfair than the present system. That is why we in the Respect Party unequivocally oppose its introduction and call on everyone to vote No in the referendum.
What we need in Britain is not AV but a properly proportional system of election. And we need changes electoral law to eliminate the fraud and malpractice that have undermined the integrity of the electoral system in Britain in recent years.
A properly proportional system will ensure that there is a much closer link between the votes won by a party and their representation in parliament. There are a variety of systems that will do this but Alternative Vote is not one of them. Perhaps the best is Single Transferable Vote which will give us multi-member constituencies and therefore enable voters to go to MPs who are properly sympathetic to their problems. At the moment if you face problems of racism or with the immigration authorities and you have a right wing Tory MP, you will not be properly represented. But if we had STV, there will almost certainly be a Respect or Labour MP who will take up your problems and fight for you to get justice.
A properly proportional system would have meant Thatcher would never have been Prime Minister smashing up the public sector, privatising everything in sight and making sure the rich got richer as the poor got poorer. And we would never have had Blair taking us into the illegal and immoral war in Iraq. Such a system is worth fighting for and we should reject AV because it does not go anywhere near producing proportionality and will almost certainly make it more difficult to get the change we really need.
We also need to get rid of the system of postal votes on demand which have seen the big parties signing up those most vulnerable to coercion and manipulation in order for them to hang on to their seats and power. Postal votes on demand are impossible properly to police and they are the greatest source of the fraud and abuse which has undermined our democracy.
Remember if we defeat the AV system in the referendum, the Condem coalition will almost certainly fall apart and we will then see the back of this appalling government which is cutting our services and throwing our young people, and many others on the dole.
VOTE NO IN THE REFERENDUM ON THE ELECTORAL SYSTEM.
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The primary focus of the EDL’s hatred is the Muslim community. Their storm troopers yell anti-Muslim insults and carry placards with anti-Muslim slogans on their marches. It has been responsible for a lot of violence wherever they have mobilised. Racist attacks have increased, mosques attacked and they have even fought with the police when they have been kettled or moved on.
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Abjol Miah was a Councillor for the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and was the leader of Respect Opposition Group since 2006 and sat on the Tower Hamlets Overview Scrutiny Committee and made contribution on the Strategic Development and Development Committee.
In 2010 general election Abjol was the Member of Parliament candidate for Respect in Bethnal Green and Bow.
Abjol Miah read BA Social Anthropology and Sociology at Goldsmiths University of London. He has a wealth of experience in youth and community work. Abjol has had over 15 years of Youth and Community work experience with local authority, 5 years experience working with voluntary and community organisations, 2 years as a Drug Prevention Education Officer for Healthy Schools and 3 years working at the Drug Action Team.
Abjol Miah was the founding chair of Tower Hamlets Muslim Advisory Group to the Metropolitan Police Borough Commander, as well as serving in other community organisations board.
In his spare time Abjol Miah is involved in various voluntary organisation in the borough as well as being a presenter of the locally acclaimed radio show. His passion for charity work led him to drive from Brick lane to Sylhet, Bangladesh in order to raise funds for cyclone victims. With his feloow humanitarian he entered Gaza with Viva Palestine to deliver aid to its people.
Being a man with a sense of justice, equality and community, He has led on many campaigns including
1) Defend council housing/Over Crowding
2) Opposing drug, alcohol misuse
3) Issues of Poverty, unemployment and Cuts
4) Justice for the people of Palestine
5) Invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan with Stop the War Coalition
3) Racism of all forms recently with United Against Fascism
A family man, he is happily married with 4 children (2 daughters and 2 sons) and enjoys fishing, cycling and sports.
Abjol Miah is a Martial art instructor, who has won Silver and bronze at the UK Stick Fighting tournaments, representing Britain in 1994 World Stick Fighting Championship in the Philippines. He currently teaches Martial Art to children and young people.