Former Brent Council Deputy Leader, Margaret McLennan, who did not stand for election in May, broke cover this afternoon in reaction to a newly elected councillor's tweet about Windrush Day celebrations in Brent.
Great Rita, but what about local councillor political representation in Brent for this community that built this borough. Without this it is all meaningless words.
Everybody sees and everybody knows.
The dimishing role of the Black Caribbean community in local politics has been an issue lurking beneath the surface for some time and goes beyond the recent candidate selection process and Cabinet and Committee appointments.
A number of years ago I chatted to two Black Caribbean ex-councillors (both Labour) outside Harlesden Methodist Church where I was running a stall. They listed a number of issues that they felt meant that their community was no longer respected, including the closure of Stonebridge Advenure Playground, the council's takeover of the Bridge Park Centre and funding for the Sickle Cell Advice Centre.
An issue that has been raised with me recently is the claim that aspiring Black Caribbean candidates have been pushed out of many wards in the south of Brent.
In February of this year Cllr Wilhelmina Mitchell-Murray resigned from the Labour Party, citing differences with both the local and national ladership, and joined the Conservatives. She unsuccesfully stood as a Conservative candidate in Wembley Central at the May election. Her son Joshua Murray, Labour councillor for Harlesden, did not stand for the May local election.
The current Brent Cabinet
A crude comparison might be made of the composition of the Cabinet and councillors and that of the local population but we would need to know the self-defined ethnicity of all councillors to make a legitimate comparison. I have not been able to find that recorded on the Brent website but a rough count puts the number of Black Caribbean councillors at around six out of 57 councillors (approximately 10.5%)
Numbers alone of course does not indicate power as this depends on the position held within the council as well as their level of engagement with the community,