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  • I’m Haroon Saad and I’m standing for European elections

    by guest
    22nd May, 2009 at 12:00 pm    

    This is a guest article by Haroon Saad

    About 9 months ago, over dinner with a group of friends, we entered into a kind of pact. We decided that it would be good to explore the setting up of a movement that could generate a list of candidates for the 2009 European Parliament Elections. Our goal was NOT to create another party, at least not in way that corresponds to what we currently have. The movement would be based on some key principles:

    • Politics is service NOT a career.
    • We are “Europeans” but not in the current institutional sense.
    • We are committed to developing a more inclusive political discourse - more café style than chamber style. A “ we think” model as opposed to the current “I think” model
    • Comfortable with diversity and pro-equality

    So was born WE CAN EUROPE. By December last year we had 18 potential candidates wishing to stand from 15 member states. I was very surprised by the scale of interest and felt that our message had really struck a chord across the EU – at least on the ground.

    However, our initial hopes were relatively short-lived. During January and February this year we were able to undertake research which began to sink our potential candidates’ chances one by one. In every case we found a mixture of financial or procedural barriers and/or age discrimination. Just as with the opaqueness of the expenses racket, so political parties have created a system of rules and regulations designed to protect their own interests.

    In 14 member states: Greece, Hungary, Latvia, The Netherlands, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, France, The Czech Republic and Austria you simply cannot stand as an individual candidate. In 11 member states: Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Malta, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, and Luxembourg, on paper you possibly could stand BUT in practice its virtually impossible.

    For example in Italy you have to get 30,000 handwritten signatures which have to be verified by a lawyer certified for the work. You of course have to pay for this service. Alongside this there are financial barriers which price this action out of bounds for many. Finally two of our potential candidates ran into age discrimination barriers as well. In fact in 16 Member States, you can vote and die for your country at 18, but you cannot represent your fellow citizens! You can find more information on

    To cut along story short, today only 1 out of these 18 individuals remains – me. My name’s Haroon Saad and I’m standing as a candidate in London for ‘We Can Europe.’

    My motivation is about the inescapable need to radically changing HOW we do politics. Recent events had rammed home my conviction for such systemic change. Above this overarching goal, I am also standing because I do not see or hear the voice of what I call ‘the new tribes of Europe’ in the EU institutions.

    This is not about colour or ethnicity, it’s about mindsets. It’s also about demographic evolution and changes that have taken place in big urban areas across Europe. I find it incredible that there are so many gullible Londoners who believe that we should not be in Europe and therefore will vote UKIP - it’s like trying to put the toothpaste back into the tube. London is in Europe and Europe is definitely in London.

    I am also standing because I believe that our current economic model is socially, politically and environmentally problematic. We cannot cling on to measures such as GDP as signifying some great success, at least not success for the vast majority.

    Economic led development has brought us to our knees, metaphorically speaking. We need a new balance which recognises that prosperity and wellbeing are not tied to economic growth as measured by GDP. We need an approach that recognises life values alongside money values.

    If elected, I want to offer a service to Londoners that is radically different from that currently provided by the 9 people who represent London.

    In concrete terms if you vote for me I promise to do the following:
    • Use the resources that an MEP receives to support the creation of online London communities on issues linked to the EU agenda.
    • Ensure that the voice of these communities is heard in Brussels.
    • Work with public and third sector organisations in order to secure EU funding for work linked to the online forums.
    • Campaign with EU wide groups to increase the amount of EU funding allocated for European co-operation and collaboration at local and city level.
    • Develop links with other cities in Europe to strengthen the voice of Londoners in Brussels.
    • Lobby with EU groups to promote the need of EU funding for supporting social innovation in our mainstream public services.
    • Publish my expenses – how much I got and how I used the money.
    • Provide a monthly blog so you know what I have been up to.
    • Be present and accessible

    Haroon has a blog here.

                  Post to

    Filed in: Current affairs,Economy,Party politics,The World

    48 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs
    1. pickles

      New blog post: I’m Haroon Saad and I’m standing for European elections

    2. Haroon Saad - guest article from Haroon posted on Pickled Politics today.

    3. Haroon Saad

      Haroon’s blog has ignited a lot of discussion. Go and have your say -

    1. sonia — on 22nd May, 2009 at 1:33 pm  

      Sounds good, we need something similar for MPs for Parliament here though.

      But - for example - can an MEP actually influence some of those points?

      “Campaign with EU wide groups to increase the amount of EU funding allocated for European co-operation and collaboration at local and city level.”

      I mean - are you saying you’ll get the LDA - say -as a co-financing organisation for ERDF funds - a larger piece of the pie in future?

      Anyway, good luck. What’s your experience for all this? European Parliament is very complicated - as you ourself have pointed out.

      Also the main issues affecting many people’s position on Europe - and quite rightly too - is the much -needed reform - there is so much bureaucracy and lack of transparency, on what goes on in Brussels. EU institutions need reform - end of story - never mind what new tribe or old tribe is sitting in it. that of course is another issue.

    2. sonia — on 22nd May, 2009 at 1:41 pm  

      I think it is important to support independent candidates, but I also think it is important to find out what a candidate is offering in terms of knowledge. Any other job -does - so why not one just because ‘voting’ is involved.

      Please can Haroon provide more information on the European NGO he is the director of? What does it do? ALso a bit more info on what he did in local government and in the voluntary sector - it is pertinent information.

      Sounding good so far though.

    3. platinum786 — on 22nd May, 2009 at 1:42 pm  

      Best of luck, it’s nice to here of another political alternative. Hopefully you won’t turn into a ghost party like “respect”.

    4. Leon — on 22nd May, 2009 at 2:48 pm  

      We Can Europe? Hmmmm sounds a bit like someone LOL catting an Obama slogan…

    5. sonia — on 22nd May, 2009 at 2:50 pm  

      Well it worked for Obama :-)

    6. bananabrain — on 22nd May, 2009 at 2:58 pm  

      is that like “we can europe, eury europe”? to the tune of “i can boogie, boogie-woogie”?

      *i’m* haroon saad and i’m standing for european elections!

      is anyone else haroon saad?



    7. Trofim — on 22nd May, 2009 at 8:12 pm  

      We are “Europeans” but not in the current institutional sense.

      Europeans in what sense then?

      And why do people always harp on about this “London”? Who in Britain gives a toss about London, except Londoners?

    8. Haroon — on 22nd May, 2009 at 8:47 pm  

      What I mean is that we have a identity that is not just rooted in nationality or ethnicity. These are important ingredients, but above that is what I refered to as being comfortable with diversity. We share a pleasure in being able to collaborate and co-operate across these distinctions. It is a process that is inherently enriching. Therefore the idea of “Europe” is good. However, the institutional led execution of this project leaves a great deal to be desired. At the end of the day, the European Parliament shares the very same characteristics as our own National Parliament. The level of abuse at the EU level is just bigger as the allowances are neraly three time what a Westminster MP can screw out of the system and “stay within the rules”. Alongside this there is also the dead hand of party deals done which have no connection to any manifesto commitments, but more aboutcarving up the “pockings” at the EU level. In short, we have had Europe shoved done our throats without any real interests in building it in amore organic way. that means greater collaboration and co-operation at city or sub city level within the EU.

      As for the emphahsis on London, that for me is not a problem.Very simply, London is the capital of England, but at the same time it is more than that. It accounts for 25% of the “wealth ” of the country, so everyone has to take notice. The current financial crisis(crime in my view)has demonstrated this fact graphically, given the impact in terms of unemplyment and repossessions and business closures across the country.

    9. douglas clark — on 22nd May, 2009 at 11:44 pm  


      As for the emphahsis on London, that for me is not a problem.Very simply, London is the capital of England, but at the same time it is more than that. It accounts for 25% of the “wealth ” of the country, so everyone has to take notice.

      I’d have thought that oil made the kingdom, but perhaps I am wrong?

      And what is this ‘England’ shit?

      Fuck you and all who sail in you.

    10. douglas clark — on 23rd May, 2009 at 12:14 am  

      More exactly,

      Fuck you and all who sail with you.

      I find dreary colonialists, well, dreary. Which is what Havroon is about, though he or she would deny it.

      This is just another excuse for the ‘status quo’, which I find easily deniable.

      My local Pakistani shop has a Scottish Nationalist leaflet pasted on the wall. I know what you would make of that, but frankly, you’d be completely wrong to assume you spoke for them!

    11. douglas clark — on 23rd May, 2009 at 12:39 am  


      Sorry for getting your name wrong.

      But the point still stands, you are a London centric idiot.

    12. douglas clark — on 23rd May, 2009 at 1:00 am  

      It is boring driving from Carlisle to Glasgow.

      I accept the fact that we are not a perfect community, but we seem to accept ‘otherness’ without your ‘English’ difficulties. A lot of the graduates from Scottish Universities are foreign, and frankly, I welcome them.

      And so it goes for asylum seekers, I’d let anyone that wanted to come here in. And that is not a difference between me and your average Scot, Indeed your average Scot, and Mancunian come to that, are a bit better than your stupid government….

    13. douglas clark — on 23rd May, 2009 at 1:12 am  

      Which, of course, is based on the London centric idea that London is the centre of the Universe….

    14. douglas clark — on 23rd May, 2009 at 1:23 am  

      Which I obviously reject.

    15. douglas clark — on 23rd May, 2009 at 2:11 am  

      Off topic, a bit. But it is relevant to the London centric nature of this thread.

      My chum tells me that Water Rates in Devon are around £2500 per annum. My water rate is around a tenth of that. What is the great bureaucracy at Whitehall doing about that?

      Perhaps they have plans to divert Scottish water, of which we have plenty, to Devon?

      Thought not.

      When it comes to practicalities, this government believes in the ironic ideal of a free market, one which would deny a pipeline. For that would not be so profitable. And the Devonians keep paying through the nose. Such is the nature of this government.

      Blind to the obvious.

    16. billericaydicky — on 23rd May, 2009 at 8:18 am  

      This reminds me of that wonderful Rushdie novel “Haroon and the Sea of Stories”. There is an element of ego mania here in that people think they are far more important than theyare and I particularly fine this in people who hang around bloags and think tanks.

      It might have been more useful if you had actually done some work against the BNP instead of inhabiting the cafe latte cultural world of wherever it is you live.

      Anyway, off to do abit more paper stuffing in letter boxes in Hackney situated inthe front doors of houses inhabited by people who live in the real world.

    17. chairwoman — on 23rd May, 2009 at 9:45 am  

      “My chum tells me that Water Rates in Devon are around £2500 per annum. My water rate is around a tenth of that.”

      Good morning Dougie, well I’ve just Googled that as I pay under £300 pa from Three Valleys which serves the outer London suburb in which I live, and I found that the average water rate in Devon is £414.00 which although considerably more than I pay, isn’t a fortune.

      What kind of property is your friend talking about?

      Haroon - How old are you, what experience to you bring to the election, and where in London are you standing?

    18. Trofim — on 23rd May, 2009 at 11:11 am  

      Europeans in what sense then?

      What I mean is that we have a identity that is not just rooted in nationality or ethnicity. These are important ingredients, but above that is what I refered to as being comfortable with diversity. We share a pleasure in being able to collaborate and co-operate across these distinctions.

      So that’s Europe then? Doesn’t apply to asia, australasia, south america, africa, etc? No reference to “west of asia, further north than africa, bounded by the atlantic ocean on the west” etc.? This is just about the most meaningless definition of Europe I have ever come across.

      Douglas Clark was obviously in his cups, but it must be emphasized that London contains a mere 12-13% or thereabouts of the population of this country. It’s a distant irrelevance down in remote south-east England to me and to millions of others. I resent being governed by people down there, but David Cameron assures us that many powers will be devolved to more representative local bodies under the next government. Roll on the election.

    19. Jane — on 23rd May, 2009 at 1:28 pm  

      London counts as one constituency in the European elections. Haroon is standing for London ergo he can be forgiven for being a bit ‘London-centric’ in the run up to the election I would have thought?

      And I would suggest that by presenting people with a viable alternative to voting for the BNP he is working against them.

    20. Rumbold — on 23rd May, 2009 at 3:25 pm  

      I do like this fanciful idea of a ‘European identity’. I certainly do not feel it. What makes me similar to a Greek any more than say, a Iranian? Language? No. Culture? No. Shared history? No.

      If there is a European ideal, it has to be based on Christianity, because that is the only way to distinguish ourselves from our near East neighbours (in historical terms). And I certainly don’t want that.

      Why not just have a free trade area? Why do we need to hand over power to unelected thieves in Brussels, when we would recoil from doing the same if the EC was in Tripoli or Lima?

    21. sonia — on 23rd May, 2009 at 3:39 pm  

      Rumbold has a point - there needs to be more democracy, accountability and transparency in supranational institutions. We shouldn’t turn our backs on a wider collaborative effort (for freedom to move and trade collaboration is critical) and this has to be on an ‘equal’ basis, and linking up democracies has to yield democracy, not confusion/bureaucracy and dilution of democracy.

      But there is no reason why Britain shouldn’t lead the reform of EU institutions at all, is there?

    22. Rumbold — on 23rd May, 2009 at 4:03 pm  

      The system will never be reformed for the good Sonia because too many vested interests benefit from the current one, and the nature of European voting means that one or two countries can block everything.

      So the only way to proceed is to stop paying British subs to the EC unless all money is properly accounted for, ignore any fines and repeal the act which places European law above British law.

      I like the idea of a massive free trade area with free movement of people as well. Why do we need the rest? Why is being ruled from Brussels any better than being ruled from Westminster?

    23. chairwoman — on 23rd May, 2009 at 4:41 pm  

      “Why not just have a free trade area? Why do we need to hand over power to unelected thieves in Brussels, when we would recoil from doing the same if the EC was in Tripoli or Lima?”

      That’s what we thought we were voting for back in the ’70s. We voted to enter the Common Market, or the European Economic Community. We didn’t know that Edward Heath had signed us up for a political union. I have serious doubts that a ‘yes’ vote would have triumphed if it had been generally known.

    24. chairwoman — on 23rd May, 2009 at 4:43 pm  

      “But there is no reason why Britain shouldn’t lead the reform of EU institutions at all, is there?”

      Sorry, Sonia, I’ve only just noticed your comment. thank you, I needed something to make me laugh this afternoon :)

    25. Rumbold — on 23rd May, 2009 at 5:27 pm  

      Heath knew what he was doing. The EU now operates as a (fairly) benign colonial power, over which we have no control. Take the last election: all three major parties were elected on a clear pledge to hold a referendum on the treaty/constitution. Only one, the Tories, kept this promise, while the Lib Dems, whose leader receives a substantial sum of money from the EU (as a former MEP), unsurprisingly went back on their word, as did Labour.

      If small businesses operated in this manner, their owners would be in jail.

    26. Ravi Naik — on 23rd May, 2009 at 8:17 pm  

      The EU now operates as a (fairly) benign colonial power, over which we have no control.

      Rumbold, do you feel that Britain was ill-served by joining the EU? Or is your objection a question of principle? And is it realistic at this point for Britain to leave the EU?

    27. haroon — on 23rd May, 2009 at 10:09 pm  

      I amtrying to connect wioth the with wha

    28. dave bones — on 24th May, 2009 at 9:41 am  

      Why is this not like shooting into an open goal at the moment? Why are the BNP the only party who think they are in a position to capitalize on the current political climate? I don’t get it. Loads of people are saying interesting things and coming up with workable or at least tryable ideas for a new direction but nothing seems to be focusing which is a shame because it seems like an ideal time. The window will close and everyone will fall back to sleep.

    29. Rumbold — on 24th May, 2009 at 10:26 am  


      I am not against the EU on principle. If the EU functioned better than national governments, I would support it. But it doesn’t, and it is unlikely to, because the very nature of it makes it remote and unaccountable.

      I don’t believe we were wrong to go into it, because at the time, it made sense. At the moment, Britain loses out becuase of the EU: in terms of higher food bills, a lack of democratic control, too much regulation, etc. Refusing to co-operate would allow us the opportunity to either force the EU to change, or to regain control of things such as trade and fishing rights. EU-philes attempt to scare people by suggesting that the EU would refuse to trade with Britain, but how would that happen really? EU countries benefit from British trade just as Britain benefits from trading with Britain.

    30. douglas clark — on 24th May, 2009 at 11:18 pm  

      Chairwoman @ 17.

      He sat in my wee flat less that a week ago and told me that about Devon Water rates. It doesn’t seem to be the whole truth and nothing but the truth. This article says it is a mere double, or around about.

      I wonder whether it is consistent? I believe he pays on a metered basis.

      The point, which is now moot :-( , is that regions of the UK are treated far less favourably, and probably discouraged from mutual trade, unless it is through London .

      I accept that I will have to re-address this issue, ’cause my case is currently a busted flush…

    31. douglas clark — on 24th May, 2009 at 11:41 pm  

      Och Rumbold:

      ….a lack of democratic control, too much regulation, etc.

      And you don’t think our UK Parliament wouldn’t take up the slack?

      We have a complete breakdown in democratic control going on right now in the UK Parliament. Or hadn’t you noticed?

      And ID cards and protesters as criminals? An exclusion zone around Westminster for protestors?

      Your local branch of the political class stinks to high heaven too.

    32. douglas clark — on 25th May, 2009 at 12:02 am  



      There has been peace, more or less, in Europe since 1945. I’d have thought that a historian such as yourself might have at least considered the possibility that building a more peaceful population was a worthwhile aim?

      The details of the European Project are open to the cavilling that you do on a regular basis, but the half century of peace is something you never address.

      Because it would deny your basic thesis. Which is to return us to an earlier era where what we ought to learn from history is forgotten, over and over. And war, baby, is the status quo.

      I accept that the EU has faults, I do not accept that it has the faults that you and others’ say it has.

      Peace, my friend.

    33. sonia — on 25th May, 2009 at 4:33 am  

      Douglas makes good points, Rumbold.

      There has to be democratisation of supranational institutions ABSOLUTELY and we should be demanding engagement on this basis.

      Otherwise, it’s similar to people - within national borders- feeling political apathy, not feeling part of the electorate, because they feel the process/etc. is not democratic, etc. etc. When they should be engaging the process, to make it democratic. Demanding reforms. Because we know we don’t have a choice, it is ‘our’ government. It’s the same with Europe really, as well as global governance. We’ve just all ignored it because national democracy is such a pain to get right. And we haven’t managed. Work in progress.

      If we do not demand democracy at all levels - we cannot be content with demanding this just at the national level - then the reality of the institutions whic impact us- regionally -and then globally - will continue to remain undemocratic.

      As well we all know, globalisation is here, and it will leave people behind if we don’t seek to appropriate it? How do we become part of it, and make it work for us? is the question. We don’t really have any other choices now.

    34. Rumbold — on 25th May, 2009 at 9:23 am  


      The EU as the reason for postwar peace is sadly an all-too common misconception. The EU (albeit with a different name, but I will stick with EU) was first conceived of in the late 1920s-early 1930s, and some tentative steps were made then. This puts the lie to both those who claim that it was some remnants of the Nazi desire for unification, and a purely post-war move.

      There are two man reaons for peace in postwar Europe: the spread of democracy and the rule of law, and the NATO/Russia issue. The threat of the Soviet Union caused Western European nations to unite, while the American military presence made it almost impossible for countries to fight one another. Nor do stable democracies end up fighting one another.

      The EU had an impact in a few countries, namely the PIGS (Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain), as money and support helped these countries, which were emerging from dictatorships, to stabilise.

      The EU in the postwar period soon became a way to subsidise French farmers (90% of the first budget was spent of the CAP, of which the lion’s share went to French farmers).

      Douglas and Sonia:

      I certainly don’t think that Westminster represents the par exemplar of a functioning democracy. But I see no reason to therefore to hand more money and more power to an even more corrupt and remote power. I admit that I am sceptical about the impact of supranational insitutions in political terms (in therms of aid and soforth, they make sense). Politicians function better the closer they are to those who pay their wages. Not because it makes them better people, but because it is easier to hold them to account. Look at the current Westminster mess. MPs are retiring, are being deselected, or face losing the next election. This would never happen in Brussels because the nature of the supranational institution (special tax rates for EU staff, immunity from prosecution, etc.) means that they are so remote from voters that it doesn’t matter what we think.

    35. douglas clark — on 25th May, 2009 at 10:28 am  

      Rumbold @ 34,

      Okay. What was this pan European project from the 1920′s and why haven’t I heard of it? Like most projects there are failed experiments that get nowhere fast, they almost all have precursors - communism was preceded by others like Robert Owen for example. Which are now historical footnotes.

      You are completely wrong about the spread of democracy. Western Europe - at least - had been democratic since before WW2. Indeed WW2 could argueably be put down to a failure of German democracy as much as it is to German nationalism.

      So, no, I am not going to accept that arguement without a lot more persuasion. You could point to the Franco takeover in Spain I suppose, which might support your case, however that was another subversion of a democratic state by fascists. Can you reasonably argue that the precursors to the EU, The European Iron and Steel community, weren’t democracies? I’d argue Schuman got it right.

      The answer to the Russian issue was NATO, not the EU. If all we were interested in was mutual security then there would have been no need for an institution like it. History is littered with Treaties between nations that felt threatened and none ever led to a supra national organisation like the EU - the US in it’s revolt against the completely legitimate idea of George V that there should be taxation without representation is the nearest historical example I can think of. (Uppity bastards, the lot of them!)

      One of the features of the EU is that you cannot be a member state if you are not a democracy. It is called soft power, and it applies just as much today as it did in the era when Spain and Portugal gave up their dictatorships. Think about the accession of the nations that used to make up Yugoslvia, and Turkey come to that.

      The point I’d like you to address, which you always dodge around, is this. We have had peace in Europe since 1945. I’m no historian, but I’d guess that that is the longest period of time that this continent of ours hasn’t been knocking each others brains out and exporting our special skills in killing folk to all corners of the globe. The UK excepted. Is that the sort of exceptionalism you want? Thought not.

      Of course we need to do something about resolving the direction the project has taken. I think I am right in saying that the EU can’t get its’ accounts signed off by their auditors, however that is frankly a detail compared to two World Wars.

      You may have noticed that I went off on one earlier on in this thread. The problem that I have is that no politician actually wants to be accountable. Doesn’t matter if its’ your local community council or the United Nations. Accountability is anathema.

      Directing your ire at one level of government seems to me to be missing the point. And despite my very strong feelings that all politicians are a parcel of rogues, and that the institutions need to be more open, I do not see your popularism - for that is what it is - being in our better interests.

      Funnily enough I think that you and Sonia and I probably have very similar philosophies, even when we don’t agree about the details. Deep down, we’re all anarchists at heart!

      Least that’s what I think!

    36. Rumbold — on 25th May, 2009 at 1:33 pm  


      A very brief summary is here, although I will write a fuller response when I am back home:

      I don’t agree. Pre-WW2 Europe lacked the Soviet threat as well as the presence of American troops on European soil.

      Essentially, post-WW2, there wasn’t the need for war, as people’s, and the state’s, disposable income grew significantly. Most of Western Europe was war-weary, or insular (e.g. Spain), so there was no real appetite for war.

      “We have had peace in Europe since 1945.”

      Well, not really. Significant portions of Europe were often military occupation until 1989.
      I do think we share similar philosophies, but how methods are somewhat different.
      Oh, and I think you mean George III.

    37. Hantsboy — on 25th May, 2009 at 2:01 pm  

      Well Haroon I’m certain you will welcome BNP’s opposition to Turkey in the EU.

      With economic slump and rising ethnic tensions across Europe(Luton and Athens being but the latest examples) the rights of Europe’s indigenous populations must be recognised.

      I’m sure you will discover this when you get to Europe.

    38. Haroon — on 26th May, 2009 at 12:22 am  

      Its great that there is some debate about Europe. Infact there is more here in the various comments than I have seen in the mainstream press even though the election is just 9 days away.
      I totally agree with Dave Bones , it is like an open goal situation,but the problem is that there are no “strikers”(staying with the football analogy). Why is that? My view for what its worth is that those wishing and working for a an “alternative” have simply failed to talk and communicate with mainstream voters. Revolted by the sham of party politics we have simply retreated from political discourse, and just ended up talking to “each other”. This has reduced our position to one of slogans such as “anti-racism”.We end up then in simply “taking on ” the BNP. I oppose all far right parties across Europe, but for me what is missing is the mainstream fight against our so-called “non-racist” (this is the nature of the parody of slogan politics)parties. No one in my view is born a racist

      My point is very simple, racism needs the right conditions to flourish. Successive governments have created a fertile terrain for the BNP to flourish. They have tilled the ground nicely by:
      • Decimating jobs and creating an underlying level of financial insecurity.
      • Legitimating through actions and policy a sense that there is a “fifth column” within our communities.Such a climate legitimates racism as it becomes to be seen as part of the mainstream message and therefore acceptable.

      Creating a new class of “in work ” poor.

      • Operating divisive interventions which seem to be favouring certain communities and thus stoking a sense that indigenous groups are missing out.

      I for one am totally committed to fighting racism, but lets have some openess in this discussion and not just pigeon hole racism as something only to do with the BNP.

    39. sonia — on 3rd June, 2009 at 1:46 pm  

      Rumbold, think about it this way. A local council doesn’t want to hand power to central government either, it is more ‘remote’. Point is - what level do we need to organise on - there are global institutions already that legislate our lives away - and we have no democratic control over them.

      We either let them carry on with it, or we demand democratization. I say we engage further and demand democratisation on all levels.

      I see what you’re trying to say but unfortunately, the option is NOT there - i.e. to not engage beyond nation-state borders. Globalisation is here, and it is imperfect. We can get involved to make institutions accountable, because sure as hell, Europe affects us, and the world affects us.

      nations can’t exist in silo states.

      anyway, the election is tomorrow and one of the key issues facing us is digital rights management.

    40. Debbie — on 7th June, 2009 at 4:01 pm  

      This Man is a liar….

      1. He does not even live in London , he hasn’t done for about 8 years. He currently lives in Brussels with his wife and cat.

      2. He left his job in Birmingham under a cloud…believe me I worked for him…not a good experience.

      3. He has three children but as far as I know he hardly sees them .

    41. Haroon — on 7th June, 2009 at 5:40 pm  

      Oh dear,what depths some people live in.
      My heart goes out to you Debbie, clearly still locked in some time warp from when i was in Birmingham(1997-2000). You clearly come from the Patience Strong style of writing when you refer to leaving “under a cloud”. I left after taking the chief executive(Michael Lyons, now chair of BBC) to IT for discrimination. It was front page news in the local papers, so hardly any “cloud” involved.
      Oh and I have two cats .

    42. cas — on 8th June, 2009 at 2:13 pm  

      Well said Debbie, indeed all lies! Ha ha- what fun- Haroon’s blog, an entertaining little confection! £40 grand for a massive ego trip:- 1600 polled, £250 a vote. It would be hilarious if it wasn’t obscene……oh and he hates cats.

    43. Joe — on 9th June, 2009 at 10:07 pm  

      What the fuck are debbie and cas on about. I thought this was aplace for discussion of politics, not a Hello magazine bitch parlour. Let me be serious:
      1. It doesn’t matter where this guy lives..the rules as I understand are very clear..You can be an EU citizen and be a candidate in any bloody place in the EU. Are you Debbie saying that he is not an EU citizen?
      2. I have yet to work in a place where I got on with every one, so please Debbie, stop bleeding your heart about your bad time in Birmingham..I don’t think anyone fucking least I don’t .
      3. What has the jibe about his daughters got to do with his message?
      4. Nice post cas, really full of riviting content.;I’ve read better stuff on the back of toilet doors. I’ve stood for local elections in the past as an independent and I can assure that it is no ego trip..try taking a walk outside and talking politics with the average Joe and Josephine on the street..its usually a “fuck off” you get or at best a total disregard..nothing that helped my ego
      5.And last but not least , can you two fuck heads please focus on the content and not the gossip..thats much more important and that where you could make your point more effectively rather than the purile tabloid trash you are generating

    44. Connor — on 10th June, 2009 at 5:00 pm  

      Nice use of the English Language ‘Joe’ or should I call you Haroon?

    45. Charging Bull — on 12th June, 2009 at 5:15 pm  

      Wow Haroon what a journey…..such energy, drive and ambition, it’s to be admired. Well done for getting so far!
      Haroon, you are perfect politician material, you have a massive self inflated ego and you talk utter idealistic bollocks.
      Ah well, I suppose a leopard can’t change it’s spots but your political vision may become clearer if you ditched the shades - they’re seriously bad man! Bless what were you thinking?
      Good luck with wasting the rest of your life.

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