Yesterday evening I had an excellent meal at the Bombay Dreams restaurant/nightclub in Wembley. I thoroughly recommend Bombay Dreams – it’s the place to go if you are ever in the area.
The occasion was a fundraiser for Brent Central Labour Party and the re-election campaign for local MP Dawn Butler. Guest speaker Harriet Harman gave a powerful and inspiring exposition on current political events.
One passage from her speech is worth highlighting. Harriet talked warmly about Dawn Butler’s work acknowledged widely as she is the current woman MP of the year. Harriet mentioned that there are two million black women in the UK. With only Diane Abbott and Dawn that means they represent 1 million black women each. It is a sad failing of the opposition parties that only Labour has black women MPs.
The Liberal Democrats have a shockingly bad record on this and there is not even a hint of any black or ethnic minority candidate getting a sniff of a safe or currently held seat. Do have a look at the Operation Black Vote blog if you want to see how Labour continues to lead the way.
Thanks to Dawn’s work on sickle cell I had the opportunity to meet Dr Asaah Nkohkwo, Director of the Sickle Cell Society. He enjoyed the entertainment provided by the dancers Future showing the local talent in Brent. I also had the chance to catch up with my former colleague Robert Evans who was honoured for his work as a MEP for Brent until the last election by being placed on the top table. It is typical of Robert that he still remains actively supporting and working for the Labour Party.
My last picture shows me
with Parvez Ahmed, an old friend who has consistently supported the work of London’s Labour MEPs. Parvez is Chair of the Brent Bengali Community Centre. The restaurant was packed and everybody had a great time.
My thanks to Karin Barrett and all the organisers for all their hard work in putting together a fantastic evening.
Yesterday I had the privilege to be invited to the Annual Convention (Jalsa Salana) of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association UK. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Associatoin UK is part of the world-wide Ahmadiyya community, whose defining characteristic is their pursuit of peace and promoting good works, especially in developing countries. The Ahmadiyya communmity is devoted to “love for all hatred for none”, and a banner declaring this was to be found in the main hall.
The Jalsa Salana is a huge annual outdoor event held at the Association’s farm in East Worldham, Hampshire. Many Ahmadiyya live in London and I was asked to go to the Jalsa Salana in place of Robert Evans, who had close links with them while he was an MEP. During my tour of the Convention, I was particularly interested to learn of the work the Ahmadiyya Community is doing in Africa to restore wells and bring water to people who desperately need it.
I was very privileged to speak in the presence of His Holiness, the fifth Ahmadiyya Khalifa in the large hall at the Convention which was bursting at the seams. Also speaking were Susan Kramer, Lib Dem MP for Richmond Park, the Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington, John McDonnell, as well as former Labour MP Tom Cox plus several local council representatives.
My especial thanks to Mr Latif Khan and Mr Salim Malik who looked after very well during the day, and greetings to Jagdish Sharma who I unfortunately missed as he was held up in a traffic accident on the M3.
Organised for the community press, we had a fantastic Bengali launch of the European election campaign on Thursday. Parvez Ahmed, owner of the Shamrat restaurant in Kilburn High Road, put on an event to be proud of, providing lunch for 70 – 80 people. Thanks to Parvez for all his work and commitment to Labour, which goes back many years. I remeber Parvez putting on a similar event during the European election campaign in 2004 and I know he has done very many other things for the Labour Party over time.
Following an introduction to the Euro campaign by Baroness Delith Morgan, who I have known for many years as we were both involved in children’s charities in our past lives, we were treated to the star of the show – a presentation to my colleague and friend, retiring MEP Robert Evans. The Bengali community had organised a trophy plaque with a beautiful inscription thanking him for all the work he has done for them. Congratulations Robert and very well deserved.
The event was attended by a star-studded cast – local MPs Glenda Jackson and Dawn Butler, local councillors including Lena Ahmed, Euro MPs and candidates Claude Moraes, Anne Fairweather, Raj Jethwa, Abdul Asad as well as what seemed like the whole of the Bengali media.
I enjoyed the curry very much. Congratulations also to the chef!