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Two letters in the East London Advertiser

October 2, 2009

Two letters from Tower Hamlets Respect party councillors have been published in this week’s East London Advertiser. The first is by leader of the Respect group and parliamentary candidate Cllr Abjol Miah and concerns the Tory attempts to weaken sex club laws, which we reported on a few days ago. The full letter reads:

To the editor,

Legislation is currently passing through parliament which will give councils greater powers to regulate lap dancing clubs and other sex encounter venues. I strongly welcome these measures, despite the fact there are some loopholes which I would want to see closed before the law is passed.

It is apparent that a number of lap dancing clubs and other venues which degrade and exploit women have grown up in and around Tower Hamlets in recent years, to cater primarily for City spivs and much to the consternation of the vast majority of residents here. We in Respect initiated a campaign some three years ago against these clubs and I am sure our campaign has helped to shift the climate of opinion in parliament, along with such campaigning bodies as Object and the Fawcett Society.

It is, however, a matter of considerable concern that both Tory and Liberal Democrat peers have tabled amendments to the legislation in the House of Lords, as reported in the Times, to try to water down the legislation as demanded by the Lap Dancing Association. Even worse, the Tory front bench is trying to water it down even further in a final debate in the Lords later in October.

The Tories often present themselves as the party of traditional family values, but it seems the business interests of the lap dancing bosses are more important to them than stopping the degradation and
exploitation of women.

Councillor Abjol Miah, Respect group leader
Town Hall
Mulberry Place
London E14 2BG

The second letter is by Deputy leader of the Respect group, Cllr Dulal Uddin, and is about the recent success for striking staff at Tower Hamlets College. Regular visitors to this blog will know that we have featured this cause extensively.

To the editor,

I am very pleased that the threat of compulsory redundancies has finally been lifted at Tower Hamlets College and that lecturers at the college have been able to return to work. This vindicates their decision to take strike action but it was all so unnecessary.

Funding should never have been cut from the college, the government should have intervened when it was cut, the council should have come to the college’s assistance when the government failed to act and the college authorities should have put up a more determined fight to stop compulsory redundancies and cuts in courses. Education is not a luxury, it is an absolute necessity, especially for those seeking to escape poverty and deprivation as so many are here in Tower Hamlets.

What a pity it is that the two Labour councillors who sit on the board of governors of the college, Councillors Clare Hawkins and Abdal Ullah did not speak out against the cuts. The only Labour councillor who did speak, Shahed Ali, could only bring himself to say that the college had “difficult decisions to make”, the cliche that is always used to excuse cuts being made to essential services.

Despite the college authorities’ decision to lift compulsory redundancies, there will still be cuts in courses, especially of classes teaching English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). These classes are especially important for people from ethnic minority communities and within that for women, to enable them to have the skills to play a full part in life in Tower Hamlets. It is vital that the campaign for the restoration of all the classes that have been cut continues.

Councillor Dulal Uddin, Respect Group Deputy Leader
Town Hall
Mulberry Place
5 Clove Crescent
London E14 2BG

Both these letters can be read in the online digital version of this week’s Advertiser here (page 14).

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