On 5th March around forty BME, faith, community and business leaders from around the UK converged at Operation Black Vote headquarters in London for a historic strategic planning meeting in the run up to the 2015 General Election. The main aim was to ensure that tackling race inequality was firmly put back on the political agenda. OBV has identified  168 marginal seats where the BME vote can make a difference if mobilised.  OBV website

Retired Army Captain Afzal Amin is planning to stand for the Tories in Dudley North (Muslim population around 5000) – at present a Labour marginal. The incumbent MPs margin is around 600, so every Muslim who can be lured away from Labour to Tories is a step closer to Parliament Square!  Is it with this mind that the good Captain  recently spoke up to show that he is also his own man? He has called Home Secretary Theresa May’s billboard trucks (‘In the UK illegally?…go home or face arrest)’  a “disaster”.  Mr Amin also turned up at Woking Mosque recently for its Great War Commemoration – but there was a good reason for that – his company Curzon Education is linked to Curzon Institute, and Hugo Clarke of this Institute delivered a talk ‘The Role of Commonwealth Soldiers in WWI’. According to the Daily Express (19 Jan 2014) the fees for each lecture is £2,400. Good money if you find it.

Will he, won’t he? Sadiq Khan MP and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice (Shadow minister for London) could be tempted to contest the mayoralty of London.  There are some strong contenders to stand up to Boris Johnson, including the as yet undeclared Dianne Abbott.  Sadiq has recently written Our London, published by the Fabian Society, which may establish his credentials. The talk in the street in his Tooting constituency is that his position is a bit flaky in the 2015 General Election.

“You (Denis Macshane) have pleaded guilty to an offence of false accounting which encompasses a total of 19 expenses claims made by yo u in the period from 6 January 2005 to 11 January 2008 when you were a Member of Parliament. The offence thus covers four successive financial years – 2 005 to 2008. In each instance you produced and made use of an invoice purporting to come from an organisation called the European Policy Institute (“EPI” for short) which invoices you knew to be false misleading or deceptive in a material particular in that each represented that EPI had been commissioned by you to carry out research and translation services; that you were liable to pay EPI for the provision of those services; and that yo u had been invoiced in respect of the services by one EJ Matthews on behalf of EPI.”  Sentencing remarks of Mr Justice Sweeney 23 December 2013



“After four years of investigations, parliamentary investigations, a party suspension (which was later lifted), a resignation and a by-election, Dennis MacShane has pleaded guilty to expenses fraud today (16 November 2013).”