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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Amicus Backs Splendid Candidates

Last night I participated in a meeting of the London Region Political Committee of the Amicus section of Unite, which voted to give the union's backing (and any branch nominations where appropriate) to the following candidates in parliamentary selections:

Ealing Southall - Sonika Nirwal (Ealing Council Labour Group Leader).
Ealing C & Acton - Seema Malhotra (former GLA candidate and Fabians Chair).
Streatham - Steve Reed (Lambeth Council Leader).

All three are excellent candidates and stand a very good chance of being selected.

"And if you try to push our MP out I'll smack you one, too"Sonika Nirwal is the young candidate who was originally put forward for a Council seat by Operation Black Vote, with the support of the CRE. At the time she modestly and engagingly said: "This is my first party conference and it was nerve-wracking waiting to be picked to go to the floor. Once I was on the platform I was no longer nervous. I just felt that I had something important to say and that my view was valid. That is why I applied to the scheme and want to be an MP - to represent views that are often unheard." Eight years later and she has gained a teeny bit in confidence. Speaking as Leader of Ealing Council's Labour Group a few months ago, before the unfortunate demise of local MP Piara Khabra last month, she criticised the furore over an all-women shortlist in Southall at the next General Election and gave the (then) incumbent a gentle push, saying "I am the best person for the job. I am the front runner, definitely. I am leader of the Group. I'm a young Asian woman. I grew up in Southall. I'm educated in politics from Cambridge - of course I would want to do it." So - she's developed her modest, self-effacing position into something a bit more ballsy after nearly a decade in power. A bit like Gordon discussing the Prime Ministership, or Harriet discussing the Deputy PM position. Just my type of gal.

Seema Malhotra in the film "Salaam E Ishq"Seema Malhotra is - like me - a proud member of the Fabian Society, the former socialist organisation which now believes that foreigners should earn British citizenship. And her daytime job is not a million miles from what I do, either. She is a senior manager with PriceWaterhouseCoopers in their public sector consulting division, a team with a leading track record in recent projects described in detail in David Craig's recent book: Plundering the Public Sector. According to this exposé by a former colleague turned whistleblower, the Government is "putting the interests of profit maximizing consultancies over and above the interests of those who pay taxes and use public services". This just goes to show how bitter and twisted people can become when they fail to negotiate the greasy pole and are forced out of consultancies as failures. This is not a fate likely to apply to Seema Malhotra, who is an excellent practitioner of her trade. She should not be confused with Seema Malhotra, proprietress of Eve's Hair Academy, Beauty School, Cosmetology and Aromatherapy Institute (City & Guilds Registered) of New Delhi.

"If you could just arrange to have my leaking windows fixed, your Highness..."Steve Reed is Leader of the wonderful Council in Lambeth, recently smeared by the LibDems as one of the worst 50 places in England, Scotland or Wales to bring up families. This excellent Borough was also besmirched in a Reader's Digest Poll, which ranked Lambeth 365th out of 408 local authorities included in their poll. The survey asked parents to rate their local authority for good state schools, a low crime rate, good local hospitals, affordable family housing and high employment opportunities. This clearly just goes to show that Readers Digest is nothing more than a LibDem rag in disguise. A better judgment was provided by the Audit Commission, which although it docked Lambeth one of its two stars this year, described the authority as "promising". There you go. Like Julian and I, Steve Reed likes to make promises.

Three excellent candidates - just the sort of people Amicus is proud to nominate as ideal members of New Labour's Parliamentary team.

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