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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Progressive LibDem Councillor Joins Labour

I had the great pleasure as Chief Whip of welcoming a new Councillor to the Hackney Labour Group today. Councillor Joseph Stauber, who has represented Cazenove Ward in Stamford Hill since 2002, decided to leave the LibDems and join Labour after an extra-ordinary event last Friday evening when he was temporarily blinded by a teenage delinquent equipped with a laser pen while passing the Damascus Off-Licence & Kabab House in Northwold Road. Following a long chat I had with him and his wife on Sunday, Councillor Stauber explained the reasons behind his dramatic decision in a letter delivered to my flat yesterday:

Dear Comrade Akehurst

Many thanks for taking the time to visit my humble family home on Sunday. Eva was delighted that you enjoyed the latkes and asked me to assure you that they were made fresh and not frozen after Chanukkah. She was a little disappointed that you weren't so keen on the gefiltefish, but then I guess it's an acquired taste that you goyim are not so used to. Eva is very excited about my crossing of the floor. She told me yesterday that she is very much looking forward to either Julius or Sharon deciding to seek better opportunities elsewhere, so she can have another crack at Kings Park, but on a winning ticket this time (nudge-nudge wink-wink).

As you know, we have always leaned to the left in our political beliefs and the Labour Party has long been our natural political home, despite our having adhered to the "collective decision" of the chareidi to remain outside and oppose the Labour Party following the split over Trottergate. I want you to think of the UOHC as a solidly progressive organisation in the Borough and one whose liberal views can easily accommodate the Zionist views of someone such as yourself, despite our own strongly anti-Zionist views and that business over the funding of Neturei Karta activities. Eva and I laughed our heads off when we read that satirical article you wrote about the Labour Councillor, anti-porn campaigner and rabbis leading an anti-Zionist march in Stoke Newington.

I've long been troubled by the virulently anti-homosexual position of many fellow members of the community. But it was on Tuesday that I suddenly came to realise how hurtful and evil such a dogmatic viewpoint really is. Seeing the pictures of Heath Ledger lying there with an open bottle of sleeping pills, after being forced to commit this sinful act of suicide by the pressures of dealing with the aftermath of his controversial portrayal of a gay cowboy, I understood at last that discrimination against homosexuality is the greater evil. I'm now convinced that the Labour Party is right and Jewish orthodoxy is quite wrong, even though homosexual acts are expressly defined as an abomination in the Torah. This may mean I'll have to make some adjustments to my own teaching and studies programme, as I teach Talmud Torah classes at the Satmar Boys School in Cazenove Road and I've been a Board member of the Kolel Chaim Ozer for Talmudical Higher Studies for many years.

I have always been opposed to the exclusivist attitudes of many members of the chasidic community and it was for that reason that I became an active member of the Muslim Jewish Forum here in Stamford Hill and why I chose to hold my Councillor surgeries at the North London Muslim Community Centre in Cazenove Road. I was truly delighted last October when the following message was issued to the electorate on behalf of Local Libdem Councillors & the Libdem Team in Hackney: "Wishing you a very Happy Eid. May the Mercy & Blessing's of the Almighty be with you, your family, and friends during this auspicious Day and continue to be with you always, and may the Almighty accept all our prayers/duas, fasts and charity during this blessed month of Ramadan, Insha'Allah (God Willing). May your years ahead continue to be filled with health, wealth and prosperity, and may you have a joyous and spirited Eid Day with all your nearest and dear ones, including people of all faiths and humanity, filled with Love, Peace, and Happiness. Ameen. Respectfully in Prayers & Dua’s Always." Just the sort of message that I believe should be spread across the community to peoples of all beliefs (and none).

I'm really looking forward to the positive things that Labour can achieve for the community in Stamford Hill. As you probably know, I was totally opposed to the LibDem proposals for the Planning Exclusion Zone, just as I opposed earlier proposals for a Stamford Hill eruv. I was a bit disappointed when Labour mistakenly took up this isolationist proposal, but now Labour has backed down I'm much happier and this no longer represents a barrier to my joining the party. Eva and I are 100% for social mixing and the more we've thought about this issue the more we've concluded that marrying out is a good thing - even more so if your children marry Muslims, or goys and shiksas like you and Linda. This can only help to spread the message of peace and love.

On that subject, I'm very keen to help Labour sort out the current mess over segregated swimming at the newly-opened Clissold Pool. I was most upset to read about these problems in that excellent centrist political blog "Harry's Place", which I believe shares many of your political views. Clearly this is 2008 and we can't have chaos in our public services just because a minority of bigots and ultra-feminists insist on segregated facilities. Clissold Pool must be open and available to all and I shall help you campaign for such a socialist position. In fact I'll go further than that. I'll campaign to have girls admitted to Satmar School in mixed classes!

I'm really looking forward to joining the Labour Party and working with you for a more just and fair society. It's got me so excited, I might even consider joining the MRJ! Well, not quite, but I shall do my best to encourage other liberal-minded chareidi to join the Labour Party. I'll be giving Labour stalwart Rabbi Pinter a call this afternoon and urging him to encourage his congregation and school parents to join Eva and I on this exciting adventure.

As well as engaging in local politics, Eva and I also intend to join you in taking part in national political affairs. I thought one of the first things we could do on joining the Labour Party was help support Peter Hain at this difficult time. As a man who grew up in an isolationist apartheid state and became a Liberal before seeing sense and joining Labour, he understands more than most the importance of being honest, upright and steadfast in your beliefs even when the going gets tough. Hopefully, with me behind him, Peter will survive as a Cabinet Minister.

Looking forward to the next Council Meeting.
Shalom to Linda and yourself.

I am delighted by this man's brave decision and think that he will be a huge asset to Labour, helping us to work with and respond more effectively to the specific needs of the Chassidic community. He will also bring aspects of his culture to Labour, including some wonderful dance-floor traditions. I'm looking forward to the next Labour Party Dinner & Dance.

Grand Rabbi Teitelbaum leads members of Satmar in a jolly knees-up at a local wedding


Ephraim Bananas said...

And while the men are having a good dance, the women in the CLP can do some cooking and the gays can clean the floors and do some washing.

Anonymous said...

Considering that i Know Joseph personally I can assure you that he did NOT write this letter.
He is incapable of having such a large English vocabulary.
He has never before seen or even heard such words never mind used them in the written form.

Anonymous said...

Joseph Slowmo Stauber moved over to the facists Labour party...What a shmuck!

Clymedia Bumstead said...

To my knowledge Cllr Stauber has not held any ward surgeries since 2002 as a Lib Dem Cllr. Perhaps due to his defection to the red's he will now start holding surgeries and earn his keep. Can you please advice us of his surgery details. Maybe he will hold them in a OJ Centre or place of worship which is inaccessible and culturally insensitive to us gentiles.

Danny Druff said...

The only talent Cllr Stauber has is being able to balance a bottle on his head and dance at the same time. I have personally witnessed this and I was well impressed. Hes a shite councillor incidentally.

Alain Laing said...

Cllr Stauber, is not good at maintaing confidentiality. He was once told, "Don't tell anyone, but guess whose still together after all the shit between them", He only went and told everyone it was Luke Akehurst's bum cheeks. Which I can say is very white and is subject to burning due to daylight, which is quite normal for Gingers.

EK said...

Interestinly enough, my friend asked Mr Stauber if he wrote this letter and he denied it.

ilikeakehurst said...

EK - Are you a moron? Or do you just come from another planet?

EK said...

Is New York another planet?

ilikeakehurst said...

As far as most of us Brits are concerned, Americans come from some place in outer space. You're getting confused because our government humours you.

ek said...

Fine, I come from another planet then. Your opinion is worth its weight in gold to me. If you were using an ass backwards way of saying this post is satire, you'd have done better to say so straight away.
When I see a stupid letter written by someone I don't know, I don't automatically assume it's satire. I prefer to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he's stupid until proven otherwise.

ilikeakehurst said...

You come from the land of George W Bush and Mike Huckabee. I rest my case.

Luke Akehurst said...

Now, now, girls. Let's have a stop to the hair-pulling. The point of this post was to celebrate the synergy between the principles of the Labour Party and the beliefs of Councillor Stauber. How much he represents working people, believes in gender equality, supports gay rights, etc. And to condemn those left wing loonies who claim he only crossed the floor as part of a deal to get special rights for the Hasidic community.

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