Statement on Woolwich atrocity from Ken Livingstone, former Mayor of London and Chair, One Society Many Cultures

Ken Livingstone said:

The horrific and barbaric murder of a British soldier in Woolwich yesterday should be unreservedly condemned. My thoughts and condolences go out to his family and friends following this brutal murder. I fully support the police in their efforts to discover whether the two individuals acted alone or whether an extremist group or cell is involved.

As Mayor of London, I served this city when it withstood the worst terrorist attack it has ever faced on the 7th July 2005. I am proud that Londoners of all faiths and none stood united, shoulder to shoulder against terrorism; our unity meant that there were no reprisal attacks against any one community in the immediate aftermath of those murderous bombings. Doing so again is the most effective way to defeat the terrorists’ aims.

There will be those who will seek to scapegoat entire communities for this barbaric act. This is what terrorists want, and rely on. For people to feel fear, to turn on each other and to bring down the very essence of London, the most successful melting pot in the history of the world and the city of the free. Already, violent fascists have taken to the streets in Woolwich adding insult to the injury that community is feeling. Already there have been reprisal attacks against Mosques. We must not let this violent minority exploit this crime for their own hateful gains.

In 2002, before the invasion of Iraq, the security services warned the Prime minister, Tony Blair, that this would make Britain a target for terrorist attacks. We are still experiencing the dreadful truth of this warning.

But if this city has demonstrated one thing, it has been the very example of how to withstand the ultimate aim of terrorism, which is to divide us. Just as Norway refused to be beaten into submission by a national fascist terrorist whose attack left 77 people dead, so too, London will continue to be a beacon to the world for all those who want to live in harmony and realise their potential. These are the very things that terrorism mortally opposes. I therefore call upon all political parties, the media and the people of London, to embody the strength of this city that has always been here. Terrorism has never broken London or its unity. It never will. It will fail.

The economic case for immigration

The economic case for immigration

The recent debates around immigration, which have resulted in a bidding war for who can be harder on the issue, has led to the facts about its benefits being obfuscated by both the media and mainstream parties. Whether they intend it or not, this has led to immigration being scapegoated for the economic crisis, providing a distraction from the fundamental causes of the crisis, when in fact immigration provides economic benefits.

OSMC has collated some of the articles which outline the economic case for immigration, as we are concerned that a negative debate on this issue in which mainstream parties and media pander to hysteria and myth-making, can eventually embolden the far right who will seek to exploit this climate for its own benefit.

May 2013 : Queens Speech proposals are costly, will cause ill-health for all and are self-defeating

Following the election of UKIP councillors in the May 2013 council elections, the Conservatives are seeking to pander to this base of voters with increasingly draconian measures on migrants. Proposals include migrants’ access to the NHS, increasing fines against businesses using illegal labour, requiring private landlords to check tenants’ status, and preventing illegal immigrants from obtaining driving licenses

Rosa Crawford writes for the Touchstone Blog outlining why these proposals are flawed, would increase ill health and administrative costs to the general population at a time when the Business for New Europe report shows that migrants contribute more in taxes and take less in benefits than the domestic population

click here for full article

Debunking David Cameron’s recent speech on migration

David Cameron’s recent speech in March came under intense scrutiny with the Guardian reporting that of the two million net migrants to the UK from the eight eastern European countries that joined the EU in 2004, just 13,000 people have claimed jobseeker’s allowance (JSA). This figure was not disputed by No 10.

Click here for full article

Cameron’s 2010 election campaign speech writer Ian Birrell criticises all three major parties for engaging in a damaging, ‘evidence free, rancid’ debate on immigration, in which they are falling over themselves to be seen as tougher than UKIP on immigration.

Click here for full article

The inconvenient truth about migration
by Barbara Roche, Chair of Migration Matters

‘According to the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR), if net migration were ceased, the UK’s net public sector debt would rise from 74 per cent of GDP today to 187 per cent by the middle of this century (2061/2). This is higher than Greece’s current national debt (161 per cent of GDP) and higher than at any time in the UK’s history, other than in the immediate aftermath of World War Two. ‘

‘We need our political leaders to be straight with the British public about this. Otherwise, in a political debate dominated by calls for every tighter restriction on migration, we are in danger of sleep-walking into a debt disaster.’

Click here for full article

Immigration is of benefit to everyone

Socialist Economic Bulletin outlines statistics which show that immigration benefits all, that economic growth attracts migration but also benefits from it. Wages are not depressed by economic migrants to Britain. The conclusion is that the debate on migration does not address its economic realities, but rather allows some politicians to whip up xenophobia and racism

Click here for full article

Debunking myths about Eastern European migration

Eastern European migrants are currently under the spotlight in the immigration debate. The reality is that they take less benefits and contribute more in taxes than the domestic population. Strikingly the numbers of Eastern European migrants make up less than 1% of the population despite generating a disproportionate amount of debate about their presence here.

Click here for full article

International students make a net contribution to the economy

Jonathan Portes outlines how international students contribute to the economy, and raises concerns about The Home Office’s arbritary curb on migrant number which impacts on these students.

Click here for full article

How Immigration Prevented Sheffield’s Managed Decline

Video of eminent statistician Danny Dorling’s talk for One Sheffield Many Cultures

Click here for video

Film Premier – Extradited to a Future of Torture: The Reality of Solitary Confinement in America

featuring speakers from U.S, Free Talha Ahsan Campaign and Amnesty International

6pm, 16 May 2013
Room S-2.08, King’s Building, King’s College London, Strand, London WC2R 2LS

All welcome. Tickets are free here:

click here for facebook event

This event, hosted by International State Crime Initiative, will feature the UK premiere of the new documentary by Valerie Kaur of Yale Visual Law. The documentary, entitled The Worst of the Worst, is a portrait of Northern Correctional Institution, a US supermax prison in Connecticut to which British citizens Babar Ahmed and Talha Ahsan were extradited in 2012.
Film trailer:

The Event will be introduced by Tessa Murphy of Amnesty International and author of “The Edge of Endurance” – Amnesty International special report on US Supermax isolation.

Then special guests from America, James Ridgeway and Jean Casella , will give a presentation a supermax prisons and solitary confinement in America.

After the film showing, Hamja Ahsan, the brother of Talha Ahsan, will read from Talha’s new supermax prison writings and answer questions about his brother’s conditions.

Film trailer:

Next Generation Labour public discussion on the scapegoating of immigrants

One Society Many Cultures has been asked to circulate the details of this meeting on the current debates about immigration which supporters may be interested in

Next Generation Labour public discussion on the scapegoating of immigrants

6.30 – 8.30pm
Wednesday 8th May
Harold Wilson Room, Portcullis House
Tube: Westminster Station

Diane Abbott MP
Jonathan Portes, National Institute of Economic and Social Research
Claude Moraes MEP
Aaron Kiely, NUS Anti-Racism Convenor

Oppose further headscarf bans in France

We have previously noted with concern the introduction of bans on the wearing of headscarves and other religious dress by Muslim women in France. These bans include on the wearing of the full face-masking dress (the burqa) in all public places in France and a ban on wearing a simple headscarf in all state-run institutions, including schools.

We believe that these bans already challenge the basis of an integrated liberal society where each individual is free to pursue their culture, beliefs and faith free from interference by the state (as long as this does not interfere with the rights of others to do the same). They are dangerous measures as they not only seriously impede the right of women to dress as they choose, but legitimise the state in limiting personal freedom, the potential dangers of which are self-evident.

Our concerns on where this may lead were reinforced by the recent case in a school in Villier-sur-Marne, where a young Muslim girl was segregated from other pupils and made to take her lessons in a separate room because her skirt was deemed ‘too long’ and therefore religious.

Given these concerns, we were pleased by the outcome of the legal case taken in relation to the privately-owned Baby-Loup nursery, which ruled that the ban on wearing headscarves did not apply to commercial premises.

We are saddened by the decision of a range of organisations and political forces in France of the right and the left to appeal this decision and seek a change in the law to extend the ban on wearing headscarves to private businesses.

We support the campaign of Collectif Contre L’Islamophobie (Collective Against Islamophobia) and the many signatories to its letter opposing any extension of the headscarf ban and supporting the court ruling on ‘Baby-Loup’.

If you would like to support this statement please email your name and position (if relevant) to:

Initial Signatories

Diane Abbott MP
George Galloway MP
Claude Moraes MEP
Ken Livingstone, Former Mayor of London
Billy Hayes, CWU General Secretary
Paul Mackney, Former General Secretary NATFHE
Jennifer Moses, National Official (Equality and Training), NASUWT
Zita Holbourne TUC Race Relations Committee
Bruce Kent, VP Pax Christi
Dr. Edie Friedman, Executive Director, Jewish Council for Racial Equality
Azad Ali, Islamic Forum Europe
Mohammed Kozbar, British Muslim Initiative
Varinder Singh, Director, Turban Campaign CIC
Rabbi Lee Wax, London
Victoria Brittain, journalist and author
Myriam Francois-Cerrah, writer and journalist
Jody McIntyre, journalist and political activist
Brian Richardson, Author
Maggie Bowden, General Secretary, Liberation
Salma Yaqoob
Ava Vidal, Comedian
Aaron Kiely, NUS Black Students Officer
Matt Stanley, NEC member National Union of Students
Dr Caroline Howarth, Social Psychology lecturer
Paul Richards, Creative and Educational Director, Uprise Festival
Sabby Dhalu One Society Many Cultures / Unite Against Fascism
Weyman Bennett, Unite Against Fascism / Love Music Hate Racism
Jude Woodward, Assistant Secretary, Unite Against Fascism
Denis Fernando, Lesbian and Gay Coalition Against Racism
Sameena Zehra, storyteller and comedian
Neil Young, artist and LGBT political activist
Kevin Ovenden, One Society Many Cultures

Racism in football – Black footballers take a stand

One Society Many Cultures supports the stance taken by several Black footballers last weekend including Rio Ferdinand and Jason Brown, calling for stronger action against racism in football. This comes in the wake of what many have perceived to be the inadequate penalties against John Terry following an inquiry into his behaviour against Anton Ferdinand.

Keith Vaz, MP for Leicester East, tabled an early day motion last week calling for UEFA to impose stringent sanctions on the Serbian Football Association as punishment for the racist abuse endured by members of England’s Under-21 squad, and has now tabled a second asking the FA to take a stronger stance against racism in football.

He said “Racism has no place in multicultural 21st Century Britain, especially not in sport…..The FA need to send out the right message following the John Terry incident. Rio’s stance should be praised, not punished.”

Sabby Dhalu, Secretary of One Society Many Cultures said: ” ‘The Beautiful Game’ cannot be so-called until racism has been squarely dealt with. We support Black footballers calling for tougher penalties against racism, and believe that players taking this stand should be supported, not punished.”

Family of Babar Ahmad Respond to Gary McKinnon Decision: Some Brits are more equal than others

The family of Babar Ahmad responded to today’s decision to block the
extradition of Gary McKinnon on human rights grounds:

“We strongly welcome the decision not to extradite Gary McKinnon – we
would not want his family to experience the pain and suffering we have
all been enduring since Babar was extradited.

“However, questions do need to be asked as to why within the space of
two weeks, a British citizen with Aspergers accused of computer
related activity is not extradited, while two other British citizens,
one with Aspergers, engaged in computer related activity are
extradited. A clear demonstration of double standards.

“That Theresa May felt compelled to postpone both the McKinnon
decision on several occasions and the introduction of the forum bar
(which would have prevented Babar’s extradition) demonstrates her
willingness to make vulnerable individuals like Gary suffer in her
determination to extradite others.

“Many of our supporters are angry at what appears to be blatant
old-fashioned racism under which all British citizens are equal but
some are more equal than others.”

For further information, visit You can also visit the official Facebook page or follow @freebabarahmad on

Notes to Editors:

1. Babar Ahmad was extradited on October 5th 2012, having been
detained without trial since August 2004 following an extradition
request from the US. A complete timeline of Babar Ahmad’s case from
the moment he was arrested on 2 December 2003 can be viewed at

2. On 24 September 2012, the European Court of Human Rights rejected
Babar Ahmad’s request for appeal against extradition to be referred
to the Grand Chamber, ruling that there would be no violation of his
rights if he were to be extradited to the United States.

3. On 5 October 2012, the High Court refused Babar Ahmad’s
application for permission to judicially review the Director of Public
Prosecution’s decision not to prosecute him in the UK. He was flown
to Connecticut, USA within hours. He is currently being held in
solitary confinement in US custody as he awaits trial tentatively
scheduled for October 2013.

4. The DPP made his initial decision not to prosecute Babar Ahmad in
July 2004 stating that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute
him in the UK. On 22 November 2011, the Crown Prosecution Service
admitted for the first time that it had never actually reviewed the
bulk of the material seized from Babar Ahmad’s home, it having been
withheld from the CPS and transferred by the Metropolitan police to
their American counterparts.

5. In March 2012 and June 2012, detailed representations were made to
the DPP in relation to the case to prosecute Babar Ahmad in the UK in
light of the developing prosecutorial policy of the DPP, supported by
reference to the material that the police had sent to the US. On 7
September 2012, British businessman Karl Watkin sought the DPP’s
permission to privately prosecute Babar Ahmad in the UK and submitted
a bundle of evidence to the DPP including signed statements by Babar
Ahmad of his involvement with the websites in question.

6. On 1 October 2012, the DPP refused to give permission to Mr Watkin
to prosecute Babar Ahmad and further stated that on reviewing the
material submitted in March 2012 and June 2012, there remained
“insufficient evidence” to sustain a realistic prospect of
conviction to warrant prosecution.

7. In 2005, District Judge Timothy Workman, then the most senior
extradition judge in the UK, said about Babar Ahmad’s case. “This is a
difficult and troubling case. The defendant is a British Citizen who
is alleged to have committed offences which if the evidence were
available, could have been prosecuted in this country.”

8. A full parliamentary debate on urgently reforming British
extradition laws took place on 5 December 2011 with the motion being
passed without a vote. The debate came as a result of an e-petition to
put Babar Ahmad on trial in the UK securing almost 150,000 signatures
within 3 months. The e-petition can be viewed at .

9. On 22 June 2011, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights
explicitly raised concerns over Babar Ahmad’s case in its report in
‘The Human Rights Implications of U.K extradition policy’ and
recommended that the government urgently re-negotiate the UK- US
extradition of individuals in Babar Ahmad’s position.

10. During his arrest in London in 2003, Babar Ahmad sustained over 73
injuries. In March 2009, the Metropolitan Police admitted carrying out
this abuse and paid him £60,000 compensation. Four police officers
later stood trial over this attack but were found not guilty.

‘We are Waltham Forest’ public meeting

7.30pm Tuesday 9 October

Defend our multi-cultural community – Keep Walthamstow fascist free!

Speakers include:
Jennette Arnold, OBE and Assembly Member for North East London
Stella Creasy MP
Irfan Akhtar, Waltham Forest Council of Mosques
Martin Smith, Love Music Hate Racism

Help us keep the EDL out of Walthamstow!
Come to this public meeting to find out the latest news about the campaign and get involved.

Venue: Harmony Hall, 10 Truro Road, off the High Street, E17 7BY
Click here to Join the Facebook event

Who polices the police? Justice for Sean Rigg. Film showing and public meeting

Tuesday 2nd October
7pm Small Cinema
Goldsmiths College
Lewisham Way
London SE14 6NW
Nearest Tube: New Cross / New Cross Gate

Lewisham Anti-Racism Action Group are holding this event jointly with Goldsmiths Students Union showing the film ‘Who polices the police’ which highlights issues around deaths in custody, police accountability and features the family of Sean Rigg, a Black man who died in police custody in Brixton Police station.

The meeting will feature Marcia Rigg-Samuel (sister of Sean), Aaron Kiely NUS Black Students Officer, Matilda MacAttram, Director – Black Mental Health UK, and Minkah Adofo from United Families & Friends Campaign

Supported by NUS Black Students Campaign , One Society Many Cultures and Defend the Right to Protest

For info: Click here for facebook link

Click here to download leaflet/poster

Defend international students at London Met facing deportation – let international students study!

The Government has revoked London Metropolitan University’s license to teach and recruit students from outside the EU, meaning that over 2,600 students currently studying there will soon have only 60 days to find a place at another university to study, or will be forced to leave the county without completing their studies. Getting a place at another university at this late stage before the academic year is about to begin is extremely difficult.
Deporting international students will cause huge damage to Britain’s reputation across the world, making Britain an extremely unattractive destination for future international students.

What you can do:

1. Click here to sign the petition initiated by the NUS calling on the Home Office to allow these students to continue their study

2. Click here to write to your local MP calling on them to support this campaign. Ask them to support EDM 437 tabled by Jeremy Corbyn

3. Join the protest :
Let International Students study at London Met
1pm Wednesday 5th September
Outside the Home Office 2 Marsham Street SW1P 4DF
Called by : London Met UCU and London Met UNISON.
Supported by: NUS Black Students’ Campaign, National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, University of London Union, Education Activist Network, Student Broad Left, SOAS SU.

Click here for Facebook group