United We Stand!
It seems like every time we watch the news, we hear about another conflict or incident. And the awful terrorist attacks in Paris were so close to home.
The whole world felt the impact of the horror that unfolded at the Charlie Hebdo office – and since then in Denmark, too.
Here in Haringey we have a proud history of uniting against violence, hate, and extremism. Less than two years ago, the community response to the terrible attacks on the Somali Bravenese Centre was overwhelming. We all came together in a show of solidarity – and helped them to rebuild.
Unity is the best way to respond to the atrocities committed by terrorists, and extremism. It’s so important that we don’t allow the politics of fear and hate to creep in.
But recently I’ve spoken to local Turkish women, who have had letters through their front doors telling them to ‘go home’. Hate crimes against members of the Jewish community increased to almost 300 incidents in London last year.
It’s not enough just to condemn these awful events. Politicians, communities, everyone needs to take real action, and search for the right solutions.
That’s why I’ve started a local ‘unity’ campaign. My team and I are going out and speaking to youth groups, to mosques, to synagogues, to community groups – to get the message out and try to find a way to prevent radicalisation and hate crime against anyone in our community.
Other political parties are going the opposite way. UKIP use the events abroad to create division here. They are garnering votes by using the politics of fear – no matter what effect that has on minorities.
And the Labour party in this area recently sent a leaflet out in the most diverse and deprived areas of Haringey, informing people of their ‘tough new approach to immigration.’
We have to step up and say: not on our doorstep. Intolerance, division and the politics of fear – this is not welcome in Haringey. And that’s exactly what the Liberal Democrats and I are doing.
I’m proud that my party – the Liberal Democrats – have stood up to UKIP from day one. Our beliefs and values really are the polar opposite of theirs!
I’m looking forward to even more local community events in the coming weeks and months. If anyone reading this article has any ideas about how we can keep this conversation going – or work to prevent extremism and unite against intolerance – please do let me know.
This is a conversation we should all be a part of – and a campaign which I want to be on-going.