SENIOR Thurrock councillor, Tunde Ojetola has submitted an entry in his blog site that asks a number of questions of the new presence of Ukip
Cllr Tunde said: “Thurrock had been criticised as one of the worse places for community cohesion across England. Over the past few years, the blue and the red sides of the political spectrum had tried to fight against the onset of extremism and hatred, and encouraged Thurrock people to embrace our differences. By joint effort we had fought against advances from far right parties and told them they had no place in Thurrock.
“As a Council we have put a lot in place to learn to embrace and celebrate our differences; we support students’ annual trip to the concentration camp in Auschwitz to learn the lessons from WWII and have the Holocaust Memorial day entrenched in our civic diaries. We commemorate St Georges’ day and join in Diwali and Black History Month celebrations. We have enjoyed lovely sunny (and rainy) days during T-Fest, singing and dancing to loud, not so audible music at Grays beach and enjoyed a somewhat different civic dinner in 2013 with its unique Asian theme.
“Personally, I have encouraged all areas of Thurrock to embrace our differences and in addition to the above, have attended both the Ghanaian and Sri Lankan community events to understand their cultures and celebrate our differences. I have addressed this issue in Full Council and in SACRE (the Religious Education committee) and spoke about it in TRUST, all with a view to tackle inequality.
“The 2011 Census confirmed that the BME population has grown to just circa 20%. That means that there are just under 30,000 non white residents in Thurrock; 30,000 residents who have every right to be able to go about their daily lives without fear of abuse or attack.
“There is now a new player on the scene.
“The arrival of the purple to join the colours in Thurrock has changed the political face of the Borough yet again. If the opposition to the merger of Thurrock to Barking and Dagenham is deemed racist, what will the arrival of the new troupe mean?
Although the colour of the political spectrum is now blue, red and purple, we should ensure it doesn’t have a negative impact on the white, brown and black skin colours of Thurrock people.
The Council should be committed to its equality statement to “protect the vulnerable and most at risk” and I for one will be holding the Council to task on that, no matter the colours at play.