Mo Ahmed: Institutional Racism in the Labour Party, and Me

By: Stephane Savary, Labour Party activist in Altrincham South of Manchester. Altrincham and Broadheath branch secretary. Political writer for @sciscomedia @stephane_ulrich

Stephane Savary spoke with Mo Ahmed (pictured above): former Chair of Manchester Labour Students and Labour candidate for Timperley (Trafford council South Manchester). Interview date 1st March 2016.

Mo Ahmed resigned of his position as Chair of Manchester Labour Students following a dreadful Young Labour Conference over the weekend. During the last day of the Conference, he made an incredible speech with Huda Elmi in which they attacked the institutional racism within the Labour Party that makes ethnic minorities feel “invisible” within the Labour.

Mo Ahmed spoke to us following the Conference.

Stephane Savary: "Before we discuss your amazing speech that you made at the Young Labour Conference on Sunday, could you tell us what your impressions are about the Conference itself? Was it a PR disaster?"

Mo Ahmed: “I think the conference was terrible. It was poorly run, it was inaccessible, and people from minority backgrounds, disabled people, women etc were treated badly. It was a disaster all round."

Stephane Savary: "During the Conference, you have stated that the Labour Party was taking BAME (Black, Asian and Minorty Ethnic) people for granted. What did you mean by this? 

Mo Ahmed: “I stand by what I said. We have been taken for granted for too long. The last Labour government implemented plenty of racist policies, for example Prevent which is a policy supposedly designed to prevent extremism but ends up mostly hurting innocent Muslims or for that matter anyone who has non-white skin colour.

"It has long been thought that you could stick a donkey in a red rosette for the party in an ethnically diverse area and that we would still win. This is not true. This kind of attitude is extremely damaging and has to change. Right now the Conservative Party is making major inroads because it is speaking to our concerns, whereas Labour continues to ignore us.”

Stephane Savary: Let’s talk about your speech. At Scisco Media, we’ve been impressed by your honesty, and we’ve also noticed that you have received a lot of support from the Labour Party especially at the end of the conference. However, you also said that as one of Labour’s only high profile BAME politicians you felt unwelcome and apart from the party? Do you mean that the Labour Party is racist?

Mo Ahmed: “What I meant was that I, despite being a high profile youth politician, simply did not feel welcome within Labour because of institutionalised racism within the party. Before the conference this year, our Young Labour committee and Labour Students committee, apart from the BAME officers, was almost entirely white.

"There is something deeply wrong when a party that relies so heavily on our votes ignores us, and BAME people have been coming up to me all conference saying that they felt unwelcome. This has to change.”

Stephane Savary: You also added that you didn’t see Labour as your party anymore. Is that really the case?"

Mo Ahmed: “What I was referring to was that I and others did not see this as our party anymore, in the sense that we believed that it was no longer the party for BAME equality. However it is our belief that we can change the internal structures of the party to make it more inclusive. Tokenism in particular has to end.”

Stephane Savary: "Let’s talk about the EU referendum. Are you in favour of the In or Out campaign?"

Mo Ahmed: “I am absolutely in favour of remaining within the European Union. I think leaving would be a disaster, I think there is no economic case and still yet no logical case for leaving. We would be much worse off economically. I also do not trust our current government with the employment rights that are currently protected by the social charter of the EU but would be fair game once we left."

Stephane Savary: "In May you will be standing as a Labour candidate in Trafford. What, if elected, would you do to improve the life of the residents in Trafford?" 

Mo Ahmed: “I will support policies locally that will lead to a better community, that will protect our most vulnerable, and that will improve the lives of residents of Trafford. If elected as the councillor for Timperley, which would be a huge honour, I would seek to inform local residents better about our local decision making and fully support opening the council up so people can see for themselves how our democratic processes work."

Stephane Savary : "Where do you see yourselves in five-years’ time? MP? MEP? Leader of the Trafford council?"

Mo Ahmed: “No idea, I just want to make sure I pass my degree first!!”

This article was originally published on
Mo Ahmed: Institutional Racism in the Labour Party, and Me Mo Ahmed: Institutional Racism in the Labour Party, and Me Reviewed by Admin on 12:42 Rating: 5

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