Enfield Labour Council refuses to hear out Trade Union-led campaigners.

by John Dolan, Secretary of Enfield Trades Council

Enfield Trades Council organised a lobby of Labour-controlled Enfield Council on 24 January, calling on councillors to support the demand ‘Gaza ceasefire now!’

Enfield Trades Council had individually written to all elected councillors ten days prior, asking for support for the call. Shamefully, not one had replied by the time of the meeting.

There were speeches and lively chanting outside Enfield Civic Centre. Security initially insisted protesters remove their keffiyehs (Palestinian scarfs) before entering the public gallery, they were forced to back down on that. Scandalously, security locked out some of the protestors with the false excuse that it was full up.

The council meeting started with Hindu prayers, which (hypocritically) had all councillors praying for such things as ‘Peace’ and ‘Health’.

At the start of the meeting, a Trades council officer stood up and asked the mayor to be allowed two minutes to address the council about Gaza. ‘The mayor initially agreed to this after a testimonial and minute’s silence for a recently deceased councillor, respectfully observed by all.

The mayor then changed her mind. The request for a deputation and moment of silence for victims in Gaza was rejected.

It was clear then that the Council had no interest in hearing what we had to say which provoked angry and loud public gallery calls for a ‘ceasefire now’. The mayor then suspended the meeting and all of the councillors upped and left to continue meeting in another room, without us!

The councillors departed with criticism ringing in their ears: “You’ve signed pro-Palestinian petitions!” “You’re supposed to represent us!” “No ceasefire — no vote!”

One of the Tory councillors leaving the council chamber was seen making a ‘cut-throat’ gesture up to the public gallery.

In the public gallery, we expected to be removed — but the security staff were sympathetic to our cause! We ended up leaving at our own leisure.

Enfield Trades Council will not stop with this action. A delegation to call on Enfield North Labour MP Feryal Clark to publicly state her support for a Gaza ceasefire is planned for February.