A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A blast from the past

Followers of Hackney political history should take a look at BBC4's programme about the Stamford Hill chassidic Jewish community shown last night but available on cable catch-up etc.

It focused on the attempted rehabilitation by the community of convicted drug dealer Samuel Leibowitz but also features his brother, Isaac, a Tory Councillor jailed for six months for perpetrating the largest proxy vote fraud and dodgy registration scam in British electoral history, which ensured Hackney was a hung council rather than Labour after the 1998 council elections. Oddly the BBC didn't mention that Isaac was an ex-con like his brother or make any reference to his conviction.

Cllr Smith & I thought it was a great shame that one of the first ever TV documentaries about the chassidic community in Stamford Hill focused on two bad apples (albeit cheeky, endearing rogues) rather than the 20,000 other people in the community who are amongst the most law-abiding people going.

The programme briefly interviewed Mr Cahan who runs the Hatzolah voluntary ambulance service and Mrs Symons the Chief Executive of Agudas Israel Housing Association (which I sit on the board of as a council representative). A full documentary about the amazing charitable and community work they do would have been a better representation of the community in Stamford Hill.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luke, to be honest watching this program I went from laughter and pity, to anger, disgust and indignation.
I console myself only in the knowledge that despite showing the very worst side of the community, its everyday best shone through.
PS do you consider yourself the Councils rep to AIHA or AIHA rep to the Council.

3:14 am, June 20, 2008

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Both. Although I'm there representing the council, being a Board member (however appointed) makes you collectively responsible for the Association and gives you a duty to be its voice in the council as well i.e. the council rep is just as much a board member as the other board members, with the same responsibilities to AIHA. Hope that makes sense!

8:35 am, June 20, 2008

Blogger Robert said...

Why it was shown at all was my feelings, I mean if we had shown Muslim people or just people you would have found the same thing, I just though after ten minutes well thats like my place or other places people work with charities care homes and have no faith, I'm disabled and cannot find a job, no matter how hard I try, but I do help out in the community so long as I can get my wheelchair in, not always easy.

But you know something it just showed a normal street a normal town

10:01 am, June 20, 2008

Anonymous Hymie Akehurtstein said...

I've seen some Ginger Jews in Stamford Hill. A branch of the family Luke?

Are you a roundhead or a cavalier?

8:58 pm, June 20, 2008


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