Ali to KO Town Hall coalition

May 8th, 2009

The Camden Labour Party last night selected Nasim Ali, a 40 year old two-term councillor and community organiser, to lead the Party forward in next year’s local elections.  Ali, a well known figure and former Mayor of Camden, grew up on the Regent’s Park Estate, NW1 and helped pioneer Camden United Football project to bring local young people from white and asian communities together in south Camden. 
As a councillor Nasim, known as Nash, was instrumental in pressing for major community benefits in his ward from the large British Land development in Osnaburgh Street .  This resulted a substantial contribution which has helped to rebuild the Samuel Lithgow Youth Club, providing a new community facility for local young people on the Regent’s Park Estate. 
He is currently Chair of the Healthy Families Partnership at King’s Cross, a governor of Netley Primary School and also Chair of the West Euston Partnership Planning Working Group.  Nash won the Camden Good Citizen Award, now called the EPIC, in 1998.
Cllr Ali said:
I want to restore Camden ’s ambition to promote fairness and social justice in the borough I grew up in and am now raising my young family.  I am a product of our local schools and grew up in a Camden council flat.
“I want a positive vision for Camden Labour.  I am proud to be part of a Labour movement which nurtured excellent schools, established affordable childcare for the first time and supported the best and most vibrant voluntary sector in London .
“The Town Hall Lib Dems and Conservatives are short sighted and don’t share this vision, I have seen how they work and that’s why they need challenge. 
“The parents and pupils of Edith Neville, a very successful community primary school in Somers Town , were left high and dry by the coalition last year as part of a shabby political deal to rush through their school building programme in time for the 2010 election.  This alienated school governors and the local community.  They should be ashamed of themselves and how they have acted.
“They have also dragged their feet on more school places and a school south of the Euston Road , despite hoarding nearly 100 million pounds from budget surpluses, fewer community services and higher fees.
“The council stood by and allowed Boris Johnson to cut funding for major jobs and training schemes in Kings Cross and Swiss Cottage just at the time when people needed them.  Camden is currently taking money away from Kilburn Town Centre on the sly and has cut funding for successful projects in Highgate. 
“The number one priority for me will be more housing for local people.  Policies based on need must be restored to the centre of policy again, rather than the sight of council flats sold off or rented to the highest bidder.
“Community groups and youth clubs, the fabric of what makes Camden great, should be nurtured rather than run down.  Vulnerable members of the community should not be forced to pay for the recession through increased charges for council services like meals on wheels.

Also elected last night as Deputy Leader of the Group was Councillor Jonathan Simpson, who added:
Labour has a refreshed and exciting team going ahead.  It is representative of the community we serve and democratically selected, which is more than can be said for the other political parties. 
“We want to see changes at the Town Hall, which is increasingly stagnant and bereft of ideas for our borough.  All the coalition seem to be interested in these days is tactical advantage for the next elections, not community gain
Outgoing leader Cllr. Anna Stewart, who is stepping down in 2010 said:
You don’t get much more local than Nash, he’s a Camden success story.  In his year as Mayor and then on Camden’s Executive he showed how we brings people from all communities together.  His positive, community-based approach will challenge the complacent politics as usual at the Town Hall.”
In other appointments Labour elected veteran Roger Robinson as Chief Whip of the opposition party; Theo Blackwell as opposition Finance spokesperson and nominee for the Resources and Corporate Performance Scrutiny Committee and Heather Johnson nominee for Chair of the Children, Schools and families scrutiny committee.
Councillor Nasim Ali (Regent’s Park) Labour’s new Leader, has been a Labour Party Member since May 1993 and a Labour Councillor on the London Borough of Camden since May 2002. He is also the Chair of the Camden Bangladeshi Mela Committee.  Nasim grew up on the Regent’s Park Estate, NW1 and went to Netley Primary School and Sir William Collins (now South Camden Community) School.  
Nasim, 40, has been employed as a community organiser since 1995. He has a degree in Informal and Community Education from YMCA George Williams College where he is now a governor.  Since 2001 he has been the Executive Director of the King’s Cross Brunswick Neighbourhood Association, providing a range of services to improve the quality of life of local residents, young and old.  Nasim was appointed Mayor for Camden at the age of 34 (2003/4). He was the youngest mayor in the country and the first Bangladeshi and Muslim Mayor in Camden .  He also served on the Executive as lead for Community Engagement in 2005.
In 1995, he set up the Camden United Project, after the murder of Richard Everitt, a white youth, by a group of Asian youths.  The object of the project was to unite young people in Camden through their common interest in football diverting them away from racism, crime and conflict. 
Cllr. Jonathan Simpson (King’s Cross) has been a Councillor since 2002, originally representing Fortune Green ward.  From 2005 to 2006 he was the Chair of Camden’s Licensing Committee.  He now sits on the council’s Licensing and Development Control committees.  In addition to being a hard working local councillor, Jonathan works in the planning sector outside of Camden and is a former special constable.