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Sunday, 31 July 2016

Why Butt in Now?

Brent Council leader Cllr Muhammed Butt has made a little remarked u-turn regarding BDS and Israel here.  The most remarkable statement in it is:

"So when boycotters wanted Brent to cancel its contracts with vendors who do business in Israel, the decision to say no was one of the quickest and easiest I have had to make."

This is a reference to the awarding  of Brent's Public Realm contract, a topis in which Cllr Butt actually showed very little interest.  When the BDS campaign, very late in the day, started to object to the new contract being potentially awarded to Veolia, Cllr Butt actually dithered for an inordinate amount of time before following the legal advice that had been available from the start that ruling the company out of the competition was out of the question.

Similarly, there had also been an Israel centred controversy over the Tricycle Theatre's attitude to the Jewish Film Festival.  Although Cllr Butt sits on the board of the theatre, he made no comments on the matter either way. 

Why then is Cllr Butt writing his article now?  I take it that whoever is instructing him has decided that he needs to rehabilitate himself following his resignation as London Councils' Equalities lead.  This was linked to the rows over anti-semitism at the time.  If Cllr Butt wants to fully restore his reputation in such matters, he should look at his record in the Rosemary Clarke case. 

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