Ones to Watch: Taking The Initiative Party makes its electoral debut

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Amidst the more heavily publicised mayoral elections in the capital and elsewhere, local level contests around the country are brimming with impactful stories. 

Four candidates in four wards across the boroughs of Enfield, North London and Croydon, South London, offer the perfect example. These candidates (from left to right) are Alison Johnson (Croydon council Woodside ward), Angela Kaler (Croydon council South Norwood ward), Clive Morrison (Enfield council Jubilee ward) and Jehni Morrison (Enfield Council Southbury ward).

What joins them is the fact that they are all representing the Taking The Initiative Party. The party was registered with the electoral commission almost four years ago, but saw its national presence rise against the backdrop of the Black Lives Matter protests last summer. They are looking to ensure black presence in the nation's decision-making arenas and fulfill the crucial goals of educating communities, empowering them and creating enterprise.

“We’re about implementing change. What we feel is that black people and a lot of working class minority groups have been excluded from politics for a number of years. Our objective is to create a voice for those people to ultimately accumulate change across the board. Our overall objective is to create a parliament that reflects the multicultural society we’ve become over the years.”

Taking The Initiative Party co-founder, Charles Gordon

Some of the objectives may sound similar to organisations like OBV, but in many ways, this is an evolution on how to address those concerns born 25 years ago.  By consolidating these aims as a political group, they're going one step further: from facilitating to taking the jugular directly.

The emphasis on 'direct' has been made repeatedly by leading members of the organisation. They hope that by doing so, they can sidestep career politicians and promote people who truly represent their communities and have their best interests at heart. 

Four such individuals have been standing to represent their communities this election. Jheni Morrison, who has lived in Enfield for 40 years, promised a rework to existing efforts to challenge knife crime and inequality in the community.

“Enough of the premature deaths of our young people through knife crime; enough of poor and inadequate housing, homelessness and children and young people in temporary accommodation; enough of inequality in our community that only seems to be getting worse. I aim to work with you on these areas to channel local knowledge and expertise, to come up with creative solutions and make sure resources go where they are needed most."

Jheni Morrison, Taking The Initiative Party candidate for Southbury Ward, Croydon

Likewise, Angela Kaler, TTIP's candidate for the South Norwood ward in Croydon called for locals to put their faith in TTIP on May 6.

“Put your faith into us, we’ve had Labour in power, we’ve had Conservatives in power but our children are still being murdered on these streets,” she said.

“We cannot keep doing the same thing and expect to see different results, vote Taking The Initiative and let’s make a change for our youth because they are our future.”

Alison Johnson, standing in the Woodside ward, has also promised to be a 'powerful advocate on educational matters' and tackle homelessness, the lack of opportunities for youth, and housing issues.  

“I will advocate for the reformation of financial spending in the borough, and I will keep tackling poverty and homelessness in Croydon.”

Alison Johnson, Taking The Initiative Party candidate for Woodside Ward, Croydon

There are other issues at the heart of their campaigns. For instance, Angela Kaler has been clear about her opposition to the potential closure of a South Norwood library. However, if there seems to be a degree of repetition to their overarching agendas, then it's because these long-standing issues have yet to be addressed. It's the driving force behind what has brought them together to bring about a change as one voice. The offspring of collective political will, met by an urgency to replace talk with action.

In what is their first election, they will face an uphill task against more established parties, but whatever the result, the experience should leave the TTIP better placed to translate their brand of authenticity into tangible political power further down the line.

UPDATE - 13:38, 10 May

South Norwood Ward By-Election Result:

Loizos Carserides (Labour Party) 2276

Sonia Maria Marinello (Conservative Party) 1173

Ria Dhanisha Patel (Green Party) 423

Luke Robert Bonham (Liberal Democrat) 288

Angela Kalee (Taking The Initiative Party) 251

Jane Marie Nicholl (Independent) 154

 

Jubilee Ward By-Election Result:

Mary Anyanwu (Labour Party Candidate) 2170 votes

Arben Neza (Conservative Party Candidate) 1070 votes

William Linton (Green Party) 321 votes

Iman Saadoune (Liberal Democrat) 171 votes

Clive Morrison (Taking The Initiative Party) 100 votes

Lewis Peacock (Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition) 63 votes

 

Southbury Ward By-Election Result:

Ayten Guzel (Labour Party Candidate) 1961 votes

Patrick Drysdale (The Conservative Party Candidate) 1380 votes

Luke Balnave (Green Party) 470 votes

Luke Cummings (Liberal Democrat) 246 votes

John Dolan (Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition) 82 votes

Ewart Rose (We Matter Party) 37 votes 

Jennifer Morrison (Taking the Initiative Party) 36 votes

 

Woodside Ward By-Election Result:

Michael Bonello (Labour Party) 2375

Michelle Kazi (Conservative Party) 1315

Peter Underwood (Green Party) 515

Andrew James Rendle (Liberal Democrat) 368

Alison Johnson (Taking The Initiative Party) 219

Mark Robin Lionel Samuel  (Independent) 40

 

Mayowa Ayodele

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A call to action...

For nearly 25 years OBV have fought to ensure Black and minority ethnic participation and representation in civic society. Efforts in continuing to do so though, relies on your help. That way we can continue this fight for greater race equality. What would give us a tremendous boost is if today, you made that small donation yourselves, but even more importantly if you encouraged others to do likewise.

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