One more vote and Goyal may not have played the race card

James GillCROYDON COMMENTARY: The All People’s Party is coming to Croydon, by way of disaffected black and minority ethnic community members in nearby Bermondsey and Peckham, led by former Labour donor Prem Goyal. For JAMES GILL, pictured right, the reasons for Goyal’s move are unfounded

It is with great pity that I see my old employer, Prem Goyal, starting to cause political mischief in Croydon, just as he has done in Bermondsey and Old Southwark, Peckham and Dulwich and West Norwood.

Goyal’s current venture, the All People’s Party, seems to be a knee jerk reaction from Goyal to his not being selected as the Labour parliamentary candidate for Bermondsey and Old Southwark earlier this year, and his subsequent lingering embarrassment and bitterness at losing the nomination by a margin of just one vote.

Supporters of Goyal’s campaign told me that many of the Bermondsey members who said they were going to vote for him simply forgot to turn up on the day of selection. So what happened in Goyal’s case was just a hard knock feature of politics: sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.

Goyal certainly lost, albeit very narrowly, in Bermondsey. It’s too bad that he’s turned his disappointment into petulant jabs against Labour based around divisive racial politics, instead of seeking to challenge local Labour parties on policies and local activist strength.

And just think, had that one vote swung the other way, Goyal would be cheerfully preaching the gospel of Labour loyalty against the incumbent ConDem MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, Simon Hughes, rather than using his money to gnaw at the heels of a party which has stronger ethnic representation than any other major political party.

It is curious that Goyal has not targeted Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs, councillors and grassroots activists if he’s such a champion of ethnic representation. It is also curious how he has opted to stand for his party in Camberwell and Peckham, rather than stand and fight in Bermondsey and Old Southwark where he sought selection for Labour.

One of Goyal’s recent complaints is that he felt under-appreciated by the Labour party. Far from being under-appreciated, Goyal rose to become, among other things, the vice-chair of Bermondsey and Old Southwark Labour party and only just prior to the Bermondsey selection, he was elected as chair of the Bermondsey Cooperative, where he trumpeted about the improvements that he would seek to bring to that local branch of the Coop party.

As vice-chair for Bermondsey, Goyal struck up a good rapport with local activists, councillors and MPs, often throwing fundraisers and getting Labour’s big names such as Chuka Umunna, Alan Johnson, Alastair Campbell, Douglas Alexander and Andy Burnham to help to raise thousands of pounds for the local party.

Prem Goyal, left, recruited help from many high-profile Labour figures in Bermondsey, though Sir Alex Ferguson is not thought to have been among the donors to that cause

Prem Goyal, left, recruited help from many high-profile Labour figures in Bermondsey, though Sir Alex Ferguson is not thought to have been among the donors to that cause

As a City entrepreneur whose main client is Deutsche Bank, Goyal was even able to afford the exclusive rate for Labour’s Thousand Club (membership: £1,200-plus per year), which granted him access to numerous benefits such as gala dinners, a free pass to annual conferences and the ability to mingle with the more moneyed members of the party.

With my help as a freelance researcher and writer, whose main task was to assist Goyal with articles he wrote, he featured regularly in online media, such as LabourList, Labour Uncut and Progress Online, rather than being ignored on account of his ethnicity.

Goyal has consciously thrown all these opportunities away, notably an opportunity to connect other Thousand Club members with grassroots activists and communities, all on account of losing a selection by one vote.

I hope that the people of Croydon would question the credibility of a person who, until recently, gleefully declared on his Twitter profile that he was “Labour through and through”, until he narrowly lost a selection process and suddenly decided that the whole thing is “racist”.

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2 Responses to One more vote and Goyal may not have played the race card

  1. davidcallam says:

    Over six months ahead of local electiins and 18 months before the General Election and Labour members are already fighting among themselves. Voters will draw their own conclusions.

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