Tag Archives: Unmesh Desai

Double bubble

12 Oct

Unmesh Desai and friends

Unmesh Desai and ‘Team Newham’ celebrate

Back in September, overshadowed by the results of the leadership election and Sadiq Khan’s selection as the party’s candidate for mayor of London, Labour also announced the successful candidates for seats on the London Assembly – the body that scrutinises the activities of the mayor.

And it was good news for Newham’s Unmesh Desai, who won a six-way, almost all-male contest for the City & East nomination (just one woman made it to the shortlist – and she came last). Fittingly, he received exactly 666 first preference votes, and then enough second and third preferences to ensure he ultimately prevailed.

Barring an electoral earthquake Desai will take his seat at City Hall next May, where he will pick up an annual salary of £55,161 – a substantial rise on his current Newham pay of £43,711.

But happily for Councillor Unmesh – as he likes to be known – that is not the end of the good news. There is the enticing prospect of double-bubble.

There is no legal or party requirement for him to resign his council seat, so he will continue to collect at least the basic £10,937 allowance every year on top of his GLA salary. Should Sir Robin decide he cannot live without his friend’s sage advice on crime and disorder he can shovel yet more cash into the Desai bank account in the form of a ‘special responsibility allowance’.

This will then justify thousands of pounds more in pension contributions under Newham’s recently established (and legally dubious) ‘executive members’ scheme. London Assembly members are barred – like local councillors – from joining the Local Government Pension Scheme, so the timing of this new scheme is a happy coincidence.

Public service can be very rewarding, can’t it?

CORRECTION: The original version of this post stated that the City & East shortlist was all-male. Someone kindly pointed out that Hackney councillor Feryal Demirci is a woman – my sincere apologies to her for the mistake.

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Paranoid

13 Aug

Unmesh shopping

Making sure no-one’s listening in

The mayor is famously intolerant of dissent, to the point of paranoia, and it seems that this has now infected those around him.

At the end of a budget briefing session last night at Newham Dockside Unmesh Desai decided to hold a briefing of his own, not on council business but on his campaign to be the Labour candidate for City & East in next year’s London elections.

He asked council officers to leave and then noticed a 17-year old ‘A’ level student who had been shadowing a councillor for the day, getting an insight into how local government works. He insisted she leave as well.

He then said he didn’t want any non-supporters in the room. So three councillors walked out, along with the bemused teenager.

Not exactly a great introduction to local politics, but a perfect illustration of how Newham Labour party works.

Not just the paranoia but the use of council property for party business. The “Desai 4 City & East” campaign should be getting a bill for the room, although history suggests they won’t.

Fifty shades

14 Jul

Desai4CityEast

Labour party members across east London received an email from Newham councillor Unmesh Desai over the weekend. He wants to be the party’s candidate for the London Assembly seat of City & East in next year’s election. The incumbent, John Biggs, now has more pressing business as mayor of Tower Hamlets so Desai hopes to realise a long-held ambition:

I am Unmesh Desai, I want to be your candidate for City and East London next May because I want to bring City Hall closer to our communities.  I want to see more important decisions made locally.

I have a solid track record of three decades of community campaigning across East London as an activist, trade unionist and a councillor. 
I am delighted to have received key endorsements from my local MPs Stephen Timms and Lyn Brown, Newham’s Mayor Sir Robin Wales and our MEP Claude Moraes. 50 Newham councillors are backing me, as are councillors, activists and campaigners from every parliamentary constituency, as well as the GMB.

I have the passion, commitment and determination to ensure our voice is heard loud and clear at City Hall.

Nominations close on 31st July and your constituency will meet before then to decide who to nominate. If you want to find out more about me and my campaign, please do get in touch.

Alternatively they could look at his campaign website, unmeshdesai.com.

You can see more about my experience here: INSERT LINK.

Oops.

Something else that’s missing is a list of the “50 Newham councillors” he claims are backing him. 

I’d back myself to name ten councillors who wouldn’t support Desai if he was running for town dog catcher, so the idea that he has the active support of every one of the rest is hard to believe.

But of course he could prove me wrong by publishing the names. Go on, Unmesh: INSERT LIST.