Questioning Mayor’s Black mentoring scheme

Last year in summer I reluctantly attended a public meeting held in City Hall by Boris Johnson and his team. The meeting was meant (or so I was told) as an information/consultation to gauge the black community’s feelings towards the Mayor’s proposed mentoring program.

The program’s remit was clear: 1,000 Black men to mentor 1,000 black boys. Seven London Boroughs were chosen by virtue of their black crime statistics. Funding of £1.4m was secured and the Mayor claimed he wanted this to be a community led program. He claimed he and his team understood the need for experienced trusted organisations to lead and deliver the program. I know this because I, among others asked the question repeatedly and that was the answer given.

I remember clearly during one such City Hall meeting, several brothers expressed deep concerns about working with City Hall and sadly I defended the City Hall, by saying that irrespective of their past behaviour toward Blacks in London and irrespective of whether this was purely a political move by Boris to curry favour with the black community (after all he has done nothing else for us), we as black men should seize the opportunity, take their money and make a change in our community. For ALL our communities.

So, can anyone explain to me how The University of East London (UEL), London Action Trust (LAT) and some unknown group called Ethos ended up being awarded the program? It is reported that the actual winners of the Mayor’s selection process, a black consortium of London’s finest black mentoring and training organisations, were not awarded the contract because they ‘failed on the financial due diligence’ ………..

Well, all the companies in the black consortium continue to trade, but LAT, I understand has gone bust and Ethos has disappeared back to the land of nod, leaving UEL to scrounge around for community partners.

City Hall claim 2,100 mentors (note the words black and men have disappeared) have signed up for the program. A program which they would have us believe is on schedule to deliver 1,000 relationships. They began in July, that’s four months ago and yet only 21 relationships have started. I am pretty good at maths so you can trust the following figures. If for every four-month period they double the amount of mentors working it will take them almost two years to get to their 1,000 target and at least a year more for the last relationship to end.

And this figure does not take into account the dropouts. Do you think UEL knows this? Speed of take up of such a program requires what the UEL just does not have – community credibility and community access. Not their fault, just the facts.

Now since the Mayor and his team were warned, could we say this was purely an incompetent selection process, that they had no one better to choose from or is there something else going on?

An emerging viewpoint among the better informed than I, is that this program was never meant to work. Yep you read right. The collapse of LAT was the first sign. City Hall employers are said to have close links to LAT so surely they knew of the state of the organisation.

Next, the fact that UEL came third…..not second, third, after the interviews, so why choose them, if as you say you want the program to work?

If I didn’t know better I would say UEL were handed a poison chalice. If they fail it is their failure, if they succeed then our Boy Boris has a huge public success on his record.

But let’s drill a little further on this “they never wanted it to work” theory. The white middle classes have been fed a constant diet of tripe pointing all social ills to black kids, our boys in particular. An effective mentoring program targeting 1,000 boys would make a huge difference. I suspect Boris and crew don’t want that difference to happen. Why?
Let me tell you why and even I can’t believe I am typing this.

a) If black boys clean up their act, City Hall and UK politicians will have to face the truth, which is that the UK underclass are the true source of the UK’s issue and they my friends are from all races, poor uneducated and living without hope or opportunity.
b) The huge industry which feeds off our boys would collapse. The prison service, security firms, probation officers, CCTV, etc. All scaled back or now focused on white kids.
c) The Daily Mail would have to find someone else to blame for every ill in the UK.

Guys I hope I am wrong, but understand that if I am, then it means that the City Hall selection team are grossly incompetent and merely chose the wrong team and then I must ask, could anyone be that dumb?

Watch this space. This does not end here. Next year is an election year and already Boris is listing this program as one of his successes (yes, I did visit his re-election page).

If you are white, reading this and wondering what this has to do with you, then perhaps you too should be concerned, as YOUR money has just been wasted too. This is not a black issue. Remember what David Starky said, your innocent white kids are corrupted by these black kids, so fixing them is in your interest too.

By Paul Lawrence