Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Former Street Hustler at the Heart of Livingstone's Empire; (1) Support: Lee Jasper Speaking at a London Mayoral Rally in 1999 with Ken Livingstone. Relations between Them Are Thought to Have Become More Distant (2) Dividing Opinion: Mr Jasper Has Defended the Police on Issues Which Still Anger Many Black Londoners, Including Stop and Search

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Former Street Hustler at the Heart of Livingstone's Empire; (1) Support: Lee Jasper Speaking at a London Mayoral Rally in 1999 with Ken Livingstone. Relations between Them Are Thought to Have Become More Distant (2) Dividing Opinion: Mr Jasper Has Defended the Police on Issues Which Still Anger Many Black Londoners, Including Stop and Search

Article excerpt

Byline: ANDREW GILLIGAN

IT'S easy to see why Ken Livingstone and Lee Jasper were drawn to eachotherboth men attract controversy like lights attract moths. Both polarise opinion.And both, too, have travelled from activist radicalism to a rather morecomfortable relationship with the Establishment.

The Lib-Dem mayoral candidate and former police commander, Brian Paddick, firstcame across Mr Jasper as a street hustler in Notting Hill. "Every year atcarnival, his association would sell bits of the pavement they didn't own (tocommercial stallholders)," said Mr Paddick. "Every year it would end up in arow between Lee and the local police chief, who would eventually give in andallow (traders) who had Lee Jasper licences, rather than local authoritylicences, through the police lines." Born to a black father and white mother,who brought him up on her own, Mr Jasper was radicalised by his childhood inSeventies Oldham, a place he described as "imbued with a crude racism thatwould have been considered intolerable elsewhere". Moving south, he became aprofessional race campaigner, combining fiery scrap-the-Met rhetoric with asideline in [pounds sterling]500-aday police racism awareness courses.

That balancing act came temporarily undone in 1995, when, after the death of ayoung black man in custody, Mr Jasper organised a protest outside Brixtonpolice station which turned into a riot, causing several casualties and around[pounds sterling]1 million in damage. In recent years, though, Mr Jasper has worked closelywith the police and helped manage the cautious rapprochement that has takenplace between black Londoners and the Met.

There is much praise for his role in the Lambeth police-community consultativegroup and in Operation Trident, the successful campaign against "black-onblack"shootings, where he leads the Met's lay advisory body.

Yet opinion about Mr Jasper remains very dividedboth in Lambeth, where he still lives, and at City Hall. Although one of thetop eight Mayoral advisers, he is intensely disliked by at least one morepowerful colleague. …

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