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Yiddish leaflets lead left-wingers to victory in Hackney

Leaflets in Yiddish distributed in Cazenove, where Labour took all the Liberal Democrat seats

    Charedi activists celebrate with victorious Labour candidates and Philip Glanville (top right)

    A grassroots campaign by young Charedi activists focusing on housing struggles in Europe’s largest strictly Orthodox community has been credited with Labour strengthening its control of a North London authority.

    Hackney Council’s Cazenove ward, which was targeted most heavily by Labour-supporting Charedim, saw the party take three Liberal Democrat seats, including that of Ian Sharer, a well-known and respected community stalwart who had served as a councillor for 22 years.

    The Lib Dems were wiped out in the borough as a result.

    A series of Yiddish-language leaflets were distributed in the ward, although they were not created by the left-leaning group known as Achaim L'Deah - meaning "brothers of the same belief".

    The group’s pitch was that only Labour, which controls the council, could amend planning policy to alleviate the problems of sub-standard and overcrowded housing.

    The literature also sought to inform members of the community of Labour’s policies, as well as its share of seats relative to other parties.

    Shraga Stern, one of the leaders of the Jewish group and the nephew of defeated Lib Dem candidate Isaac Kornbluh, told the JC: “Let’s hope this is the beginning of a better future for our community.

    “The plan is simple. The Labour Party should now talk to us and we’re going to tell them our concerns. The mayor is a lovely guy and he is really a friend to our community. He is keen to listen."

    Mr Stern also praised Labour's three victorious candidates, Sam Pallis, Caroline Woodley and Anthony McMahon, saying they will be "very devoted" to the ward's residents.

    Labour’s Philip Glanville, re-elected as mayor, said there was “value” in meeting local activists face-to-face prior to the vote, describing the result as the culmination of “years of work in Cazenove”.

    The mayor and the three new councillors stressed no deals had been offered by their party. The issue is given prominence in Yiddish-language leaflets seen by the JC.

    Mr Sharer, defeated by 279 votes, said he was “disappointed but not bitter", adding that he had "no problem with the way the Labour Party ran their campaign".

    Meanwhile the Conservative Party won a clean sweep in Springfield and Stamford Hill West, taking one seat from Labour.

    Harvey Odze, a Springfield councillor, told the JC his party’s organisation and understanding of the community made a “decisive difference”.

    He said: “We have represented them well for quite some time. Labour hold no answers whatsoever in Stamford Hill and the voters knew that.”

    The five Conservatives in Springfield and Stamford Hill West serve as the only opposition in Hackney, with Labour winning the remaining 52 seats.

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