Luis Fonseca has been a Labour Councillor in Leicester for just over six years. Like many councillors who were elected during the dark undemocratic days of New Labour, the local membership of the Leicester East Constituency Labour Party would do well to gently retire him from his public role in politics.
During the various Labour leadership contests that have taken place over the past few years Mr Fonseca managed remain completely silent about which candidate he felt should lead his Party. Hardly a sign that Mr Fonseca understands or even cares about the future of the Labour Party.
More worrying though is the fact that during the momentous efforts of the Baker’s Union to unionise Samworth Brothers (the largest private sector business in Leicestershire) Mr Fonseca again remained silent, not mentioning the fact that he had worked on the factory floor at Samworth’s Bradgate site during his first year as a Labour councillor. Intrigued by his silence on this critical trade union matter I emailed Mr Fonseca earlier this week to ask him which union he had been a member of at Samworth, to which he replied that he had not been a member of any union at the time. (Email to author, November 27, 2017)
Trade unions are of course the backbone of the Labour Party and as such it is incumbent upon elected Labour representatives to not only be a union member, but to also play a leading role in fighting for the rights of others in their workplaces. This was not common under New Labour but it certainly should be now.
Finally, although Mr Fonseca is active on both twitter and facebook he rarely makes use of social media to talk about politics, especially to endorse politicians. However Mr Fonseca made an exception in June 2012 to endorse the campaign of Dr. Leo Rebello in his bid to become the “People’s President of India”. Mr Fonseca thus posted a petition on his facebook page that endorsed Dr. Rebello’s campaign, adding the comment:
“Very Talented, Patriotic, God fearing, Honest and sincere person” (June 30, 2012)
For those who don’t know Dr. Rebello is a vicious anti-Semite who works hard to popularise his other beliefs that vaccinations are an evil conspiracy, and that AIDS should be treated with homeopathic remedies (water) – he is also proudly homophobic — not the type of politician that you might expect a Labour councillor to endorse.
As Owen Jones explained earlier today in a rare article full of insight:
“Before the Corbyn surge, many Labour parties were hollowed-out husks, the playthings of ambitious hacks, lacking roots in their local communities. Council candidates were selected at poorly attended meetings: yes, often because of stitch-ups.” (“Labour’s review of candidates is not a purge: it’s what’s known as democracy,” The Guardian, November 28)
He then explained how since Jeremy Corbyn’s victory “Labour has blossomed into one of the biggest parties in the western world.” Adding that “Many of these members are full of inspiration and optimism – they want to replace our bankrupt social order, not tinker with it – and expect their representatives to be accountable to them and their values.”
With democracy now on the rise again within the Labour Party it would seem likely that councillors like Luis Fonseca may soon be replaced by suitably socialist alternatives. However, in the case of Mr Fonseca it is not a foregone conclusion that he will be easily replaced, as under Keith Vaz’s influence his Leicester East Constituency Labour Party has become more a hollowed-out husk than others, and is still very much still a plaything of Vaz’s ambitious hacks.
This is why socialists must never stop in their ongoing efforts to democratise all branches of the Labour Party; too much is at stake to do otherwise!
Luis Fonseca is the chairman of the Daman Community of Leicester. Daman is “a small Portuguese principality on the west coast of India. These people are of Indian ethnicity but have Portuguese passports.” Mr Fonseca like Keith Vaz (whose surname is Goan–Portuguese) is a Catholic and fellow member of the Sacred Heart Church on Mere Road. Mr Fonseca was first elected in Thurncourt ward in 2011, and is presently a councillor in the North Evington ward.