Thursday, 20 September 2007

Thank you for visiting this website. It tells you more about the issues I campaign on, and what I did during the eight years that I was the Member of Parliament for Bethnal Green & Bow in East London.

I founded the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on the Great Lakes Region and Genocide Prevention, at the House of Commons in 1998, and continue to work on issues around human rights, international development, genocide prevention, and the environmental impact of resource exploitation (please vist www.appggreatlakes.org to see a report on the threats to the Congo rainforest and its people - if they cut down all the trees there, global warming impacts on our weather conditions here!). Over 100 MPs are members of the APPG. We have had notable successes in our work on conflict resolution, and have been commended by the UN Security Council’s Expert Panel for our recommendations on UN peace-keeping.

I have recently completed a one-year review into youth services in the UK, in conjunction with the charity 4Children.  I feel that issues around anti-social behaviour are often linked to a lack of positive role models and activities for young people.  Lily Allen launched the report with me, and it was presented to Gordon Brown at 10 Downing Street in July.  For more info please see www.4children.org.uk/information/show/ref/1020. This month a pamphlet I've written called "The Battle to Engage," on engaging young people in politics, is published by 4Children.  It will be posted on this website soon.

I also Chair the Institute of Community Cohesion (iCoCo - www.cohesioninstitute.org.uk) which looks at how we make communities stronger, and prevent people from different ethnic groups or backgrounds living 'parallel lives'.  iCoCo's website is particularly helpful for any local authority officers, practitioners, or interested individuals who would like to get practical information about dealing with community tensions.  Tensions often surface between communities in deprived areas when they can't access the services they need.  This is particularly true in the area of housing.  Housing was the main issue I campaigned on at the House of Commons, and I worked closely with Shelter during this time (www.shelter.org.uk).  Examples of speeches I gave on housing can be found in the parliamentary section.

Another project I Chair is called the Rich Mix Foundation. This is an arts and cultural centre that aims to connect communities and cultures through world-class art in the heart of the East End (www.richmix.org.uk).

Coming back to politics, I remain passionate about reducing poverty and inequality.  As I argue in my pamphlet "The Battle to Engage," we'll only do this if we redistribute some influence as well as opportunity and wealth.  Poverty reduction must be linked to a progressive consensus that breaths life into our democracy. Politics shouldn’t just be for politicians. If it is, our democracy will wither. (For Labour people out there, please visit www.labourhome.org, or for anyone wanting to know how the Prime Minister is seeking to connect with with people who aren't necessarily interested in party politics, visit www.number-10.gov.uk  and look at the info on Citizens Juries and the announcements made in the Green Paper 'The Governance of Britain' www.justice.gov.uk/publications/governanceofbritain.htm

Finally, on a personal note, I live with my husband and small son in Mile End. I was born in Sheffield, and brought up in Camden, London. My father is African-American from Georgia, with some Native American Indian heritage. My mother is Jewish from Newcastle - and her grandparents were Scottish, Irish, and Hungarian.  One of the reasons I loved representing London's East End is probably because, like me, it's 'multi-ethnic'.  But being an MP sometimes drove me mad - if that side of things interests you, please check out my book House Music.  And yes, I love house music.  If any of you have got some great playlists (especially featuring vocal, electronic house), let me know... Apologies in advance that because of the volume of mail I receive I can't answer all emails - but I will certainly read them.

Thanks again for visiting.  I hope you might take part in some of the polls on the right of this page - or send me suggestions for forthcoming polls (see 'contact'). 

All the best,


Oona King - House Music



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