Wednesday, April 26, 2017
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Tags Posts tagged with "elections"

elections

by Urban Echo reporter

His rise to power was momentous but his fall would be inconsequential because he himself is responsible for his doom. Those who are waiting in the wings to replace him include the front runner Tim Farron while the potential rivals like Vince Cable (Business Secretary), Norman Lamb (Care Minister) and Ed Davey (Energy Secretary) are less likely to win.

clegg620main_1650145aNick Clegg, the 48 year old descendant of Russia’s old Tsarist nobility, had a very good schooling before joining Cambridge University in 1986. After graduation he was awarded one year scholarship to study at the University of Minnesota. He was the first Liberal parliamentarian since 1931 elected as MEP in 1998 in the East Midlands. He left EU in 2002 on the pretext that the battle to persuade public of the benefits of Europe was fought at home, not in Brussels. He is an MP since 2005 in Sheffield Hallam, a seat now seriously endangered, and Deputy Prime Minister in the coalition since 2010.

Clegg criticised Tories before 2010 general elections; he was critical of the election system and called UK democracy ‘fractured’ because some votes counted more than others. He campaigned in favour of alternate vote (AV) as opposed to ‘first past the post’ and succeeded in brokering a referendum but his AV was defeated. Student finances were the flagship policy of his party before and during the 2010 general elections. He signed vote for students pledge to oppose increase in tuition fees prior to 2010 general election. Though coalition agreement allowed Lib Dems the right to abstain any vote relating to the increase in fees, yet he failed to exercise that right.

Liberal Democrat Spring Conference 2014In his leadership Liberal Democrats also failed to block the Conservatives’ controversial health reforms. He has all the while been talking tall about keeping the standards, yet Lib Dem’s fundraiser had sought to bypass donations laws. Ibrahim Taguri, the party’s former chief fundraiser, who was standing for MP in Brent Central and boasted that his campaign was the “third best-funded” in the country, accepted a cheque on behalf of the party for more than £75,000 from an undercover donor. He told the donor, a fake wealthy Indian, that he would be able to channel money via family members and backdate cheques to avoid appearing on public registers.

In spite of Clegg’s pre-2010 election attacks on the Tories yet he spent five years sharing power with them. Once again, in the climate of general elections, he has tried to show his original colours. Using Spring Conference 2015 speech he mocked ‘the red-faced bluster of right-wing Tories’ and compared David Cameron with ‘Nigel Farage in a white tie’. He declared that ‘cows moo, dogs bark. And Tories cut. It is in their DNA.’

The irritant between the two coalition partners is that Tories rule out any further tax rises. They would tackle deficit through cuts alone including taking out another £12 billion out of the welfare budget. Nick Clegg who had been feeling quite easy with the Tories while they put to practice all these measures during the last term, is now feeling uneasy because of the general elections’ expediency. In spite of the dire polls opinions that Lib Dems could lose more than half of their 57 seats won in the last elections, Clegg insists that his party was ‘here to stay.’

David-Cameron-Nick-Clegg-and-Ed-MilibandThis seems to be certain that Nick Clegg’s Spring Conference speech is going to be potentially his last to his Conference as Deputy Prime Minister and/or as a leader. Many Liberal Democrats are not happy with him. His own party members mistrust his audacity in proving the concept of coalition. The party is wracked by crises of confidence. Lord Oakeshott, a wealthy peer, has resigned from the party since last May. In an attempt to create Ed Miliband-led progressive government, Lord Oakeshott has donated £600,000 equally distributed among 30 Labour and 15 left of the centre Liberal Democrat candidates of the marginal seats. Now an independent, Lord Oakeshott says: “doing his bit to save our country from Tory government cringing to Ukip.

Mr Farron, a Lib Dem MP from Westmorland and Lonsdale has given his party a score of just ‘2 out of 10’ for how it handled its time in coalition. He says that Mr Clegg should have understood the damage the Party’s U-turn on tuition fees would inflict.

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Bradford – Hope Not Hate (HnH), the trade union backed campaign group that often gets facts wrong, have announced that they will again be targeting UKIP in Bradford in forthcoming general and local elections on 7th May.

As a ‘registered non-party campaigner’ HnH are entitled to print and distribute their literature but should ensure they contain facts and not attempt to mislead the public.

However UKIP is concerned that Labour councillors, candidates and their associates, being the main distributors and organisers of HnH leaflets in Bradford are using this trade union backed money to effectively bypass legally enforced spending limits and allowing them to outspend other political campaigns.

Jason Smith, UKIP
Jason Smith, UKIP

At last year’s elections in some areas the Labour candidate teams worked in tandem to deliver Labour and HnH leaflets.  In 2014 UKIP Bradford uncovered a plot where Labour councillors were working alongside the left wing campaign group (see 3) these included Labour Deputy Leader Imran Hussain, Cllrs Sinead Engel and Cllr Richard Dunbar amongst others.

UKIP candidate for Bradford South Jason Smith says: “People want fair elections, they want to know that what is being sent to them is legitimate and fair, and we cannot have a situation where one party’s candidates can effectively ignore the legal spending limits by dressing up one of their leaflets as being in some way independent of them.

We will be writing to the Returning Officer, West Yorkshire Police Economic Crime Unit (who investigate electoral offences), and to the Electoral Commission to alert them of our concerns of disguised spending in Bradford.”

UKIP candidate for Bradford East Owais Rajput says: “I ask all people of Bradford to question the outlandish claims of Hope Not Hate, UKIP denounces racism and we denounce Hope Not Hate language of hatred.  UKIP is colour blind and is more ethnically diverse than Labour.”

Dreams of my mother & dreams for my daughter.

Last week I was selected to stand as the Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Bradford West, where I was born and raised, and where I live and am raising my own family.

In my first press interview, the reporter asked me what brought me into politics and referred to my own life story. Later on that evening on the journey back from London, my friend asked me how I felt. I responded I would know once I was in my mother’s arms. I also explained that I had many years ago read Barak Obama’s ‘Dreams of my father’ and for me to be where I am today were the dreams of my mother.

I was only 6 when my father abandoned my mother with two young children and pregnant with a third when he eloped with the neighbour’s 16-year-old daughter. I remember being thrown into the back of a taxi with black bin liners full of our belongings and packed off from the family home on Hartman Place to my granddads home in Kirkham Road. We never really saw the end of black bin liners over the next few years as we moved from squalor to squalor, 14 times in less than 2 years, from back-to-back houses where the toilet was outside to rat infested damp houses where we lived and slept in just one room.

We finally had a home, 251 Legrams Lane, purchased with the sale of my mother’s wedding jewellery but in someone else’s name, Azam’s name. My mother’s attempt to provide her children with the security of a home came at the expense of being abused by Azam over years. A man that she thought would save her children from an uncertain and insecure future, little did she know he would be the exact opposite. My mother had sent me to Pakistan at the age of 12 when she felt I was at risk of his abuse. When my younger sister was growing up and my mother felt she was now at risk, and following years of anti-depressants, failed suicide attempts and feeling desperate and destitute… she snapped.

She killed the man who abused her.

I remember how my days and nights became one, how my world was turned upside down, how I became a mother to my two siblings who were 11 and 13 at the time. Up until then, the worst I had known personally was my own forced marriage through emotional blackmail when I was just 15 years old whilst in Pakistan. I never went back to schooling and my first job was at Society Linen hire on Usher St, the laundry service for the local hospitals. I moved on to packing crisps at Seabrook’s which was a huge improvement in job and wages. By January 1992 I wanted to go back to college after leaving my own husband who used his fists to communicate and now this.

My life now revolved around solicitor and prison visits. I didn’t know how to run a house and I used to smoke ten Benson’s and read the Sun for crying out loud. I remember the first day I visited my mother at Newhall Prison, when I left it was like leaving a crying child at nursery for the first time, I now became a mother to my mother. We lost the house, we lost everything and the moving around started all over again.

We campaigned with the Southall Black Sisters and were supported by other women’s group across the country like Justice for Women. Together we managed to get my mother’s tariff reduced from 20 to 12 years but my mum still served 14 years before being released on parole as we had to work with the Parole board to satisfy them as she was no longer a risk. The 14 years is a story in itself, as is that of my own and my sibling’s survival, being homeless, desperate and alone with just each other and some friends who we made along the way. But that story is for another day.

I became a carer for children with disabilities as my mother had also been a carer. I then went on to become an advocate for women with disabilities and their carers. I felt my calling was to help people and I then joined the Samaritans. I didn’t realise how much anger I carried inside me towards the ‘systems’ that failed me and my family because I had turned it into this force to change people’s lives. I would get emotional about the families I was helping and angry if they weren’t getting the right services, until one day my mentor pulled me to one side and asked me why was I so upset when families didn’t get the services they needed, how much of this is really about the failure you experienced? That conversation was a game changer for me.

I quickly realised to effect change I must be able to influence decision making and that’s when I joined the NHS. To begin with, I managed giving out grants and ‘Patient and Public Involvement’ and we then started ‘commissioning services’. I found my niche when my manager recognised my talent and invested heavily in my leadership development. I fell in love with the idea of ‘Leadership’ and am still in love with the notion of it being the key to change society for the betterment of humanity.

Beyond my own career, I continued to fly the flag around violence against women through speaking at conferences and contributing to discussions. I didn’t really appreciate exactly how much I was using my own natural leadership and passion to influence policy and change.

Now where does this fit in with the dreams of my mother?

When my father left my mother it was my mother that was ostracized and persecuted. It was my mother who became the ‘fallen one’. When my mother didn’t tell her story of abuse at her trail due to the fear of ‘izzat (honour/shame) it was my mother who was not believed. Every chapter of her life following her marriage is a book in itself, how her husband refused to pick up her first child because she was a girl, how she was battered by her husband and how she lost children due to beatings.

How she lost all her ‘izzat’ when she was on the front page of the local rag as a murderer and sentenced to 20 years. She laid bare for the whole world to see her wounds of sexual exploitation at an appeal only to be dismissed as incapable of belief and then once again before the Lord Chief Justice who finally accepted she was driven to kill and he reduced her tariff.

So you see for me, to be selected as a Prospective Parliamentary Candidate is not really about me, it’s the dream of my mother. I remember my mum saying, “Naseem I would be so happy if you became a prison governor as you could help women like me.” When I expressed my interest last year for politics as it’s where I can influence change, my mother understood that her story from 22 years ago would resurface. It would open up wounds but she blessed me as she knew it’s what made me this way. My siblings struggled but they knew it is who I am.

My selection isn’t about me, it’s about the recognition of inequality in society. It’s an understanding that we still have many changes to make. It’s my way of making things right because if I’ve learnt anything, I have learnt that through compassion we can change the world. We cannot change things through just complaining. We must be part of the solutions and we must have conversations, real meaningful and honest conversations, not only with ourselves but with our families, our communities and beyond.

It’s been 6 days since I was selected and an amazing 6 days by anybody’s standards. I have been on a learning curve second to none. I’ve always campaigned against violence against women and I have a deep understanding of the role of ‘power and control’, but even I have been taken aback by the ‘power dynamics’ of politics. I had not reached home following my selection and I had at least two new fake twitter accounts set up in my name. Already my ‘character’ has been attacked and desecrated through social media and trolling. The smear campaign that has started has been some of the most vicious and disgusting I have seen. But it does not scare me and it will not change me. In fact, it fuels my passion for change even more.

In a short space of just 6 days, this tells me clearly that unfortunately 22 years later it is still a woman’s character that is attacked. Why is it that men’s characters are not questioned in this city when they stand for elections? For me personally, every attack is a further indictment of why I must stand and challenge the status quo. It gives me more strength and resilience to ensure I win the trust and belief of the people in Bradford West and then this election to bring change in my community.

Today is also International Women’s Day and I will be speaking at a conference as well as my first hustings. Each bit of my story and the celebration of women across the world, overwhelms me that little bit more today.

My mother is 63 now. She is my rock, as are my siblings, but the future isn’t about her anymore. My drivers are now different as I have children of my own. My daughter Leyana is ten years old. Last year Leyana learnt of her ‘nanis’ (grandmother) life experience. Leyana said now she understood what I meant when I say ‘I work so hard so you don’t have to.’ My daughter had £34 pounds in her savings box which she gave to her nani as she had been poor. How beautiful is the innocence of our children, our future. How can this not feed my passion to achieve equality in society?

I have also been blessed with two sons, Aydan and Raese, seven and three years old as well as a niece and a nephew. I don’t want for them what I went through. I don’t want for any child to miss out on a good education. Having experienced poverty first hand, I understand how it impacts. I was the first ‘compulsory redundancy’ in NHS Bradford & Airedale in 2009 following the cuts/austerity measures. The fact that I am where I am illustrates how even against the odds we can create a better future for the next generation.

When I did finally get home that night I was selected, my mother sat up in her bed and held me close whilst I cried. We cried together knowing that whilst my past and my present are the dreams of my mother and her inspiration for me, my future is about the dreams I have for my own daughter. She is my inspiration to bring change and equality for the world in which she is growing up in, the community we live in and the wider society.

Happy International Womens Day.

Naz Shah

Prospective Parliamentary Candidate

A daughter, a sister and a mother.

Bradford MP, David Ward is urging the Government and MP’s from across the political spectrum to help promote National Voter Registration Day 2015 on February 5, in the hope to encourage more young people in Ward_2463557bBradford and across the country to get registered and voting.

David Ward has submitted an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons, in conjunction with the All Party Parliamentary Group on Voter Registration, calling on the Government and MP’s from all Political Parties to help promote and support National Voter Registration Day (NVRD) 2015 on Thursday 5th February.

National Voter Registration Day (NVRD) 2015 on 5th February is only the second time the event is being organised following a very successful day last year that saw hundreds of students and young adults organise events all over the country which resulted in encouraging over 50,000 people to register to vote.

imagesLQIMUMTSOrganised by Bite the Ballot, NVRD marks the anniversary of the Great Reform Act 1832 on 5th February, which first introduced the system of voter registration. The aim of NRVD 2015 is to register 250,000 young people and help engage the 4 million who are currently not registered before the general election this year. Last year NVRD was supported by ASDA, the National Union of Students and well known celebrities like Tinie Tempah, Eliza Doolittle and the founder of SBTV, Jamal Edwards.

There are 4 main ways to get involved with NVRD 2015 including organising a registration rally of your own or running an information session at a school or college. Resources and more information are available at http://bitetheballot.co.uk/nvrd/.

Commenting David Ward MP said:

“It’s absolutely essential that young adults are encouraged to get registered and get voting.

 “If young people don’t vote, then they don’t have a political voice and politicians will not care what they think, which results in them missing out on resources as political parties target their core voters. 

imagesJG2PGKG6“This is why I’m calling on the Government and all MP’s to get behind National Voter Registration Day 2015 in order to get more young people and underrepresented groups registered and voting. 

“Getting young people in Bradford to register and vote is one of my biggest priorities and that’s why I’ll be visiting local colleges and sixth forms in order to try and raise awareness that voting matters and if you want things to change, then you need to start voting.”

For the last 2 years, over the summer break Mr Ward has organised his Get on the Bus Summer tour where he travels across the Bradford East area engaging with young people, talking to them about politics and encouraging hundreds of young people aged 16-24 in Bradford to register to vote.

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NazirBy Mohammad Nazir Tabassum

As time keeps changing, so do the popularity of politicians and political parties. Change is an undeniable fact. That is why it is said that nothing is immutable in this world. Everything is subject to change. The important aspect of it is that one must re-orientate one’s future action plans according to the changed circumstances.

The UK Independence Party (UKIP) that stands for keeping UK away from the European Union, immigration related issues and non-intervention in Syria, gained its first elected MP with Douglas Carswell in the by-election of Clacton on October 9, 2014. The significance of this election is that Mr Carswell was a member of the Conservative Party elected twice to the House of Commons, first in 2005 and then in 2010. He intended to force a referendum on the Treaty of Lisbon that created EU and EC over the need to resolve an oversight of apportionment in the European Parliament by re-ratifying the Treaty. But, disillusioned thoroughly, he defected from the Conservative Party on 28 August 2014. He resigned his seat and stood again in the by-election and returned successfully as the first UKIP MP. Today there are a host of other backbencher Tories who are UKIP sympathisers and are pushing PM David Cameron to accept UKIP’s stances on issues relating to Europe, immigration and non-intervention in Syria.

Nigel Farage, the leader of UKip, commenting on Mr Carswell’s election said: “He had shaken up British politics.”

127256860_Farage_410438bPaul Sykes, a Yorkshire businessman, with a fortune of £650 million, the 26th wealthiest person in Britain, has been handed over the job of overseeing the election campaign of next May. He is also a former Conservative who split up with the party in 1991 following a disagreement over EU membership. He remained an admirer of Baroness Margaret Thatcher calling her “the best socialist I have ever seen.” Anybody can guess his concept of socialism with such a remark about the lady who took away almost everything that the British working class got after years of struggle for the rights.

Mr Sykes contributed more than £1 million to UKIP for campaigns during last spring which helped the party win 12 seats in the European Parliament. One can well imagine these Euro sceptics and their scepticism.

UKIP is causing a political embarrassment, not only to the Conservatives, but to Labour as well. Last week the Daily Telegraph published a 35-page document, leaked to the paper, setting out Labour’s approach to UKIP. This document depicted internal strategy in which party campaigners were urged to combat the electoral threat from UKIP by talking about the pressures immigration placed on services such as health and housing. Ed Miliband, the Labour Leader confirmed he had not seen the document before it was sent to MP’s and claimed he did not know where it had come from.

Contrary to all this, UKIP is facing its own peculiar odds at a time when the 2015 polls are less than five months away. UKIP’s leader Nigel Farage’s personal ratings have crashed to a record low in the first leader poll since UKIP was rocked by a sex scandal and dirty tricks row. Pollsters Ipsos MORI found that the net satisfaction with Farage’s performance as leader has dived 14 points since November to minus 20. It is the first sign that the voters are distancing themselves from the UKIP’s leadership because of the infighting and vicious wars in its top leadership. The public that scored Farage higher than the mainstream parties earlier are currently dissatisfied with him as much as they are with David Cameron, the Prime Minister.

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