Friday, March 24, 2017
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Tags Posts tagged with "General Elections"

General Elections

Bradford – As the dust settles after one of the most fierce election battles witnessed in Bradford West, Bradford born Naz Shah is today the newly elected Member of Parliament for Bradford West.

IMG_0175Defeating maverick politician George Galloway of the Respect Party by a colossal majority of 11,000 votes, Naz Shah’s victory was celebrated by the masses who followed the election campaign intensely ever since she was selected by the Labour Party hierarchy to battle Galloway a few months ago.

Galloway’s dramatic downfall from winning only three years ago with a majority just as impressive as Shah’s, when he defeated Imran Hussain, is indeed a huge setback for his avid supporters who are still licking their wounds after the embarrassment of Friday morning. But where did it go so wrong for Galloway?

IMG_0194Many claim, who were once Galloway supporters, the personal attacks on Shah by Galloway and his activists worked against him. Creating countless fake Twitter profiles of Shah to discredit her and her family attracted criticism from national and international commentators who joined the social media campaign backing Shah. The campaign took a nastier turn when a website was set up by the Respect Party supporters dedicated to Naz Shah’s life targeting her mother and immediate family. If that wasn’t bad enough, a letter was posted through resident’s letter boxes a week before the elections, again discrediting Shah and her family.

Shah’s own chapter started when she penned the letter about her life in Urban Echo. Titled ‘Exclusive to Urban Echo: Naz Shah reveals all’, little did we know at Urban Echo that the article would go rival. The article was read over 70,000 times and shared via social media platforms over 15,000 times. Prior to the IMG_0219letter, Shah was a regular columnist for our paper and was Urban Echo’s ‘star columnist.’ Her own political journey started at the same time when Urban Echo was set up last year in September to promote positivity and integration within the region. Promoting positivity and integration was one of Shah’s many passions and she agreed to write her views and opinions via Urban Echo. Little did we know, including Shah, what the next few months would hold as allegations, libel threats, defamation allegations and police reports would become the ingredients of the ‘Battle for Bradford West’.

Now that Galloway is no longer in Bradford, it is more likely that the Respect Party and its last few councillors will gradually disintegrate. The people of Bradford have decisively and unanimously rejected Galloway and his party. In saying that, the people of Bradford West have also chosen Shah to represent them in Parliament as 19,000 residents came out to the polling stations to put an X next to her name. image1Shah’s victory is also a victory for women, especially Muslim women. Shah has proven that regardless of race, religion, gender and background, if you have a dream and you want to chase that dream, nothing can stop you. Shah’s victory is a victory for the voiceless, a victory for the abused and a victory for the oppressed.

Galloway’s speech at the count was carefully thought out. He indicated that he will be launching another campaign imminently [one can assume it may be for the London Mayor contest] and he referred to ‘lions’ and ‘hyenas’.

It has been an eventful three years in Bradford. The Galloway chapter is finished and the ‘lioness’ has roared her way into the history books and created her own political earthquake in Bradford West.

 

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Bradford – Bradford West Parliamentary candidate, Naz Shah has today welcomed the delivery of Labour’s BAME manifesto and its clear commitment to take more action to tackle islamophobia in our community.

The manifesto, launched today, commits a Labour government to take robust action against hate crime, developing a cross-government strategy to coordinate and drive forward the work of different departments.

Naz Shah
Naz Shah

It also pledges to make these crimes more visible, by ensuring hate crimes are clearly marked on the criminal records of perpetrators, and producing new guidance from the Sentencing Council to ensure the appropriate use of sentencing for aggravated hate crimes, particularly for repeat offenders. It also aims to ensure hate crime is properly recorded, including incidents of Islamophobia, as is currently the case with other types of crime.

Labour has also committed to reviewing police and CPS guidance to ensure Islamophobia and other hate crimes on social media are adequately covered. The Party will also challenge social media companies to take more responsibility to prevent harassment and hate crimes prosecuted through their sites.

Bradford West parliamentary candidate Naz Shah said:

“It is intolerable that people today in Bradford still face verbal and physical abuse because of the colour of their skin or expression of our religion. I’m really concerned by the worrying increase in extremism and hate crime, including a rise islamophobic attacks.

“We must stand together as a united Bradford community to eradicate hatred, prejudice and intolerance. As a Labour MP I would fight every day to ensure these issues are tackled.”

Naz has also pledged she will work tirelessly to stamp out inequalities in Bradford, where too many people still face discrimination and prejudice.

As a country we have made huge strides. Over the last 15 years, we have seen the first ethnic minority CEO of a FTSE 100 company, the first BAME High Court Judge, and the numbers of BAME students attending university has more than doubled.

But across the country, long-term unemployment for young people from an ethnic minority has increased by almost 50 per cent in the last five years and just four per cent of MPs in the last Parliament were from an ethnic minority.

Naz Shah added:

“Someone from an ethnic minority today remains twice as likely to be unemployed, with a 50% increase in long-term unemployment for young people from ethnic minorities.

“Too many people in Bradford west continue to find themselves held back by discrimination and disadvantage.

“Labour is the party of equality, with a proud record of fighting racial prejudice and helping people from all backgrounds make the most of their talents and abilities.

Whilst there has been historical progress in these areas, there is still so much more to do in order to break down the barriers which still face people from ethnic backgrounds in Bradford and across our Country.”

A Labour Government would:

  • introduce a cross-government race equality strategy to drive progress across government.
  • build an economy that works for working people, extending opportunity and tackling the discrimination that holds people back.
  • raise the National Minimum Wage to more than £8 an hour by October 2019.
  • ensure better and more inclusive public services, with our Parliament, police and judiciary representative of the communities they serve.
  • build stronger and more cohesive communities, with tougher action against hate crime, including rising anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.
  • improve the representation of ethnic minorities in public life.
  • We will re-engage with the world to promote human rights, justice and religious tolerance.

Bradford – George Galloway, the Respect candidate in Bradford West, has called on the Director of Public Prosecutions to charge his Labour opponent Naz Shah with perjury over evidence she gave in the trial of her mother for murder and the subsequent appeal.
George Galloway
George Galloway

He has also referred her to the DPP over claims she made under Section 106 of the Representation of the People Act which concerns false representation.

“A jury in the original trial where her mother was convicted on four counts – fraud, soliciting murder, attempted murder and murder – not only unanimously decided her mother was guilty but concluded Naz Shah’s evidence was a tissue of lies, as did the appeal court,” Galloway said. “In particular she lied by claiming that she had bought samosas, which her mother had poisoned, in a shop. In fact her mother, as she subsequently agreed, made them and included a dose of arsenic she had brought back from Pakistan. Shah’s mother even stood by and watched her eat one before making her sick afterwards,’ he continued.

Naz Shah
Naz Shah

“The Court of Appeal, in peremptorily dismissing her mother’s appeal, concurred. I am demanding that she is now prosecuted for perjury. Her testimony, and everything she has said since about the case, is a travesty of the truth. You can either believe the judgments or the fairy tale Ms Shah has since presented.”

Galloway continued: “I deeply regret that Labour has continued to drag this sordid tale and this disreputable candidate and her story across Bradford West voters. There is much more but I have no wish to delve further into the sewer.”

On 21st of February 2015, just 75 days before the general elections, the Labour Party eventually managed to select the candidate for the Bradford West constituency to enter the contest.

Ms Amina Ali, a councillor from Tower Hamlets, London has won the toss for this seat beating two local aspirants with a huge majority. Cllr Naveeda Ikram, the first female Muslim Lord Mayor of the city was tipped to secure the nomination followed by a rather newcomer to politics, Ms Naseem Shah. But surprisingly, both were unanimously rejected by the 237 members present at the selection meeting by a big margin.

Amina Ali
Amina Ali

It is reported that after the result was announced, there were skirmishes between Naveeda Ikram’s supporters and those who were alleged to have supported Amina Ali by using the block vote in order to exclude the other two candidates from victory. Also insiders have revealed to Urban Echo that lobbying for Ali continued during the three hour meeting by way of whispers and deterring eye contacts. During the two weeks preceding the selection meeting, reliable sources have informed Urban Echo that several private meetings were held by a particular faction of the Labour Party in which the use of block vote in favour of Ali was decided. In addition, a Member of Parliament made a special journey from the Midlands to vouch support for another candidate. These disclosures can only be indicative of undue and unfair interventions and irregularities of the whole process of selection.

Naveeda Ikram
Naveeda Ikram

Once again these extraneous influences have occurred in the selection process which the party wanted to avoid at any cost. The Labour Party, as a result of their nearly three year investigation of factors which led to their defeat in 2012, took the decision to declare Bradford West as a woman only constituency with the hope of achieving some unity within the party and the community. It is manifest now, however, that they have dismally failed. The party is still divided into factions and last month they tried and succeeded to demonstrate their influence and power.

As we know, the seat in Bradford West became vacant after the demise of Marsh Singh. Subsequently, Mr Imran Hussain was chosen to contest it and lost to the Respect Party by a mammoth ten thousand majority. It was a humiliating defeat for Labour and the man responsible for this defeat was none other than George Galloway – the most tumultuous politician and a bogeyman of the media. Galloway within a few weeks of his presence in the city mesmerised the electorate by his unmatchable power of oratory and his unequivocal support for Palestine. This stupendous victory of Galloway was described as the GG phenomenon. Although, the support for the Respect Party after the resignations of its five councillors in 2013 has eroded, the party is

still breathing and alive and it would be suicidal for Labour to underestimate or ignore Galloway as a political entity in in the forthcoming contest. For the Labour candidate, the time for campaigning is too short as being an outsider and reliance on loyalty and sincerity of some Labour members is dubious. Rumours are already rife within the community that the rift in the local labour party and the ulterior motive of a faction is to ensure that Labour does not win because of the” shoddy” treatment meted out to them. And, of course, if Ms Ali wins, they believe their chances will be limited.

In these circumstances the Labour Party has no room to harbour any illusion or complacency and sit on their laurels, as usual, hoping everything will be all right. They should not simply depend on honeyed words of dubious sincerity and loyalty but scrutinise these claims and ensure by the evidence of hard work and visible actions. Ms Amina Ali and her party are undoubtedly faced with many minefields; hence they have to navigate with utmost caution and prudence to win back Bradford West.

Editor, Urban Echo

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