Raising their voice on Gaza
Rt Hon Sadiq Khan MP: I have already written to William Hague, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, asking that he use all influence possible on behalf of the UK to achieve an immediate halt to the violence, an end to the ongoing siege of Gaza, and ensure that human rights and international law are upheld. I have also written to the Secretary of State for International Development, to request that all efforts be made to ensure a free flow of vital life-saving aid, medical supplies and other equipment to Gaza via humanitarian aid organisations.” 12 July 2014
Yasmin Qureshi MP: It is ironic that on the very day we are reflecting on lessons from Srebrenica we are overwhelmed by scenes of carnage in Gaza as the Humanitarian crisis continues to deepen. What we see unfolding before our eyes is the Collective Punishment of many innocent Palestineans, a brutal and disproportionate use of force on an oppressed and starving population. The Telegraph reports that over half of those killed by Israeli forces are innocent women and children. This is simply outrageous. Yet rather shockingly our mainstream television media is intent on reminding us that it is in fact ‘‘Israel under renewed Hamas Attack’’
Let me be clear, I am not condoning attacks on Israel, it should not be ignored or belittled. My frustration is that an Israeli life is deemed to be more important than a Palestinian life. Where is the balance from our ‘impartial’ broadcasters? 11 July 2014
Shabana Mahmood MP: This is a desperate situation. Waiting for the next wave of attacks is no way to live and, like many other onlookers, I fear where this is going to end. Almost all the casualties so far have been Palestinian civilians. They are bearing the brunt of this bloody escalation. I sincerely hope that Hamas will stop firing its rockets and that the Israeli Government can be persuaded to stand down. The Israeli bombardments are indiscriminate and lethal. The tragic loss of civilian life in Gaza has now topped 120 – a fifth are children. I have written to the Foreign Secretary to urge him to exert whatever pressure he can to persuade the Israeli Government to stop its attacks. The British Government must do all it can to bring about a ceasefire and prevent further loss of life. The people of Israel and Palestine need an immediate ceasefire followed by a resumption of negotiations. With every dead body we get further away from the peaceful two state solution to the conflict in the Middle East that is so desperately needed. 12 July 2014
Anas Sarwar MP: When the Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and brutally and wrongfully killed, the Government called members to the House of Commons for an urgent statement. Those responsible for this unprovoked crime should be held to account and punished. The Israeli authorities have since continuously and indiscriminately bombarded the Gaza Strip with war planes, including specially adapted deadly F16s, killing at least 120 people with the death toll still climbing. The Government must make an equally robust statement, demand an immediate halt to the violence and an end to the continued siege on Gaza – allowing the free flow of medicine, equipment and supplies. No state can be seen as being above international law. 11 July 2014
Shabana Mahmood MP: ”
Baroness Warsi sticks her head above the parapet
Huffington Post notes, “Baroness Warsi At Odds With Michael Gove Over Extremism Claims in Schools”. Better late than never! It has taken over a month for the Muslim community’s most senior political figure to come out and call a spade a spade. In a recent radio interview she conveyed the generally-felt sentiment that Education Secretary Michael Gove was a neo-con ideologue on a ‘Reds under the bed’ type witch hunt against activist British Muslims. She noted in the course of an interview on BBC Radio 4′s World at One that it was important for ministers not to use “sensationalised language” when responding to the affair. She made the comments after being asked about Gove’s desire to “drain the swamp” of Islamist extremism. Warsi replied: “I’m not going to comment on the language other people have used.” The FCO minister also dismissed suggestions that there was a link between conservative Islam and Islamist extremism. “I don’t think there is necessarily a link and I’ve yet to see definitive piece of evidence which shows that religiosity…” HuffPost, 10th June 2014
Frustrations of Shahid Malik ex-MP
The astute Paigham journal published by the Indian Muslim Welfare Society in Batley has its finger on the local community politics pulse. Its April issue, commenting on the decision of Batley & Spen MP Mike Wood to stand down at the next General Election, refers to the aspirations of local lad (Burnley is not that far away) Shahid Malik. The former MP was fingered in the great MP’s expense scandal, but has/had hopes of being selected. But now Labour’s national executive have deemed Batley & Spen to be an All-Woman Shortlist seat. However Paigham states, “it isn’t over yet’. Mr Malik and Cllr Pandor [another hopeful] may well find themselves as candidates somewhere in the country, what they won’t be seeing is a local seat for them to contest”. Doesn’t sound as too enthusiastic local Muslim support for either!
EU Elections – 22 May 2014
Afzal Khan, a former Lord Mayor of Manchester, is standing for Labour in the forthcoming EU elections for the North West. As number 2 on the list, he has a good chance. Muslim voter registration (by 6th May) and subsequently a good voter turnout on polling day is needed to keep the far right extremists out of the European Parliament. Speaking for himself and Wajid Khan from Burnley (No. 4 on the list), he urges, “This is an opportunity for greater representation in Europe, but we need your support. Please make sure you vote this May, and please do support Labour to have greater represenation for all in Europe.” About Afzal Khan
YouGov survey: Labour outpolls the Tories by about 50-24 amongst all minorities; but the detailed picture is less straightforward. In areas where minorities represent more than 30% of the electorate, they are even more likely to vote Labour. We call this “the cluster effect” – when surrounded by other minorities, these voters tend to copy the left-leaning behaviour of their communities. When they move to more mixed areas, about a fifth desert Labour.Second, Labour desertion isn’t uniform across groups. Pakistani, Muslim and Black African voters remain loyal wherever they live. But Indian-heritage Hindu voters desert Mr Miliband, with the Labour vote plummeting from around 39% in cluster areas to 13% in mixed areas – a drop of two thirds. Trevor Phillips and Richard Webber in the Daily Telegraph, 21 April 2014
On 5th March around forty BME, faith, community and business leaders from around the UK converged at Operation Black Vote headquarters in London for a historic strategic planning meeting in the run up to the 2015 General Election. The main aim was to ensure that tackling race inequality was firmly put back on the political agenda. OBV has identified 168 marginal seats where the BME vote can make a difference if mobilised. OBV website
Retired Army Captain Afzal Amin is planning to stand for the Tories in Dudley North (Muslim population around 5000) – at present a Labour marginal. The incumbent MPs margin is around 600, so every Muslim who can be lured away from Labour to Tories is a step closer to Parliament Square! Is it with this mind that the good Captain recently spoke up to show that he is also his own man? He has called Home Secretary Theresa May’s billboard trucks (‘In the UK illegally?…go home or face arrest)’ a “disaster”. Mr Amin also turned up at Woking Mosque recently for its Great War Commemoration – but there was a good reason for that – his company Curzon Education is linked to Curzon Institute, and Hugo Clarke of this Institute delivered a talk ‘The Role of Commonwealth Soldiers in WWI’. According to the Daily Express (19 Jan 2014) the fees for each lecture is £2,400. Good money if you find it.
Will he, won’t he? Sadiq Khan MP and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice (Shadow minister for London) could be tempted to contest the mayoralty of London. There are some strong contenders to stand up to Boris Johnson, including the as yet undeclared Dianne Abbott. Sadiq has recently written Our London, published by the Fabian Society, which may establish his credentials. The talk in the street in his Tooting constituency is that his position is a bit flaky in the 2015 General Election.
“You (Denis Macshane) have pleaded guilty to an offence of false accounting which encompasses a total of 19 expenses claims made by yo u in the period from 6 January 2005 to 11 January 2008 when you were a Member of Parliament. The offence thus covers four successive financial years – 2 005 to 2008. In each instance you produced and made use of an invoice purporting to come from an organisation called the European Policy Institute (“EPI” for short) which invoices you knew to be false misleading or deceptive in a material particular in that each represented that EPI had been commissioned by you to carry out research and translation services; that you were liable to pay EPI for the provision of those services; and that yo u had been invoiced in respect of the services by one EJ Matthews on behalf of EPI.” Sentencing remarks of Mr Justice Sweeney 23 December 2013
“After four years of investigations, parliamentary investigations, a party suspension (which was later lifted), a resignation and a by-election, Dennis MacShane has pleaded guilty to expenses fraud today (16 November 2013).”