Monday, May 25, 2009

Candidate leaps and misses bandwagon

On The Stirrer, Cllr Martin Mullaney has been suggesting that Cllr Salma Yaqoob has decided to support the Tories in the upcoming Lozells and East Handsworth council by-election. He bases this judgement on a picture used on a Tory leaflet showing Cllr Yaqoob with the Conservative candidate, Raja Khan.
A couple of interesting things have arisen from this.

Firstly, Salma has issued an absolute denial - claiming that the picture was personal, that she explicitly refused consent for its use for party political purposes and that she does not support the Conservatives in Lozells. Fair enough - and I think it would have been a huge jump to assume that Cllr Yaqoob would be likely to support the Tories - indeed, she has called upon people to vote Green at the European elections.

Secondly, it has been revealed by Cllr Mullaney that the Conservative agent for this election is none other than former Bond-baddy Hussain, Talib Hussain. Talib is a former Lib Dem councillor, failed parliamentary candidate and Cabinet member who was summarily removed for, erm, not following instructions from Tory High Command. He was then chucked out of the Liberal Democrats and spent the rest of his term glowering at the lot of 'em from a seat just in front of Sir Albert on the Labour side of the chamber. It appears that Talib has been to more parties than Paris Hilton - he was a Labour member who was refused approval as a council candidate, a Lib Dem, allegedly very briefly a member of Respect, then I believe he formed the 'Community Independent Party UK' (with Raja Khan as one of the candidates) and has now decided to leave active politics by joining the Conservative Party. There's only the Green Party and UKIP to go before he's got his Panini album of party membership cards completed.

Perhaps the most interesting thing is what this says about the Conservative Party. I can't think of an occasion when a photograph of a candidate getting all friendly with the national leader of an opposition party has been used on an election leaflet before.
Raja Khan has certainly stirred up a publicity storm with this one. Obviously, the aim is to associate him with Salma, who is well thought of in the Pakistani community, in the hope that some of her stardust rubs off on him. A picture like this certainly says a lot more than the vapid and ungrammatical text that comprises the leaflet.
Equally interesting is the location for the picture - the recent Unite march for jobs in Birmingham. Last time I checked, Unite were affiliated to the Labour Party. The speakers at the rally were certainly not supporting Conservative policy - Tony Woodley reminded us of the history of Conservative response to economic problems.
We cannot risk seeing another forgotten generation who cannot find work and have their lives ruined as a result. We must not replay the nightmare 1980s where there was misery for millions of our people and with whole communities wrecked.
The demands of the march don't seem to tie in with Tory policy either - especially the call for greater protection for workers from redundancy and short-time working subsidies like those being applied in Germany.
The irony deepens still further when you remember that within days of the march, a Conservative backbench councillor in Birmingham challenged for the leadership of the City Council with a blithe promise to scrub 3000 people from the payroll.
Perhaps the real reason for the anger stirred up by Cllr Mullaney was that he felt that blindly supporting the Conservatives and leaping aboard any passing bandwagon is the job of the Liberal Democrats in Birmingham and he doesn't want Respect muscling in on his turf.


Anonymous said...

What a joke! The tories are cashing in on Salma Yaqoob's hard work and the image she has with the community, especially the ethnic community in the area where Raja Khan is standing.

Yes the leaflet does imply she is supporting him despite not mentioning her name. It says Raja wins local support and they have used Salma as the main image.
What an odd thing to do when she's the leader of a party on the opposite end of the political spectrum. It's like a BNP candidate posing with Nick Clegg in a bid to win an election, or a Labour candidate using a uge image of him/her with David Cameron on his election material, it's just daft!

I was at the March for Jobs and saw Raja Khan repeatedly approach Salma while she was speaking to protesters and trying to film a video of the event. She couldn't shake him off if she tried. What a sleaze bag that Raja is! Cheap tricks!!

Tory spokepeople have said his leaflet suggests he is working with different parties and attending different events. He only turned up at the march for Jobs for his flippin picture. I didn't see him there before then!

And grabbing people for a picture and going against their wishes when they politely ask you not to use it for political purpose is not what I'd call 'working' with representatives from different parties for the common good. It's actually taking the p*ss to get your seat in Parliament or Council so that you can sit around doing nothing on taxpayers money while you tell all of your mates in Pakistan or wherever that you're a politician and have loads of money but don't actually do anything like all of the other councillors representing inner city deproved areas in Birmingham.

Where do the Tories find these people? All the random 'Asian' men recruited by major parties just to get the ethnic vote in places like London and Birmingham haven't in unison achieved what Salma has managed to achieve on her own.

Stop recruiting these opportunists and find British born talent if you really want constituents to be represneted!

Praguetory said...

In fairness, there's a youtube where Salma uses Raja's image. She knows exactly who he is and I don't think there was any unwillingness on her part to be pictured together.