Do you believe in fair play?
Do you believe that people deserve an equal chance; well it seems that some people don’t and in order to help their desire for power, rules can be constructed to not be fair. I think that the rules of the Labour Party need changed. A few blog posts ago, I highlighted the practice of Muslims in the Labour Party who sign up other Muslims for the purposes of voting for them. The Labour Party seem to brush off what I see as totally and morally wrong by saying that they welcome new members.
This practice can occur at any level of elected position in party.
The Scottish Labour leadership contest if it is anything should be fair and more than that seen to be fair. So, what does it say that the “shadow of race” creeps into fight for leadership of Scottish Labour?
Sources in Scottish Labour have been briefing the media that more than 1000 Asian members have joined the party since nominations for the contest between Anas Sarwar and Richard Leonard. One of the things which I found day in and day out as a member of the Labour Party in Pollok CLP was a complete lack of engagement by Asian Muslim members in doing activism. I observed that for the most part Asian Muslim members never appeared in the ‘long campaign’; and in the ‘short campaign’ of Johann Lamont, the attendance rate was incredibility poor. In fact, you might think in the main that ordinary Asian Muslim ‘members’ only appear when it is time for candidate selection and then only to vote for a Muslim Candidate.
The press has learned that 1600 people joined the Labour Party, and 1200 of those who have been added to Labour’s membership list had “Asian sounding names”, according to a party source. This gets me to the point regarding fairness, is the practice of signing up members by candidates campaign specifically to vote for them ethical? When you read that members of the Asian community had been recruited by Sarwar’s supporters how does it make you feel that race plays a part in the selection of a leader.
And what does it say about Sarwar’s supporters doing this?
If elected that means in my opinion that Anas Sarwar would be tainted entering public office as leader; and this is the main consideration, who would be willing to work for Anas Sarwar as an activist? In case, you don’t know a lot about politics, the long campaign is where the real work is done to win over voters.
It seems the practice of Sarwar’s supporters hasn’t gone down well, as one party source said:
“Reports of recruitment have been circulating in a number of constituency parties and people are obviously very concerned that there should be rigorous checking of it...People know what’s going on, the only question is whether it will be enough to edge it for Anas.”
A spokesperson from Scottish Labour’s HQ said:
“The Labour Party is a democratic party open to members of all backgrounds. Every day new members are joining us as they are inspired by our vision for a country that works for the many, not the few.”
Specifically what is the Labour vision?
Take a minute and jot down as many examples of Labour policy that you can think of that has been offered up to you as a member of the public.
In a general sense, you could say fairness, equality and social justice, does this story sound like it ticks any of those boxes?
Where’s the fairness?
Where the equality?
Where’s the social justice?
If a person signs up off their own bat then they are making the choice, but this practice to me is why Anas Sarwar shouldn’t get the leadership. Today is the final deadline to join and be eligible to take part in the ballot, and later in the month, the Voting papers will be sent out.
Here is a question, how many of the 1200 Muslim Asians will still be party members after the voting ends?
Richard Leonard’s campaign has refused to comment on the claims when approached, probably on the basis that if they were to speak out the Sarwar campaign or supporters would use this to play the ‘race card’. Speaking out in Scottish Labour can be a problem, but really someone should be speaking out and publicly and not be ashamed to stick their name to this problem.
I call this practice what it is morally repugnant.
Anas Sarwar’s campaign has been dogged a disaster, hit by a series of controversies about his money and lifestyle. He offloaded his shares to his children when it was revealed that some employees are paid below the real living wage in his family’s firm. Then came the fact there no trade union recognition at the company and never has been. Recently a trade union backed his campaign but it seems the person in charge is classed as a ‘friend’. On top of his tale of woe, Sarwar faced ongoing criticism for sending his children to private school because his lifestyle is ‘one of the few and not one of the many’.
One the biggest issue of Brexit which I campaigned for, Anas Sarwar has got it spectacularly wrong when he said would be a “calamity” if the party loses membership of the single market and said voting to trigger Article 50 was a “mistake”.
Finally, I signed to join the Labour Party after some considerable thought, after I read the story of signing members of the Asian community, I thought that Richard Leonard deserved the right to stand in a free and fair election, so I made a personal choice, not because his supporters or Sarwar’s supporters convinced me but because I believe in fairness.
I see what is going on and it isn’t fair in my opinion, it is a disgrace and should be beneath any candidate’s campaign.
George LairdThe Campaign for Human Rights at