Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Bad News for Corbyn candidate Matt Kerr; Judge rules against Scottish Labour in heated Westminster selection row, it seems Labour Cllr Matt Kerr will have to pin his hopes on the Labour Party barring Khan who has had a formal complaint lodged against him by a Pollok CLP office bearer, it seems 80 members will have their voting rights reinstated and I doubt they will be vote Team Kerr

Dear All

Awhile ago, I wrote a post asking a simple question, what are ‘Labour values’, what you are told are Labour values in some cases doesn’t match with reality.

The result of the Court case brought by Asim Khan, an ally of Anas Sarwar is in, the Labour Party lost.

This result means that the internal ruling to exclude around 80 local members including myself is over it appears as a judge branded aspects of it “irrational” and “wrong in fact and wrong in law”. What this means is that most of the 80 who are from ethnic minority backgrounds should get their vote.

The likely person to benefit from this decision will be Muslim candidate Asim Khan, the selection battle in Glasgow South West is of minor interest to me. I don’t like ‘race politics’ and it seems this is the way this contest is heading.

Electing people based on the colour of their skin is wrong; equally casting your vote based on someone’s religion is equally squalid. Asim khan has got over the first hurdle, there are a couple more before he maybe selected, the formal complaint against him by an office bearer at Pollok CLP and the actual vote itself.

Whoever wins this contest, Khan or his rival Labour Cllr Matt Kerr, there will be a split, this contest was and is a nasty little affair without virtue in my opinion. Kerr’s chances have gone from being the favourite to win to him now being the underdog, in the Pollok ward both the seats are held by Muslim Cllrs who are allies of Anas Sarwar.

The judge in the Court of Session was right to ruled against the Labour Party and in favour of Asim Khan because what happened was unfair, the fact that a committee of the Labour Party couldn’t see this speaks volumes about their competence. The ruling also means the current process will have to be scrapped and the freeze date shifted.

It is said that this ‘battle’ is a proxy war being fought out by the supporters of Sarwar and Leonard, the Labour leader; I suspect that many would agree with this sentiment. Pollok CLP from my first stint in it didn’t impress me, and the bad blood cause by this contest will not go away.

Will Asim Khan be able to find people to work for him in both the long and short campaigns?

Will Labour Cllr Matt Kerr be able to find Muslims willing to work for him in the long and short campaigns?

It seems to me that some in Pollok CLP were of the impression that Kerr who lost by 60 votes would be the candidate for the next attempt to win the seat in 2022, I think there might be a need to shift the deckchairs.

After winning the hearing, Asim Khan said:

“I am sorry that it came to this, but sadly this was the only way to give members an open and democratic selection process. I hope there are no further malicious attempts to undermine the process and that we can now move on to having an open contest so we can select the candidate best placed to help deliver a Labour MP and a Labour Government.”

One thing which I read was that five Asian Labour members had written to UK leader Jeremy Corbyn over the row, claiming they had made to feel "not wanted and not welcome" in the party. Well, my experience as a white working class man in Pollok CLP was that I was to feel "not wanted and not welcome" either.

During the 2017 snap Westminster election, I was phoned up by a person in the party asking me to help the Kerr Campaign, as I was on good terms with the caller I said I would do 7 days, if they wanted me to stay after that, I wanted a ticket to the election count.

The answer came back No!

The first day, I turned up, the Team Kerr drove past me at the meeting place without stopping, after walking over I waited for a few minutes before someone decided to speak to me. I think this was to let me know how unimportant I was to them. The session was badly run, and the candidate Kerr decided to tell me if I got someone in to let him also speak to them. This was a fair request by him, given that he could end up being 100 metres away, it wasn’t practical. Kerr couldn’t workout this wasn’t practical, and during the session, one of his group asked me how to be an activist.

 After that session, I left wishing I hadn’t promised to do 7 sessions for Kerr.

The next outing was to meet at Househillmuir road at Priesthill road at lunchtime for a canvassing session at 12 pm, I turned up 10 minutes early and waited to 12.15 pm. Team Kerr didn’t come to the designated location, they were on the other side of Peat Road at the wrong spot, Househillwood road, they couldn't read a map properly. I gave up my entire morning so I could do this session. Later on at the evening session, I turned up 15 minutes before the start, Team Kerr turned up 15 minutes after the start, 30 minutes standing about doing nothing, they were late again.

Oh….. and no apology for earlier session mistake, after all why would you offer apologies for being late when you hold people in utter contempt?

Despite the way I was treated I was willing to do the 7 sessions and then bail out, as it turned out the person who asked me to do the campaign decided to cancel our agreement. I walked and continued with the other Labour campaign in Glasgow North East who had Paul Sweeney as the candidate.

I think at the start Paul was a little unsure about me but after a former Labour Cllr told him that she listened to me on the doorstep and that I was brilliant, his concerns were addressed. I pulled double shifts for the Glasgow North East campaign and Paul Sweeney won by 242 votes, the only Labour person to get elected in Glasgow.

So, in conclusion for the sake for giving me a ‘free’ ticket which I would have paid for by my efforts in full, Labour Cllr Matt Kerr lost Glasgow South West by 60 votes. Not only had he lost the election, he lost 5 years of MP’s pay, perks and expenses, the opportunity to employ five maybe six staff and now the possible of selection to a winnable seat.

At present, I have made no promises to do anything for anyone in the Labour Party.

Finally, as I stated whoever wins will have an uphill task to convince people in Pollok CLP to work for them, the CLP isn’t noted for a work ethic among the membership as the campaign for Johann Lamont show all too clearly. Imagine committing to do 4 years of activism as a candidate and then on election night find out you aren’t going to Westminster, this might be the prize awaiting the winner of the current selection contest!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University


Anonymous said...

10 women have complained about Asim Khan to Scottish Labour seems that this has turned into a witch hunt to secure the nomination for Matt Kerr. I think we will be seeing this blow up into something more George, what are your thoughts.

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