Posts Tagged ‘European Elections’

Stop the Racist Nazi BNP – Birmingham Protest tonight

UAF and other anti-BNP protesters in Manchester last night

UAF and other anti-BNP protesters in Manchester last night

 

‘Stop the Nazi BNP’ protest in Birmingham TONIGHT5pm

No to fascists representing us in Europe!
 
Date: Tuesday 9th June, 2009
Time: 5pm – 7pm
Location: High Street (Meet outside Zavvi/Waterstones), Bullring, Birmingham.

Facebook group: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/event.php?eid=104673371440
 
Organised by UAF (Unite Against Fascism) and others. 

All welcome, please attend.

Salma Yaqoob: BNP victory shows the need for broad left to work together

The BNP have gained two seats in the European parliament

The BNP have gained two seats in the European parliament

Statement on the euro-election results by Councillor Salma Yaqoob, Respect party Leader:

“The historic scale of Labour’s defeat at the ballot box is evidence of the deep betrayal felt by those who once voted Labour in the hope of a fairer society. The depth of disillusionment with the mainstream parties is underlined by the shocking breakthrough made by the BNP.

“Labour is wholly to blame for its own crisis and has to take a large share of the responsibility for creating the conditions in which the far right is growing.

Labour’s failure to deliver for its core support has helped the BNP win votes in deprived white working class communities

"Labour’s failure to deliver for its core support has helped the BNP win votes..."

“Labour loosened the rules that gave licence to greedy bankers to gamble away our jobs and homes. Labour failed to protect our public services from wasteful and costly privatisation. Labour has overseen growing inequality and a chronic shortage of affordable housing. And Labour failed to tackle the scandal of MP’s expenses.

“Labour’s failure to deliver for its core support has helped the BNP win votes in deprived white working class communities. Labour’s determination not to be outflanked by the Tories on questions of race and immigration has created fertile ground for racist arguments to win support. Too many BNP arguments have been legitimised by a political consensus that treats asylum seekers and immigrants as a criminal threat. The BNP has fed on the growth in Islamophobia, egged on by a barrage of racist coverage in national newspapers. Political ground was conceded to the BNP, and they have occupied it to devastating effect.

“Labour has betrayed the hopes of millions of people who believe in a fairer and more equal society and those who believe in an ethical foreign policy based on peace and justice. These election results are a warning of the potential scale of the drift to the right.

British National Party leader Nick Griffin

British National Party leader Nick Griffin

“This right wing threat cannot be confronted by conceding the argument in advance. There is every practical and political reason for tackling the recession by extending state intervention, piling investment into a massive programme of house building, taxing the richest to support the big majority of the population through this recession. But a recent survey showed that more than half the working population have seen a cut in pay, reductions in hours or a loss of employment benefits since the recession began. While bankers and shareholders have been bailed out, millions of workers are paying for the economic crisis through lower pay, longer hours or unemployment. The Tories, Labour, Lib Dems and UKIP are all competing with each other on who will push through the most ruthless cuts to public spending.

“Giving ground to a right wing consensus will not undercut the growth of right wing parties. It will only encourage them. It is now critical that the broadest swathes of the left and progressive opinion in this country work together to lever the political agenda in the opposite direction.
We need an alternative to failed free market dogma.

“We need an alternative to an electoral system that disenfranchises the millions of people who don’t vote for the winning party and consigns whole geographical areas to be taken for granted. And we need a reassertion of a politics embedded in principles of peace, social justice, equality and anti-racism.

“The broad left must work together, irrespective of party affiliation, to maximise the impact of the progressive vote at the next General Election.

“I am proud of the contributions that Respect members made by supporting Green candidates in the West Midlands and North West. In the North West, with BNP leader Nick Griffin on the brink of a breakthrough, the choice was surely clear. For those who would not give their vote to Labour, the Green candidate – Peter Cranie – was more than a credible alternative. A left-wing Green candidate, with a principled record of opposition to racism, deserved our support.

Peter Cranie was less than 5,000 votes away from stopping Nick Griffin’s election

Peter Cranie was less than 5,000 votes away from stopping Nick Griffin’s election

“The results are in, and Peter Cranie was less than 5,000 votes away from stopping Nick Griffin’s election. Yet almost 50,000 votes were cast for the Socialist Labour Party and No2EU. Together they amounted to just 3% of the vote – nowhere near enough to make a positive impact. The plain fact is that had even a minority of that left wing vote gone to the Greens we would not be waking up to the fact that the North West is sending a fascist to the European parliament.

“If nothing else, these results should spark a renewed and more energetic discussion about bringing the broad left together around a common agenda for progressive change. I will be speaking at the very timely Compass conference next weekend, and I look forward to discussing these and other issues with Labour and Green supporters.

“I do not believe that the British public have become hostile to basic progressive policies on the responsibility of the state in providing decent housing, protecting jobs, and regulating the economy. But the retreat of Labour from even a modest social democratic alternative has led to a lack of connection in the public mind between the effects of the recession and the neo-liberal policies responsible for it.

“The manner in which Labour has vacated the traditional ground of the left has served to weaken any convincing notion of a political alternative to neo-liberalism. This has created a dangerous vacuum which is in danger of being filled by hate fuelled simplicities of the far right. The challenge for the left is to renew itself and reassert some basic socialist critiques and solutions into mainstream political debate.

“Respect will be doing everything we can to contribute to the renewal of a progressive and left wing politics. But we need to broaden our challenge to the failed parties. There will be many who want to see the values of peace, civil liberties and social justice represented at the ballot box, and in a fairly elected parliament. I encourage them to put themselves forward for consideration as candidates at the next General Election.

“We need each other and this country badly needs a political alternative of the left.

It is not beyond our ability to create this alternative. There are lessons we can draw from the anti-war movement. In a hostile climate and against formidable obstacles, a clear message, delivered with determination and organisational verve, was able to influence, shape and organise public opposition to war. We need a similar ambition to ideologically and practically build resistance to neo-liberalism and racism.”

To join Respect (membership costs £10/£5 per year), please visit: http://www.therespectparty.net/joindonate.php?page=join

To make a donation to our General Election fighting fund, please visit: http://www.therespectparty.net/joindonate.php?page=donate  

If you think you would be a suitable candidate to stand for Respect in a Westminster or local council election please contact Respect.

Salma Yaqoob says “Go Green” for the European Elections

Salma Yaqoob is backing Green Party MEP caniddate Felicity Norman

Salma Yaqoob is backing Green Party MEP caniddate Felicity Norman

Prominent Birmingham Councillor and Leader of the RESPECT Party, Salma Yaqoob is calling for progressive West Midlands voters to go Green and vote for Felicity Norman at the European Elections on 4th June.

Salma Yaqoob, who is a Sparkbrook Councillor and Westminster Candidate for Birmingham Hall Green constituency is endorsing Felicity for her commitment to fight the BNP at the European election and for the Greens’ progressive policies on job creation in new industries.

Councillor Yaqoob said:

“With the country facing the deepest recession in generations, Labour and the Tories offer us nothing but rising unemployment and cuts in services. Those of us who want a new politics based on social justice need to work together. The candidate closest to my own views on the environment, anti-racism and foreign affairs is Felicity Norman and I hope my supporters will back her on 4 June.”

At the last European election, the Greens secured 5.2% of the vote in the region. Respect got 2.4% of the votes. When combined, the 7.6% vote share is just greater than the BNP’s 7.5%. Only around 10% of the vote is needed to gain a seat at the European election next month and with the Greens, RESPECT and the BNP all having grown in the past five years, it is a tight race to the finish line on 4th June.

The Green Party is running its strongest ever campaign to elect a Euro-MP in the region to join the two other UK Green Party MEPs already elected.

Salma Yaqoob commented:

“The racist British National Party is hoping to make a breakthrough in these elections. Under the system of proportional representation it is essential that everyone who opposes the BNP uses their vote. The higher the turnout, the lower the chance of the BNP being elected. Whatever you do please use your vote against the BNP. But if you care about peace, justice, equality, anti-racism and the environment, vote Green in the European elections”.

Felicity Norman, the top Green Party Euro-MP candidate said:

“A Green vote at these elections says yes to positive politics and no to racism and it says yes to investing in jobs-rich industries to tackle recession and climate change.

“The Green Party is running a serious campaign to fight the BNP. In this proportional voting system, it’s normally a small party that takes the final seat, which could mean the BNP or the Greens. We know that if a Green is elected, there is no room for the BNP. The battle for fourth place at the European election is more important than ever and with Salma’s endorsement, our combined support ensures we’re in the game”.

Salma’s endorsement of Felicity is the second boost for the Greens in a week after news that Green Party candidate numbers for the County Council elections this year are treble the figure of the last County elections in 2005.

Salma Yaqoob speaks at Birmingham Votes ’09

Birmingham Votes '09

Birmingham Votes '09

On Saturday 9th May, 2009, Councillor Salma Yaqoob attended the Birmingham Votes ’09 event held by the Electoral Reform Society at the Quaker Meeting House in central Birmingham. 

Salma spoke at the event’s Question Time segment alongside cross-party city representatives including John Hemming MP (Lib Dem) and Richard Burden MP (Labour).

 

Electorial Reform Society Political Campaigns Officer Michael Calderbank said:

We all face a real challenge in raising the profile of the European Elections and the importance of democratic representation and we hope that the event made some contribution towards this effort.”