Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Bolton South Labour: Making History by ... Picking a Dyed in the Wool Socialist

Yes, that's right! It's happened right here in Greater Manchester. "Constituency Labour Party Selects Socialist!" Brilliant. A candidate that stood in Bolshy Brent 2005, refusing to toe the party line on the war, highlighting the most socialist achievements of the government as a platform.

Famously pulling in both Tony Benn and Ken Livingstone rather than current ministers as their key supporters on the stump. In fact this person is even Mayor Ken's Human Rights Advisor.

Meanwhile others are rightly celebrating other aspects of the selection - Yasmin Qureshi could be Britain's first woman MP with Pakistani heritage. She will depend on a speedy weigh in versus a more tortuous count in Bethnal Green & Bow to pip Bangladeshi heritage Rushanara Ali to also be first Muslim woman and first Asian woman elected.

The official precis CV goes: Qureshi is a Barrister at 2 King’s Bench Walk chambers and human rights advisor to London Mayor, Ken Livingstone. She has worked for Government Legal Services and Crown Prosecution Service and was the Head of the Criminal Legal Section of the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) for some time. She contested Brent East in 2005.

Slate were more effusive. Cheeky Muslim Woman Attorney Who's Britain's Most Appealing Candidate was just their May 2005 headline:

This time, Labor has more than leveled the playing field. Qureshi is a formidable candidate. She's a Muslim of Pakistani descent in a constituency that's 28 percent Asian and 13 percent Muslim; she's a barrister; she's a human-rights adviser to London Mayor "Red" Ken Livingstone, who represented Brent East from 1987 to 2001. On paper, she's astonishing enough. But in person she's astounding. Charismatic, chatty, cheeky, she's a natural extrovert. She described herself as "a gobby candidate" — that's "outspoken" in American — which is one way of saying that she disagrees with a good chunk of current Labor Party policy.

Over the last four weeks, she's run an anti-war campaign that stresses the government's economic strengths. She has distanced herself from Blair and invited in "old Labor" stalwarts like Livingstone ("former Labor" (sic) in his case) and Tony Benn to campaign for her.

Bolton has a Socialist Club. Not just some comrades meeting in a smoky pub mind. This is a bricks and mortar, albeit a little tired, at Wood Street (bricollaged above with YQ) and if you click the link you'll find some real red antecedents.

Wood Street may be needed to make up for the loss of one of=r two Labour Clubs in the Town as The Bolton Evening News reports. Not local. Never heard of her. Blah de blah.

Bolton West MP Ruth Kelly: "She's hard-working and committed to improving the lives of all those living in Bolton South East."

David Crausby, MP for Bolton North: "selection of a Muslim woman is a real step forward."

Bolton Interfaith Council secretary Tony McNeile: "The selection of an Asian woman is a reflection of modern society in Bolton."

Bolton Council leader Cliff Morris added: "It will be nice to have a young Asian woman representing Bolton so we have a nice mix of MPs."

Yes, "nice". LOL add: "The selection of a socialist is the real news today."

Nargis Khan fans will be pleased to hear that she did well and it was her transfers that finally settled matters. LOL have not yet seen the detailed numbers although the final margin was just 17. Thinking aloud this may mean that Nargis - who is a Bolton lass with her family home in the town - may have seen transfers splitting quite evenly between the two "finalists".


Andrea said...

Some of the comments after the Bolton News piece are scary...

Chris Paul said...

Indeed they are. But then again no-one is really 100% happy with carpet baggers and parachutists insofar as YQ is one. Except say Mike Ion whose analysis re West Derby is quite remarkable!!

Chris Paul said...

[speculation]Were 2 and 3 quite close? Because I'd imagine NK might have got the lion's share of no 2's transfers??[/speculation]

Andrea said...

"But then again no-one is really 100% happy with carpet baggers and parachutists insofar as YQ is one"

but is she a parachutee?
She doesn't sound as the party 100% loyalist that regional offices and national party usually like to get selected

Chris Paul said...

She has some links to the area and is more tenuously connected than these old guys at the Labour Club would want (and she's not a bloke like them) but not an obvious frontline parachutist ... making Mike Ion's remarks about the clown Twigg even more remarkable really.

She probably has the parachute regiment handbook at least.

Still hoping that Nargis and Rupa find winnable seats, and soon.

Of course Rupa has EU experience working for Carol Tongue as well as on the NW list so that's possible ... but perhaps not in NW.

Anonymous said...

I heard that all but one of Nargis's transfers went to Yasmeen.
Nargis ran a v.good campaign but Yasmeen had been in the race quite a bit longer and the view is that those who wanted a muslim woman candidate (which is a laudable ambition after all) made sure that they didn't split their vote and voted for the first competent credible muslim woman candidate who'd asked them. Nargis came out of the campaign with a lot of credit and I,like you, hope she gets selected somewhere soon. It is true that Yasmeen may well be the first Asian muslim woman MP but Nargis, if selected and elected, could still be the first British born Asian muslim woman mp. Not a nerdish point I don't think but a real landmark to celebrate when it happens. Good luck to Yasmeen. Some of the comments in the Bolton Evening News do make you despair though don't they?

tonydj said...

Looks like the BNP are set to get a good result then!