Monday, November 26, 2007

Sajjad Karim MEP: Goes Home to the Tories

Back in the good old days Sajjad Khan MEP and Chris Davies MEP enjoy a pint together. But there's no point in crying over spilt milk.

North West MEP Sajjad Karim has defected from the Lib Dems and "gone home' to the Conservatives. Sajjad's Wiki Page has already been updated to this effect, about three hours after the news broke on BBC Radio Four's Today programme (listen Again link, probably the 6:30-7 section).

Sajjad's father was a Conservative Councillor, and possibly mayor, of Pendle where his son also began his political life.

During the 2004 campaign the NW Liberal Democrats pimped Karim in a thoroughly irresponsible and communalist way. Not in so many words, in writing anyway, but:

"You're Brown, Vote Brown"
"You're Asian, Vote Asian"
"You're Muslim, Vote Muslim"

This was a despicable deflection of the targeted communities from Chris Davies MEP maverick social liberalism - on sex and drugs and booze and rock and roll - anathema to the audiences such leaflets were distributed to.

At a hustings in Manchester Town Hall I personally challenged Davies on this formulation - generally written down as "the only asian and muslim candidate who can be elected" owtte - when the BNP's Nick Griffin was a player in the contest and his line was essentially: "You're white, vote white." Some characters around UKIP were also members of or ex-members of fascist groupings.

Davies was incredibly glib and irresponsible in replying: "So what? It's true!"

It was a close run thing and essentially the targeted voters were being driven to secure Davies' own seat but just about returned Sajjad Karim in the last seat decided I believe.

I was speculating that Sajjad could get no assurance that he would be listed first by the Lib Dems but had been tempted with an offer of a top three placing by the Tories but in comments here Tim Leunig asserts that the Lib Dems have decided their priority.

In 2004 Labour and the Conservatives had rather 'constipated' lists with more protected sitting MEPs than likely seats won.

Labour had two fantastically strong Muslim candidates in our list - Dr Rupa Huq and Dr Ebrahim Adia (also here) - but alas not close to winnable positions.

Even if the allocation of seats had not dropped from ten to nine. It will drop again in 2008 - giving some urgency to Sajjad's quest for safety.

After the gloating Conservatives should consider their Equality platform versus Europe where even providing a small element of Positive Action for women created a raging row of confusion and obfuscation. They should vow to avoid the shameful Lib Dem behaviour around Sajjad - both before and after his election.

Hat Tip: Iain Dale. Update 11:07: Helen Foster-Grime, now second on LD list.


Anonymous said...

A caption contest beckons Chris? Sajid Karim has not got a lotta bottle (with apologies to the milk marketing board circa 1983 campaign)

Chris Paul said...

Chris Davies looks like the cat that got the cream?

Anonymous said...

Saj: Is this white enough for you David?

Anonymous said...

David? Ahhh, Cameron. Though it could of course be a reference to historic Old Moat shenanigans ... there was a David involved there too.

Tameside Eye said...

Is this really an image what the hardcore Tories want to portray? A soft liberal shifting over to the "nasty" Conservative party?

Chris Paul said...

Is that a caption TE? Not very good.

Actually a boy brought up as a true blue leaving self-appointed "swivel eyed loon" Davies and returning to the mother ship is not such a bad idea for the Tories?

When they are after Lib Dem defectors from the electorate. When they tried to get the whole LD group on Newcastle council to cross.

When this was the LD's one and only BME parliamentarian and when the Tories themselves don't have many of them ... elected ones anyway.

And when Sajjad Karim has been half decent as an MEP - although his newly chubby cheeks may be showing an excess of gravy ...

The LDs treat BME activists with contempt. In this case they appear to have changed the rules on eligibility to vote in the selection ranking in a way that disadvantaged Sajjad Karim and others candidates who had bucked the trend of membership decline and joined some people up.

The LDs deserve this.

The hardcore Tories can as they say "go swivel!"

Administrator said...

Karim's father wasnt a Councillor he was just a Hard Core Tory. And dont Argue as i am from Pendle and a Lib Dem so i know about the Tory Scum of pendle which now includes Karim and his disciples.