Thursday, May 29, 2008

Man Wit Lib Dems: Does Cash Card Trump Race Card?



Further to the Lib Dem Voice post on Henley Selections you'll never guess who turned up in comments?

Former Manchester Withington Lib Dem candidate Yasmin Zalzala that's who. With much of her own painful story posted, with exclusive emails and transcripts. Any ellipsis in this extract from LDV comments indicates other comments, not relevant to this post, have been redacted.

# Yasmin Zalzala Says 28th May 2008 at 9:44 pm
The Lib Dems keep claiming there are by-election rules for selecting a candidate which includes dumping the locally selected candidate when one is in situ.
I was with the party for many years and do not recall such a rule.
Is it in the constitution? Perhaps someone would be kind enough to direct me to the relevant info?
...
# Mark Pack Says 28th May 2008 at 10:39 pm
Clause 11.6 of the party’s federal constitution says that if there is a Parliamentary by-election a new selection process is run.
It has been there for at least eighteen years; the copy I just checked was dated 1990, though I think it was there right from the formation of the party.
PS Russ: the party followed its normal democratic rules for selecting a candidate, with party members having a choice of who to vote for. That’s very different from what the Conservatives did, sending in their party leader to order the local party to tear up its process.
...
# Chris Paul Says: 29th May 2008 at 12:11 pm
Yasmin of course was dumped even though there was no by-election. In favour of her agent the despicable John Hospital Hoax Leech. And she was dumped with comments that as an Iraqi, woman, muslim, BME she was a liability. Something that she has been trying to address ever since.
Interestingly the ward where Yasmin heroically stood over several years is Old Moat and from which she increased the Lib Dem vote in the constituency hand over fist in 97 and 01. And then they go and select an Asian, Muslim guy this time, despite using ethnicity and religion as part of their Yasmin dumping philosophy for 05.
Perhaps this decision has something to do not with any change of heart but with mercenary interests. Sufiyan Rana who was the unsuccessful candidate is credited with giving £2,500 to John Leech’s constituency funds on 31 March 2008. Just five weeks before this election.

# James Graham Says 29th May 2008 at 12:18 pm
"And then they go and select an Asian, Muslim guy this time, despite using ethnicity and religion as part of their Yasmin dumping philosophy for 05."
You do love to undermine your own argument don’t you Chris? If the party was so racist in the manner that you suggest, why would it do that?
It couldn’t be something to do with the quality of the respective candidates, could it? Or are you incapable of evaluating people on any basis other than the colour of their skin?
...
# Chris Paul Says 29th May 2008 at 1:11 pm
My point dear James Graham is that this candidate - who lives miles away, past Manchester Gorton and Manchester Central in the new Blackley constituency and so ticks few if any Lib Dem boxes - gave £2500 and that this may have overcome the kind of objections made to Yasmin’s candidacy. Those remain indefensible.
Yes, of course Rana could have more going for him as a candidate than Zalzala. I wouldn’t say so myself. He and his big brother are amiable, over confident clots. But that’s not the point.
Man Wit Lib Dems did not say to Yasmin that she was no longer good enough. They said she was female, BME, Muslim and that’s why she had to go.
But Rana provided a timely cash donation.

No race or gender card was played in the case of Henley as far as I know. Though they have it seems upset some party members and picked an out of town gentleman.

But I continue to be amazed that Lib Dems likes James Graham simply cannot or will not engage with the substantive points.

Manchester Withington Lib Dems specifically passed over Yasmin Zalzala as their candidate because of her race, religion and gender. This is a serious enough problem for them.

Now they have installed a candidate - solicitor Sufiya Rana - who lives and works about ten miles from the constituency, and who is clearly Asian and Muslim. Contemporaneously Mr Rana has donated £2,500 in cash to John Leech's constituency funds. The cash card trumps the constituency race card? I really think we should be told.


This picture shows Simple Simon Ashley joining famous ex-Lib Dem Sajjad Karim in welcoming welcoming Left to Right Moin Azma and Sufiyan Rana (partners in the Azmi Rana firm) to the Lib Dems. Their connection to Labour was I think rather tenuous. Sufiyan's brother "Sham" is also a Lib Dem candidate. Perhaps a vote or two in the past. From Asian Image.

The only other donations actually recorded at the Electoral Commission (there are various others in medium and large four-figure amounts to my certain knowledge) in Manchester towards Lib Dem units since 2001 have been some £23,000 donated under strained circumstances by Angela Gallagher, who had also been allowed to be a candidate, and £8,000 of a possible £45,000+ of councillor allowances - all promised in writing, but 80% withheld so far - from Cllr John Leech MP himself. Hat tip on Rana donation: David Ottewell

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Has Chris Davies or Sajjad Karim not donated?

Chris Paul said...

Don't see them in the listing. And no percent for party scheme is there for Manchester's Lib Dems either. And strangely barrister Peter Rothery who definitely donated in this time period, and Karim Afzal ditto are not listed either.

Chris Paul said...

Er sorry, Qassim Afzal that should say. He calls himself "Afzal" to try and pass himself off as Afzal Khan. Since his blurb was written Lib Dems have lost FIVE council seats in the Gortonconstituency.

Tim Kinsella said...

Perhaps Mr Leech is cleverly holding back £23,000 to restore Angela's retirement nestegg at the last minute. He must feel very guilty about skinning a 69-year-old for her life savings, and then plotting to deselect her as a councillor.

Anonymous said...

Don't think that the decision to drop Yasmin had anything to do with race - as I am sure the local Labour Councillors know full well, and I suspect you do too.

Chris Paul said...

Well, anonymous (why anonymous?) as discussed at LDV there are all sorts of reasons for changing candidates - even after two successful campaigns - but the reason given WAS to do with race and sex. What were secret emails circulating among Leech's supporters have become public. So we know that was the reason or the excuse in circulation.

Though I wouldn't be too surprised if there were other emails reflecting different reasons too. Perhaps you have some of those?

I see you are not taking up the challenge of explaining the connection or not between the extraordinary candidacy of a man from 10 miles away who does not fit the Lib Dems' own person spec for the ward and that man's £2,500 donation.

Yasmin is a point of departure. The story now is Sufiyan Rana, £2,500 for Leech, and an unusual candidacy from a not-local man.

Anonymous said...

The only official explanation I have heard was that she showed a lack of respect for colleagues. Seems about right to me. Not a team player!!!

I have no inside information - just a voter who knew one or two of the people involved - including Yasmin before she adopted her current style of dress.

My recollection also is that her council vote peaked around 1998, but I may be wrong there.

Chris Paul said...

Well anonymous

This is now a question about Sufiyan Rana, a substantial donation to Leech, and a candidacy in a ward - old moat - where according to LD written and oral testimony the people were A1 bigots.

*************

The YZ matter is historical background.

The explanation you cite was the post-rationalisation trotted out after the fact by Simple Simon. In a sense she became "not a team player" AFTER they dropped her from the team. Which has a kind of logic to it.

It is of course true that the Old Moat vote didn't continue to go up, and indeed fell. That may reflect the resources and priority given to the seat. All the allegations about the bigotry of the residents of Old Moat need to be disregarded I think. Outrageous.

The Man Wit vote shot up under the Zalzala candidacy with the Tories all but destroyed. And it is probably also true that she would not have gone with the Christie Closure Hoax and so would not have won the seat.

If you read all the various items posted by Yasmin here - and this does require some patience - you will see that the accusation of not being a team player etc came after she had refused to attend some kind of kangaroo court that was trying (and did) dump her as PPC and indeed council candidate.

Anonymous said...

What a sad tale.

Yasmin is her own worst enemy I am afraid.

Speaking as an old Moat resident I have to say that she had lost credibility and had become an embarrassment towards the end of her political career.

You are right she would never have won Old Moat - quite simply she alienated too many people.

Certainly time for everyone to move on.

Chris Paul said...

You don't reveal your political allegiances and memberships if any anon. Even if you are right that Yasmin should now let it go this doesn't get away from the atrocious behaviour and indeed the continual defamatory remarks of the LDs.

I didn't say she would never have won Old Moat. She probably would not have done, given a strong Labour team. Did say that as she would not have perpetrated the Christie Cancer Hospital Closure Hoax she would probably not have won the parliamentary election.

AND as an Iraqi she also supported the war (like various Lib Dems did, as with other parties there was no genuine unanimity on liberal intervention, just opportunism).

But the question we have at the moment is meta-Yasmin. What is going on with this distantly-located candidate, this large donation, this ward choice for his candidature?

yzalzala said...

Chris Paul

Please note this correction

I DID NOT SUPPORT THE IRAQ WAR

Please print an apology immediately

yzalzala said...

What is this talk of 'post YZ era'

And where did this 'anonymous' Old Moat resident come up?

How convenient for people to hide behind anonymous and pointificate on the subject!

I am not dying and am very much present and hope to return to full active politicking when I recover from the treatment.

So there.

Chris Paul said...

Apologies Yasmin, I have clearly misremembered your position from the time, and I have of course seen you at various anti-war meeting since.

Apologies.

Anonymous said...

Apologies Yasmin if I have come across as pontificating. I have simply given my own perceptions.

Re my own allegiances.

I am not a member of any political party - but voted for Yasmin and John Leech. If I were in a Tory-Labour marginal I would vote Labour. (now looks like a lost cause judging by the latest opinion polls though). If I were in Hulme I would vote Green. I am against one-party domination, and would like to see stronger opposition in Manchester - and an occasional change of control would not hurt.

All my opinion of course.

Anonymous said...

Apologies Yasmin if I have come across as pontificating. I have simply given my own perceptions.

Re my own allegiances.

I am not a member of any political party - but voted for Yasmin and John Leech. If I were in a Tory-Labour marginal I would vote Labour. (now looks like a lost cause judging by the latest opinion polls though). If I were in Hulme I would vote Green. I am against one-party domination, and would like to see stronger opposition in Manchester - and an occasional change of control would not hurt.

All my opinion of course.

Anonymous said...

Apologies Yasmin if I have come across as pontificating. I have simply given my own perceptions.

Re my own allegiances.

I am not a member of any political party - but voted for Yasmin and John Leech. If I were in a Tory-Labour marginal I would vote Labour. (now looks like a lost cause judging by the latest opinion polls though). If I were in Hulme I would vote Green. I am against one-party domination, and would like to see stronger opposition in Manchester - and an occasional change of control would not hurt.

All my opinion of course.

Tim Kinsella said...

Firstly, that wasnt the real Tim Kinsella - far too crass.

Secondly, it seems a big price for Mr Rana to pay to become a candidate in a relatively safe Labour seat, which the Liberal Democrats think is unwinnable for a BME candidate according to you and Yasmin Zalzala. However, donations to Manchester Central Labour Party by Ask Property Development, Opal Estates and Stuart Wall himself do appear to be sound financial investments. Unfortunately for Ask, Gordon didn't read the script properly...

rob's uncle said...

Here's the latest comment from http://www.libdemvoice.org/henley-by-election-2761.html

'Jackie Pearcey Says: 3rd June 2008 at 8:12 am:
Yasmin,
I don’t want to go over old ground, but I was at a meeting in a room full of people when you specifically accused two senior Councillors of racism because they didn’t agree with you on the proposed boundary changes which we were going to put to the Boundary Commission as the Liberal Democrat proposals.

This caused a lot of offence, especially as the Councillors in question had worked very hard at assembling a complex jigsaw of proposals. You left everybody there the impression that if somebody didn’t agree with you then it had to be due to racism and sexism. An prompt and sincere apology would have stopped the whole sorry saga right there and then.'

Chris Paul said...

TK: The "real" Tim Kinsella is imaginery anyway so I'm not about to have the IP-police launch an investigation "Tim".

The unwinnability is not according to Me or Yasmin. It is according to Withington Lib Dems, not least the scapegoat who was disciplined for saying and writing such things.

The donation from Mr Rana is EXTRAORDINARY under any circumstances. And his candidacy when he lives in Prestwich is also EXTRAORDINARY.

And so is sticking out FOURTEEN items of print in an "unwinnable" seat that John Leech himself is said to have rated "in the bag".

Of course he quickly left the Old Moat and Chorlton counts as his candidates each realised how they had been thrashed. He's a user IMO.

Chris Paul said...

Rob's Uncle: Wasn't at the meeting in question and have no idea what was said. But I have certainly seen Lib Dem racist name-calling up very close and sexism is well known and reflected in gender balance of parliamentarians for example. Not to mention the appointment of a middle class white man to head the ineffectual "Equality" initiatives.

Yasmin specifically denied these kind of charges e.g. here. Sandiford, who is referred to elliptically, is a pompous blow hard and an extraordinarily patronising man.

Yasmin admits that the terms had been used in a response to not being consulted properly compared to white male candidates on boundary change issues. About the process not the people she says.

Here Yasmin reports the conclusions of the enquiry which were hard to escape.

There is a lot more material close by these links. What Jackie says is disputed. there can be NO DOUBT that Yasmin was told her race, sex and religion were liabilities. She was even told to go and seek selection in SW England. The appeals and meetings she described seem horrendous in composition and conduct.

The disciplining of the scapegoat was half-hearted at best.

The continual smears against Labour candidates and activistsin Old Moat in Lib Dem "testimony" is completely groundless and unacceptable.

There is even the suggestion that the construction that "XY is not local" is a racial smear. If so then for example Cllr John Grant was repeatedly guilty of such smearage against the muslim woman Amina Lone. Also attacked I'm told by both Tories and Lib Dems for being a single mum.

John Wilson said...

I wonder what you make about Yasmin's allegations that the Labour Party were using racist smears against her. Is she only believable when she makes allegations against the Lib Dems?