Sunday, 6 May 2012

Do we believe in redemption...


...political redemption that is of course. Let me explain.

Bradford had two councillors who were elected as BNP - as it happens they are husband and wife and represent Queensbury ward. Almost a year ago, they announced their resignation from that party and their intention to sit as independent councillors. At that time they also said that the politics of race and religion did not serve Bradford well.

As a 'mea culpa' it was a start.

Over this weekend, these Councillors sent an e-mail out to all the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat members of council following the success of Respect candidates in the local elections. Here is a chunks of that e-mail:

"Please forgive Lynda and I if you consider this e-mail inappropriate.

As most of you will know Lynda and I were at the count on Thursday/Friday supporting our friend Conservative Cllr Michael Walls.

What we witnessed at the count made our blood run cold, the politics of division has again reared it's ugly head in Bradford..."

They were, of course, referring to the manner in which Respect had campaigned - so it went on:

"Lynda and I have to agree with Ian Greenwood's televised comment re Respect that he considered that Respect made promised they would not be able to keep.

Lynda spoke to our wonderful Lord Mayor Naveeda Ikram at a recent opening ceremony that Naveeda performed in Queensbury.

Naveeda explained to Lynda how worried she and Ian Greenwood were that Respect had brought religion into their election manifesto.

Respect targeted heavily populated Asian/Muslim areas of the City and in doing so has split the local Asian communities."

 Now I appreciate the slight irony of former BNP councillors speaking of the "politics of division" but Paul's e-mail seemed genuine - he expressed real concern at how hard-working councillors like Ian Greenwood could be swept aside by this sort of campaign (a reminder, I guess, that the BNP did this too - the current Conservative Group leader, Glen Miller lost his seat to them in 2004).

My question however, isn't whether you agree with the analysis these councillors present but whether it opens the door to the 'political mainstream' for politicians previously wholly beyond the pale.

Do we believe in redemption?


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