Friday, 23 November 2012

Respect - playing with sectarian fire...


There are a couple of by-elections going on at the moment in, what might be described as urban seats - Rotherham and Croydon North (where I was educated - not that this has anything to do with what follows). And my dear friends in the Respect Party are standing in both seats.

I can't comment on the Croydon election - although you can never know with Lee Jasper - but in Rotherham, Respect have parachuted in Yvonne Ridley, former journalist and famous Muslim convert. All good politics I guess. But then we get a glimpse at the literature - in a reprise of the recent Bradford West by-election we see a blatant and disturbing appeal to sectarianism:

"The RESPECT Party Britain's only party that openly embraces Islam..."

 "...they (the Labour Party) are also going into pubs and clubs behind our backs and attacking Muslims, Asians and Muslim immigrants in particular."

"...we would remind you the last time the Muslim/Asian community voted to elect a Labour MP from Rotherham (he) set up an Israeli support group the so-called 'Labour Friends of Israel'."

"We have set up a database of Muslim/Asian families to make sure your voice is heard..."

This is what Respect have brought to Bradford and what they propose for Rotherham - divisive, insensitive, racist and sectarian politics. Less of a problem in Rotherham when the Muslim population is less that 15% of the electorate but the fact that this unpleasant sectarianism exists at all should be a cause for concern.

In the end there is little difference between the message pumped out here to young Muslims and the message that the BNP, EDL and National Front target at white working class communities. It's 'them' that cause your problems - vote for us because we're on your side against 'them'.

In Bradford we got a glimpse of this divisive approach at the last Council Meeting - motions on "islamaphobia" and questions attacking Israel. We sit quietly while JUST West Yorkshire - supposedly a 'racial justice' charity - churns out a stream of sectarian 'research' (using funding from those naive idiots at Joseph Rowntree) aimed at supporting this sectarian Respect agenda - indeed the leader of the Respect group on Council is a trustee of this "charity".

These people are not interested in integration, in tolerance or in peace. Respect and its allies are set on stirring up discontent in these communities, in finding demons where there are no demons and in dividing one group of Yorkshire people from another.

After a dozen years of building cohesion in Bradford it is distressing to see Respect attempt to tear that work down. And to see them spread this damaging message in Rotherham


1 comment:

Yvonne Ridley said...

This letter is a fake, as you well know. The police are investigating its origins and contents - it is a vile piece of literature that would never come from the pen of a Respect member.
Please do not pander to the politics of racism by giving this piece of filth anymore oxygen. it's fake and designed to undermine our excellent campaign which is being fought on good old fashioned socialist principles and nothing to do with faith.
Yvonne Ridley