Religion vs politics

Our private polling team have been out in Easton this week and we can EXCLUSIVELY reveal that, despite being nationally held in disrepute and in utter disarray, Labour appear set to win the ward in the forthcoming local elections on June 4.

This means that Abdul “the Mayor” Malik, the Lib Dem’s man from the mosque, is likely to be replaced by Mohammed Arif, Labour’s man from the mosque.

Is it a good thing that people appear to be being elected to office on the basis of their religion rather than their politics? And is this something that our mainstream parties should be openly embracing and encouraging?

They’re certainly not shy about lying through their teeth on behalf of these candidates.

“Arif moved to Easton in the 1980s,” explains his Labour managed website. Why then is his address listed as being in Mangotsfield in the official list of candidates (pdf)?

This entry was posted in Bristol, Bristol East, Easton, Elections, Labour Party, Lib Dems, Local Elections 2009, Local government, Politics and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to Religion vs politics

  1. Rosso Verde says:

    A couple of observations –

    A lot of the posters up for Labour are in
    unoccupied houses – at least they have no one registered to vote there, I was in a shop and they guy behind the counter said – I don’t vote Labour, but my boss told me to put it up.

  2. Eastonite says:

    Well done blogger. This is a taboo subject, and those who raise concerns about it risk being accused of racism. I for one have been concerned for a while that the 2 dominant parties appear to be pandering to what, in India, is called communalism. The big difference though is that in India, communalism is seen for what it is; a danger with potential for causing violence, whereas here, the parties seem to think that it’s a just a good way to get your vote out. They don’t seem to either realise or care that it raises potential dangers.

    In all probability, the ethnically and culturally diverse peoples of Easton will continue to be represented by 2 asian muslim businessmen, and this in an area that is incredibly varied, with large white english, irish, polish, afro-caribbean, sikh, hindu, somali and west african populations – and that’s just for starters. I might be prepared to take the oft-proclaimed commitment to “diversity” more seriously if they were prepared to put forward a gay woman as a candidate – plenty of them in Easton – not much chance of that though.

    It’s all starting to look very monocultural!

  3. woodsy says:

    Careful observers of the streets of BS5 will have noticed for weeks that Arif’s posters have also been going up in the part of Easton that falls within Lawrence Hill ward. Has the Labour Party now adopted the old Nazi policy of Lebensraum, or is this another sign of the terminal political incompetence? I think we should be told.

  4. Bristol Dave says:

    It has to only be based on religion that these people are voting.

    I never fail to be amazed at the latest poll results which show Labour still getting a proportion of the vote larger than the Lib Dems.

    Christ on a bike, just how fucking bad does it have to get before people decide not to vote Labour any more?

    This is one of the many problems with politics in this country; far, far too many people would vote for a freshly-laid runny turd, so long as it was wearing the right coloured rosette.

    The other being the First Past The Post voting system, which – because I live in a constituency that has always been a Labour stronghold – completely nullifies my vote if I want to vote for any other party, because it’s a 100% given that the Labour candidate will get in anyway due to all my stupid chavvy neighbours who are scared of losing their “benfids” and being forced to work for a living. If we had Proportional Representation Labour would have lost the last election.

  5. paul smith says:

    Oh mister blogger – you do seem to have a problem with Muslims. If a Labour Candidate was a church goer Christian or a Synagogue attending Jew would you be making the same remarks? Just because they go to the Mosque doesnt make them Muslim candidates. The Respect candidate in Easton is also a Muslim, and Abdul is campaigning for John Kiely, who is not a Muslim as far as I know.

  6. Rosso Verde says:

    Only the Green Party and Respect Candidates actually live in the ward.

    Us Greens have delivered personal letters across the ward – the response has been good – the Liberals have done the same although perhaps focusing on John Kiely’s personal reputation might be a mistake – we shall see!

  7. paul smith says:

    The green candidate for my ward lives the other side of the city – so what – he’s a thoroughly good chap.

    Arif works in the ward 6 days per week – his response on the doorstep has been fantastic – perhaps helped by him being a local activist for over 20 years – and he is not standing as a Muslim but as a Labour Candidate. Anymore than people dont stand as Catholics, CoE, Jews, Athiests or Hindus. In many seats Christians are being replaced by Christians somehow that doesn’t seem to warant a comment.

  8. thebristolblogger says:

    Well done blogger. This is a taboo subject

    you do seem to have a problem with Muslims

    You pays yer money and take your choice …

    If a Labour Candidate was a church goer Christian or a Synagogue attending Jew would you be making the same remarks

    If the vote was following the religion. Yes.

    he is not standing as a Muslim but as a Labour Candidate

    I find an insurance salesman supported by slum landlords an unconvincing socialist or even social democrat personally.

    people dont stand as Catholics, CoE, Jews, Athiests or Hindus

    That’s kind of my point …

  9. Paul Smith says:

    so what information on his election literature or elsewhere suggests he is a muslim candidate?

  10. Rosso Verde says:

    Bumped into Mohammed Arif at the weekend, seemed a nice bloke, but he may be punished for the car crash that is our government.

    On a more serious note the BNP have been out in Redfield – perhaps they mistook it for a part of Lawrence Hill ward.

  11. Mike says:

    Paul Smith-perhaps you should ask what this guys views are on homosexuality and the rights of women..
    It is the Muslim religion with its mediaevalism that preaches against gay rights and regards women as second class citizens. None of this is in tune with socialist or progressive beliefs.
    Of course being critical of medievalist religions is totally taboo. The way we have to tip toe around theocratic religions is a complete affront to what socialists, rationalists and progressives fought for for decades.

  12. thebristolblogger says:

    so what information on his election literature or elsewhere suggests he is a muslim candidate?

    His name?

    He also has a history in the area (despite living in Mangotsfield) of Muslim-led activism.

  13. Eastonite says:

    Well Paul Smith, at the time of the Chaudhury v Kiely 2007 election in Easton I saw posters advertising “Faruk Choudhury” for councillor and “Abdul Malik” for mayor, side by side in the same shop windows. Doesn’t that ring any alarm bells for you? It certainly did for me.

    To those who look just a little beneath the surface it very much appears as though Labour and the Liberal Democrats can be trying to play the voting syndicates in Easton, putting up the right man – and it will be a man, you can be sure – in order to bring out on their side a voter bloc known to be reliable, given the “right” candidate. A dodgy game, as dangerous as it is unfair to the broader electorate, not to mention undemocratic in principle.

  14. thebristolblogger says:

    putting up the right man – and it will be a man, you can be sure

    Of course in unfashionable, unmulticultural Stockwood there’s a female Asian councillor – Jay Jethwa.

    She’s the one the city’s staunch multiculturalists in the Lib Dems and Labour have allowed to be called “coconut” and then claimed it’s not racist.

    Paul’s colleague, Peter Hammond, has even been on community radio describing the incident as “froth” and “silly”. But – note – not racist.

    But if I attempt a serious discussion on race, politics and the possibilities of communalism the hint from the multiculturalists is that I’m a racist:

    you do seem to have a problem with Muslims

    The city’s political class just abuse the term racism, like everything else, for their own ends.

    How the fuck can hurling racist abuse across the council chamber not be racist while asking a question about whether being elected on the basis of religion rather than politics is?

    People need to look at their political bearings here.

  15. Me says:

    Jay Jethwa is a Tory, & she was was called a coconut by the LibDem cllr, Florida Shirley.

    Our glorious LibDem council leader, Babs Janke, has declined to take any action against Shirley.

    But we shouldn’t let facts get in the way of a good anti-Labour rant, eh, BB.

    Your political bearings are showing.

  16. thebristolblogger says:

    Are you denying Hammond has dismissed the incident as unimportant?

  17. paul smith says:

    BB I havent called you racist

  18. Rosso Verde says:

    Apparently the Sikh Federation (UK) has called for a vote for the Greens on June 4th!

  19. Rob Jones says:

    There are no reasonable grounds to assert that there is a ‘Muslim’ agenda here. If you speak to local Muslims you’ll hardly find one who voted for Abdul Malik. They simply do not follow a ‘Muslim’ agenda in this sense. As for Arif Khan, he has worked very hard. He knows many Muslims do not want to vote Labour, feeling betrayed by the party. Anyway Muslims do not make up the majority in the ward, though they are numerous. So if Arif is elected well it would be because more than Muslims voted for him. The smear used here that he doesn’t seem much of a socialist because he is a businessman is a bit ‘wet’. Labour are hardly socialist anymore so it’s irrelevant. Many socialists have had businesses before. Tacky really.
    It should also be pointed out that the reason why there has recently been an increase in Muslim candidates, across the political divide – Labour, LibDem & Conservative, is the result of local and national campaigns that have accused Muslims of not engaging politically. So which way do you want it. If they stand you accuse them of a ‘Muslim’ ticket and agenda, if they don’t the country accuses them of segregation and rejection of democratic values.

  20. paul smith says:

    “Of course being critical of medievalist religions is totally taboo. The way we have to tip toe around theocratic religions is a complete affront to what socialists, rationalists and progressives fought for for decades.”

    Why are you only having problems with Medievalist religions. What about those early civilisation and Roman empire religions (judaism and Christianity). There are plenty of Christians and Jews who have outdated views on the rights of homosexuals and women based upon the Torah and the Bible. I dont see why you want to single out Islam.

  21. thebristolblogger says:

    The term used was ‘Medievalist religions’ not Medieval. I’d take the term to refer to all religions not just Islam. But it’s a case of interpretation I guess.

    The point still holds though, in many circles on the left criticism of religion is becoming increasingly difficult.

    It’s them damn relativists …

  22. Being as Christianity only became big in the latter Roman empire – probably helping to destroy it if you take Gibbon’s track – and, Judaism in it’s current form also took off at the same time – modern rabinical Judaism would be unrecognisable to the peoples of Judea 2,000 years ago – then, I’d say that both of these qualify as mediaevalist religions.

    However Paul, if one looks back along this thread, one can see that it is about people voting for co-religionists because they are co-religionists. I am unaware of any considerable tendancy of Jews to vote for other Jews, or, of Christians to vote for other Christians, just because they share the same religion… in the UK… except of course in Northern Irleland… and we don’t want to go down that sad old sectarian road do we?

    Or has Gordon Brown issued a new set of commands? “Listen. We’ll be buggered after the next election, so we only have one year left to completely destroy the country. Communalism should do it”.

  23. Jo says:

    Hey, why blame relativists?

    Are you relativist-ist?

    Not all relativists are the same you know.

  24. paul smith says:

    Lizard watcher

    There are 2 ‘muslim’ candidates in Easton. The ward with the largest ‘muslim’ electorate is Lawrence Hill (even there it is estimated at little more than 1,000 voters out of 9,000 electorate) – I think only Respect were planning to put up a ‘muslim’ candidate until he was hit by ill health. Labour’s candidate in Lawrence Hill is a white woman so I am not sure this thread has got things quite right.

    I have not seen evidence that ‘muslims’ vote strongly along religious lines especially given that just like Christianity there are many strands as well as variation between people from different countries and traditions.

  25. Eastonite says:

    This is not about the total electorate of the area under discussion ie Easton. As I’m sure you are well aware Paul, the majority of people do not vote in local elections. This is all about getting your vote out, maximising the number of people who will turn out and vote for your party on the day, isn’t it?

    Evidence? Well voting syndicates aren’t going to set up a website or blog about it are they? They don’t even need to.

    Are you waiting for some bunch of overpaid wonks to come and do a study? Don’t make me laugh.

    Nobody would talk to them in any case.

    If you live in the area and keep your eyes and ears open you might get a feel for what dogs on the street know.

  26. paul smith says:


    well I will be on the streets in Easton all day so will keep my eyes and ears open. In my experience the most likely to vote are older people and those with postal votes. Those least likely to vote are younger voters and people living in social housing. Plenty of research to back that up but don’t have a link. I know Shelter did some work a few years ago that showed turnout from social housing was well below turnout from owner occuppiers. In general the wealthier you are the more likely you are to vote.

  27. woodsy says:

    In my experience the most likely to vote are older people …

    … and we have bloody long memories. 😉

  28. TonyD says:

    “Arif moved to Easton in the 1980s,” explains his Labour managed website. Why then is his address listed as being in Mangotsfield in the official list of candidates (pdf)?”

    John Kiely is decribed in his campaign leaflets as being a Easton resident for 20 years despite his address being listed as being in Brislington in the same official list of candidates……

    Either Easton has grown or perhaps Easton is a state of mind rather than a simple geographical location? I have heard stories of copious amounts of recreational substances being consumed some of which may or may not have contained hallucinogens.

    This may also explain why so many politicans appear to believe they were involved in protests on the BBRP. Its like the 60’s – if you can remember it you weren’t really there……they can’t really remember protesting, therefore they must have been there.

  29. thebristolblogger says:

    Alas. Nothing so glamorous as drug crazed excess.

    This is just a case of sad, vile, old men who lie to people for their own ends.

  30. Eastonite says:

    Paul, it is readily apparent that you are also running away from a very important issue that was pointed out early on in this thread. This is the fact that if, or should that be when, your machinations pay off, and your man gets elected in Easton, then our area will be “represented” by a monoculture which consists solely of male, muslim, asian, heterosexual businessmen.

    Such a monoculture does not, and can not properly represent the wonderfully diverse nature of Easton.

    This is likely be especially threatening for minorities from the muslim communities themselves, such as gay people or women who step out of line, as you must surely understand. Southall Black Sisters and a few other brave groups have long tried to get their voices heard, warning of the terrible pressures to remain within the narrow boundaries of religion and cultural norms set by their communities, and the punishments meted out to those who do not conform.

    It seems as though the Labour Party always likes to talk the talk about diversity, but then, if it suits you, you act to undermine that diversity and hand power to a narrow group.

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