A party which has existed for less than three years now has representatives in 12 of the 16 German regional parliaments.
Racial nationalists are closely watching politics in Germany, where incumbent – supposedly ‘conservative’ – Chancellor Angela Merkel shamefully betrayed her people in 2015 by welcoming hordes of immigrants, with horrific consequences.
A general election is due in September this year, which polls and most observers predict Merkel will lose. She has been in power with the support of the socialist SPD, but increasing numbers of German voters have been flocking to the anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany (AfD), which has only existed since 2013 and has become increasingly radical on immigration and related questions since 2015.
Today there was an election for the Landtag (regional parliament) of Saarland, a region with a population around one million, centred on the city of Saarbrücken, near the German-French border.
Slightly surprisingly, early results show that Merkel’s party has polled quite well in Saarland, perhaps because conservative voters were alarmed at the possibility of a socialist alliance with the ex-communist Left Party (Die Linke).
Some weak-willed middle class voters of this sort have thus been prepared to ignore or forgive Merkel’s shocking betrayal of German interests. Nevertheless, it was a positive sign that AfD won Saarland Landtag seats for the first time today, polling somewhere over 6%.
The next German regional election is in North Rhine-Westphalia – the largest of Germany’s states with a population of 18 million, including four big cities: Cologne, Düsseldorf, Dortmund and Essen. This NRW region has taken a vast number of the immigrants admitted by Merkel. Seen as a socialist stronghold, NRW votes on May 14th. A week earlier French voters will have the decisive second round in their presidential election. Marine Le Pen is expected to contest that second round against a centrist, pro-immigration candidate.
This weekend UKIP moved further towards its long-expected demise.
The party’s only MP Douglas Carswell quit UKIP yesterday to become an independent. Two days earlier one of Carswell’s many factional enemies – former UKIP donor Arron Banks, who is a close associate of ex-leader Nigel Farage – asked the party for £200,000 payment for call centre and membership processing services that he had previously provided free.
Banks was effectively suspended from UKIP membership a few weeks ago for criticising the party’s new leadership, and not unreasonably he now asks: “Why on earth am I going to donate the service for free. I don’t think so. So – yes – there is a bill in the post for the thick end of £200,000.”
UKIP’s most recent by-election outing was in a seat which should be very winnable if the party were to succeed in its stated aim of challenging Labour as the voice of the White working class. In Higher Croft ward, Blackburn – where the BNP once polled 29.6% and in 2015 UKIP managed 33.3% – UKIP candidate Ian Grimshaw was a distant runner-up to Labour in Thursday’s by-election, polling 22.6%.
Mr Grimshaw obtained 169 votes in Higher Croft: precisely one hundred votes fewer than the England First Party’s Ian Lofthouse received in the same ward a decade ago. Many UKIP councillors are voting with their feet and deciding not to stand for re-election.
Arron Banks is clearly planning to set up a new organisation. It is still unclear whether this will take the form of a political party, and whether former members of parties such as the BNP or NF will be allowed to join. Most ex-members of racial nationalist groups and some anti-Islam outfits such as the EDL have long been excluded under UKIP’s constitution.
Last year UKIP leadership hopeful Raheem Kassam (an ally of Banks and Farage) argued that the party should change this policy and accept some former BNP members and others previously excluded.
Afzal Khan, boss of a powerful Pakistani machine in Manchester politics, won a bitter selection contest last night to become Labour candidate in Manchester Gorton, one of the party’s safest seats.
As we reported earlier, the three main candidates were Khan, his Bangladeshi rival Luthfur Rahman, and Yasmine Dar (a local councillor backed by the far-left Momentum faction who previously supported Sam Wheeler, a young white Labour activist excluded from the all-Asian Labour shortlist).
The ethnic basis of the contest was revealed when Rahman (who had topped the first ballot with 163 votes) was eliminated at the penultimate stage. The majority of his voters (101) made no choice between the two Pakistani candidates remaining: once the Bangladeshi candidate was eliminated, they weren’t interested.
The final vote went 235 to Khan and 203 to Rahman.
Now the big question in the by-election (which will be held on May 4th) is whether disillusioned Bangladeshis and other rivals of Khan will rally behind George Galloway, who has a long history of exploiting Labour’s ethnic conflicts (e.g. when he won the Bradford West by-election in 2012).
As Britain’s Labour Party descends further into civil war, the latest paradoxical development sees the party’s far-left rebel against the imposition of an all-Asian shortlist for the selection of a successor to Manchester MP Gerald Kaufman.
We reported on March 7th that the death of Labour veteran Kaufman aged 86 has ignited a long-smouldering conflict within his Manchester Gorton constituency, where rival ethnic power-brokers have long been manoeuvring.
This infighting had led to the suspension of Labour’s local organisation, amid allegations of bullying and corruption, meaning that Labour’s national headquarters was in charge of selecting a shortlist of potential candidates, with local members having to make a final choice from this shortlist.
Subsequently we were told that Labour would have a politically correct, ethnic and gender balanced shortlist including one white male, one white female, one ethnic minority male and one ethnic minority female.
It was assumed that the white male would be locally-born, Oxford-educated leftwinger Sam Wheeler, seen as close to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Yet in a sensational development yesterday, Wheeler was excluded and Labour selected an all-Asian shortlist, the first time this has happened in British politics.
Favourite is Pakistani machine boss Afzal Khan, but also on the shortlist is his bitter rival and Bangladeshi faction leader Luthfur Rahman. Making up the shortlist of five are three Asian women who serve as Manchester city councillors: Nasrin Ali, Yasmine Dar and Amina Lone.
Former MP George Galloway, who has been putting himself about in Gorton since Kaufman’s death, has confirmed he will definitely stand in the May 4th by-election, exploiting resentment against Asian machine politics and also reflecting a perception on the far-left that Corbyn’s enemies within the party have used the device of an all-Asian shortlist to exclude Sam Wheeler.
To mark today’s worldwide St Patrick’s Day celebrations, we are publishing online two articles on St Patrick from recent editions of Heritage & Destiny.
This article ‘Enoch Powell’s Suppressed Article Rediscovered’ was first published by us in March 2016 (in hard copy in issue 71 of H&D) – more than 35 years after it was suppressed by Margaret Thatcher’s government. It certainly added fuel to the (Loyalist) bonfire!
Introduction by H&D Assistant Editor Peter Rushton:
After the Conservatives returned to government under Margaret Thatcher in 1979, Enoch Powell hoped Ulster’s status as an integral part of the United Kingdom would be reaffirmed. Some of the leading figures on Thatcher’s wing of the Conservative Party were Powellites, and until the eve of the 1979 election the Tories’ Northern Ireland spokesman had been Airey Neave – a strong and determined Unionist. Tragically Neave was murdered by a car bomb at the House of Commons in March 1979, and his successors pursued a very different policy: commitment to Ulster’s identity was progressively weakened through the 1980s.
Powell came to believe that the CIA had a hand in Airey Neave’s murder, and it is now established that MI6 and CIA operatives had been pursuing a deal with the IRA since the mid-1970s.
In January 1981 however (still believing that Thatcher’s government would defend the Union) Powell proposed that the Foreign Office should produce articles and booklets for the American public to explain Ulster’s distinct identity. It was agreed that Powell would write a brief article to be published in U.S. newspapers on St Patrick’s Day (17th March 1981) and that a 1965 booklet – Scotch-Irish and Ulster – would be reprinted, both with Foreign Office support.
Although Powell submitted the article and welcomed republication of the pamphlet, both were sidelined: the anti-Ulster faction in Whitehall and Washington triumphed. The article and related official correspondence remained classified until February 2015, and H&D now reveals the story for the first time after I obtained the documents from the National Archives.
If St Patrick has a Member to represent him in Parliament, I must surely be that man. My constituency in the House of Commons is Down South, the southern half of the county of Down, which looks across the Irish Sea beyond the Isle of Man to Cumberland and Galloway. From that southern half there projects a peninsula which the ancient geographers were already calling Dunum, or Down; and Downpatrick, the town which stands at the isthmus of that peninsula, happily combines the name of the place and that of the British missionary with a late Roman surname who we believe brought Christianity from the largest to the second largest of the British Isles.
The peninsula where he landed, baptised his first converts, built his first church and laid his bones to rest has still a palpable individuality. When I drive into it – its traditional name is Lecale – from some other part of my constituency, I am always conscious of crossing a threshold. But the same is just as true of the whole north-eastern part of Ireland to which that peninsula is attached: it is distinct and separate from the rest, as if by a decree of nature. Geographically and geologically it had its own pattern, a mountain ring enclosing an inner central plain, long before man came there at all; and its earliest inhabitants were linked by blood and intercourse with the neighbouring mainland. The passage which St Patrick made was no voyage of exploration: he took a ticket on a two-way traffic route rather like that across the English Channel between Dover and Calais (which in point of fact is somewhat longer).
This north-east part was called “Ulster” centuries before Henry VIII (no friend of St Patrick’s!) used the word to dub one of the four administrative provinces into which he divided his Irish kingdom. Whatever elements, across the centuries, came to Ulster were drawn into its distinct identity. The Norman baron who, with a handful of knights and the king’s permission, rode north from Dublin into Ulster in the 1170s founded an independent principality – the earldom of Ulster, which is today held by the Queen’s cousin, the Duke of Gloucester. Into Ulster flowed settlers from England and Wales as well as from Scotland, long before the Plantation of James I; and the separateness of the province claimed and enveloped them all.
That happened pre-eminently to those Scots who were the major element in the settlement of the forfeited lands at the beginning of the seventeenth century. Research has proved that they by no means displaced the earlier Ulstermen so comprehensively as was intended and is often believed. It is also true that they only represented one, albeit the largest, of a series of contingents earlier and later who returned across the narrow North Channel to the land from which the ancestors of many of them had originally come in remote, even prehistoric times. The great fact, however, is that, like the rest, they became part of Ulster.
The vocabulary of American history has called those people Scotch Irish. The truer name is that by which they liked, and still like, to call themselves – Ulster Scots. For they were indeed, and remain in virtue of many ties, Scots; but above all they were Ulstermen. This therefore was the Ulster, unique from its beginning, which contributed a disproportionate share – including at least ten presidents – to the foundation and to the spirit of the American nation right from the origins of its independence. It is a contribution as distinct from the rest, and as distinctive, as any other, whether Irish, English or Scots.
The modern search for national roots is, I believe, as healthy as it is popular and expanding. It has already brought many Americans, and not only those with demonstrable ancestral ties, to Ulster, to learn on the spot – the only sure way – the truth about its past and its present. Those who come are coming to the place which, of all spots on the globe, is peculiarly and forever St Patrick’s. On his day America is remembered in Ulster, as Ulster ought to be remembered in America.
Editor’s note: J. Enoch Powell (1912-1998) was Ulster Unionist MP for South Down, 1974-87, having earlier been Conservative MP for Wolverhampton South West, 1950-74. His career in Conservative politics ended when he was sacked as the party’s defence spokesman in April 1968, following his famous “rivers of blood” speech which criticised Britain’s racial transformation.
To mark today’s worldwide St Patrick’s Day celebrations, H&D published two articles on St Patrick which have recently appeared in the magazine.
This first article – “Saint Patrick the Patron Saint of the USA” – was written seven years ago, but the same issues are still being discussed in Loyalist circles today – now mainly on internet forums. So it was fitting that we republished it (in hard copy in issue #77 of H&D) on the run-up to this year’s St Patrick’s Day.
It was America that spawned the St Patrick’s Day parade, not Ireland, and its origins are both Protestant and British…
As March 17th approaches, the annual debate has reignited on whether Unionism should embrace St Patrick and the day set aside for his commemoration. Over the last five years there has been a slow emergence of Protestant participation on the date, though that has been via the creation of new events rather than involvement in existing ones. This article examines the origin of St Patrick’s Day parades, this new emerging trend, its motivation and where it may possibly lead.
The question ‘where is the biggest St Patrick’s Day parade in Northern Ireland?’ at first glance would appear easily answered. Belfast most would say, with a few probably suggesting the Cathedral City of Armagh or even where he was allegedly laid to rest, Downpatrick. What will surprise many is that the largest parade for the last few years by sheer number of participants has been in the small County Armagh village of Killylea. It is here since 2005 the Cormeen Rising Sons of William Flute Band have held their annual band procession and competition. Last year the Cormeen parade saw 42 bands take part (in comparison to the seven that paraded at the Dublin event), amounting to approximately 1800 band members. Thousands of spectators stood along the route, despite it being a bitterly cold evening.
Cormeen Rising Sons of William chairman Mark Gibson explains that the bands original motivation for the parade came more out of necessity than anything else. “The band season is very busy, and when trying to find a date for our parade it was difficult to define one that didn’t clash with other bands locally.” Some members suggested March 17 as a solution to the problem, but the band was nervous. “We were concerned about how a St Patrick’s Day parade would go down in our community, the parade in Armagh never was very welcoming, but we made a decision to try it and it has been a success.”
From that initial year where thirteen bands took part, the parade is now among the largest in the Province. It’s not only the number of bands participating that has increased, but also the crowds attending to watch, and the event is increasingly becoming a fixture in the calendar for many Unionists. Another band, the Ulster Protestant Boys Flute Coleraine, have started a similar event on the date that too is growing. The ever increasing scale of both processions indicates clearly that there is certainly a willingness within the PUL (Protestant, Unionist, Loyalist) community to be involved in St Patrick’s Day. Where the schisms emerge are with the issues of why and how.
It is generally acknowledged that in the distant past Patrick was not a controversial figure for Protestants in Ireland or beyond. His ‘sainthood’ was never conferred by the Pope and pre-dates the reformation, so he was never seen as being the possession of ‘Rome’. St Patrick was seen as an evangelical Christian who had made personal sacrifice to spread the gospel in Ireland. The anniversary of his death was observed and commemorated by all Protestant denominations to different degrees, with the Church of Ireland in particular very active.
The shift from an anniversary of religious significance towards an ‘Irish’ event however first took place in the United States in 1737. In Boston that year the Irish Charitable Society, made up of Protestant immigrants (some of whom were British Soldiers), held their first meeting and dinner. The purpose was to both honour Patrick in the context of their Protestant faith and to reach out the hand of friendship to other Irish immigrants. The exercise obviously struck a chord and the practise spread, with the first recorded parade in New York in 1766, with again British Soldiers of Irish blood heavily involved. It was America that spawned the St Patrick’s Day parade, not Ireland, and its origins are both Protestant and British.
During that period in history the vast majority of Irish immigrants were Presbyterian, however from 1830 it was Catholic arrivals who were in the ascendancy. With that change began an emphasis towards anti-British sentiment in the demonstrations. In the aftermath of the American Revolutionary War anything portrayed as anti-colonial was well received, with even the many original Protestant immigrant descendants non-antagonistic of this motivation. Many British ‘Loyalists’ had left for Canada, and effectively the descendants of the original Protestant Irish settlers remaining saw themselves as primarily American in identity, with all that was left for their original ‘homeland’ of Ireland simply folk memory and sentimentality.
Mike Cronin, author of A History of St Patrick’s Day, states that whilst this tradition was developing, back in Ireland the first parades didn’t take place until the 1840s and even then they were organised by Temperance societies. Mike emphasises the lack of public celebration “The only other major events in nineteenth century Ireland was a trooping of the colour ceremony and grand ball held at Dublin Castle.” So even as late as 1911 the largest St Patrick’s Day occasion in Ireland was still rooted in a joint Irish and British expression of identity. Protestant churches and some Orange Lodges throughout the island appear to have held minor functions on the date, but these were very subdued affairs, and essentially even post-partition very little changed. Catholic observance of the day continued to different degrees in different areas, as did the Protestant nod to Patrick.
Right up until the 1960s the primary theme of St Patrick’s Day in both Northern Ireland and the Republic still remained religious observance, with even from 1923 to then public houses and bars in the Republic of Ireland closed by law. A poll conducted in 1968 suggested that 20% of Northern Irish Protestants at this stage still considered themselves Irish. The onset of civil unrest in Northern Ireland coincided however with the importation of the American style to St Patrick’s events in Dublin and elsewhere. Now whilst a violent conflict was being waged in the name of all things Irish, St Patrick’s Day parades were starting to display the features that had developed in the United States. On these parades Irish identity was perceived by Northern Protestants as being defined as aggressively anti-British and anti-Protestant, with the disjointed and casual nature of the parades and the now integral alcohol element alien to PUL parading traditions and customs.
As the IRA campaign escalated, many Protestants simply could not divorce the fact that these celebrations displayed an exclusive form of Irish sentiment whilst a campaign was being waged against them in the name of Ireland. As the years progressed, in Northern Ireland in particular it became apparent that the day was being deliberately used in many instances as an extension of the Irish Republican war against Unionism.
Grand Orange Lodge Director of Services Dr David Hume reiterates the view that in the recent past it has been the nature of the parades and commemorative events that turned Protestants away. “The perception among Unionism is without doubt that Irish Republicanism and Irish Nationalism has used St Patrick’s Day parades as a weapon, effectively using the ‘shield’ of Patrick to express obvious militant anti-British and therefore anti-Unionist sentiment.” David believes that the manner and focus of these events is totally at odds with the purported motivation. “St Patrick’s Day should be used as a day of reflection on the religious significance of Patrick, something far removed from the aggressive and confrontational use of symbolism; and the huge emphasis on alcohol consumption that currently seems to be the case.” David bluntly states that the date isn’t an important one on the ‘Orange’ calendar, but recognises that it does have a place in society.
There remains one annual Orange Order parade related to St Patrick’s Day, which is held each year in Ballymena. One of the participating Lodges is The Cross of St Patrick LOL 688 which was founded in 1967. A lodge spokesperson describes the motivation behind its formation as being “to reclaim the heritage of Saint Patrick” explaining that “Brethren were concerned that Patrick’s heritage was being hijacked by Roman Catholicism and Republicanism.” The lodge’s concerns would appear to have been reflecting the growing sense of alienation the PUL community was feeling regarding St Patricks events.
There is no doubt that this alienation effectively forced many Protestants into an automatically negative position regarding St Patrick’s Day. With the advent of the IRA cessations of violence and the ongoing political process however, it has become apparent that many within Unionism have been able to reflect much more on the meaning of St Patrick’s Day for them. The ending of a violent ‘Irish’ physical campaign has given space to examine the date, with many now realising that it once was a date of relevance that they were forced into denying, and there is a willingness to make it relevant again. Nevertheless this reflection and willingness has not as yet manifested itself into significant participation in civic St Patrick’s Day parades.
With a few exceptions, such as the participation of an unashamedly Loyalist Blood and Thunder band in the 2003 Limerick St Patrick’s Band competition, Unionism still does not feel comfortable taking part in the modern version of a St Patrick’s parade. Concerns still exist regarding the involvement of militant Republicanism in such events along with the aggressive use of flags and symbols, but the problem seems to go much deeper.
Iain Carlisle of the Ulster Scots Community Network has a very straightforward and unambiguous answer regarding Unionist involvement in St Patrick’s Day events. Iain states very clearly “I don’t think there has to be ANY justification given for Protestants or Unionists marking Patrick’s day”, but goes on to say that “there is however a fundamental difference of approach to both Patrick as a person and the means of celebration within the Unionist community”. Iain’s comments would appear to reflect not just a general uncomfortable position with the overtly ‘United Ireland’ underlying St Patrick’s Day theme, but the actual motivation and method of celebration.
All historical examinations of Protestant Irish and their approach and relationship with Patrick indicates that for them he has never truly deviated from having a purely theological relevance. On St Patrick’s Day however the majority of Catholics, Irish Nationalists, Republicans, those of Irish descent and indeed anyone who wants a day out, St Patrick’s significance as a religious icon is purely tokenistic. St Patrick is merely a figurehead for overt Irish nationalism and a holiday. In turn the Unionist tradition of parading has developed from a military perspective and the American style parades are an alien concept, being perceived as being undisciplined and overtly casual.
Whilst new events have arisen, it is obvious that Unionism has no desire to abandon its central belief of Patrick’s religious relevance, and in addition is reluctant to embrace what it sees as an alien approach to parades. Even with the emergence of band parades on the date, they in themselves are a much more disciplined and subdued practise than their counterparts on the day. Whatever the future holds, it is clear that the PUL community is going through an ongoing examination of Patrick and his relevance to them. As journalist Chris Ryder recently pointed out “there will be no going back to the view that St Patrick was a Catholic, and a saint only for Catholics.”
In a live radio interview this evening on LBC with former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen thanked UK voters for their Brexit referendum vote.
“We had been told that it was not possible to leave the EU, and the UK has just demonstrated that, when the people want it, we can set up the conditions to exit the EU. So thank you for showing us the way out of this huge prison.”
The FN leader criticised her main rival in the presidential contest – left-liberal Emmanuel Macron – for his stance on immigration, and expressed disappointment at Theresa May’s decision to meet with Macron but refuse to meet her.
“I find it difficult to understand the consistency of ideas and convictions in this approach. He went to Algeria and he explained it was necessary to build a bridge as it were between Europe and Algeria for even more immigration which is the opposite of what Brexit stands for and the choice made by the British people. I don’t understand this inconsistency this contradiction between what Theresa May stands for today because she has decided to be the woman who will implement Brexit.”
Votes are still being counted in today’s Dutch general election, but it seems that Geert Wilders, the anti-Islamic activist seen by some (though not H&D) as part of Europe’s “far right” has made far fewer gains than expected.
The first headline was the record turnout of 82% (here in the UK we haven’t had that sort of turnout since 1951).
And though Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s conservative People’s Party has lost seats, it will remain the largest party. Rutte will stay in office with the support of several other centre-right and liberal parties.
Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom will be the joint second-largest party, probably increasing its representation in the Dutch parliament from 12 to 19, but has no chance of a role in government. Though an improvement on last time, this is well below Wilders’ best result in 2010 when his party won 24 seats.
The biggest winners today were a very different opposition party, Green-Left, who became the largest Dutch left-wing party, quadrupling their parliamentary seats from 4 to 16. While the big losers were the Labour Party – formerly, as in the UK, the main opposition party – who collapsed from 35 seats to 9.
As in France, the Dutch left is now fragmented into several different parties, with more radical forces in the ascendant. And that is the big long-term story: as in many other countries, mainstream conservatism just about holds on to power by patching together coalitions, getting weaker all the time; meanwhile the Left is in existential crisis, increasingly obsessed by racial/gender identity politics or environmentalism, while unable to face the fact that mass immigration has betrayed the Left’s traditional constituency – the white working class.
Liberal media commentators will be quick to hail this result as a setback for the “European far right”, but the truth is that Marine Le Pan is a far more serious politician than Wilders, and her FN has a much more solid political base than the Freedom Party. Don’t bet against Marine Le Pen winning the first ballot in next month’s French presidential elections!
13th Yorkshire Forum and Evening Social
Saturday 1st April 2017
Meeting to take place in Bradford South area, starting at 1.00pm
Your speakers for the day are:
Kevin Layzell: Activism for the 2010’s and beyond
Gary Raikes: Mosley – The man of his day and today
Stephen Frost: Black Shirts in Yorkshire
There will be the usual buffet and raffle. Entrance fee is £10.00 Attendees aged 26 and under have free entry.
Speakers’ traveling expenses are reimbursed and overnight accommodation can in some cases be provided for speakers. Yorkshire Forum always welcomes new speakers. Please contact us if you would like to speak at any future meetings.
Important note. Due to recent Antifa disruption of Forum events elsewhere in the country, we will for the foreseeable future use different venues. To maximize security, a redirection point will be used.
The RV point will be operational from 11.00am till 12.00 noon. Please do not be late. The RV point will only be made known on the morning of the day’s meeting from 9.00am onward (see contact details below).
For those travelling some distance, be sure to be in Bradford area by about 10.00am
A “Park and Ride” system will operate which will be applicable to those travelling by their own transport. Private vehicles will be left near the RV point and all attendees will take a local bus service to the final destination. This way, people will not get lost or separated. It is highly advisable for all attendees on the day to purchase a Metro Day Ticket (this costs £6.00) from bus driver.
For further details or queries, telephone Liam on (01274) 604358 land line, or (07876) 383636 mobile
Nominations closed a few hours ago for Labour’s candidature in the forthcoming Manchester Gorton by-election. We reported a few days ago that politics in this area is dominated by infighting between ethnic power brokers – among whom the strongest is former Manchester mayor Afzal Khan, boss of a powerful Pakistani machine who is already an MEP.
Khan remains favourite – and we now learn that the entire selection process will be dominated by Labour’s politically correct obsession with ethnic and gender identity.
A panel from the party’s national executive will choose a shortlist of four, which will be put before the local membership (who until that final stage will have no say).
This shortlist of four will have to include one ethnic minority woman, one ethnic minority man, one white woman and one white man!
While this seems absurdly pious, the cynical effect is that infighting between rival Asians will become pointless: the rumoured “intimidation” and mass signing up of ethnic blocks as Labour members will not matter, since only one Asian male can make the shortlist, and its up to Labour’s national party HQ who that will be…
Corbynista hopeful Sam Wheeler (an Oxford graduate and old boy of the prestigious Manchester Grammar School) is favourite to be the token white male on the shortlist. Afzal Khan’s rivals might also include white female Julie Reid, and Asian female Yasmine Dar. The big question is whether Bangladeshi power broker Luthfur Rahman, chairman of the Gorton Labour Party, will swing his block vote behind Khan, or whether we will again see Bangladeshis preferring to back a non-Muslim rather than a hated Pakistani.
Meanwhile George Galloway remains on the trail of disaffected ex-Labour Muslims, speaking to a local audience after Friday prayers, and playing up his role as a pro-Palestinian activist alongside the late Sir Gerald Kaufman, whose death caused this by-election.