Former MP David Ward has been banned by the national leadership of the Liberal Democrats from contesting his old constituency Bradford East at the General Election on June 8th.
Ward was defeated by Labour in 2015: two years earlier he had served a three-month suspension from the Lib Dems for anti-Zionist comments including calling Israel an “apartheid state”. He had posted on Twitter in July 2013: “Am I wrong or are am I right? At long last the Zionists are losing the battle – how long can the apartheid State of Israel last?”
Responding to that suspension, Ward had been defiant: “I will not apologise for describing the state of Israel as an apartheid state. I don’t know how you can describe it as anything else. I am genuinely quite shocked at the reaction to the kind of thing many people say.”
Earlier this week the local Lib Dem branch in Bradford East selected Ward as their candidate for this year’s election, but responding to complaints from ultra-Zionist Tory rivals such as Theresa May and Sir Eric Pickles, Lib Dem leader Tim Farron said today: “I believe in a politics that is open, tolerant and united. David Ward is unfit to represent the party and I have sacked him. …I am fully aware of the comments David Ward has made in the past and I find them deeply offensive, wrong and antisemitic.”
This latest move indicates a complete Lib Dem surrender to profoundly illiberal political correctness, following their suspension of Luton Lib Dem candidate Ashuk Ahmed yesterday. Ahmed had made a series of anti-Zionist Facebook posts in 2014, including the statement: “Zionists control half the world, we are the other half. So let’s make a lot more noise.”
Is Tim Farron blind in one eye? How else can we explain his insistence on disciplining pro-Palestinian members of his own party, but his failure to condemn a rival party leader – Theresa May – for her blatant support of Zionist terrorism during a speech in 2015. Mrs May (then Home Secretary) praised commemoration of Yom Hazikaron, the day on which “We remember the sacrifice of those who fought to achieve and protect that independence.” This means most notably those Zionist terrorists who died fighting against British forces and Arab civilians during 1945-48, and includes those who were executed for atrocities such as the murder of Lord Moyne and his driver Lance Corporal Arthur Fuller.
Regular H&D readers will be familiar with the electoral saga of Manchester Gorton, where veteran Labour MP Sir Gerald Kaufman died on February 26th causing a parliamentary by-election which was abandoned at the 11th hour when Prime Minister Theresa May called a General Election.
The local Labour Party had been bitterly divided between ethnic powerbrokers from the Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities (indigenous Mancunians don’t get much of a look-in these days). Pakistani machine boss and solicitor Afzal Khan duly became the Labour candidate.
Today Mr Khan has been reported to police for alleged ‘treating‘ – an electoral malpractice involving provision of free food, drink or other gifts to voters. If convicted, offenders can be disbarred from Parliament, fined or imprisoned.
According to today’s Daily Mail, Mr Khan is at the centre of “claims he bribed voters with a lavish dinner… Footage of the dinner posted online shows dozens of guests sat around tables laid with plates and folded napkins in wine glasses, as well as ‘Vote Labour’ leaflets. A ‘Vote Afzal Khan’ banner is on display at the front of the room.”
The police complaint has been brought by the Liberal Democrats, who hope to gain the seat from Labour. Also seeking to exploit Labour’s embarrassment is former MP George Galloway.
One irony of course is that Mr Khan is himself a solicitor, so one might expect him to be familiar with electoral law, and even assuming he did not organise the dinner himself one might imagine he would have urged supporters to stay clearly on the right side of the ‘treating’ regulations.
A Liberal Democrat activist commented: “In my (admittedly limited) experience there is such an enormous expectation that candidates from some communities will host rallies with food provided that an agent from outside that community will be looked on with astonishment if he tries to explain that this can’t be done as it is an election offence. The problem is that because nothing is ever done there is no back up for an agent trying to stay within the law. A high profile case would probably be helpful in clarifying matters.”
In other words some “British Asian” communities expect to break the law with impunity.
Former UKIP donor Arron Banks has announced that he will not after all be standing at the General Election in the Clacton constituency.
Banks had earlier planned to stand against former UKIP MP Douglas Carswell, a bitter factional opponent of Banks and his ally Nigel Farage.
But once Carswell announced his retirement, it was only a matter of time before Banks threw in the towel.
After all, Banks no longer has any real interest in UKIP – and neither does Farage. They will have little or no involvement with the party leadership during what is likely to be a disastrous campaign, but will eschew divisive attacks on the Paul Nuttall regime until after June 8th, and will give support to various constituency-level campaigns.
Then within a day or so of the election results, the Farage faction (bankrolled by Banks) will acknowledge UKIP’s death and announce the creation of a new ‘Patriotic Movement’.
On April 25th Banks issued a Twitter message, very sensibly criticising the UKIP leadership’s anti-Islam obsession
Later that day UKIP’s election campaign became even more chaotic when James Carver (a West Midlands MEP) resigned as the party’s chief foreign affairs spokesman, saying that he “strongly disagreed” with the “misguided policy” of a so-called burqa ban.
Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage is flying back to London from his Adriatic holiday, after Theresa May surprised the nation by calling a snap General Election for June 8th.
Farage’s key financial backer Arron Banks had planned to launch a long-expected new movement – the Patriotic Alliance – on May 5th, the day after what are likely to be disastrous local elections for UKIP.
He and other Faragistes were expected to conclude that UKIP was finished and it was time for a new approach.
At a stroke Mrs May has rendered these plans redundant, and just possibly UKIP has been handed a last-minute lifeline: but only if the present party leadership – headed by the hapless Paul Nuttall – has the courage and maturity to end Banks’s suspension and recall Farage for one last campaign.
The next question would be whether UKIP should contest every single constituency, presenting itself as an alternative government, or concentrate on a smaller number of seats held by pro-Remain MPs. The latter strategy would amount to accepting that UKIP is not a challenger for power across a range of policy areas, and is more of a pressure group to ensure that Brexit goes ahead unimpeded by recalcitrant Remainers.
Meanwhile it is understood that because Parliament will be prorogued the day before the scheduled Manchester Gorton by-election, that by-election will be cancelled: a successor to the late Sir Gerald Kaufman will be elected on June 8th as part of the General Election alongside every other constituency.
Prime Minister Theresa May today called a General Election to be held on Thursday 8th June. Technically this will require a two-thirds majority in the House of Commons, but we can assume that Britain will be heading to the polls for the second time in two years.
H&D will provide continuous coverage of the election campaign from a nationalist perspective, but one immediate question is unavoidable.
Does the Prime Minister really believe in anything?
In her Downing Street statement a few minutes ago, Mrs May said she was seeking a mandate to negotiate Brexit terms, and accused opposition parties of “playing games”.
Yet all the evidence shows that until last year’s referendum, Mrs May fully supported our membership of the European Union. Though she craftily kept a low profile during the referendum campaign, she assented to the scaremongering campaign of her predecessor David Cameron and his Chancellor George Osborne, who insisted that Brexit would be an unmitigated disaster.
Can voters really trust a Prime Minister who changes her mind on this central issue, purely for reasons of ambition and convenience?
After all, Mrs May has never given the slightest rationale for her change of mind: assuming she actually has a genuine view on Brexit – or on anything.