Galloway scents blood as Labour engulfed by ethnic infighting
Still reeling from defeat in last month’s Copeland by-election, Britain’s Labour Party faces another crisis in the inner-city constituency of Manchester Gorton, where a by-election is likely to be scheduled for May 4th. This time the problems mainly stem from the disastrous multiracial society which Labour and its Tory twin progressively imposed on this country after 1945.
Gorton’s MP, 86-year-old Gerald Kaufman, died on 19th February prompting an extraordinary outburst of vilification from his co-religionists at the Jewish Chronicle, who could not forgive a fellow Jew having opposed their organised pro-Israeli lobbying.
Part of the reason he had remained an MP for so long is that Kaufman and Labour Party bosses feared the outbreak of ethnic infighting that would dominate any selection process for his successor. Indeed the Gorton constituency’s Labour Party organisation was suspended by Labour’s national headquarters last year, due to allegations of intimidation and other malpractice linked to the Kaufman succession.
Labour’s National Executive is now in charge of the selection process: local members will have the final vote on March 22nd, but will have to choose from a shortlist imposed by the National Executive.
Two local Asian powerbrokers are among the main contenders. Pakistani machine boss Afzal Khan is a solicitor with practices in Manchester and Oldham. He was the first Asian Mayor of Manchester a few years ago, and has been an MEP since 2014. Meanwhile Luthfur Rahman is a Bangladeshi councillor who chairs the suspended Gorton Labour Party (even though its activities are presently suspended). The latter should not be confused with his near-namesake Lutfur Rahman, the notorious former Mayor of Tower Hamlets.
The Pakistani community in Gorton is five times the size of the Bangladeshi, so Khan must be favourite, but can expect a bruising battle which might unite enemies of the Khan machine. Only a week after Kaufman’s death, Khan’s office was attacked with bricks.
In June 2010 Cllr Rahman was among five Bangladeshis acquitted on judge’s instructions after an assault case against them collapsed at Manchester Crown Court. The case arose after an alleged attack on one Mokbul Ali in the prayer hall of the Shah Jalal mosque in Rusholme. Cllr Rahman and his fellow defendants accepted a bind over to “keep the peace”.
A year after his bind over, Cllr Rahman was crowned “Community Champion of the Year” at a glittering awards ceremony in London’s West End.
Possible White contenders for the Labour nomination include outgoing Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd, who served for fifteen years as MP for neighbouring Manchester Central: he is 67, but that still makes him two decades younger than the late MP!
Also in the frame are a couple of White Corbynistas: local councillor Julie Reid, and rising far-left star Sam Wheeler, who is locally-born but has to live down his education at Manchester Grammar School and Oxford.
Yesterday George Galloway was putting himself about in the constituency! Presumably he would stand only if Labour select a White anti-Corbynista, or if there is serious local hostility to an Asian machine candidate (i.e. Khan). He could also portray himself as the successor to Kaufman’s anti-Zionist principles. We might also see a rare outing for one (or more!) of the really fringe, Citizen Smith era far-left groups.
The Liberal Democrats have moved quickly to select a White candidate: former councillor Jackie Pearcey who came a decent second here in 2001 and 1997. She will doubtless push the Remain issue hard in the student/academic areas of the constituency where it might still have high salience almost a year on from the Brexit vote. But have students forgiven the Lib Dems for their tuition fees betrayal?
UKIP polled a surprisingly decent 8.2% here in 2015, no doubt helped by the Tories having an Asian candidate, who was beaten to runner-up by the Green. This was one of just four constituencies nationwide where the Greens finished second. (As in Gorton, the other three all had high student electorates in Bristol, Sheffield and Liverpool.)
The BNP has not contested Gorton since 1983. Richard Chadfield polled 1.1% for the NF in 1979 (in a Gorton with different boundaries). We are most unlikely to see a BNP, NF or other racial nationalist candidate here this time. None of the Gorton wards were among those contested by the BNP during the Griffin era.