Analysis Exclusive

Anjum removal from Ealing North shortlist leaves Owen Smith fan as only remaining woman

Local councillor removed over after complaint of homophobic tweets – publicised by ally of remaining female candidate

Local councillor Sitarah Anjum has been removed from Labour’s shortlist of potential candidates for the Ealing North parliamentary seat after a complaint highlighted tweets against equal marriage and other alleged homophobic remarks:

Anjum’s removal means that there is now only one remaining woman on the shortlist – another local councillor, Aysha Raza. Raza is on the Labour right and was an enthusiastic supporter of Owen Smith in the 2016 Labour leadership election:

Raza also signed a 2016 open letter supporting Smith.

But in a twist, the above picture features not only Raza but also Abdi Duale – the right-wing Labour-First supporter who published the Anjum tweets that saw Raza’s rival eliminated from the contest.

Local members remain incensed about the exclusion of local left-wingers Councillor Lewis Cox, regional board member Rheian Davies and criminal QC Jo Sidhu and have called the selection process a ‘sorry episode’ in the party’s history.

They have called on Labour’s National Executive Committee to re-open the selection process in the same way it did when Redbridge Council leader Jas Athwal was eliminated from the Ilford South shortlist after being suspended over alleged sexual harassment.

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  1. Between the devil and deep blue sea – Well, we obviously can’t have a raging homophobe on the shortlist, but with Corbyn and McDonnell on the bridge we’re going to be seafaring and racing across the finishing line anyway.

    The NEC *has* to reopen the selection process. Local members HAVE to be listened to.

    Can anyone explain why Lewis Cox, Rheian Davies and Jo Sidhu were excluded – surely NOT for being lefter wing than others?


  2. Owen Smith… can a rational person be a fan of such a looser and shallow individual as owen the stalking horse.When he got the Nireland job I wondered if his personal input could ruin the whole peace process..Well it really says everything about judgment,look at lisa nandy the Wigan sell out,,Owen Smith’s manager in the chicken coup?No more owen input fans please!

  3. Meanwhile Natalie Fleet will be the next PPC for the marginal seat (441 majority) of Ashfield where the current incumbent MP Gloria de Piero is standing down
    Ms Fleet has been congratulated on her appointment by Lisa Nandy, Rosie Duffield, Lucy Powell, Melanie Onn and Wes Streeting. She is considered to be a ‘Corbynsceptic’

  4. Seems reasonable that reserve candidates could be second-listed for times when candidates are unable to continue, rather than a whole selection process having to be rerun.
    There’s an obvious temptation for a candidate learning information that would disqualify an opponent to hang on to it for release during the contest to inflict maximum damage, rather than inform the party before the contest in good time for a replacement to be selected and campaign.
    Clearly the party needs to investigate candidates’ backgrounds far more thoroughly.
    If both these candidates can be proven to have put self interest above party interest – by act or by omission – they should both be replaced in my opinion.
    I’ve no knowledge of what’s transpired here, just speaking in general terms.

    I strongly believe the party should be continually monitoring and grooming potential candidates – not doing that, cramming all the most important decisions into a week of conference every year and holding back selections until the final weeks before elections I find ill-judged.
    We should allow plenty of time for skeletons to be dug up and we should search even more thoroughly than our opponents – then those with past statements or behaviour that could damage us will be less likely to put themselves up for election.
    Maybe a list of all the causes of past members having been expelled, suspended or otherwise censured by the party – anonymised obviously – might be a useful guide to those thinking of standing.

    Going only by those old tweets, Sitarah Anjum apparently believes her community’s superior insight into “god’s will” entitles her to challenge society’s right to legislate sexual freedom between consenting adults and declare sexual preference a protected characteristic equal to race or religious belief.
    She doesn’t seem to grasp the concept that religious belief has no more right to impose itself on others than does sexual preference.
    Sadly the belief in god’s will, indoctrinated from infancy as the supreme, trumps-everything authority, is a whole-life sentence with almost no chance of parole.

  5. Sad that individuals are judged on WHAT they are (age; gender; etc) rather than WHO. It would also appear that any religious beliefs disqualifies an individual from standing. No problem being critical of Catholic or Muslim beliefs, but I wonder how quickly Jewish beliefs would be challenged & dismissed. The bourgeois Liberal elites have taken it upon themselves to be the sole arbiters of morality albeit in the Guardian or the BBC/Channel 4 or in our schools & universities; parents having no control over their children’s education.

    1. Thankyou steve for showing a different insight into religious beliefs which I believe has motivated many in the Labour party,and certainly me.I still cannot understand why anyone with a good sense of morality and decency can justify voting for the Tory government if they are a Catholic.I obviously cannot speak for other religious beliefs because I am a Catholic and have only a basic knowledge of others..except.
      for Buddhism which gives me peace and reflection whilst helping in the Vietnam Cambodia region of the Mekong delta.,and a good insight into religious and cultural respect.thats needed more than ever

      1. Sorry Joseph – there’s not an iota of truth in any religious belief system. Everything from ancestors to the Sun & Moon, from rocks, animals and trees to the Sky Fairy has been worshipped at one time or another – that knowledge alone would give pause to anyone with freedom of thought.
        Freedom of thought is denied to the children of believers, as proved conclusively by the facts that, despite the number of religions in the world, people rarely-to-never switch to religions other than those of their parents – and that whole nations believe in a single religion yet the nation next door believes a completely different one.

        Religious people choose to believe that religion encourages morality – that without it evil would rule – but people have been and are still stoned to death by religious zealots for apostasy or sexual preference – and atheists do not predominate in prison populations.

        Belief in a deity requires believers to ignore or deny many things humankind can now prove.
        Religious people claim to find it impossible to believe that something as complex as an eye can be the result of evolution – yet they find it perfectly believable that the most inconceivably complex and infinitely powerful entity in [their concept of] existence – CREATED ITSELF – AND THE WHOLE UNIVERSE – AND TIME – AND LIGHT – out of nothing at all – for if there were anything in existence before their god there must necessarily be some entity more powerful and their whole theory would be [is] blown.

        ‘Religion’ grew out of primitive humanity’s attempts to explain, with perfect reasoning but almost no facts, how their world came to be.
        Able to kill and eat all other animals they knew they were all-powerful in the world, yet they themselves had not created that world – so – “Who did?”
        “Father knew stuff I don’t know but he died before he could teach it to me – and he said his father knew far more than him – so – logically – our ancestors must have created all this.
        Kneel before the bones, Everybody!”
        “The Sun warms us and its light lets us hunt – when it sleeps at night we become the hunted.
        Kneel before the Sun, Everybody!”
        et cetera.

    2. Parents should have no control over their children’s education.
      State education exists because parents are largely useless at teaching their children anything.
      Children are reportedly entering education not even toilet trained and you want to allow those parents control over what their individual child is taught by professional educators?
      Presumably though you’d only want ‘good’ parents to have such control, right?
      We could set up a whole new body to determine who gets to choose what their children are allowed to learn and when – and who doesn’t.

      Is your complaint really about sex education by any chance?

      Religious belief shouldn’t disqualify anyone from anything – but your absolute right to your beliefs stops at inflicting those beliefs on others – exactly as my absolute right to punch the air stops at the tip of your nose.
      No proselytising, no preaching, no missionaries, no forced conversions – of which all religions including Judaism have been guilty.
      I’ll even deny you your “Let us pray” anywhere outside your church.

  6. The role of religious belief in determining a PPC’s suitability isn’t straightforward. I would wholly support Joseph in that it is essentially a private matter, and not a disqualification – *until* you get into the realm where the beliefs begin to conflict with the rights of individuals in the real world.

    In specific terms of this case (of which I know nothing more), there could be a problem in terms of handling issues that touch on the relationships between men and women – particularly in terms of case work. How would she handle a case of domestic violence or coercion idf she came across it? Or advising on a case of discrimination?

    In more general terms, I haven’t seen much in practise that suggests that religion is a problem in terms of an individuals behavior. To take Joseph’s example – I’ve known a lot of Catholics involved in Labour politics; some I wouldn’t trust to take my granny across the road, whilst others have been selfless in working for others – the label has meant little in terms of distinguishing individuals in their everyday work.

    The exception to this is the wholly reprehensible practise that I’ve mentioned of linking ‘prayers’ to secular Council business – which assumes a commonality of belief that is discriminatory. Similarly, to contradict Steve, the main problem is not children being exposed to the norms of society rather than parents’ dictates in matters of behaviour and morality – it’s the imposition of a sectarian ‘Act of Christian Worship’ in schools.

    When I was Chair of Governors of a very culturally mixed primary school, the there had been a well-publicised case of a woman with a niqab not being allowed it in her role as a classroom assistant. It was a theoretical issue for us, even though the largest ethnic group in the school were Moslem – but there was unaninimity in discussion that, in a similar situation., should it occur, we would not allow a member of staff to allow their religious belief to impose the barrier of a full face veil.l Again – the limits of tolerance, we felt, stopped there in the real world.

    I also draw the line at religious (i.e sectarian) schools – even if it’s practically not feasible for Labour to take on this one at this juncture.

    But Steve does raise an interesting issue when it comes to, not Judaism, but *zionist* beliefs held by a PPC. I would have difficulty in countenancing a Labour candidate who tacitly or overtly supported or excused the ethnic cleansing of Palestine – Jewish, Christian or whatever. I would, by extension, have problems with candidates afraid to tell the truth about the IHRA definition and examples….. which poses a real problem for the selection of Labour candidates, since few will refuse to jerk the knee.

    1. Europe has the highest number of secular states with 33,maybe we should adopt that,because the input of religion into local government and national government only goes to strengthen the establishment and the lack of democracy in our archaic democracy.I tend to draw the line in paying for the upkeep on our CofE churches out of taxpayers money 💰without consent,by the public.especially when I already pay for the upkeep of my local Catholic church.If a religion cannot survive without the state aid it should be allowed to fail….PS being has most of these beautiful Historic buildings were stolen from us the Catholics,maybe we can have them back now theyre obselete and not fit for purpose?

      1. I think you’re sectarian slip is showing, Joseph. 🙂

        … but I won’t get into the history and the politics of it all.

        Just for accuracy : there wasn’t a separate ‘Catholic’ church in the modern sense before the Reformation : the essential bifurcation of belief created the distinction as a distinctioon between branches of the same religion.

        As they say ‘Get over it!’

      2. RH you now wish to rewright the History of the British isles….well good luck with that!… ON a more serious note the jungle drums are sounding after meeting s amongst loyalist militia UVF. UDA and bonfire society’s they have come to an agreement with the DUP to use their God Given Rights to oppose any move by the government to remove the union..source AN Phoblacht and various Irish press reports.So not much chance of the DUP abstaining or running with the torys if they value their kneecaps?

      3. “If a religion cannot survive without the state aid it should be allowed to fail” perhaps should be extended to state aid in the form of charitable status tax relief too – I’m thinking more of public schools than religious but still…

        Your comments imply that you believe the Catholic church is more sinned against than sinning.
        I’d dispute that, as would European history, Jerusalem, indigenous South American peoples and countless lapsed or determinedly EX-Catholics burdened with lifelong guilt over perfectly normal human sexual feelings.

        For me you could have back all of your churches that “were stolen” 500 years ago as long as your church promises to maintain them in perpetuity at its own cost and exclusively for their original purpose.
        Deal? 🙂

      4. “you now wish to rewright the History of the British isles”

        No, Joseph – just trying rescue it from antiquated partisan religious perspectives. Politically, I have to say, the reformers were the ones more often on the side of the angels – even if they also believed in fairies at the bottom of the garden (see the Putney Debates)

        For me the question of what to do with the often glorious buildings (a testament to ordinary craftsmen) that resulted from old beliefs is now a secular issue.

        Just a disinterested judgement. 🙂

        As to NI – this isn’t exactly a one-sided conflict. I thought we had sorted that degree of tolerance out with the GFI – and the border issue on the way to becoming an irrelevance as part of a first stage in moving forward.

        … which is one reason why Brexit is a process of wading in antiquated shite.

  7. Maybe this is what the revisionist right does when it ‘controls’ or owns a seat: Make sure the successor is one of their own. “The third-way, not particularly socialist king/queen is dead, long live the third-way, not particularly socialist successor.”

    Our half a million membership NEED to get involveed in their local Labour parties and need to challenge the dynastic right wing in Labour.

    1. The Labour right runs rings around the left at this game, the left will need to study and defeat the tactics of the right

    1. Interesting stuff – if verified.

      But you’re right. What you get isn’t always what you see.

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