01 April, 2012


A blast from the past

Masochist like wot I am, I was reading yet another bemused article on the week's hot topic — the miraculous reascendancy of Gorgeous George. The piece was at Harry's Place as it goes, and in the comments I came across an interesting quote from the time of George's earlier departure from parliament when he was ousted from Bethnal Green and Bow in 2010.

The quote was from The Times and the original is safe behind Rupert's paywall but I have no reason to doubt its authenticity.

George Galloway was chased out of the East End as his former seat of Bethnal Green & Bow was taken in a Labour landslide by a woman who becomes Britain’s first Bangladeshi MP. Muslims of all parties wept as Rushanara Ali, who spent her first seven years in Bangladesh, spoke of her community’s pride that one of their own had been elected to "the mother of Parliaments".

[My emphasis]

All very symbolic, no doubt, but I can't help thinking that if a White person had spoken of his "community's" pride that "one of their own" had succeeded to public office, there might well have been something of a reaction. Suppose, for example, that that nice Mr Griffin had succeeded in his bid to become MP for Barking and had noted that the pubs of Barking were heaving with happy English folk celebrating the fact that "one of us" was now representing them.

I'm sure Rushanara didn't mean to imply that she would be representing primarily or exclusively the interests of her fellow Bangladeshis. Heaven forfend.

"Yes, of course you can have your own communal politics, but please, please, please, do it in one of our parties. Just so we can keep up appearances a little longer."

They're clutching at straws, and Ms Ali's victory is at least a more consoling thought than Lutfur Rahman's trouncing of the official Labour candidate (with Gallowegian support) in the Tower Hamlets mayoral election. Not to mention the fact that, having been obliged to expel Rahman, Labour put up as its candidate, not the runner-up in the selection contest but the man who had finished third. Because the runner-up wasn't a Muslim. That was the point at which Tower Hamlets ceased to have a Labour Party.

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