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Posts Tagged ‘UKIP’

Weeks ago, when the 2010 campaign kicked off, the outcome looked like a dead cert. After Labour missed the opportunity to go to the country when they were riding high in the polls, the Conservative party were enjoying a place at the giddy heights of public popularity.

For a few days, that was it. 2010, the first national vote in half a decade and the election campaign that wasn’t.

But then came the televised debates, the rise of Nick Clegg and the shaky performance by David Cameron. Then came a gaffe in Rochdale, beheaded chickens, ‘revelations’ about the Lib Dem past. Then came the realisation that we live in a democracy, that our vote counts and that we have a say in Britain’s future.

This election, in Harrow at council and constituency level, is about choice. For some that choice emerges as between cuts and investment, for others between big state and big society, certainty versus unpredictability.

Stanmore Politics isn’t going to tell you how to vote. All I can do is offer the information, fairly and faithfully presented, about the scope of candidates appealing for your cross next to their name. Who gets that is for you to decide.

No, I won’t tell you who to vote for. But I will say this; use your vote.

Man or woman, old or young – at some time in history you may not have been able to. You can now, and tomorrow the result rests on you taking up that responsibility.

Neither of Harrow’s two constituencies are guarantees for any party, and your choice matters. Already, our electoral system enables power without equivalent mandate. The more people who turnout tomorrow, the more legitimate our next representation in council and parliament will be.

Whatever happens, Stanmore Politics will be on hand with the results as soon as they arrive. I wish good luck to all the candidates – regardless of personal views, serving the public is something few of us ever seek to do.

And remember, those results are not yet decided. Have your say, because you can make a difference. If you don’t speak up, you certainly won’t.

Confused about the vote tomorrow? Click here for the Stanmore Politics election guide.

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Having a strict immigration policy is not a sign of intolerance, according to the UKIP candidate for Harrow East.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Stanmore Politics before the general and local elections this Thursday, Abhijit Pandya emphasised that critics have no basis for calling UKIP intolerant.

“A strict immigration policy in fact can ensure social cohesion and preserve toleration,” he said.

Pandya, a tutor of international law at LSE who grew up in the Harrow area, added he supported a strict cap on immigration.

“People must have secured employment to come into the UK, or they will be a burden on social security.”

However, as the son of immigrants, he agreed there have been ‘huge benefits’ to immigration in Britain, mentioning ‘hard-working decent people seeking to assimilate and participate in Britain.”

“Immigrants contribute to all areas of national life, have contributed to the armed services and the post second world war economic recovery.”

Following on from the furore of a hustings event last week, he said there were huge differences between UKIP and the BNP.

“The fundamentals of our understanding of Britishness is not based on ethnicity but on common shared values of liberalism, toleration and democracy,” he said.

The former Conservative campaigner said UKIP could offer a  clear position on Europe which was not anti-European ‘in a derogatory or prejudiced way’.

He said he wanted to make people aware ‘that we are not a one issue party’ and called for more vocational training for children and an economic revival for small and large businesses.

“I also want a Harrow that is free of property related crime, like burglary and thefts,” he said. “This is by ensuring that police are not burdened with administrative difficulties.

Pandya went on to describe a 50 per cent tax as ‘simply nationalised theft’ and called for a Royal Commission on climate change ‘to ensure Government spending in that area is used honestly’.

“We should not have the inordinate overseas aid budget that the Conservatives and Labour have signed up to in a time of economic crisis,” he said.

He said that politicians put too much emphasis on soundbites trying to please the public, rather than facing difficult arguments.

“Politics has become far too simplistic in its image, whereas the process of Government is ever more complex,” he said. “This leads to a misleading of the public’s expectations.”

Acknowledging UKIP face an uphill challenge, having polled just 757 votes in Harrow East in 2005, he said if he did lose he wanted the party to grow in Harrow ‘by listening to the real concerns of people from all areas of society.’

Still not decided who you’re going to vote for? Read the Stanmore Politics interview with incumbent Labour MP, Tony McNulty, here.

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As regular Stanmore Politics readers may have noticed, there has been some controversy in the aftermath of last week’s Harrow East hustings.

Some in the audience felt Labour candidate Tony McNulty had slammed his UKIP opponent, Abhijit Pandya, as being ‘a BNP man in a suit’.

However McNulty has since asked to clarify his comments. He told Stanmore Politics:

“I said that given his comments, it was no wonder that people called the UKIP the BNP in a suit.

The incumbent MP also said he did not remark on Pandya’s roots, but wanted to make clear that ‘multiculturalism is about everyone celebrating their roots within a British context – not separatism’.

In 2005 UKIP won just 757 votes in Harrow East, a 1.8 per cent share.

Read the complete guide to Thursday’s elections here.

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Could Harrow East veer even more to the right than we might expect next Thursday?

Douglas Murray has blogged on the Telegraph about what he calls the ‘scandalous insult’ made by Tony McNulty to fellow Harrow East candidate Abhijit Pandya.

Following on from Bigotgate yesterday, right wing rabble-rouser Murray argues that McNulty was just as contemptuous of the UKIP candidate when he said at a hustings event last week: “You haven’t got a clue what you are talking about. You are a BNP man in a suit.”

The Labour MP also accused Pandya, who was born in Harrow and grew up in London, of having forgotten his roots.

Murray went on to sing the praises of Pandya:

“He is a fellow in law at the LSE. As well as being academically distinguished, he is hugely intelligent and likeable. He is also admirably unafraid of tackling difficult issues.

“He is exactly the sort of person who would make the House of Commons a better place.”

Murray ended his post by remarking that putting ‘Brown and McNulty’s recent performances together and you can see why’ voters are moving to fringe parties like UKIP.

Last week, the McNulty comment prompted a flurry of reader reaction on Stanmore Politics.

Bluesharrow wrote that it: “was childish and typical of this politically correct world we live in.”

Virender added: “Those of us who were born here are British, and to claim that you have to be BNP in a suit to promote British culture beggars belief.”

Saurav Nangalia: said the remark was offensive and made ‘the very point that Pandya was trying to get across’. “Abhijit is the only candidate who was born and bred in the constituency so who the hell is McNulty to tell him what his roots are?

“The other parties as usual try to pigeonhole him off based on the colour of the skin – this is the same kind of racial division that the BNP promote.”

Based on this, will UKIP enjoy increased success next week at the polls?

In 2005 the party won 1.8 per cent of the vote, or 757 votes.

Read my top ten political gaffes on Times Online here.

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