Sunday, 31 January 2010

Friends in the Green Party

“This weekend I met with members of the Green Left – a grouping within the Green Party.

They were having one of their regular meetings in Birmingham and they had offered to help with some campaigning beforehand. I was grateful for their support - we need all the help we can get!

On a very cold but fresh Saturday morning we all set off distributing leaflets and door knocking in the Springfield ward. The issue we are campaigning around at the moment is the threat to plans to re-open Sparkhill swimming baths, the local community pool.

After a couple of hours of traipsing the streets we reconvened for discussion, chat and some food at Birmingham’s Metropolitan Community Church, which is around the corner from the charming Friends of the Earth Warehouse CafĂ©.

Inevitably our discussion focused on how national politics could be levered in a progressive direction.

Someone asked whether a new national left-green coalition could be set up. My answer was that we don’t have to belong to one party to work together. Right now the priority should be turning words of solidarity and co-operation into real localised bottom-up examples.

That is why during the recent European elections I backed the Green European candidate Felicity Norman. Felicity was campaigning openly on a very principled stance of opposition to racism and the BNP and she was the candidate best placed to advance a progressive agenda for the West Midlands. I was proud to support her.

We are developing new ways of working and I have been very encouraged by recent developments in Birmingham Green Party.

They have elected a new committee, staffed with a talented bunch of young, enthusiastic, idealistic and tactically astute members. They don’t just talk about unity, they practice it. It was their initiative to campaign among their members not to stand a candidate in Hall Green constituency in order to enhance my chances of winning. It is the kind of sensible, but very rare, co-operation between people of different parties on the left that makes me optimistic for the future.

By working together in the city, my hope is that we can illustrate in practice how collaborative working can strengthen progressive politics.

All in all it was a very encouraging day. Thanks again to my new friends in the Green Party for making it so.”

Friday, 29 January 2010

Shameless

It seems fitting to be launching this blog today, as Tony Blair makes his appearance before the Chilcot Enquiry. It was Blair’s lies over Iraq, his contempt for British public opinion, and his indifference to the suffering war would bring, that spurred me, and lots more other like me, into political activism.
The Chilcot enquiry is shining the faintest light on what we all knew already – the complicity of politicians in lying to justify war. And no single individual is more culpable than Tony Blair. He should be facing criminal charges for all the pain and suffering he has caused whether to the families of Iraqis, Afghans or British service men and women. For a man so obsessed with his own legacy, it is fitting that he will only be ultimately remembered for his deceit, vanity and deference to a particularly dim witted and cruel US president.



Remember Howard Zinn

The American historian and social activist Howard Zinn has died. My friend Victoria Brittian has written a fitting tribute to a life well-lived. She writes:

Howard Zinn's death has the ominous feeling of bringing too close the end of an era when some western intellectuals had the magnetism of rock stars, and when their ethical and principled stand against the dominant powers of the moment moved millions to see things differently, and to act.

In today's vapid celebrity culture these heroes of yesteryear have shone ever more brightly in contrast.And as politics has become more debased, corrupt and filled with empty rhetoric, the towering survivors of that era became reference points for a generation sickened by a mainstream media which had little or no space for them.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

The debate beyond Wootton Bassett


Ignore Islam4UK's self-serving provocation - instead, let's have the open public discussion we need on the war in Afghanistan.
When I was invited to appear on Question Time at Wootton Bassett, I did feel a hesitation because of the programme's location. I was very mindful of the fact that this is where every soldier who has been killed is honoured and where respects are paid. Regardless of where you stand politically, their loss is a very real and human tragedy for their families.

But these are more than personal tragedies. Our soldiers and military families put their trust in the politicians who send them into battle. They trust them to tell the truth. The political tragedy is that, once again, we are fighting a war that is based on lies and that will not make us safe.


Thursday, 7 January 2010

Register to Vote

There will be a General Election and local council elections on 6th May 2010.

The Respect Party opposes the public service cuts proposed by the three old parties. We do not believe that ordinary people should be forced to pay painful price for the mess the bonus-hungry bankers have made of the economy.

We will be calling for an end to privatisation, public investment with an environmental job creation programme, pulling the troops out of Afghanistan and defence of our multi-cultural society against racism and Islamophobia.

We obviously hope you will vote for Respect. But whoever you wish to vote for your name must first appear on the electoral register. Unless you are registered you will not be able to vote in any of next year's elections.

For more details about registering to vote please visit www.aboutmyvote.co.uk where you can fill in an online form which you can then print off, sign and send to your local council.

In Birmingham you can phone the Birmingham City Council Electoral Services unit on (0121) 303 2731  for details on voter registration. You have until 20th April to register.

Remember, you can’t vote for anyone unless you are registered.

Friday, 1 January 2010

Donate

Donations to Salma's Campaign can be made online using a debit or credit card or Paypal account. Donations will be processed via the Respect Party Paypal account and forwarded to Salma's campaign in Birmingham.

You can also send cheques - made payable to Respect Party (write Salma Yaqoob Campaign on the back) to Respect Party, PO Box 167, Manchester, M19 0AH.


To comply with UK laws please read the statement below before making a donation. Thank you.

Terms and conditions - please read carefully

In compliance with party funding laws, if I am donating more than £50, I understand that my details will be checked to ensure I am registered on a UK electoral register (this applies to overseas residents as well as UK residents). If I donate more than £7,500 to Respect nationally in the course of a calendar year (or £1,500 to a single Respect branch) I understand that my name and the amount of the donation will be reported to the Electoral Commission for publication on their public register of donations to Respect.



Donate to Salma's Campaign here


Donate to Respect's national campaign here


Support Salma

Salma’s general election campaign is well under way. She needs all the support she can get. If you would like to volunteer your help in any way, you can make a financial donation online, or ring on 078 121 72885 or email Salma at campaign@salmayaqoob.com


You can be kept informed about events in Salma's campaign and how you can help by joining the email list using the form below. You can unsubscribe at any time using the same form.

Thank you for your interest and support.

Donations to Salma's Campaign can be made online using a debit or credit card or Paypal account. Donations will be processed via the Respect Party Paypal account and forwarded to Salma's campaign in Birmingham.

To comply with UK laws please read the statement below before making a donation. Thank you.

Terms and conditions - please read carefully

Join the Salma's election camapign email list 'election@salmayaqoob.com'

Below you can subscribe to, or unsubscribe from, Salma's election mailing list election@salmayaqoob.com.



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In compliance with party funding laws, if I am donating more than £500, I understand that my details will be checked to ensure I am registered on a UK electoral register (this applies to overseas residents as well as UK residents). If I donate more than £7,500 to Respect nationally in the course of a calendar year (or £1,500 to a single Respect branch) I understand that my name and the amount of the donation will be reported to the Electoral Commission for publication on their public register of donations to Respect.



Salma Yaqoob

Salma Yaqoob is the Leader of the Respect Party. 
 
In 2006 she was elected as a city councillor to represent Sparkbrook ward on Birmingham City Council with nearly 50 per cent of the vote, one of the largest majorities in the city.
 
In the same year she received the Asian Jewel Award for Public Service Excellence.
 
Salma has been described by the Birmingham Post as a ‘doughty fighter for Birmingham inner city communities’.  
 
She is standing as a parliamentary candidate in the Hall Green Constituency.
 
Salma is a regular commentator in the media on current affairs.