Rushanara Ali to challenge Galloway’s seat


by Sunny
29th April, 2007 at 5:58 pm    

Our East end insider Halima points out that Rushanara Ali has won the opportunity to represent the Labour party at the next General Election for Bethnal Bow and Green, George Galloway’s constituency. Rupa Huq and others missed out. The hustings vote was yesterday. Both of them are quite intelligent and competent going by their CVs. Let’s hope Rushanara is now able to build solid grassroots support and Rupa gets selected for a different seat.


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  1. Refresh — on 29th April, 2007 at 6:15 pm  

    I do think Oona King should not have been forced on Bethnal and Green the first time, we could have had the first Asian woman MP a decade ago.

  2. leon — on 29th April, 2007 at 6:42 pm  

    She wasn’t ‘forced out’ she was voted out, big difference.

  3. Anas — on 29th April, 2007 at 6:51 pm  

    It’s positive that we have an asian woman standing, but as a Labour candidate, I HOPE SHE LOSES.

  4. Refresh — on 29th April, 2007 at 6:54 pm  

    No Leon, I was referring to when Oona was shoe-horned in, as Blair babe, for the 1997 election despite strong local candidates including a woman.

  5. Refresh — on 29th April, 2007 at 6:55 pm  

    “I HOPE SHE LOSES.”

    Couldn’t agree more!

  6. ZinZin — on 29th April, 2007 at 6:55 pm  

    Leon, Refresh said “forced on” not forced out, small difference this time.

  7. ZinZin — on 29th April, 2007 at 6:56 pm  

    Refresh have you joined Respect?

  8. Anas — on 29th April, 2007 at 7:01 pm  

    It’s funny cause I got a personally addresed letter from the Muslim Friends of Labour (Chair Mo Sarwar) the other day entreating me to reconsider Labour’s record of delivery for British Muslims and to vote Labour! It’s gonna make voting for the SNP on Thursday that much more pleasurable for this Muslim Enemy of Labour.

  9. Anas — on 29th April, 2007 at 7:08 pm  

    is Rupa konnie huq off blue peter’s sister?

  10. Sunny — on 29th April, 2007 at 7:09 pm  

    Well, clearly I hope she wins. There are a lot of Labour candidates who opposed the war. The ones that should be punished are the ones who quite happily supported it and promoted it.

  11. Refresh — on 29th April, 2007 at 7:11 pm  

    ZinZin, not joined.

    Need Labour and any putative warmongering party to get a seriously bloody nose.

    Another period in the wilderness will bring the party back into line with its membership.

    So if I was up there in the Far North it would be SNP and/or Socialists.

  12. ali mirza — on 29th April, 2007 at 9:53 pm  

    I am sure Galloway and his Respect party members had something to do with this selection.
    If she stays put till the end, then mark my words today: this seat will be won by a young Bangali origin male from Respect. No matter what pundatry many people would come up with here but thats the fact of life. Just watch when Galloway kicks it off!

  13. Halima — on 29th April, 2007 at 11:47 pm  

    Rushnara Ali making the Labour nomination is a good thing. Last time Oona was imposed onto the constituency because the Labour Party – natonally and locally – didn’t think the Bangladeshis were up to scratch to represent the neighbourhood. I think it’s right that this time round this poor assessment didn’t prevail.

    And yes, Sunny, absolutely Rushnara Ali will have to work VERY HARD to win broad based grassroots support from all sections of the constituency. Her weakness may be a less established track record on grassroots – otherwise RESPECT will indeed reap the rewards once again.

    The RESPECT party in Bethnal Green and Bow are debating their candidate – still clear. The word is that a national candidate won’t go down well – Labour will reap, so their best bet is local candidate – another young Bangladeshi male. Whether they do with this view – I don’t know, will wait and see. I for one am really looking forward to the contest – it’s what’s making local politics really exciting at the moment in Bethnal Green.

    Personally I think it’s a great moment to see two young Asians competing for the same MP seat. A sign that there is less of a democratic deficit in this part of London.

    But agree with all bloggers that Labour’s anti-war record has been abysmal and so difficult to shake off.

  14. Refresh — on 30th April, 2007 at 12:35 am  

    “Last time Oona was imposed onto the constituency because the Labour Party – natonally and locally – didn’t think the Bangladeshis were up to scratch to represent the neighbourhood.”

    I think you are too generous to New Labour. They wanted their aparatchiks in safe and very safe seats and Oona King (wasn t she employed at Walworth Road, Labour HQ at the time?). It was never the case that the local candidates weren’t up to it.

    The controlling tendency of New Labour made sure they put in place their own, at the expense of the membership. For example Liz Davies was selected by Leeds North East in time for the 1997 election, but Blair was reported as livid (she was too left wing), at the time. She was de-selected by the national ruling body of the party, the NEC. Only then for the membership to elect her to the NEC itself. Oh what joy it was to imagine Liz Davies questioning Tony Blair every month – face to face.

    Interestingly the argument for deselecting her was based on three fellow Islington councillors sticking their nose in. They’ve subsequently apologised for “misunderstandings” and contributed to campaign funds of another left wing MP, Jeremy Corbyn.

    That was the nature of Blair’s Labour Party at the time they foisted Oona King on Bethnal Green.

    Blair s continued the downhill trend, set by Thatcher, for democracy in this country ever since.

  15. Halima — on 30th April, 2007 at 1:12 am  

    Refresh

    You are right – they stiched up Oona King MP onto Bethnal Green. This is why Oona King could do nothing but vote for Tony Blair on the war on Iraq – she knows which side her bread is buttered but her position then became untenable so the voters and they voted her out.

    I suppose if she came in as a candidate on her own right and voted like the rest of the councillors in Tower Hamlets (which the exception of Michael Keith who abstained on the vote and the rest voted against the war) Oona might’ve stayed in her seat. She’s not bad as a constituency MP (inner city wards are pretty demanding portfolio).

  16. Refresh — on 30th April, 2007 at 1:37 am  

    Halima – agreed.

    I like her as a person. And I am sure you are right, her position became invidious.

  17. Refresh — on 30th April, 2007 at 1:47 am  

    “The ones that should be punished are the ones who quite happily supported it and promoted it.”

    Oona King was such a figure.

  18. BGB Bitch — on 30th April, 2007 at 10:06 am  

    “They did not stitch up BGB” for Oona. Before Oona was elected she was the GMB trade unions race relations officer, before that she had worked in Europe as an assistant to Mrs Kinnock.

    I know a stitch up job when I see one (St Helens South) and BGB wasn’t one in 1997 or 2005. BGB would be a very difficult seat to stitch.

    The reason she was selected was because she ran a very organised selection campaign, did a great speech at the hustings and a male bangladeshi was excluded because he started a fight. Can’t have candidates who go around wacking voters unprovoked.

    Also it is wrong to assume that BGB is some kind of bangladeshi fiefdom because actually it is very diverse so the winning candidate has to appeal to all sections of the constituency not just one.

  19. Leon — on 30th April, 2007 at 10:08 am  

    Refresh, sorry about that, was skim reading (bad habit of mine!).

  20. Refresh — on 30th April, 2007 at 10:57 am  

    BGB

    Here is an entry in Wikipedia:

    “The seat also has a large non-white population, estimated at around 58% of the population. The largest group in this number is the Bangladeshi community (36%) [1]

    In the 1997 general election, there was a swing of 5% to the Conservative Party at a time when the national trend was a landslide swing against them. Bethnal Green and Bow was one of only two constituencies in the country to have any sort of pro-Conservative swing. This unusual result was ascribed to problems over the selection of a Labour Party candidate, following the retirement of Peter Shore. Oona King, who won the selection, was not well known and many in the local area would have preferred a candidate from a Bangladeshi background. However the leading Bangladeshi candidates were identified with the left and were excluded from the selection.”

  21. Refresh — on 30th April, 2007 at 10:58 am  

    As for fiefdoms, that is not the point. It is about, as Halima mentions somewhere above, reducing the democratic deficit.

  22. Duc De Nemours — on 30th April, 2007 at 2:16 pm  

    How does cutting and pasting something from Wikipedia make your point? 64% of Bethnal is not Bengali. Relying on all 36% of Bethnal’s Bengalis to vote you in is both short sighted and unrealistic.

  23. Refresh — on 30th April, 2007 at 2:35 pm  

    I think the point is about the internal selection process for Bethnal at the time Oona was placed, and how the membership was overridden. Just as it was in a number of constituencies.

    The point you’re making is a separate one, but probably relates more to the opinion that a Bengali candidate (at the time) would not have been seen as inclusive enough to carry the seat. Which in turn maybe a reflection of your views of the Bethnal Green electorate which I do not share.

  24. sonia — on 30th April, 2007 at 3:19 pm  

    dunno, this seems to be very ‘communal’ style politics.

  25. Duc De Nemours — on 30th April, 2007 at 3:34 pm  

    Refresh. Please do enlighten me as to what you think I think

  26. Refresh — on 30th April, 2007 at 3:38 pm  

    Maybe I was presumptious but your #22 suggested that a Bengali candidate was effectively having to rely on all the Bengalis voting for him to get anywhere close.

    If I’ve misunderstood please let me know.

  27. Duc De Nemours — on 30th April, 2007 at 3:43 pm  

    Yes you have

    I would say deliberately

  28. Refresh — on 30th April, 2007 at 3:47 pm  

    “Yes you have

    I would say deliberately”

    I may have, I can’t tell. What point were you trying to make?

  29. Duc De Nemours — on 30th April, 2007 at 3:49 pm  

    Well

    That would be my point too.

    You see?

  30. Refresh — on 30th April, 2007 at 3:56 pm  

    No I don’t think I do, unless you’ve more to add to #22, which I think I read correctly, but you are suggesting I didn’t. I want to engage you, so if you would elaborate then we can get back on track.

  31. AsifB — on 30th April, 2007 at 4:43 pm  

    Rupa Huq would be more media friendly than Rushanara Ali but also more likely to put her foot in her mouth. Ali has more cred as a local girl but a hugete lack of profile in the real (non policy wonk) world.

    It was Pola Uddin by the way who was selected for the BGB seat back in the mid-90s under an all woman shortlist – following a (96?) case requiring all labour’s all women races to be re-run, the Bangladeshi vote split (quelle surprise) and faced with white and brown male factions clamouring for the seat, Oona was parachuted by Millbank as a perceieved compromise. (And to her credit, Iraq apart, became less of a Nu Lab robot as time went by)

    Rushanara needs to put more distance between her and the war to build on her local roots and get past the likely Respect stratgey of getting a Bengali male to split the Deshi/Muslim votes.

  32. Fresher — on 30th April, 2007 at 7:28 pm  

    “Rupa Huq would be more media friendly than Rushanara Ali but also more likely to put her foot in her mouth.”

    I’m sure it would be a very lovely foot in in very lovely mouth

    Ali should learn to smile in her photos.

  33. leon — on 30th April, 2007 at 9:02 pm  

    Ali should learn to smile in her photos.

    Yup.

  34. Cynical One — on 30th April, 2007 at 10:29 pm  

    No doubt some Labour Party media training will sort that out.

  35. Fresher — on 1st May, 2007 at 12:02 am  

    “No doubt some Labour Party media training will sort that out.”

    Yes that’s the day they get the ipod with the special track full of advice. “breath in, breath out, breath in, breath out”

  36. Halima — on 1st May, 2007 at 12:03 am  

    Rushnara gave the best speech on the day of the votes – good enough to attract the floating votes.

    Rupa on the other hand might be media friendly but answered her Q & As very badly – so much that in the end Alex H one of the local councillors just randomly asked her a question about Sudan so make the point that she isn’t making any sense to the audience – the audience saw the funny side but Rupa missed the joke which I see form her blog..about that evening.

    Bloggers are right -Tower Hamlets doesn’t have a majority Bangladeshi population at all – so Rushnara won a broad based vote – including a large section of the white votes, including unions. But still there’s a hell of a lot of work to do to win the ordinary person on the street – White, Black, Bangladeshi or Eastern European…

  37. Chris Paul — on 1st May, 2007 at 6:11 pm  

    If BG&B is 36% deshi and there are at least two deshi candidates and they split that more or less down the middle then the other 64% is going to be all important isn’t it? That’s where the election will be won and lost. The assumption from Respect that the Bangladeshi community will follow some misogynistic macho line from the imams (and yes they are already saying that) shows where they’re at as a “Party”. More shame on Galloway if he runs that one again.

    In the end there will be an element of betting on the result, a significant influence of what McDonnell or possibly the outsider Brown does nationally – including I’d suggest an Iraq enquiry and some unpicking or critting of Blairy things, and it may also depend on negative stories and negative campaigning on all sides and the various and unpredictable effect of that.

    In the end I feel that the people of BG&B will want leverage and not a one trick pony of an ex-Party (probably further hollowed out by then) and so they will back Rushanara to a significant majority.

    If someone has already opened a book I’d bet on 5,000-10,000.

  38. Green Star — on 1st May, 2007 at 11:58 pm  

    I learnt of this selection only today when reading the Standard. I think the Labour members have made a very poor choice in Rushnara. She is an exceptionally bright woman but she is also cold, opportunistc and ruthless in the pursuit of her number one passion, herself. The electorate will see through this I am sure.
    Her shallowness is refected by the diverse range of areas in which she has dabbled since graduating from Oxford. She has piggy backed a number of publications but she has not really proven herself as a loyal and committed person in any of her multiple appointments. A political career has always been high on her wish list and she has done well to convince the party to nominate her but mark my words, it is a decision they will live to regret, probably because she will not get elected whilst if RESPECT fail to rise to the challenge, her aloof and arrogant persona coupled with her huge ambitions to ascend the greasy poll as quick as she can will make her a (very) poor and insincere constituency MP.
    How can I say these things, I once worked closely with her and observed her ruthless approach, ability to dodge most hard work but claim most of the credit and the contempt those who worked closely with her had for her by virtue of her weak and uncaring management style (PM qualaties perhaps – shhhhh, don’t tel her or her ego might explode.
    I am sure she will not be smoking, drinking and dressing the way she did when I was acquainted. This comment reads very bitter but it is not intended to be so, I am just genuinely shocked at her selection though if Rushanara wants something (or someone) she invaribly has a damn good try to get it and I do not envy anyone who gets in her way.

  39. Don — on 2nd May, 2007 at 12:47 am  

    Not that you have a personal agenda. I have zero knowledge of the lady in question, but you are an offensive creep.

  40. rupahuq — on 2nd May, 2007 at 10:18 am  

    Given the wafer thin majority of the Labour Group on LBTH this is good news indeed. http://grayee.blogspot.com/2007/05/respect-cllr-rejoins-labour-party.html One of the questions at Thursday’s hustings was “If you got all the Respect councillors all together in a room how would you persuade them to join Labour?” Part of my answer was that I thought some of them would as they realised what a sinking ship that this personal vanity project based on one man (GG) was turning out to be. On the aforementoined meeting, I think you are a bit harsh Halima. People who were undecided/suspicious of me until Thurs and decided to vote for me after (such as CLP stalwart Belle Harris, ex-councillor Judith Gardiner and others) said it was my handling of tough questions designed to trip me up that made them do it. Anyone who was at meeting will remember that after my riposte to the sub-Saharan question from Heslop actually had the audience burst into a round of applause. I only saw my own performance so dunno about others but see
    https://www2.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7733583&postID=2187625030554092608
    written by someone who manages that rare combination of (a) having been clearly present at the meeting and (b) is kind about everyone. Apropos post 38, this sort of personal hatchet job is way out of order. The seat will be won back by Rushanara – as we have seen Respect are already crumbling.

  41. Rumbold — on 2nd May, 2007 at 11:25 am  

    Well said Don.

    Rupa: “I thought some of them would as they realised what a sinking ship that this personal vanity project based on one man (GG) was turning out to be.”

    Sounds like another party as well. Bad luck on not getting selected by the way.

  42. sonia — on 2nd May, 2007 at 11:49 am  

    Personal vanity! Why surely that could apply to many politicians from across Party lines – come on – we all know that. What a strange lot of people politicians are if they don’t realize that.

  43. sonia — on 2nd May, 2007 at 11:50 am  

    It really doesn’t inspire one to vote for any of these people does it? It’s so like religion – ‘oh come join this one, we’re not like the others’ – actually they hae more in common than not.

    Sigh!

  44. Rumbold — on 2nd May, 2007 at 11:55 am  

    Respect does seem to be more personality-based than most however (though Sonia is right when she said that they all are to a certain extent, and again when she says that it is not a particularly good strategy to point this out).

    Respect’s attraction frankly baffles me given that its main ticket is George Galloway. But then, I supposed that there is no accounting for taste.

  45. Leon — on 2nd May, 2007 at 1:08 pm  

    Respect does seem to be more personality-based than most however

    They’re not by far, take a look at Neo Labour and their cult like promotion of Blair, or how the Tories are doing the same with Cameron…

  46. Don — on 2nd May, 2007 at 1:23 pm  

    The cult of Ming seems to have mysteriously failed to materialise.

  47. Leon — on 2nd May, 2007 at 1:29 pm  

    The cult of Ming seems to have mysteriously failed to materialise.

    Thankfuly.

  48. Halima — on 2nd May, 2007 at 2:13 pm  

    Rupa.

    Was harsh and will try and be more moderate next time. I was relaying what went around the audience on the day – but all is subjective as you say. But still good to take on board point that we could all communicate better to the public – this is not a competency for everyone but is for public figures and this applies to all the candidates, including Rushnara Ali.

    The point about Alex’s question was that it wasn’t a serious question but just mad & that’s why the audience laughed. You did your sincere best to answer very seriously, no doubt, but he was only teasing.

    Plus tactically you can’t tell a bunch of RESPECT councillors what a sinking ship GG is – true GG is this, but politics is about tactics, you can’t knock their leader in their face in a public sphere, it has to be done by stealth and spin…

    Anyway, good luck with the selection processs – just because Bethnal Green is decided doesn’t mean other constituencies are closed.

  49. bgbmemberwhowasactuallythere — on 2nd May, 2007 at 3:53 pm  

    Halima, You can be a sad twat if you want to going over the selection for years on end but the fact is that we have a good candidate. We should support her and help her win the seat. There were many others who tried to win the selection many of whom have considerable gives to give to the party. It is ill fitting to slag them off for trying and says more about you than it does about them. I thought they (On the shortlist) were all OK. Shiria did a bad speech on the night but it was one speech. I’m sure she will do many better ones in future.

    So stop messing about on the net an help us deliver some leaflets. If you don’t want to do that fuck off.

  50. sonia — on 2nd May, 2007 at 4:24 pm  

    cult of ming

    heh heh that’s a good one.

  51. sonia — on 2nd May, 2007 at 4:25 pm  

    “So stop messing about on the net an help us deliver some leaflets. If you don’t want to do that fuck off.”

    Sheesh! Talk about “Pressure”.

  52. Halima — on 2nd May, 2007 at 4:52 pm  

    Yep the pressure has started and it will get nastier along the way.

  53. Jagdeep — on 2nd May, 2007 at 4:55 pm  

    Asian politics eh, Sonia?

  54. bgbmemberwhowasactuallythere — on 2nd May, 2007 at 5:03 pm  

    This is not pressure. It is mearly the realisation it is not beneficial for the Labour Party for Labour Party members to slag off Labour candidates or wannabe Labour candidates when we have to present the same people to the electorate in the future.

    The place to have that debate is in the party not on the net where our opponents can quote us. As a Labour party member you get as much say as anyone else in the party over choosing the candidate as you have a vote.

    Labour members have plenty of people they can slag off, the tories the fascists, the lib dems. Our own people shouldn’t be on the list.

  55. Leon — on 2nd May, 2007 at 5:16 pm  

    “So stop messing about on the net an help us deliver some leaflets. If you don’t want to do that fuck off.”

    Heh I’d love to know just who you are!

  56. bgbmemberwhowasactuallythere — on 2nd May, 2007 at 5:22 pm  

    “So stop messing about on the net an help us deliver some leaflets. If you don’t want to do that fuck off.”

    Heh I’d love to know just who you are!

    Just about any person actually committed to Labour rather than some person who claims to be leftwing and shows such great solidarity by slagging off their comrades

    Alternative to leaflet delivery can include canvassing btw.

  57. Leon — on 2nd May, 2007 at 5:25 pm  

    Just about any person actually committed to Labour rather than some person who claims to be leftwing and shows such great solidarity by slagging off their comrades

    Right, and there can be no internal (public or otherwise) dissent against your chosen party? How very Stalinist…

  58. bgbmemberwhowasactuallythere — on 2nd May, 2007 at 7:04 pm  

    Personally I find it offensive that you compare a democratic political party with democratic means of selected a candidate with the worst mass murderer in history.

    I never said I had a problem with internal dissent but this is not internal. Who are you to say that Respect wont go around and use quotes placed on blogs to slag off the candidate that Labour members have democractically selected.

    Remember this is after the selection as well, not that it is particulary desireable before but Labour members slagging off Labour members and candidates after a selection has been made is out of order.

    What we should remember is that these are on the whole good people trying to use there skills in public service. I don’t think that should be a red rag for people to slag them off without any basis in fact or indeed reality.

  59. Asif — on 2nd May, 2007 at 7:20 pm  

    But is everyone here a labour party member? And does leftwing mean you have to be Labour? No. No. No.

    This is not a blog that has to be sensitive to labour party politcal broadcasts. or any other party’s mouthpiece.

    Politicians are in the business of being in public eye and their speeches, quotes dissected, and mis-represented. Their supporters role is to challenge the mis-representation by leading by example. By inspiring dissenters to join them.

    Are you so weak that you can’t handle RESPECT reading some blog?

  60. Jagdeep — on 2nd May, 2007 at 7:23 pm  

    I love that bunch of clowns.

    Yo! Respect!

  61. Halima — on 2nd May, 2007 at 7:55 pm  

    The last I heard she was an East End girl made good – politics isn’t everyone’s thing but if she ends up being the UK’s first UK Bangladeshis MP that has got to be good. You’ve got to hand it to a girl who hasn’t had the best springboard in life to be contesting Galloway’s seat – I give her 100% on will and determination. I’ll also take my hat off to a local lad that contests Rushnara. Call it an immigrants legacy. Plus the new candidates are young and we need more young representatives to break the grey party political machines.

    In any case part of her or any politicians learning curve will be to be a good constituency MP.

    To be clear – I am not supporting any party here but saying it’s a great time in politics. The political personalities are quite engaging.

  62. Sunny — on 2nd May, 2007 at 9:50 pm  

    Personally I find it offensive that you…..

    Is that right? Well we find your obtuse bullying tactics quite offensive and annoying too. If you can’t have a decent conversation then please don’t bother posting.

  63. Kalam — on 6th May, 2007 at 8:35 am  

    Is Rushanara Ali of Sylheti Bangladeshi ethnic descent? Most of us Bangladeshis are from Greater Sylhet. We speak a different (but related) basha/language and the rest of the Bangladeshis don’t like us. This is very important as I believe one reason Pola Uddin was not selected (apart from being a woman) was because she was not from Sylhet.

    Rupa Huq is a Dhakaiya…I hope both the Labour party and RESPECT field only Sylheti candidates, otherwise the excersise isn’t worth it. They may as well field a caucasian candidate.

  64. soru — on 6th May, 2007 at 1:54 pm  

    Yeah, but is she Habiganji Sylheti Bangladeshi or Sunamganji Sylheti Bangladeshi?

  65. Kalam — on 6th May, 2007 at 5:51 pm  

    Greater Sylhet comprises Sylhet, Habiganj, Sunamganj & Moulvi Bazaar. In my experience people from these regions (as opposed to the rest of Bangladesh) tend to mingle, intermarry and generally share a similar world view. (Ref: Monica Ali demos).

    So if Rushanara speaks our lingo, is a local girl and can appreciate our needs and aspirations, even while able to operate as part of the British mainstream that’s great.

  66. Sunny — on 6th May, 2007 at 6:20 pm  

    So if Rushanara speaks our lingo, is a local girl and can appreciate our needs and aspirations,

    Kalam – I think you didn’t get that soru was being sarcastic. Anyway, BGB is an incredibly mixed area, and a particular tpe of Sylhetis don’t dominate the area. What you need is someone, of whatever background or colour, who can understand the local communty’s needs and effectively articulate them and represent them. It could be Sylheti… it could be a white man, it could be a black Jewish woman. Just having someone of your background doesn’t mean they’ll be good… with Piara Khabra in Southall as a perfect example.

  67. Kalam — on 6th May, 2007 at 7:12 pm  

    I’m sorry but I don’t wish to bow to politically correct notions with no grounding in reality.

    Do you think Sylhetis will politically support someone from a community (even with same race/religion) with which they refuse to mingle/inter marry. The personal is more important than and influences the political.

    I do understand intelectually where you guys are coming from….but Tower Hamlets haqs a huuuuuge Sylheti component and it’s about time one of ours was nominated. It looks like it will be this time.

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