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Have Asian MPs betrayed us over 90-day bill?

Posted By Xavier Swaraj On 5th December, 2005 @ 4:34 am In Party politics | Comments Disabled

The Government’s Terror Bill, which is currently being scrutinised by the House of Lords, has been the most contentious issue so far for Labour’s ‘historic’ third term. It was so desperate to make sure it passed the Commons; there were stories of Whips intimidating and harassing MPs, even suggestions that there were scuffles in the Lobby, with Whips pinning MPs up against the wall!

On such important issues, both morally and legally, a MP should consider his/her constituents and the impact any law could have on them, as well as their own party whip.

However, this appeared to be the case in respect of the majority of our Asian MPs. With the exception of two, they all voted with the Government.

The two who didn’t were the Conservatives’ only Asian MP, Shailesh Vara and Tooting’s new MP Sadiq Khan. Both voted against the 90 day clause and against the glorifying terror clause and for the 28 day amendment.

Here are two MPs, starkly different, that had not blindly run with the Government. These two didn’t let the media furore and the scare-mongering by our prime minister persuade them.

What is really troubling is that the other seven appeared to follow the Labour party whip like obedient dogs on a leash who follow their master without question. These MPs not only voted for the 90 day clause but the majority of them voted against the 28 day clause and worryingly further they voted for the glorifying terror clause.

In the case of Khalid Mahmood his Muslim population numbers around a third of his constituency. What makes his stance even more untenable is that several of his fellow Birmingham Labour MPs, with less Muslims in their constituencies, voted against the Government.

How is it possible that the few Asian MPs we have voiced little or no concern over these proposals? Have they become so far removed from their constituents’ views that they whole-heartedly voted with the Government? Surely, these are the MPs the Prime Minister would call on to get a feel of Muslim opinion in this country.

They also have an obligation to the country’s Asian electorate. If they cannot represent our views, why should we trust them anymore than the Prime Minister?

Let’s not forget these are the same MPs who regularly turn up to the flamboyant Asian events, cap in hand, to show how in tune they are with the Asian electorate. These are the same MPs who will take free invites to Gala dinners held by Asian business.

These morally reprehensible MPs should consider the impact they are making and the impression they are giving young Asians, when the Government is trying its best to engage with them.

Back in May when all the votes were counted and the new Dewsbury MP was elected, there was a sense in the Asian community that one of their own had finally made it to Parliament, community groups, campaigners were pleased to see Shahid Malik make it to the green benches. He had long been a Labour Party member who wasn’t afraid to tell the Government it was wrong when it came to Asian issues.

He was at the forefront in combating the riots in Northern towns a few years ago. Here was a political campaigner made good, finally we would have a young, Muslim, who understood what young Muslims wanted.

But in true, ‘Greasy Pole’ fashion it took only seven months for him to turn his back on them too. When this happens to one of our own, then why are the Government so surprised at the level of disengagement among the country’s young Asian community?

——————————-
xavier.swaraj@googlemail.com


Comments Disabled To "Have Asian MPs betrayed us over 90-day bill?"

#1 Comment By Jezza On 5th December, 2005 @ 6:41 am

Remove Shailesh Vara from the equation because he was only following instructions from Howard telling tories to vote against the Bill. So your left with only Sadiq Khan, who voted against the party whip. .

Also note that Khalid Mahmood has never voted against the party, he voted for the War, ID cards, foundation hospitals etc - never rebels - hoping to get some promotion. And Mahmood has a strong base as he managed to see off an anti-war vote in a constituency with a significant muslim demography, whilst defending himself from Mohammad Naseem who stood as a Respect candidate against mahmood and from attacks by mpacuk.

#2 Comment By Vol Abroad On 5th December, 2005 @ 8:06 am

The important thing here is not whether individual MPs have betrayed Asian constituents, but whether the Government and those who voted with the Government have betrayed us all with the rejection of old and sacred principles of Common Law.

Sadiq Khan is my MP. I am white (and American). He is meant to represent the whole of Tooting, including people like me who pay taxes but can’t vote. I am pleased that he voted against the 90 days and woolly worded glorification of terror. Much of the offensive speech that GoT is supposed to curb can already be dealt with under incitement to violence law, with perhaps some minor tweaks to guidance. That should be enough if it were enforced. But what about the incitement to religious hatred - another free speech issue? (Again, incitement to violence is not acceptable speech, but anything else is fair game) I hope he clings to Common Law freedoms on that, too.

#3 Comment By leon On 5th December, 2005 @ 10:28 am

“Let’s not forget these are the same MPs who regularly turn up to the flamboyant Asian events, cap in hand, to show how in tune they are with the Asian electorate.”

I think that’s a critical point in the article; yes MPs are meant to represent their constituency but they are also put in power by their voters.

#4 Comment By Jay Singh On 5th December, 2005 @ 11:19 am

I am immensely uncomfortable with the idea of MP’s being attacked because of the way they vote on an issue merely on the basis of their race or religion - what is this, some kind of race test? This is the worst kind of Uncle Tom logic - vote this way or you ’sell us out’

This is the ‘Asian’ inquisition - vote as I say or I spit and curse you as a race or religion traitor.

Really sad.

#5 Comment By j0nz On 5th December, 2005 @ 11:59 am

Indeed. They are elected representatives, if you don’t like their policies don’t vote them in. They should be doing what they believe is right to do, not conforming to the typical view ‘of their kind’.

This is exactly how the BNP propogandise against current politicians, saying that they don’t care about white people, they sell themselves out to the minorities etc. As Jay mentions the slur is race traitor.

#6 Comment By j0nz On 5th December, 2005 @ 12:07 pm

I despise Galloway because he happily sells out Western democracy to pan-arabist dictators. But I’m not going to say he’s a traitor to white people. He’s a traitor to us all living in this country.

Do we know what Khalid Mahmood has actually said on the subject, and why he thinks that?

Also you assume that all Asian people are going to be against the 90 day limit, which is simply incorrect. Anyway terrorists do not generally discriminate between white & brown infidels.

#7 Comment By Stephen On 5th December, 2005 @ 12:35 pm

Im with Jay Singh on this.
Best not go down the path of calling people traitors to their race or religion. Very slippery slope.

#8 Comment By Inders On 5th December, 2005 @ 12:41 pm

Since when did an Asian MP represent only Asians ? They represent the entire constituancy.

#9 Comment By Sunny On 5th December, 2005 @ 2:00 pm

While I agree that it is dangerous to pull up an MP just because of their race or religion, I think Xavier’s point is that there aren’t that many Asian or Muslim MPs out there, and to a certain extent they have some degree of responsibility to represent that voice.

Though the 90 days bill, if gone through, would have affected everyone in the country and we should be all against it, in practice it is likely to be used more against Muslim than any other constituency.

And we’ve already seen stats to show how unsuccessful the police/intelligence has been with such draconian measures (Ireland, and more recent anti-terror arrests).

#10 Comment By krazie On 5th December, 2005 @ 2:04 pm

MPs are elected to represent the beliefs, cultures of their constituent. There’s a huge deficit in BME representation in both Houses. So an Asian or Afro-Caribbean MP has a duty to represent the minority,

#11 Comment By Stephen On 5th December, 2005 @ 2:36 pm

Yes it would affect Muslims more.

Was the legislation posited because the government or Sadiq Khan really dislike Muslims?

Probably not- so best not to argue in terms of responsibility or betrayal.

BTW I agree that the 90 day legislation is unhelpful. I like this website and its politics but just don’t like this particular line of thought.

#12 Comment By Stephen On 5th December, 2005 @ 2:37 pm

my mistake I meant Khalid Mahmood

#13 Comment By j0nz On 5th December, 2005 @ 2:47 pm

90 days does seem a long time. But if it saves a life….then is it still too long?

It’s a bit silly pointing out its going to affect Muslim community more than anyone else… Reminds me of when people complaining that a disproportionate number of Muslims were stopped under the anti-terrorism act. The sky is blue, grass is generally green and we all die at some point.

#14 Comment By Col. Mustafa On 5th December, 2005 @ 3:06 pm

“90 days does seem a long time. But if it saves a life….then is it still too long?”

You could get an innocent locked up for 90 days then go out and join the local jihadists that he regurlarly ignored everyday.
It depends on individuals.
Im muslim and i kinda dont care about the 90 day thing as im not a terrorist.
But i could very easily get arrested one day just for being in the wrong place.
After spending 90 days in prison i can assure you i wouldn’t be too happy.
But then again i wouldn’t be happy if i was arrested in the first place without any proof.

Im with sunny on this one, if the asian MPs aren’t there to help with issues surrounding asians in his constituency then who will?
Isn’t that the point of getting token asian/black MPs into certain parties, to help not only with the voting procedure but also so other MPs can understand the issue surrounding asians and blacks in this country.

The best way is to integrate, join, talk with them, understand thier problems. Works both ways as well.

#15 Comment By Col. Mustafa On 5th December, 2005 @ 3:14 pm

ahhh i see, Xavier wrote this, not sunny.
hehe

#16 Comment By mellow On 5th December, 2005 @ 3:44 pm

Asian MP’s are like many of the MP’s out there, they toe the party line, are looking to their careers and generally want to stay in with the elite of the party.
I’ll never forget a panel discussion with a bunch of councillors facing 3 MP’s, the labour one being Keith Vazeline.
An Asian labour councillor bemoaned the racist immigration policies of the labour party (something that has always been the case) and old Vazelines immediate response was ‘With friends like you who needs enemies’ !
Asian MP’s are generally so bloody grateful to be allowed to hobnob with the big white Sahibs of Parliament they would sell their own mothers if it meant they could stay on.
Apart from Piara Singh Khabra who’s going so senile he just gets led into the right side of the division.

#17 Comment By pregethwr On 5th December, 2005 @ 3:55 pm

Yeah this is bollocks, Sadiq Khan didn’t vote against 90 days because he is from a Muslim background, or an Asian racial group, but because he is a former head of Liberty and a Human Rights Lawyer.

Khalid Mahmood didn’t vote for the 90 days because he secretly hates his religion and skin colour but because he is a Labour MPs and voted the way 80% of Labour MPs voted for the same reasons.

The line of thinking that the most important thing about a person is the colour of their skin or their parent’s, or grandparent’s religion, is pretty counter-productive.

#18 Comment By Col. Mustafa On 5th December, 2005 @ 4:01 pm

Its a hard life trying to fit in whilst also convincing others that its still cool.
Im still aware of the problems within our communities and slowly and slowly realising i know longer live there anymore so why care.

Its true, why should one single asian out of many that has worked hard at his/her political career now give a toss about the many asians that probably bullied him/her while he/she was younger?
Then again why should he/she suck upto the likes of people that dont care about the problems he/she faced when he was younger?

Why is he/she even bothering to get into politics in the first place if they don’t wanna help?

Maybe they just want the lifestyle and money and so thier mum and dad can go “loooooook, my son is an MP”.

Or maybe they do care about certain issues but feel as though they can’t do anything about it, maybe waiting to get higher in position by sucking up and then implementing his/her thoughts.
I dunno..

#19 Comment By dinesh On 5th December, 2005 @ 4:03 pm

Piara Khabra is a senile demented old man that should be shot dead just in case he stands for election again. Why for christ all mighty is he still here or even still alive !

When ever he gets on PMQ’s he f’ing hilarious ! he makes me cringe so much i have to change channel.

you have to give it up for the people of southall for putting him back, but the jokes begining to wear thin now !

#20 Comment By Bikhair On 5th December, 2005 @ 4:08 pm

Pickled Punks,

The Asians in Britain have betryed thier agreement with the kafurs of Britian. YOu keep your sons in line, teach them their religion so they dont drop bombs everywhere, get involved in criminal activity, stop busying yourself with chasing the dunyah and we wouldnt be having this conversation. Every tribulation you brought on yourself.

#21 Comment By Jai Singh On 5th December, 2005 @ 4:10 pm

Bikhair,

=>”The Asians in Britain have betryed thier agreement with the kafurs of Britian.”

You need to correct that statement and remove the refernce to “Asians”. This isn’t an “Asian problem”, and moreover by no means are all Asians Muslim — the majority, worldwide, are not.

#22 Comment By Col. Mustafa On 5th December, 2005 @ 4:12 pm

“Every tribulation you brought on yourself.”

Sorry, i didn’t mean to.
I just wanted a He - Man figure, and maybe the Castle of Grayskull, but that was it mannnnn.

#23 Comment By Vikrant On 5th December, 2005 @ 4:31 pm

Bikhair… ahh… misunderstander of islam. Its it a bit strange that world seems to be filled with misunderstanders of Islam?
btw i’m inclined to agree with inders, when did an Asian MP represent only Asians? BTW Yes this bill is gonna affect us, but it was Asians Pakistanis who messed up things for us. Its a necessary evil.

#24 Pingback By Global Voices Online » Blog Archive » South Asia: Representing minorities On 5th December, 2005 @ 4:39 pm

[…] Pickled Politics asks if Asian MPs have toed lines that do not best represent the interest of their communities on the issue of the Terror Bill. […]

#25 Comment By Jay Singh On 5th December, 2005 @ 7:12 pm

Is this Bikhair thing on medication or something?

#26 Comment By Fe’reeha On 5th December, 2005 @ 8:15 pm

Also you assume that all Asian people are going to be against the 90 day limit, which is simply incorrect. Anyway terrorists do not generally discriminate between white & brown infidels.
Ah! But Metropolitan police does, please check the latest stop and search figures.
Also, the question is of discrimination. A large number of non Asians are appalled by the law and are fighting our battle for us, but our own MP’s who are always called on to voice “our” opinions are smiling and nodding in approval with the government. I say it is indeed a reason to object.

#27 Comment By Sunny On 5th December, 2005 @ 9:56 pm

Lol at Piara Khabra and Keith Vazeline comments. I totally agree guys, those guys both make me cry when I hear them speak. In fact I’ve come close to suicide on many occasions when listening to them. A sad state of affairs and in fact the entire population of Southall needs their heads checked for consistently voting Khabra back in there.

#28 Comment By John Barnes On 5th December, 2005 @ 10:14 pm

I find it strangely disconcerting that this article proposes that elected officials vote certain on the basis of their religion. When some twat writes in and says that all Christian MP’s (After all we do live in a ‘Christian’(?) country) should vote a certain way on certain issue what will your defence be?
Also, since when have all Asians been Muslim?

#29 Comment By Reehana Taj On 6th December, 2005 @ 12:40 am

I’ll try to be politically correct in order not to offend anyone, but most White British people do not consider themselves to be Christian. They do not attend Church or read the Bible therefore cannot be classed as Christian; so the the problem concerning ‘Christian’ MPs taking a certain stance based on their views as a so called Christian will not arise.

#30 Comment By Bikhair On 6th December, 2005 @ 1:47 am

Jai Singh,

“You need to correct that statement and remove the refernce to “Asians”. This isn’t an “Asian problem”, and moreover by no means are all Asians Muslim — the majority, worldwide, are not. ”

Everyone here knows exactly who I am talking about. The clarification was for your emotional sentiments only.

Now go and pawn your stereo for curry powder.

#31 Comment By Bikhair On 6th December, 2005 @ 1:50 am

Jay Singh,

Before you and Jai Singh engage in pillow talk perhaps you guys should exchanges notes so when you guys address me you dont come off sounding like two retards of the same mind.

BTW Sunny will not appreciate you speaking to me like that.

#32 Comment By Jai Singh On 6th December, 2005 @ 10:40 am

Bikhair,

You have no idea about my level of education or indeed what I do for a living — If I told you, it would wipe that condescending smirk off your face permanently. I’m actually laughing at you for insinuating that I have income-related cashflow problems to the extent that I would have to “pawn” anything for food — you have absolutely no idea how far off the mark you are.

An academic knowledge of your religion’s tenets and a smattering of Arabic obviously hasn’t taught you courtesy, respect, maturity, or humility. You should take a look in the mirror and consider whether you are actually a positive ambassador for Islam or, as is obviously the case, in reality your behaviour and treatment of others undermines the very religion you seek to promote.

You may have a basic grasp of some of Wahabbi Islam’s tenets, and you know how to throw in a couple of Arabic words here and there in order to create the illusion of piety and knowledge…..

…..but, to paraphrase something a great man said to one of your predecessors 300 years ago, the reality is that genuine spirituality is very far from you indeed.

#33 Comment By Xavier Swaraj On 6th December, 2005 @ 10:40 am

Guys,

I think some of you have misinterpreted what I was trying to get across. I absolutely agree that MPS shouldn’t just vote for certain issues due to the colour of their skin or their religion, but I thin that they have a responsibility to it. I am not confusing asians & muslims. These laws would disprportionately affect both- a policeman would not necessarliy know the difference!

Asian MPs in particular, appear to forget their communities in helpng them get into politics. No matter what is said local communities like to see one of their own in a place of influence- a chance to get messages out in to the public and alos for those in power to hear them. My point is that I think these MPs forget this once they get into power and they see the ‘greasy pole’ of a career. MPs lke Shahid Malik should be ashamed of themselves because it completely opposes what he did when he was not an MP. Khalid Mahmood is The Prime Minister’s nodding dog- that I accept. But on such important issues shouldn’t there be some representation from Asian MPs as to how these laws will affect us far more?

Whether they agree with the 90day law or not, these concerns need to be brought out for debate. Otherwise, it just looks like we, who oppose such measures, are not reasoned or articulate in our arguments. When we look to those who could open up the debate for us- they appear to flatly refuse!

It makes me sick that we can not have an intelligent debate about such important issues- esp when you see the reports about the US ‘rendition’ flights over the past couple of years.

#34 Comment By j0nz On 6th December, 2005 @ 11:26 am

It’s now set at 28 days anway. If you are not a terrorist or engaging in terrorist activity what are you scared of?

They are harldy likely to keep someone for any prolonged period without some serious suspicion of dangerous intent.

And this whole thing about the Asian MPs have forgotten us… What a load poppycock. I could conversely say that the white MPs have forgotten me and my kind, letting in all these immigrants, not listening to the indigenous people’s concerns and pandering to the Muslim community with ‘religious hatred’ laws. After all, it was us, the white majority that got them into power, and now they turn their back on us…

Jeez it’s hardly like Khalid is calling for internment of all Muslims…

#35 Comment By j0nz On 6th December, 2005 @ 11:27 am

Don’t forget these Asian MP’s are elected representatives of a consituency includes people of colours & creeds.

#36 Comment By Xavier Swaraj On 6th December, 2005 @ 11:36 am

i don’t deny any of what you say….MP’s are here to represen their whole constituency…But that’s exactly it…represent..not dictate! the 90day amounts to Internment but in another guise. All I’m saying is that these MP’s above all others should understand how this law will affect the BME community in Britain and I think that it is their duty to let the Government know.

If MPs are not representing your views then you must take the same initiative and get involved…not just complain about it. But what I’m saying applies to what you believe, MPs are forgetting average ‘joe public’ whatever their creed or colour and we just sit back and take it. We put them into power- they serve us- not the other way round!

By the way, I think the religious haterd laws are flawed…

#37 Comment By j0nz On 6th December, 2005 @ 12:59 pm

Xavier do you or do you not support the 28 days? If not why not please?

Both voted against the 90 day clause and against the glorifying terror clause and for the 28 day amendment.

And you are against criminalising glorification of terrorism? Can you tell me why?

#38 Comment By Sunny On 6th December, 2005 @ 1:12 pm

j0nz - the point here isn’t that we don’t want terrorists locked up. It also isn’t that we (lets say myself or Xavier) have anything to hide.

The problem that the police has such a terrible record of locking up people who have anything to do with terror (look at the stats since 2001, honestly), that there is a good likely hood that the vast majority of people locked up are going to be innocent.

As the Irish experience should show, draconian internment legislation does every little to help.

Though I support 28 days over 90 days.

#39 Comment By Xavier Swaraj On 6th December, 2005 @ 1:57 pm

i agree, Sunny. We have a terrible record of locking up innocent ppl. There does need to be some checks on our criminal justice system.

I actually think 28days is fine. That is plenty of time to find out if sum1 is a terrorist or not!

With the glorifying terror clause- it’s just a strange piece of legislation. How can you determine what is classed as ‘glorifying’ , blatant messages aside?

#40 Comment By j0nz On 6th December, 2005 @ 3:33 pm

vast majority of people locked up are going to be innocent.

I doubt it Sunny! Where do they get these innocent people from?! Depends what you define as innocent I suppose. Praising terorism on internet forums? Distributing Al-Qaeda material… Having instructions for explosive devices?

These aren’t cut & dry cases by any means, but I don’t think just looking Asian or praying at certain Mosque is going to land you in any trouble! If you look at the reasons why ‘in the vast majority of cases’ you will see reasonable suspicion.; i.e. communications with Al-Aqaeda cells , combined with taped conversations etc…

In fact the percentage of people completely innocent people being locked up for prolonged periods of time is going to be very small.

How do you define glorifting terrorism? Umm [1] George Galloway?!

#41 Comment By John Barnes On 6th December, 2005 @ 8:11 pm

Reehana Taj

“I’ll try to be politically correct in order not to offend anyone, but most White British people do not consider themselves to be Christian. They do not attend Church or read the Bible therefore cannot be classed as Christian; so the problem concerning ‘Christian’ MPs taking a certain stance based on their views as a so called Christian will not arise”

Hence why I put Christian in inverted commas.
Just of interest if not reading the bible and not going to church makes you a non-Christian, I would be obliged if you could give me a definition of one?

#42 Comment By Sunny On 6th December, 2005 @ 8:35 pm

J0nz - some figures for you mate:
More than 700 people have been arrested under the Terrorism Act since September 11, but half have been released without charge and only 17 convicted. Only three of the convictions relate to allegations of extremism related to militant Islamic groups.
[2] http://www.guardian.co.uk/Columnists/Column/0,5673,1535624,00.html

You won’t like the source, but they are true, unless you show me otherwise?

#43 Comment By Reehana Taj On 6th December, 2005 @ 9:24 pm

The definition of a Christian: One of Christian denomination which rejects human creeds as bases of fellowship, and sectarian names. They are congreational in Church government, and baptize in immersion.

#44 Comment By j0nz On 6th December, 2005 @ 9:48 pm

No Sunny I am aware of those figures! The problem is according to the police & the government is that they can’t prosecute for somebody ‘talking to Al-Aqaeda’ or glorifying terrorism at present. It doesnt mean that 683 inncoent people were arrested!

Rape cases there’s only something like 1-2% convction rate, yet the actual cases of rape maybe 80%-90% of the time guilty? Do you see what I’m getting at? If they can’t prove it under the rule of law, they have to let them go!

#45 Comment By John Barnes On 6th December, 2005 @ 11:04 pm

43. Reehana Taj | December 6th, 2005 at 9:24 pm

The definition of a Christian: One of Christian denomination which rejects human creeds as bases of fellowship, and sectarian names. They are congreational in Church government, and baptize in immersion.

So nothing whatsoever to do with going to mass on a Sunday or reading the bible? All you have to do is be part of a denomination, I guess by your reasoning then (not mine) that the majority of people in this country are Christian?

#46 Comment By Sunny On 6th December, 2005 @ 11:12 pm

Lol, that’s why we have laws j0nz - so that those who’re innocent are declared innocent. You seem to be insinuating that just because a person has been arrested and is a Muslim, they must be guilty? Do you really want me to remind of you other mistakes made by the police? Stephen Lawrence? Damilola Taylor? Charles DeMenzes?

#47 Comment By Siddharth On 7th December, 2005 @ 12:06 am

We should add to that list the name of [3] Khaled al-Masri, whose was jailed and tortured without recourse to any cheesy 28 or 90 day detention law. I wonder if his plight will be picked up by the Pro-War posse. But I fear their moral constipation in these matters is chronic.


Article printed from Pickled Politics: http://www.pickledpolitics.com

URL to article: http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/188

URLs in this post:
[1] George Galloway: http://hurryupharry.bloghouse.net/archives/2005/12/06/riot_on_the_streets_of_britain_.php
[2] http://www.guardian.co.uk/Columnists/Column/0,5673,1535624,00.html: http://www.guardian.co.uk/Columnists/Column/0,5673,1535624,00.html
[3] Khaled al-Masri: http://www.craigmurray.co.uk/archives/2005/12/the_torturegoro.html