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  • There may be trouble ahead…

    by Sunny
    29th June, 2007 at 8:52 am    

    There is a smell of panic in the air. Southall MP Piara Khabra’s recent death means the constituency is now up for a by-election. That will take place in three weeks time - 19th July. The Southall-Ealing area has symbolic importance for two reasons: firstly, Labour had a huge lead of 11,000 over rivals (48.76% of votes) and if any of the other parties win it will be a huge blow for them. Secondly, it is an overwhelmingly Asian area and a loss means the winner will claim quite loudly that Labour can no longer take the vote of ethnic minorities for granted.

    At the last election the other candidates looked like this: Nigel Bakhai (LD) 11,497 votes; Mark Nicholson (Cons) 10,147 votes. There was some initial worry in the Labour camp that the Libdems might make a big push with an Asian/Sikh candidate. Except that David Cameron has dropped a mini-bombshell by parachuting in Tony Lit, son of Avtar Lit (chairman of popular Southall-based radio station Sunrise and who himself ran as an independent in 2001), as their candidate. At this point the local Labour party must have panicked and decided to ditch their idea of imposing an all-women-shortlist (at least not until the next general election) and invited everyone to put their names forward in the hope the seat isn’t lost by someone inexperienced.

    There are a few points to make here: Southall desperately needs new blood, one of the reasons why I welcomed the all-women-shortlist. Khabra’s stronghold was the unions and er…let’s just say rumours were abound of fake names on votes and other tactics (I don’t know if they were true or who was responsible). Either way the field is clear for a new candidate and there’s no doubt all three parties will push hard. Yesterday David Cameron made a trip to Southall to show he meant business. It’s not clear whether Ming will deploy his zimmerframe. There is also a significant and growing Muslim population in the area, one that candidates have traditionally broadly ignored in the past. So the success of any candidate may also depend on wooing them. The point is that this seat is more serious for Labour than Sedgefield, which will have a by-election on the same day. The Labour hustings will take place on Tuesday and the vote on Wednesday. Expect Gordon Brown to keep a keen eye. At this stage my view is that if Labour pick some old-skool councillor or crony of Piara Khabra then they deserve to lose this seat.

    Update: Just to be clear, I’m not running for the seat or any political office anytime soon. That wasn’t my impending announcement. But I am intrigued by Sonika Nirwal and want to see how she does in the hustings. An Asian woman in the area would definitely be a good idea.

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    15 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs

    1. fiz — on 29th June, 2007 at 9:43 am  

      Sunny Hundal MP?

    2. spacedust — on 29th June, 2007 at 11:53 am  

      What does Tony Lit know about politics?…… money ,EGO, money????… thats not very fair i hear you say…….. Can you see him, making him a career out of politics, may be he could go all the way and become the first Brown Prime Minister, “im sure the thought has crossed his mind” ……

    3. sonia — on 29th June, 2007 at 12:32 pm  

      heh, he probably knows quite a lot, i mean what does anyone know about Politics? it’s using your influence to manipulate others and be two-faced so he probably knows just enough.

    4. soru — on 29th June, 2007 at 2:55 pm  

      ‘the first Brown Prime Minister’

      bit too late for that…

    5. Uncleji Sunrise Radio for President — on 29th June, 2007 at 3:02 pm  

      Its causing some ruckus over at conservative home.
      Especially with all the shady dealings his old man’s being involved in. At least it should make for an entertaining campaign, as Lit Sr & the Late Mr Khabra
      trading insults in 2001.
      No need to be so coy Mr Hundal Southall is the preserve of the
      classic machine politics
      I’ve long been of the opinion that the memories of uprising of 1979 and the Conservative’s part in protecting the National Front would mean that the Tories would never be elected in Southall.
      Have the fading of memories the change in soci-economic cultural & our Dave as the acceptable face of Conservativism changed that

    6. Uncleji being pompous about politics — on 29th June, 2007 at 3:06 pm  

      “it’s using your influence to manipulate others and be two-faced so he probably knows just enough”
      No you’ve find that what you need to succeed as a celebrity. I get really annoyed when assume ALL politicians are unworthy. Whats the cliche we have the politicians we deserve ?

    7. Jagdeep — on 29th June, 2007 at 3:56 pm  

      Machine politics — great reference there Uncleji.

      Tories won’t do jack shit in Southall. Good luck to Sonika Nirwal.

    8. Uncleji liking the Ladies — on 29th June, 2007 at 4:36 pm  

      Yes I’m “intrigued” by Sonika Nirwal as well if you know what I mean ;) [Sid James cacking & much twirling of moustache]
      I had the good fortune to be at conference when Ms Nirwal addressed the comrades in 1998/9 & she was already marked out for the fast track then.
      Jasbir Anand has also expressed an interest, is anyone else in the running or is it a two fille race ?

    9. A Councillor writes — on 29th June, 2007 at 5:07 pm  

      Fear not, I understand that Ming will deploy his zimmer frame :-)

      Unlike the Tories, the LibDems and Labour are at least having a go at a tolerably democratic candidate selection given the timeframes.

    10. Jagdeep — on 29th June, 2007 at 5:14 pm  

      Uncleji you crack me up man — just clicked on your website — proper Uncleji fantasy website you’ve got there!

    11. douglas clark — on 29th June, 2007 at 11:26 pm  

      Sunny Hundal,

      Why are you saying this?

      Just to be clear, I’m not running for the seat or any political office anytime soon.

      Well, you bloody well ought to be. We need people like you in Parliament. You have that scary ability to make sense. On all sorts of issues. Think about it, please.

    12. Sunny — on 1st July, 2007 at 5:49 pm  

      On all sorts of issues. Think about it, please.

      That’s very kind of you Douglas. But political change does not have to be influenced only through being elected. Watch this space. ;)

    13. douglas clark — on 2nd July, 2007 at 1:54 am  

      You are very welcome, and I shall certainly keep watching :-)

    14. ali hussian — on 2nd July, 2007 at 11:29 am  

      Hey all, Respect is meeting tomorrow to announce its candidate for the race. Its most likely someoen from the Hindu or Sikh community. I guess the party will get away with nearly a thousand votes - with greta ease! George galloway will address tomorrow’s meeting. Ciao

    15. rav — on 9th July, 2007 at 4:20 pm  

      The sikh federation are unhappy with labour’s selection and now 5 long standing labour councillors have jump ship and joined the Conservatives,
      how bad can it get for Labour!
      Looks like Lit’s got it with Labour in fighting !.

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