Al-arab In UK | Al-arab In UK - Message to Our Arab Community i...

1445 ذو الحجة 11 | 18 يونيو 2024

Message to Our Arab Community in Britain Regarding Local and Parliamentary Elections

Message to Our Arab Community in Britain Regarding Local and Parliamentary Elections
Sabah Al-Mukhtar 25 April 2024

Political competition intensifies in the United Kingdom in preparation for local and parliamentary elections, given their direct impact on the daily lives of citizens and residents within, as well as the country’s stance on the international stage. Therefore, it is essential to seize this opportunity to speak out on various issues, hoping they will be taken into consideration.

Supporting Arab and Muslim Candidates

First, despite our attempts to think like Britons (in the traditional English way), it’s not an easy task for several reasons, notably because the issue of Palestine, especially the genocide in Gaza, remains our top concern, along with other Arab and Islamic issues.

However, there’s no harm in that because our issues are just and humanitarian, recognised by the free human conscience, regardless of the nationality or religion of those advocating for them. Nonetheless, it’s useful to realise that our scale of justice regarding our issues may not align with the views of all our compatriots in the UK.

Second, the notion that “the wealthy monopolise the political process, so religious individuals should stay away from it” is somewhat inaccurate.

Most participants in political movements are individuals with noble principles and a strong belief in the justice of their causes, and this belief isn’t necessarily religious.

Third, the determination of some sons and daughters of Arab and Islamic communities to enter the arena of elections as independents requires great courage and greater support from all of us in various forms: encouragement, exchanging ideas and opinions, volunteering to assist them, distributing their publications, and urging voters to support them.

Financial support is also necessary, as every campaign has financial burdens and costs. Therefore, we, as members of the Arab community, should donate to candidates who champion our causes, and candidates have announced bank account numbers dedicated to receiving support for their election campaigns.

Labour Party Changes

Message to Our Arab Community in Britain Regarding Local and Parliamentary Elections

Fourth, concerning our view of political parties, particularly the Labour Party, it remains part of the International Socialist movement, which includes the Zionist movement.

However, due to the Israeli aggression, criminality, and supremacist view of itself, and American “Capitalist and Imperialist” support of Israel, the party begun to sympathise with the Palestinian cause. The party comprises grassroots support and MPs in Parliament. When Tony Blair transformed it into an electable party, it became similar to the Conservative Party. Upon its actual victory in elections, Labour Party MPs in Parliament turned into “Blairites,” and here, the Zionist lobby’s control over the party resumed when its former leader Jeremy Corbyn was ousted and replaced by its current leader, Keir Stammer, who openly declares his support for the Zionist movement.

Our problem with the Labour Party lies in its failure to meet our expectations. But the question arises here: were our expectations reasonable? Why do we expect a party allied with the Zionist movement to stand by us? It must be said that the relationship between the Labour Party and British voters in general (including us) is not limited to the issue of Palestine. Yes, punishing the Labour Party for abandoning what it represented in terms of supporting the working class, socialism, healthcare, education, and caring for the weak is necessary, and particularly because of its betrayal of the Palestinian cause.

Regarding the Conservative Party, it’s the party that made the Balfour Declaration (establishing a Jewish national home in Palestine) and is the party that despises all those with foreign origin (including us). Therefore, we shouldn’t be deceived by accepting Rishi Sunak, of Indian origin and Hindu religion, as Prime Minister, as he’s more of a royalist than King Charles himself, and the party’s leadership couldn’t agree on a better choice than him! Here, it’s also worth mentioning the opinion that some Arabs and Muslims, when they assume high positions, turn into enemies of ours. An example of this is the Iraqi politician Nadim al-Zahawi (who denies even his Iraqi identity claiming he’s Kurdish!), but he’s an exceptional case.

It must be noted that those who enter the world of “authority” and public service have their profiles thoroughly scrutinised and may be excluded from sensitive positions. While this is true, the fault may not lie with them, but rather with those who actually control the reins of power.

No Vote or Third Party?

Message to Our Arab Community in Britain Regarding Local and Parliamentary Elections

Fifth: Personally speaking, I will boycott the Labour Party, but it’s unreasonable for me to vote for someone or a party I know nothing about, even if my vote carries little weight.

This brings us to the topic of the Protest Vote. Is voting for an unknown entity the best option, or is abstaining from voting altogether the right choice? Opinions may vary, and those with experience, time, and knowledge must research and decide for themselves. As for me, I believe the majority isn’t as inclined. Advocating for voting in favour of the Green Party or the Liberal Democrats doesn’t seem suitable for every time and place. In my electoral district, for example, there’s a Labour representative who generally responds to most of our requests, but she naturally adheres to party guidelines. And there’s a candidate from the Liberal Democrats whom we voted for when Nick Clegg was leader, who had promised us much, but then reneged on his promises and entered into an alliance with the Conservatives to become Deputy Prime Minister, despite the ideological and political contradiction between him and the Conservatives.

Moreover, the Green Party (which caused chaos by closing down streets) only talks about the environment and carbon emissions. So would it be reasonable to vote for the Greens or the Liberal Democrats!?

Sixth: Denigration and negative campaigning.

Undoubtedly, one of the most crucial aspects of political awareness and competition is exposing the flaws of others so people can make informed decisions. This applies to advanced political systems and parties with political agendas. However, in the case of our weak and divided minority, lacking political experience and unity, denigration and negative campaigning do not benefit us.

Seventh: We should take pride in the fact that, as a small and recent expatriate community, we are thinking about these election-related matters.

Other older and more established minorities in our new homeland took a long time to reach where they are now, whereas we’ve accelerated the process through our competencies, scholars, and experts.

Eighth: I believe the Labour Party will win in the elections, albeit with lower margins than the party hopes for, and we have a role in that, even if they deny it. The evidence suggests that change is needed, and perhaps the situation will improve.

Ninth: In my opinion, political work requires flexibility, which includes compromising on some principles, unfortunately.

Therefore, talking about voting for honourable, trustworthy, and principled individuals may not be feasible or may be difficult to achieve. We have living examples in the resignation of several MPs and council members when they refused to abandon their principles because they are people of honour, trustworthiness and loyalty, for which they paid a hefty price.

Tenth: The topic of refugees is perhaps the most crucial electoral issue because the British public has been convinced of its significance through media focus.

Britain left the EU and afterwards pleaded to recruit drivers, nurses, and caregivers whom it discovered were supplied heavily from Europe. The Conservatives proposed the idea of relocating refugees to Rwanda, knowing full well the failure of this idea in halting refugee inflow, and its enormous cost that is not commensurate with expected benefits. Conversely, the Labour Party lacks an alternative plan or solution but presents what the voter wants to hear rather than anything of substance

Will Sadiq Khan win the Mayoral Elections? 

Message to Our Arab Community in Britain Regarding Local and Parliamentary Elections

Eleventh: Regarding the issue of Mr. Sadiq Khan (the Mayor of London, seeking re-election with the Labour Party), I don’t know of any Londoner who approved of any mayor.

They would vote for them, then regret it and seek another, in a repetitive and perpetual cycle. Ken Livingston of the Labour Party became leader of the Greater London Council when Margaret Thatcher, a Conservative, was Prime Minister. The conflict escalated to the point where Parliament passed a law to abolish the GLC. When the Labour Party returned to power in 2000, the council was re-established under a new name (Greater London Authority) “GLA.” We know that the GLA has extensive powers, including managing the police, but with funding from central government. London residents naturally have very different concerns and priorities, from wanting a clean environment to those who drive cars and object to restrictions. Some want their right to protest for Gaza, while others fear Islamophobia. As for evaluating Mayor Sadiq Khan’s stance on giving more support to Arabs and Muslims or meeting with community representatives, everyone has their opinion. But I’m confident that Sadiq Khan does not oppose the Palestinian cause, Muslims, or Arabs, and this is the “minimum threshold” that prevents the greater damage.

So, it’s natural for us to disagree on who is the best. In my personal opinion, Sadiq Khan is the best among the candidates, despite my objection to many of the policies pursued. However, I’m not confident in the experience and competence of others, and certainly won’t vote for the Conservatives. As for voting for the borough council, I’ll vote for the Liberal Democrat candidate, and for the expanded Greater London Authority, I’ll vote for an Independent, doing so in both cases as a stance against the Labour Party.

Twelfth: Finally, I believe we should temper our enthusiasm and try to shorten the timeline.

Since the 7th of October, we’ve felt anxiety, grief, and sorrow, wanting reform, and we’re capable of it, but it takes time and effort. Educating our sons and daughters from now on to work in this field is essential.


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London, GB
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