Labour’s Rochdale by-election double-bind: hypocrites or election-throwers?

Azhar Ali: unsafe whatever he does.

Labour has put itself in a double-bind after its candidate in the Rochdale by-election apologised for voicing a well-known claim about the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel.

The party is rumoured to be about to suspend its candidate, Azhar Ali, after he accused Israel of complicity in the raid that killed 1,200 people and led to 250 being taken hostage.

It seems he not only posted about it on the social media but also passed comments on it in a community meeting.

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The BBC reported:

In the recording, which has not been heard by the BBC, Mr Ali is alleged to have said: “The Egyptians are saying that they warned Israel 10 days earlier… Americans warned them a day before [that] there’s something happening… They deliberately took the security off, they allowed… that massacre that gives them the green light to do whatever they bloody want.”

Egypt has indeed said that it warned Israel in advance of the raid. Still, Ali has had to make a grovelling apology to Israel’s supporters after his words were quoted by a hostile UK mainstream press.

Is that enough to save him from suspension, which would effectively end Labour’s Rochdale campaign?

Many think not. Skwawkbox is reporting that

suspending Ali would effectively end Labour’s campaign in the by-election, with no possibility to stand another candidate less than three weeks before polling day. Cynics have pointed out that the political fallout from exiting the election would be less damaging than Galloway beating Ali in a fair fight and accused the party of engineering the default.

But if Ali is allowed to continue, he would still face obstacles:

His willingness to stand for a party led by Keir Starmer, who has supported Israel’s ‘right’ to commit its war crimes against the Palestinians has already seen videos posted of him being ordered to leave doorsteps during his attempts to campaign. Such has been the contrast with the reception given to Workers Party GB leader George Galloway, a firm supporter of the Palestinians, that Galloway’s odds to win the by-election have been slashed from 16-1 to 2-1.

Not only that, but if Ali isn’t suspended, then Labour is endorsing a candidate who has admitted contradicting the party’s line on the Israel/Gaza conflict – and the inferred hypocrisy could be enough to cost it the forthcoming general election.

It seems Azhar Ali is set to lose, no matter what happens.

Source: Labour ‘set to suspend’ Rochdale candidate despite grovelling apology to Israel supporters – SKWAWKBOX


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1 thought on “Labour’s Rochdale by-election double-bind: hypocrites or election-throwers?

  1. Tony

    The Labour candidate has attacked Galloway for what he describes as ‘crackpot theories’ in a recent LabourList article.

    Galloway:
    “In 2022 what once were seen as conspiracy theories became conspiracy facts. Now I know that the CIA murdered JFK, and the FBI Malcolm X, I’m prepared to listen with unusual attention on events around 9/11. “

    Galloway is partly right about the JFK assassination (I do not agree that the CIA was actually in charge of it). The FBI assassinated Martin Luther King (it had earlier sent him a letter in which it suggested that he kill himself). As for Malcolm X, that is possible but I do not claim to know anything about that particular one.

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