Tag Archives: Azhar Ali

Starmer finally gives up on Rochdale candidate – but is the damage already done?

Azhar Ali and Keir Starmer: the political damage to Labour’s leader of one of his supporters being accused of anti-Semitism, coupled with his own reluctance to suspend that person’s party membership, could be worse than any result in the Rochdale by-election.

Labour has finally suspended the party membership of Rochdale by-election candidate Azhar Ali, after the Daily Mail contacted the party with more allegations about him.

Mr Ali was already in trouble for claiming (correctly) that Egypt had said it had warned Israel of the October 7, 2023, Hamas attack well in advance, and (without evidence) that Israel had allowed it to happen in order to have an excuse for its current genocide in Gaza.

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Mail story published on Monday (February 12) added that

Ali said “people in the media from certain Jewish quarters” were “giving crap” about Andy McDonald, who was suspended by Labour after he used the controversial phrase “between the river and the sea” in a speech during a rally.

The paper also said the now-former Labour candidate claimed that Israel planned to “get rid of [Palestinians] from Gaza” and “grab” some of the land. It is thought he made the comments at the same meeting as the original story.

There was nothing wrong with Mr McDonald’s use of the words “between the river and the sea”, as has been discussed on This Site previously, and the idea that Israel wants to clear Gaza of Palestinians and grab the land is now widely-held, in the light of the genocide there.

It’s probably that the offending words were “certain Jewish quarters” which, coupled with his other remarks, may give some people cause to believe his comments were anti-Semitic.

The controversy has turned the Rochdale by-election into yet another discussion of anti-Semitism in UK politics – much to the disgust of some commentators:

This Writer can only conclude that the use of the hashtag at the end of the post above is sarcastic – a comment on the issue of possible anti-Semitism by one candidate taking precedence over any discussion of the real needs of Rochdale and/or the UK as a whole.

We can check this against the words of those who have been asked to comment on it. Does Lord Mann discuss the political issues facing Rochdale and the UK?

No.

Louise Ellman? No. And look – someone has followed her interview clip with one of Keir Starmer protesting that he would have a “zero tolerance” approach to anti-Semitism, with a laugh track added to his words. You may ask yourself why…

It’s because Azhar Ali is a Starmerite – a member of the current Labour leader’s loyalists within the party. Considering the allegations against him, this would be enough to make anybody in Starmer’s position a laughing-stock, from certain viewpoints.

Here’s one of them: Ash Sarkar, on LBC, telling Nick Ferrari that the process Starmer was describing (to laughter, above) is not fit for purpose because he used it for petty factional vendettas rather than fair investigations of facts, and claiming that it took him considerably longer to be forced to give Mr Ali up, simply because he was a member of Starmer’s faction within Labour.

But the buck won’t stop with Mr Ali – or it shouldn’t:

Good question!

Even Ed Balls can’t help but admit that Ali is a Starmerite – although he does still manage to get a dig in at Jeremy Corbyn in this short clip:

Factual background information now: the following quotes the New York Times which claimed Israel had been given a whole year’s foreknowledge of the October 7 attack:

So: commenting on this claim can’t be anti-Semitic in itself as there is evidence to support it.

Apparently it is the criticism of the Israeli government that failed to act that is anti-Semitic. But there’s a problem with that, which is that commentators have been eager to conflate it with wider attacks:

Why would the pundits on Newsnight claim any criticism of the Israeli government is anti-Semitic? This Writer can only conclude that it is to whitewash the genocide that Benjamin Netanyahu is carrying out in Gaza; if any criticism of the Israeli government is anti-Semitic, then it is anti-Semitic to condemn the genocide.

I don’t think that will wash.

Others have been desperate to whitewash Starmer. Robert Peston’s ‘X’ post defies belief – and I urge you to click on it in order to read it in full before moving on to the response:

Add it all up and it is clear that Starmer and his own regime will have serious questions to answer and the repercussions may continue, right up until the general election.

So the question below – whether Labour is distancing itself from a probable defeat – is probably academic. The real issue is where Labour voters will go. Is Ken Burch (below) correct?

Certainly The Guardian has said

a local Labour insider said that some activists would seriously consider throwing their support behind Simon Danczuk, the disgraced former Labour MP for Rochdale who was suspended from the party after sending inappropriate messages to a teenager.

But supporting someone with such a record would create a stink of its own – and the paper also admits that

[George] Galloway, who is concentrating on Rochdale’s sizeable Pakistani and Kashmiri Muslim community for votes, is expected to benefit from the row, with some local activists saying that Ali’s suspension makes him favourite to win on 29 February.

If Galloway is the front-runner now, then the wisest thing he can do is concentrate on policy issues.

He could win thousands of votes by talking about what he thinks Rochdale needs, while his competitors are still wittering about anti-Semitism.


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Could George Galloway win the Rochdale by-election? Given the state of the competition – possibly!

If you thought the Rochdale by-election had become extremely serious after Labour candidate Azhar Ali’s falling-out with his party over Israel and Gaza, think again.

Angry Yorkshireman Tom Smith has published an article explaining why Mr Ali’s faux pas (which was in fact more his apology to British Jews than his claim that Israel knew about the Hamas raid of October 7, 2023 in advance – although claiming Israel then let it happen is unsupported) could almost have gone unnoticed among the transgressions of the other candidates.

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He states:

It’s a long time since George Galloway stormed to by-election victory in the 2012 Bradford West by-election, but given the widespread public anger at Britain’s complicity with Israeli genocide in Gaza, and the identikit pro-privatisation pro-austerity agendas of the three main parties, who’s to say he can’t pull off another shock in Rochdale on February 29th?

You really need to read the piece for yourself (link below) for the full effect. This Writer’s favourite part is the reference to Reform UK candidate Simon Danczuk, who

was booted out of the Parliamentary Labour Party after sending sexually explicit texts to a 17 year old girl,

being in competition with Independent Billy Howarth

who is a Parents Against Grooming activist (hopefully he takes the opportunity to call out creepy sex pest Simon Danczuk if nothing else).

But there’s lots more to unpack here, so please go and read it for yourself, here: Could George Galloway win the Rochdale by-election?

I think this by-election could be the most fun we’ve had in politics for a good few years and I hope it gets as much coverage as we can all give it.


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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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