Why the Muslim Vote campaign is a glimpse into a horrifying future

This article from ‘The Telegraph’ of London makes interesting reading.

We may not agree with every sentence and sentiment but the core of the article is all about the input of the alien cultural ambitions of some Muslim activists that has had an impact upon the recent election and will have a great impact in the future!!

What is happening in England is something that I mentioned long ago! I recall that I wrote that the back-stabbing by the Westminster governments of the loyalist people of Northern Ireland in the treacherously deceitful way that the terrorism of the IRA was used by governments to wear down and force compromise after compromise from foolish Unionist politicians, would come back upon their heads one day!

One wonders if the Muslim ‘campaign (which) is a glimpse into a horrifying future’ referred to in this article, might take on an even greater likeness to Sinn Fein/IRA’s end game of murderous terrorism?

Sincere regards,

Ivan Foster

Why the Muslim Vote campaign is a glimpse into a horrifying future

Group’s sectarian insurgency over Gaza succeeded in making a dent to Labour’s majority

Jake Wallis Simons

Shadow Paymaster General Jonathan Ashworth is one of numerous Labour members toppled by a independent candidate in their constituency Credit: Tayfun Salci/Shutterstock

When the circus finally arrived, it offered the usual attractions. The old rituals were a comfort. John Curtice, the swing-o-meter, Laura Kuenssberg and Jeremy Vine performed the familiar motions, not to mention the irrepressible Count Binface.

(Count Binface is a satirical perennial candidate created by the British comedian Jonathan David — The BB Editor)

But while the Labour celebrations and the Tory misery felt routine – even after we had grown used to them in opposite roles – under cover of darkness, a shocking new act crept into the tent.

An insurgent force has entered British politics. The Muslim Vote had no rosette and advanced no meaningful manifesto beyond a set of deeply sectarian principles. It stood candidates tactically, and owed their allegiances purely to religious and ethnic interests.

It had a single set of demands, all related to Gaza. This was a non-party. Yet in numbers, its victory was equal to Reform.

On the day of the election, Jeremy Corbyn proclaimed: “Today, Palestine is on the ballot.” If victorious in Islington North, he added, he would “stand up for the people of Gaza” and campaign tirelessly for “an end to the occupation of Palestine”.

This was the kind of single-issue politics we have come to expect from the former Labour leader. But he is now a prophet of the new sectarianism in our politics.

In Corbyn’s constituency, about 13 per cent of residents are Muslim. The result matched the trend: in seats where that number pushed above 10 per cent, Labour’s results were down by 11 points. Across the country, Sir Keir’s party was enjoying a famous victory, but a powerful counter-current flowed from a single cause, rooted in a single demographic group.

Across the country, comfortable Labour majorities swung to razor-thin margins or outright losses, as Muslim voters turned their backs on the party.

In constituencies where in the 2021 census at least 40 per cent of people described their religion as Muslim, the Labour vote share suffered an average drop of 33.9 percentage-points. These areas were typically in Bradford, London and Birmingham.

In Bradford West, where the highest share of adults say they are Muslim at 59 per cent, the Labour candidate Naz Shah only barely managed to eke out a majority.

Shah has spent several years as a Labour shadow front-bencher and campaigned on putting pressure on Sir Keir Starmer to end arms sales to Israel if elected. Her vote share plunged by 44.6 percentage points from the last election, to 31.6 per cent.

She only had 707 more votes than independent candidate Muhammed Ali Islam who had pledged that Bradford “shall not turn a blind eye” to the suffering of Gazans and vowed to fight “apartheid and genocide” in Palestine.

The pattern that saw Labour struggling in areas that had higher than average shares of Muslim voters held firm when zooming much farther out.

As the party secured the largest British landslide victory of the modern era, it even suffered significant setbacks in areas where Muslims made up 10 to 20 per cent of the population.

Here, its vote share on average fell by 6.8 per cent.

In contrast, where Muslims accounted for less than 10 per cent of the population, Labour gained an average 3.3 percentage points of vote share.

The Gaza vote even toppled one shadow cabinet member.

Shadow paymaster general Jonathan Ashworth was ousted in Leicester South by independent candidate Shockat Adam, who had a 979 vote majority. He had not supported the grassroots campaign to suspend arms sales to Israel, or to endorse the International Criminal Court case against Benjamin Netanyahu. Victorious Adam reacted with the cry: “This is for Gaza”.

Rachel Reeves’s special advisor, Heather Iqbal, also failed to gain a majority in the new constituency of Dewsbury and Batley.

The West Yorkshire seat instead swung to an independent candidate. Iqbal Mohamed, who campaigned on support for Palestine, won by a sizeable majority of 6,934 votes. This gave him a vote share of 41.1 per cent against Iqbal’s 22.9 per cent.

The collapse in Muslim support also made a sizable dent in Labour’s national vote share.

In areas where more than 10 per cent of the population were Muslim, more than half a million votes – although no seats – went to George Galloway’s Workers Party of Britain or independent candidates. This translates to 1.8 per cent of the entire national vote share.

Galloway’s pro-Palestine party secured 75 per cent of its votes in the 103 seats with Muslim populations of at least 10 per cent.

Labour overall lost four seats to independents in areas with an above-average share of Muslim voters. Khalid Mahmood in Birmingham Perry Barr and Kate Hollern in Blackburn were also among the candidates beaten by Gaza independents.

It was nearly much worse for Labour. Senior figures in the party only narrowly managed to secure a majority.

The first British Bangladeshi to be elected to parliament, Rushanara Ali, held Bethnal Green and Stepney by only 1,689 votes against independent Ajmal Masroor. Her seat was one of the safest in the previous election.

In Ilford North, the new Health Secretary, Wes Streeting, won by a margin of only 528 against independent Leanne Mohamad.

He described the campaign against him as the ugliest he had ever seen, including fabricated recordings in which he appeared to say “I f—— don’t” care about innocent Palestinians being killed. His vote share had dropped by 20.7 per cent from 2019 to 33.4 per cent.

The new Secretary of State for Justice, Shabana Mahmood, won Birmingham Ladywood despite suffering a 40.5 per cent drop in her vote share. Her constituency is nearly half Muslim.

She was almost unseated by the independent “TikTok lawyer” Akhmed Yakoob, whose campaign posters exhorted residents to “lend Gaza your vote”.

Last month, Yakoob apologised after he suggested on a podcast that “70 per cent of hell will be women,” in a discussion about female empowerment. He came within a hair’s breadth of winning, eroding the Labour incumbent’s majority by more than 32,000.

Jess Phillips, who has served as the MP for Birmingham Yardley since 2015 and has held frontbench roles, only narrowly held on to her seat too with a majority of only 693 votes.

Both she and Mahmood used their victory speeches to lament the intimidation and harassment they had faced during the campaign.

Phillips’s speech was almost derailed by heckling from pro-Palestine thugs and had to be paused several times. “This election has been the worst election I have ever stood in,” she said. Her campaign had been forced to make regular calls to the police, she revealed, speaking of party volunteers being filmed in the street and having their tyres slashed.

Mahmood, meanwhile, described masked men disrupting a community meeting, “terrifying” those attending. This was “an assault on democracy itself,” she concluded.

Another party veteran, Liam Byrne, nearly lost his majority in Birmingham Hodge Hill and Solihull North where 37.5 per cent of the population is Muslim. He received only 1,556 more votes than James Giles from the Workers Party of Britain.

Several such narrow victories could turn to losses in future elections if Labour cannot reverse the trend in the next five years.

In large part, this tectonic upheaval was the work of a group called The Muslim Vote, which launched online last year. An alliance of 23 activist organisations, it funnels votes towards tactical objectives, aiming to unseat those MPs not sufficiently hostile to the Jewish homeland, particular those hailing from Labour.

The Muslim Vote shadows a political party without having to conform to the requirements of being one. On Thursday, it aped the customary rubric by celebrating its scalps.

“The goal from the very start has been to empower the Muslim vote and send the main political parties a message,” it tweeted, a funhouse-mirror version of Nigel Farage’s insurgent rhetoric. “Muslims are united, in Muslim-heavy areas your majorities will be under threat, and there may even be an upset. Tonight, we did that in spades.”

Unlike a normal party, however, The Muslim Vote draws its agenda from a myopic preoccupation with one war above all others.

The Muslim Vote lost no time in taking credit for ousting Ashworth, as well as for other results, including Corbyn’s. “Five brilliant independents including removal of Jon Ashworth,” the group boasted online.

“Greens, Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru, Workers Party and other smaller parties became the natural recipients of Muslim votes because of their better record on key issues the Muslim community cares about – in particular peace in Palestine.”

The Greens in particular, who won a record four seats, have also been outspoken on Gaza. Even its deputy leader, Zack Polanski, who is Jewish, said the Board of Deputies of British Jews – founded to represent Anglo-Jewry in 1760 – should be renamed the “Board of Deputies for the Israeli Government”.

They unseated Shadow Culture Secretary Thangam Debbonaire in Bristol Central, a hotbed of anger over the conflict.

Harnessing this anger has proved an irresistible weapon for some of the men behind The Muslim Vote. On October 9 last year, several of its key players signed a pledge that “reaffirm(ed) the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to resist Israeli military occupation, including the right to armed struggle”.

One of the signatories, Anas Altikriti, is a co-founder of the group. Also head of the Muslim Association of Britain, he has posted pictures of himself meeting Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza in 2012.

Another signatory was Azhar Qauyum, the chief executive of the pressure group Muslim Engagement and Development (Mend), an official partner of The Muslim Vote. In 2014, Qauyum wrote on Facebook that “Israel’s generosity” in pulling out of Gaza in 2005 was “like the ‘generosity’ of Hitler”.

In March, Michael Gove named Mend as one of several viewed as “a cause for concern” under a new government definition of extremism. Qayum said his group was “not at all” extremist and would challenge the government in court if it ends up listed as such.

Other independent candidates who campaigned monomaniacally on Gaza emerged victorious in Dewsbury and Batley – where a teacher who showed his students a cartoon of Mohammed in 2021 remains in hiding – and Blackburn, both of which previously had hefty Labour majorities.

Gaza politics did not succeed everywhere, however. Among the new cohort of Labour MPs is Luke Akehurst, a moderate activist who has made no secret of his staunch support for the Jewish state. For years, he was director of the education and advocacy organisation We Believe in Israel.

He took North Durham 5,873 votes ahead of the nearest challenger, Reform UK, ensuring that the Labour Party has at least one unflinchingly sound voice on matters relating to Israel.

Even more deliciously, “Gaza George” Galloway lost his seat at the hands of the belatedly sound-minded people of Rochdale. They turned to Labour candidate Paul Waugh, a former newspaper journalist.

When Galloway won the constituency in a March by-election, it was a consequence of the Labour campaign implosion. It emerged at the last minute that its candidate, Azhar Ali, had been recorded claiming that Israel had deliberately allowed Hamas to attack as a pretext for invading Gaza. Freed from such catastrophes, the seat went Labour under a majority of 1,440.

George Galloway, leader of the Workers Party of Britain, lost his Rochdale seat to Labour’s Paul Waugh Credit: Phil Noble/Reuters

Against a backdrop of widespread insurgency by The Muslim Vote, these wins for moderation feel like a small consolation. But the outcome could have been worse.

In a parallel universe, Streeting, Jess Phillips, Shabana Mahmood, Paul Waugh and others were all successfully defenestrated by the Gaza independents. In that world, Parliament – and the British Jewish community – would face a far steeper set of challenges.

Speaking on the steps of Downing Street on Friday morning, Sir Keir Starmer pledged to eschew ideology in favour of pragmatism. “From now on, you have a government unburdened by doctrine, guided only by the determination to serve your interest,” he said.

This non-partisan point may have been made with one eye on the vote share, only a third of which was captured by Labour. But it contrasted sharply with the intensely doctrinal approach of The Muslim Vote.

There can be little doubt that obsessive campaigning on emotive wedge issues like Gaza, with the energy of unvarnished tribalism, can produce a more potent electoral force than Sir Keir’s inclusive pragmatism ever could. As The Muslim Vote grows in power and confidence, will Labour have the guts to resist?

In May, a leaked video of Labour’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner, showed her pleading for votes with a group of Muslim men. “If me resigning as an MP now would bring a ceasefire, I would do it. I would do it,” she begged. Having tasted so much blood this week, it seems likely that The Muslim Vote can expect further examples of such contemptible appeasement for mercy in the future.

It is a striking irony that it was mostly Labour candidates who found themselves in the crosshairs of sectarianism this week. After all, in the short time since the election, Sir Keir’s party has shown signs of far more hostility to Israel than the Conservatives ever displayed.

Pushing the party to yield to The Muslim Vote the Labour MP for Coventry South, Zarah Sultana described her party’s position on Gaza as a “stain on its record”; the new foreign secretary, David Lammy, told the BBC that Labour would “work with partners to seek Palestinian recognition”. What about the hostages? What about the continued menace from Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran? These things seemed not to matter so much.

Yet even this position was not enough for The Muslim Vote. It wanted to radicalise Labour foreign policy from the grassroots and was furious when the leadership had other ideas.

Perhaps this should not be a surprise. Sojourn deep enough into the far-left and you always find factions that are more preoccupied with enforcing purity among the moderates on their own side than joining forces to attack the right. This time, however, the old dynamic has an Islamist lens.

In the eyes of The Muslim Vote, these five seats are only the beginning. Disclosing its ambitions on Twitter, it vowed that Labour would suffer greater losses at its hands in 2029.

“In Muslim-heavy seats, the seeds of our community’s future have been sown,” the group wrote. “It will not be a landslide in the coming elections – and that is when the message sent today will really resonate.”

Anas Altikriti, a co-founder of The Muslim Vote, speaking at a pro-Palestinian protest held outside No 10 in December Credit: Jeff Gilbert

Anas Altikriti, a co-founder of The Muslim Vote, speaking at a pro-Palestinian protest held outside No 10 in December Credit: Jeff Gilbert

While the rise of The Muslim Vote is the most disturbing expression of the sectarianism that is disfiguring the face of our politics, it is not the only example.

Britain’s Indian community has proven firmly Tory, carrying popular Conservative MP Bob Blackman to victory in Harrow East after he appealed directly to Hindu voters and endorsed Indian leader Narendra Modi. Leicester East, with its almost 40 per cent Hindu population, switched from red to blue in a countercultural victory for Tory candidate Shivani Raja, who romped home 4,426 votes ahead of her closest rival.

All of this lies downstream from the record immigration that various governments have brought upon us in recent decades. Consider, for example, Britain’s Jews, the country’s oldest and best-integrated minority. Even after the collective trauma of the Corbyn years, the community did not vote as a bloc but as individuals informed by their own consciences, as is the way with everybody else.

Two weeks before the election, a Survation poll for the Jewish Chronicle placed the Tories nine points ahead among Jews, suggesting residual distrust of Labour. The following week, a larger study conducted by Jewish Policy Research found Labour in front by 16 points.

Jewish voters went on to deliver a Labour victory in almost every seat in which they had a significant presence, aside from outliers like Hertsmere, which was held by the popular Oliver Dowden with a large majority.

The problem, therefore, is not immigration itself. It is not ethnic or religious minorities. It is scale. It is the saturation of society’s capacity to absorb newcomers into the dominant culture. The Enlightenment gave us the separation of church and state and the freedom to pursue our lives as private individuals.

It also lifted any ethnic component of cultural belonging. This made our society predisposed to welcoming people from abroad; but this can only be a success when the scale allows newcomers to adapt to our foundational culture of freedom, tolerance and neighbourliness, law-abidingness and open contracts. When this is overwhelmed, all freedoms are lost.

As Sir Roger Scruton put it: “We, like everyone else, depend upon a shared culture for our security, our prosperity and our freedom to be. We don’t require everyone to have the same faith, to lead the same kind of family life or to participate in the same festivals.

“But we have a shared civil culture, a shared language and a shared public sphere… We can welcome immigrants only if we welcome them into our culture, and not beside or against it.”

The rise of political sectarianism, as exemplified most damningly by The Muslim Vote this week, is a red flag showing where we have been going wrong. For a subset of British citizens to set aside all domestic concerns in favour of a foreign war 3,000 miles distant, and to organise behind it along ethnic lines, is a profound indictment of our fraying social cohesion.

To make matters worse, with Labour back in power, immigration is unlikely to come down. The problems we face may be downstream from the immigration explosion of previous decades, but we are very much upstream from where the country will find itself in five years’ time.

We must face facts. Due to the woeful mismanagement of immigration that began with Tony Blair and was eagerly continued by the Conservatives – if that is what they were – the future of our towns and cities can only lie in segregation, parallel institutions and internecine friction.

Meanwhile, the future of our elections will be increasingly dominated by hostile sectarianism.