Tendance Coatesy

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Ex Key Galloway Ally Salma Yaqoob tries to Become Labour Mayor of Birmingham.

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Yaqoob Back in the Days of Respect.

Ex Respect leader and anti-war activist Salma Yaqoob launches shock bid to be West Midlands Mayor

Outspoken activist Salma Yaqoob has launched an audacious bid to win the right to challenge Andy Street as West Midlands Mayor, BirminghamLive understands.

Ms Yaqoob, former leader of the Respect Party and an ex Birmingham city councillor, has decided at the 11th hour to throw her hat into the ring to win the Labour nomination – despite questions over her party credentials.

Subject to confirmation from Labour’s executive that her candidacy meets membership criteria, she will stand against Hodge Hill MP Liam Byrne, thought to be the frontrunner, and unions favourite Pete Lowe from Dudley in the race to be selected as the party’s official candidate to take on Street next May.

The reason why she left Respect was not disagreement with its politics, but a personal spat with Galloway over his defence of Julian Assange.

He suggested accusations against Julian Assange by two Swedish women did not constitute rape “as most people understand it” and Assange was simply guilty of “bad sexual etiquette.”

Yaqoob was caught up in the backlash and left the party as a result.

This is what she said afterwards,

I’ve always admired George’s anti-imperialist stances and I don’t regret, for a second, standing side by side on those issues. But for me, to have to make a choice between that and standing up for the rights of women was a false choice. I thought it was a blurring of something that didn’t need to be blurred. It’s not that complicated – you can hold two ideas at the same time.” Of course, “we’re all human, we can’t always make perfectly worded and crafted sentences – I really hoped a clarification would sort that out.” She published a statement setting out her own position, but then, as she describes it, things escalated. Although she says Galloway never got directly in contact – and still hasn’t – she felt she was being personally maligned; that “under the guise of different names there were personal attacks”.

Salma Yaqoob, in her first interview, explains why she left the party, what comes next – and her thoughts on George Galloway

The interview continued,

There is also a significant cohort worried about the nature of the membership of Respect, that it is an uneasy alliance of far left and Islamist far right. “I will not accept that. I’ve been there from the beginning. I know that we have fought those very reactionary forces, we challenged them from within. I get the hate calls – I get people in the streets saying, ‘She is trying to wreck our homes.’ I’ve had the death threats, that anyone who beheads me will go straight to heaven. Because I promote democracy, because I have a very clear stance on pluralism. Pluralism is not about just supporting people you happen to agree with anyway. I would challenge anybody to say where I have pandered to, never mind encouraged, any reactionary stance.”

This is denying reality, the alliance between Respect and Islamists is a fact that can’t be wished away by referring to their distance from the most extreme, violent, wing and ignoring the link between the party with ‘moderate’ Islamists of, amongst others,  the Muslim Brotherhood.


Her own ignoble role in denying Islamist influence during the Trojan Horse scandal is a matter of record. (1)


One can admire her standing up for democracy against the Jihadist wing of Islamism.


One can also admire the fact that she has stood up for Syrian refugees.

And she believes in a Third EU referendum, not to mention loathes the Boris Johnson Coup.

Yaqoob appears to have made a personal enemy in arch-right wing Leaver MP Roger Godsiff which is good.


But her background in Galloway-style bogus ‘anti-imperialism’ is still there.


Because of this, Lansman’s is very far from a unanimous left-wing view:

(1) “While Ofsted’s inspection of Park View is not thought to have found any evidence of extremist behaviour, the report concludes:

  • The academy did not do enough to alert students to the risks of extremism.
  • Speakers invited to the school were not vetted and pupils not taught about the safe use of the internet.
  • Staff are scared of speaking out and some feel governors get inappropriately involved in the running of the school.
  • Pupils are not given adequate preparation for living in a multi-cultural society.
  • Education about sex and relationships is ineffective.

The school’s managing trust has issued a statement rejecting the findings, saying inspectors have misrepresented the facts, adding there was “no suggestion” in the report of extremism being present in classrooms.

Park View Educational Trust said: “Ofsted judges that Park View is not doing enough to raise students’ awareness of the ‘risks of extremism’. We reject this.

“It is also crucial to note that the Ofsted reports make absolutely no suggestion, nor did they find any evidence, that trust schools either promote or tolerate extremism or radicalisation.”

The trust added it had been working with the government’s Prevent anti-extremism programme since at least 2012.

It said there was “an open working environment” but accepted improvements in areas like staff pay, recruitment and progression could be made.

However, it said “a disillusioned workforce would soon result in (academic) standards slipping” and this had not been the case, with three-quarters of GCSE pupils earning grades A* – C, including maths and English, last year.

Mr Gove is facing renewed pressure from his Labour shadow, Tristram Hunt, over the government’s handling of the threat of extremism in schools.

Mr Hunt told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “How you can go from outstanding to inadequate? And that’s because the inspection criteria is not fit for purpose.

“We want a much broader criteria to make sure these problems don’t arise.”

Ms Yaqoob, who described herself as “a Birmingham mum”, alleged that Ofsted’s findings were “prejudged” and she had yet to see “a shred of evidence” that pupils were being radicalised.

“The kids of Birmingham are already damned as being extremist,” she added.

“One of the [Ofsted] inspectors asked a girl who was sitting next to a Muslim boy whether she felt intimidated.

“The assumption being that a Year 11 Muslim boy is, by virtue of being a Muslim boy, intimidating.”


Written by Andrew Coates

September 17, 2019 at 1:41 pm

7 Responses

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  1. nice


    September 17, 2019 at 1:42 pm

  2. Aha! that explains her presence (with much sycophancy from Socialist Action, etc) at a Birmingham Momentum pre-general election event on Sunday.

    Jim Denham

    September 17, 2019 at 2:24 pm

  3. She has retweeted a lot of Momentum material in the last days…

    Salma Yaqoob Retweeted
    Launching now! A brand new tool to maximise your voting impact 👇


    #RegisterToVote #GE2019 #GeneralElection2019

    And this:

    She is also still in the Stop the War Coalition.

    Andrew Coates

    September 17, 2019 at 2:25 pm

  4. While I’m pleased to read that she backs Syrian refugees and a further referendum on Brexit, she has been noticeably silent on the homophobic campaign around certain Birmingham schools.

    Also, her bizarre 2017 campaign against Labour’s Naz Shah in Brdaford West has never been explained:

    In the end, Naz Shah increased her vote by just under 10,000 votes to retain the Bradford West seat.

    Ms Shah polled 29,744 votes compared with 19,977 in 2015 in one of the largest increased majorities seen in this election.

    George Grant, Conservative candidate, came second to Ms Shah with 7,543 votes, ahead of the Independent candidate Salma Yaqoob who polled 6,345.

    Bradford West has been one of the most hotly-contested and controversial in modern political history. A solid Labour seat from the early 1980s, it was the location of the so-called “Bradford Spring,” in which George Galloway won an unexpected by-election in 2012.
Happily, Galloway was defeated in 2015 when Ms Shah won just shy of 50 per cent of the vote in a contest that was mired in acrimony.

    Ms Shah told The Yorkshire Post: “The level of misogyny I received in this election was incredible, I didn’t think there was anything that could have topped Galloway.

    “But here we are. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. “The people of Bradford West were very clear about what they wanted to see. They chose hope over division.”

    Then, in the 2017 election, Salma Yaqoob decided to stand, as an Independent, against Naz Shah, for reasons that have never been explained and on a vague, almost apolitical platform that nevertheless, strongly implied (falsely) that she had the support of Jeremy Corbyn.

    Leaflets distributed by Salma Yaqoob show that Salma Yaqoob has included a photograph of herself with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on her leaflets, under the caption “a vote for Salma is a vote for Corbyn”.

    After complaints from Labour HQ on her use of photographs with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and her claims that she is a pro-Corbyn candidate, Yaqoob stated that “at no point in the leaflet do I make the claim of an endorsement from Jeremy Corbyn or the Labour Party.” A spokesperson for the party later clarified that “there is only one Labour Party candidate in Bradford West and that is Naz Shah.” In response, Yaqoob claimed that the statements made by Labour constituted “malicious accusations” and said that “Naz Shah’s petty political game designed to discredit my campaign, which is focused on reversing the years of neglect in Bradford West.”


    A spokesperson for the Labour Party said: “There is only one Labour Party candidate in Bradford West and that is Naz Shah. Naz has been an outstanding member of parliament for Bradford West since trouncing George Galloway two years ago and if re-elected will continue to be a strong voice for local people.

    “She, and only she, has the full support and endorsement of Jeremy Corbyn as the best choice for Bradford West. People in Bradford West have a choice on 8th June – re-elect their strong Labour MP who will stand for the many, not the few, or elect a Tory who would sit on his hands while his Party in government slash funding to local schools and further run down our crisis-hit health service.”

    A source at Salma Yaqoob’s campaign office said that Salma has known Jeremy Corbyn for over a decade. “They worked together in Stop the War Coalition and worked for the same cause. The leaflet is about sharing the same values.”

    Having lost, Ms Yaqoob said: “Whilst I am naturally disappointed with the result, I respect the choice Bradford West has made. Nationally, Jeremy Corbyn has achieved a significant victory with people voting in droves for the Labour leader. I welcome that…

    In December 2015, the former Respect councillor had had an application to join Labour rejected by local party members in Birmingham. Her application was rejected on the grounds that she stood for the Respect Party against Labour MP Roger Godsiff in the 2005 and 2010 general elections as well as opposing Labour candidates in local elections.

    Jim Denham

    September 17, 2019 at 2:53 pm

  5. Indeed,

    She has also never explained what she was doing in a party with this character in it,

    Yvonne Ridley: Says Zionists should be “hunted down”; “loathes” Israel; supports Hamas…
    Shamik Das
    15 November, 2012
    Yvonne Ridley, the Respect candidate in the Rotherham by-election, has a long and visceral hatred of Israel, Zionism and Zionists, and is a supporter of Hamas.

    “Report of a Ridley lecture at Imperial College, 2006:

    Ridley said: “[Respect] is a Zionist-free party… if there was any Zionism in the Respect Party they would be hunted down and kicked out. We have no time for Zionists.” She explained that government support “goes towards that disgusting little watchdog of America that is festering in the Middle East”.

    She went on to attack the Tories and Lib Dems, saying that all the mainstream parties are “riddled with Zionists”. I found it hard to comprehend how the notion that “[Respect] encompasses a broad church of ideas and opinions” could be compatible with the hunting down of supporters of an Israeli state.

    ““The Zionists have tentacles everywhere. We’ve seen with the disgraceful behaviour from the BBC that this interference goes right to the very top of the media, into the very heart of our homes.”


    Andrew Coates

    September 17, 2019 at 3:34 pm

  6. This thread about Yaqoob’s electoral challenge against Labour in Bradford West in 2017 does not cast her in a particularly good light:

    Jim Denham

    September 17, 2019 at 6:25 pm

  7. Andrew what did Salma Yaqoob have to say about Trojan Horse?

    Stephen Cowden

    September 24, 2019 at 11:40 pm

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