How Woolas sang from BNP hymn-sheet in May


2:38 pm - August 13th 2010

by Sunny Hundal    


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This is a leaflet by Labour MP Phil Woolas that he used during the election. It has come to light only now because it’s been uploaded by the Straight Choice site and has started circulating on Twitter and other blogs.

So in a leaflet attacking Libdems for their stance on asylum amnesty for illegal immigrants (which incidentally only applied to people who hadn’t broken the law) – Woolas equates with Muslim extremists.

As Labour blog Political Scrapbook points out:

Having been an MP for the area at the time, it surely cannot have escaped Woolas’ notice that there were race riots in Oldham nine years ago. Violence errupted in May 2001 after a gang of white men threw a brick through the window of an Asian household in the Glodwick area of Woolas’ constituency. Days later that the home of his Labour colleague, the Asian Deputy Mayor of Oldham, was fire bombed.

Perhaps Woolas should have a rummage around his constituency office for a copy of the Ritchie Report into the disturbances. He’d do well to look at point 3.17 on page 10:

The BNP has exacerbated problems and undoubtedly by distribution of crude leaflets and other activity done much to stir up tensions. The mainstream political parties have a big role to play in countering this threat, as do churches and other organisations
– Ritchie Report

Woolas is one seriously despicable individual. In this case he’s singing straight from the BNP hymnsheet.

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Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


The word “vile” fits Phil Woolas like a glove.

2. David Boothroyd

This is just more brainless bashing of Phil Woolas. The leaflet does not mention ‘asylum’ at all. He supported Labour government policy which he was in charge of as Immigration Minister. He was attacked by MPAC, whom it is fair to describe as extremist, and who tried to get support for the Lib Dems: http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/31495/muslim-groups-vicious-abuse-candidates http://www.mpacuk.org/story/070510/we-destroyed-woolas%E2%80%99-majority.html

My mistake – meant amnesty not asylum.

He supported Labour government policy which he was in charge of as Immigration Minister

Was it Labour policy to imply that all illegal immigrants were Muslim extremists?

Was it Labour policy to imply that all illegal immigrants were Muslim extremists?

Depended on who was listening I think.

The photos used in the leaflet are not of MPAC UK. I think they’re from al-Muhajiroun demonstrations, a group who did not urge a Lib Dem vote in Oldham East and Saddleworth.

David, are you saying that MPAC UK are in any way are associated with al-Muhajiroun, or slogans such as “BEHEAD THOSE WHO INSULT ISLAM”?

Yes, I was very disappointed that this odious man was re-elected in May.

That leaflet does rather look like something the BNP would produce.
Indeed, that leaflet may have helped create a climate in which the BNP could get the few extra votes they needed to save their deposit— something they narrowly failed to do in 2005.

Phil is even worse than I thought. But what about the ordinary Labour Party members who delivered it? They need to be condemned too. They could have gone and helped another candidate instead of delivering this filth.

7. Forlornehope

Lumley should really have got his balls on that kukri.

Whether or not Woolas is despicable — and I certainly wouldn’t put out an inflamatory election leaflet like that — he does make a reasonable point: that some immigrants to this country have attitudes that are not conducive to being a good citizen.

The solution to this, surely, would be to get all would-be immigrants to fill in a questionnaire probing their views on various issues, e.g. the primacy of democracy versus religious law, the status of women and gay people, civil partnerships, female genital mutilation, etc. The fact that Labour haven’t done something like this means that Woolas is implicitly arguing against Labour’s record.

Those who give the wrong answers wouldn’t be allowed in. Those who don’t understand enough English to answer the questions wouldn’t be allowed in. Some people might lie to get in, but then they would be committed to pretending to believe these values in public for the rest of their lives, so it’s likely that cognitive dissonance would step in and they’d convince themselves they really believed them.

Debate on immigration is often presented as black or white; immigration presented as either good or bad. But the truth is vastly more nuanced: some immigration is good for Britain and some isn’t. We should let in those potential immigrants who would be of benefit to our society, both economically and politically/socially, and not let in those who wouldn’t.

Britain is an excellent country, and a country is only as good as its people, so we shouldn’t let in any riff-raff — only the best foreigners should be allowed to become part of us. The FO could use this as a recruiting slogan: “We’re looking for a few good men and women — have you got what it takes to be British?”

As for Phil Woolas’ contention that the Islamist extremists pictured support the Lib Dems, it’s ludicrous: the Lib Dems’ worldview is close to being the exact opposite of that of those of religious extremists.

The solution to this, surely, would be to get all would-be immigrants to fill in a questionnaire probing their views on various issues […] Those who give the wrong answers wouldn’t be allowed in.

We already have a “can you memorise the answers to some tedious questions” quiz for citizenship. We could have one for immigration as well, but it would only be fair to exile current residents – citizens included – who gave the wrong answers too.

We could have one for immigration as well, but it would only be fair to exile current residents – citizens included – who gave the wrong answers too.

Seems reasonable to me. Might make travelling on the M1 and M6 a bit easier if we lost some people 😉

Although to have citizens you need to have a republic, which doesn’t seem likely until Prince Charles alienates everyone else.

“asylum amnesty for illegal immigrants (which incidentally only applied to people who hadn’t broken the law) ”

illegal / hadn’t broken the law. Getting a little dissonance here, how exactly was that supposed to work?

I am however shocked, shocked I tell you, that a Labour politician would use BNP type tactics to appeal to his constituents.

Oh and the test thing, (beyond a knowledge of English), seems a bit pointless;

“so it’s likely that cognitive dissonance would step in”

No, I’m sorry to say that there are nasty people in the world and they will lie without the slightest glimmer of conscience.

@9 cim: We could have one for immigration as well, but it would only be fair to exile current residents – citizens included – who gave the wrong answers too.

While one might get a kick from seeing certain British citizens expelled from this country — the name Nick Griffin springs to mind — there are moral and practical reasons why it’s not really feasible.

@11 Falco: No, I’m sorry to say that there are nasty people in the world and they will lie without the slightest glimmer of conscience.

Then let them. If someone can convincingly fool everyone, by their words and behaviour over decades, that they support British values, then they are behaving as society would want them to.

Are we to open windows into men’s souls? No, I’ll be happy if someone’s behaviour is compliant.

14. Chaise Guevara

Phil, the problem with your questionnaire is that you’d open yourself up to quite reasonable accusations of political vetting; i.e., that you were trying to maximise the number of immigrants (and potential citizens) who would be inclined to vote the way you wanted them to.

Labour were accused of this, and they didn’t even have the questionnaire.

15. Cheesy Monkey

Dear Phil Wollas,

You are a racist cunt.

Don’t like the above?

Sue me.

Yours,

Cheesy Monkey

16. Roger Mexico

Falco -As I suspect you know the amnesty proposal only applied to those who had not broken the law since their illegal entry, overstaying, etc. You’re right though about the questionnaire. I don’t think that someone entering the country to destroy all we hold dear, is going to go “Good Heavens! I can’t possibly lie on an official form”.

Just one question. Does anyone think that, if an equivalent leaflet to this had been put out by the Lib Dems or even the Tories, there wouldn’t have been the most almighty row? Every Labour politician and their friends in the media would have been denouncing it, demanding an inquiry, insisting the candidate no longer been backed. Cameron did indeed distance himself from two candidates that said dodgy thing. I can’t remember hearing a peep from Labour in the campaign.

17. Charlieman

Lefties are having a go at Phil Woolas here. Righties have had a good go at Jack Straw elsewhere.

Is there an ex-NUS president who has turned her/his hand to politics or social affairs usefully. Here is a list of former NUS presidents who have a profile on Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:NUS_presidents

“Is there an ex-NUS president who has turned her/his hand to politics or social affairs usefully.”

Sue Slipman?

“In 1998, Slipman became Director of Environmental and Social Responsibility for the National Lottery operators, The Camelot Group, where she stayed until 2003. She then moved to become Chairman of the UK’s Financial Ombudsman Service. In 2005 she became a director of the Foundation Trust Network, working with foundation hospitals within the NHS.”

I wonder if the David Boothroyd who above defends the despicable Woolas the same warmongering sockpuppet David Boothroyd who…

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1191474/Labour-councillor-David-Boothroyd-caught-altering-David-Camerons-Wikipedia-entry.html

‘A Labour councillor has been exposed for changing David Cameron’s entry in the online encyclopedia Wikipedia.
David Boothroyd used a false name as he made regular alterations to the Tory leader’s page.’

@13 You don’t want to open windows into men’s souls but you are happy to monitor thousands of people for decades?

@16 Yes I know but I’m a bugger for accurate terminology. It’s all well and good saying that such and such shouldn’t be illegal but to deny that it is, is rather irritating, (as I frequently am, I know).

Good second para point though, it seems that declaring yourself to be left wing, (almost whatever you happen to be), gives you a PR flak jacket for these situations.

21. A Long Time Coming

To reply to David Boothroyd and his refusal to condemn the blatant pandering to racism undertaken by Labour in Oldham.
http://www.thejc.com/comment-and-debate/columnists/31974/cst-sledge-hammer-mpac-nut
You pays your money for JC articles and you takes your choice!

The picture doesn’t just include muslim extremists. Mark Collett, the BNP’s perfect nutjob rentaquote, appears to have popped up just to the left of Woolas. Bloody weird.

24. David Boothroyd

Resistor: Writing under a pseudonym isn’t against any rule and writing the biography of a political opponent isn’t either. The Daily Mail are scum but even they had no criticism to make of anything I actually wrote. Your point was?

25. A Long Time Coming

Defending a campaign that is blatantly pandering to racism isn’t officially against any rule either, David. But it’s pretty scummy.

26. David Boothroyd

Do come off it. Phil Woolas was in no sense pandering to racism. You and I both know that his only real crime was that he’s been beating Liberal Democrat opponents to win and keep his seat in Parliament.

David,

Woolas printed a photograph of Al-Muhajiroun protestors, whose antics, as he well knows, were blown up by the tabloid press. He then used the fear of them – and, by extension, immigrants – to tar the Lib Dems with a brush he’d just pulled from backside. Al-Muhaj have never urged a vote for the Liberals. It was a lie. Plain and simple.

28. Charlieman

@26 David Boothroyd: “Phil Woolas was in no sense pandering to racism.”

Indeed, it is coincidental that Woolas illustrated his argument against LibDem immigration policy using a photograph of placards proclaiming “Behead those who insult Islam”. Absolutely no pandering to racism…

29. A Long Time Coming

David, the leaflet shown here is by no means the worst that Woolas and his bunker put out during the election. Their motive is absolutely clear. The fact that you refuse to condemn it condemns you.

Your excuse that whatever it takes for Labour to win is OK is just the sort of mindset that led Woolas to sanction this filth in the first place.

In the early Noughties, Muslims rioted in three Northern towns, Oldham, Burnley and Bradford.

In Burnley and Bradford the riots were followed by (for them, substantial) BNP gains at local elections. Not so in Oldham. Not a single councillor AFAIK.

I’m no Phil Woollas fan. But wouldn’t you think that a few lefties, who claim that every time a BNP councillor is elected a little fairy dies, might be interested in what was different about Oldham ?

31. A Long Time Coming

Are you saying that there was no need for people to vote BNP in Oldham because Woolas was already there to represent them?

32. A Long Time Coming

Yurrzem comments that it is bloody weird that Marc Collett appears on Woolas’ leaflets next to Muslim extremists. What’s even weirder is the fact that on the original photo Collett has “BNP” platered across his T-shirt. On the Woolas literature this has been removed. How odd.

@30

In the early Noughties, Muslims rioted in three Northern towns, Oldham, Burnley and Bradford.

Now that is an interesting way of putting it. No mention, of course, of the racist BNP and NF skinheads who deliberately stirred up anger and hate? No mention of the marches started from well-known BNP pubs (at least in Burnley) and co-ordinated from the same via text and mobile?

With interpretations of history like Laban’s who needs the memory hole.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    How Phil Woolas sang from BNP hymn-sheet during election http://bit.ly/9LuQQh

  2. newleftproject

    RT @libcon: How Phil Woolas sang from BNP hymn-sheet during election http://bit.ly/9LuQQh

  3. julesmattsson

    RT @libcon: How Phil Woolas sang from BNP hymn-sheet during election http://bit.ly/9LuQQh

  4. willjordan

    RT @libcon: How Phil Woolas sang from BNP hymn-sheet during election http://bit.ly/9LuQQh

  5. Liberal Conspiracy

    How Phil Woolas sang from BNP hymn-sheet during election http://bit.ly/9LuQQh (image corrected)

  6. David O'Keefe

    RT @libcon: How Phil Woolas sang from BNP hymn-sheet during election http://bit.ly/9LuQQh (image corrected)

  7. ridingthemoor

    RT @libcon: How Phil Woolas sang from BNP hymn-sheet during election http://bit.ly/9LuQQh (image corrected)

  8. jesus john

    RT @libcon: How Phil Woolas sang from BNP hymn-sheet during election http://bit.ly/9LuQQh

  9. richardcompton

    RT @libcon: How Phil Woolas sang from BNP hymn-sheet during election http://bit.ly/9LuQQh (image corrected)

  10. beatricejbray

    RT @libcon: How Phil Woolas sang from BNP hymn-sheet during election http://bit.ly/9LuQQh (image corrected)

  11. shug69

    RT @libcon: How Phil Woolas sang from BNP hymn-sheet during election http://bit.ly/9LuQQh (image corrected)

  12. brightonliz

    RT @libcon: How Phil Woolas sang from BNP hymn-sheet during election http://bit.ly/9LuQQh (image corrected)

  13. sarah duff

    RT @libcon: How Phil Woolas sang from BNP hymn-sheet during election http://bit.ly/9LuQQh (image corrected)

  14. nofrills

    RT @libcon: How Phil Woolas sang from BNP hymn-sheet during election http://bit.ly/9LuQQh

  15. Nathaniel Tapley

    Some day I'll stop being surprised that Labour MPs are despicable, pointless turds. Today is not that day. http://t.co/VcpiYPE via @libcon

  16. iabarker

    RT @libcon: How Phil Woolas sang from BNP hymn-sheet during election http://bit.ly/9LuQQh (image corrected)

  17. danleeuk

    RT @libcon: How Phil Woolas sang from BNP hymn-sheet during election http://bit.ly/9LuQQh (image corrected)

  18. lornaspenceley

    How Woolas sang from BNP hymn sheet in May (by Sunny Hundal on Liberal Conspiracy) http://tinyurl.com/37zb829 – truly disgraceful.

  19. John Halton

    "Will you stand by Phil?" No, I'll stand as far away from him as possible. Ye gods. http://bit.ly/bxfiCP /ht @libcon

  20. Get Labour Out

    @rachelolgeirsso Appears Mr Phil Woolas may even be supporting the BNP in it's cause now as well http://bit.ly/9JnusO

  21. Let Them Work NE

    Liberal Conspiracy: How Woolas sang from BNP hymn-sheet in May http://tinyurl.com/37zb829

  22. Get Labour Out

    @amerimatryoshka http://liberalconspiracy.org/2010/08/13/how-phil-woolas-sang-from-bnp-hymn-sheet-during-election/ A good link

  23. Nathaniel Tapley

    @antonvowl Because Woolas' campaign team are utterly repugnant, and the man himself is a terrible arse? http://bit.ly/cd14yb

  24. The Case for AV (or: ‘AV it!) « Paperback Rioter

    […] leaflets published by Phil Woolas. Some are the subject of an ongoing court case. In one leaflet he “sang from the BNP hymn sheet”, whilst in another he appears to have photoshopped armed police behind the Lib Dem candidate. These […]

  25. sunny hundal

    Woolas said Muslim constituents opposed extremists too. Sure, but look at how his leaflets mixed several groups http://bit.ly/9LuQQh

  26. earwicga

    RT @sunny_hundal: Woolas said Muslim constituents opposed extremists too. Sure, but look at how his leaflets mixed several groups http://bit.ly/9LuQQh

  27. Ed West

    Surely the most BNP-alike of Labour election leaflets – and there's plenty of competition http://tinyurl.com/399l6wh

  28. Gus Baker

    Woolas's leaflet. Islamophobic, inflammatory and nasty. Oldham has had recent race riots. Awful. #Kickhimout #bbcqt http://bit.ly/dcoNFK





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