Leyton & Wanstead – for whom should we vote?

Bismillah. In response to a request for advice on voting locally at the general election:

If you wish to be principled locally, vote for the local candidate you most agree with.

If you wish to be principled nationally, vote for the national party you most agree with.

The above two considerations can conflict, and this is a problem in our British system of democracy. But there’s no easy alternative.

Or you could abstain, of course.

If you wish to be pragmatic: Leyton & Wanstead has been a safe Labour seat for decades. Harry Cohen was a good and respected MP for years, but was hit by the expenses scandal. He also voted against the Iraq war, as he told me when he visited our mosque once. George Galloway described him as a “good man” in his talk at Tawhid Mosque some years ago. The new Lab candidate is an experienced ex-MP from Hornchurch who also voted repeatedly against the Iraq war. But he’s not local to the area. I think all MPs should be local to their constituencies.

LibDems are close behind Lab here, and are perhaps the only party who can beat them. The Tory candidate Ed Northover is a good local man (I met him when he came to our mosque last year to discuss the SRE bill), but the Tories seem to have very little chance of winning. Ditto the Greens, Respect, etc.

The LibDem candidate is Cllr Farooq Qureshi, a local man with years of council experience. Also served as Mayor of LBWF a few years ago. He is also standing in the local elections on May 6.

I think it’s between Lab and LibDems here.

I’d be grateful for other perspectives, whether local, national or international.

May Allah bless us with good leaders!

Meanwhile, some people are trying to convince Muslims in East London that to vote on May 6th means that you become an apostate (a renegade from Islam) and will end up in Hell!  Have a look at these leaflets or flyers, one from Leyton and one from Tower Hamlets:

(For those unfamiliar with Arabic terms, Shirk: polytheism; Jahannam: Hellfire; Tawba: Repentance)

Shirk: polytheism; Jahannam: Hellfire; Tawba: Repentance

seen on a pillar-box in Leyton before being torn off

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