Election leaflet triggers uproar

Published: 15 Apr 2012 12:008 comments

READING Labour Party has been accused of "racist dog whistling" in a leaflet for one of its candidates at next month's council election.

It describes Eileen McElligott - who is up against Pakistan-born Tory Azam Janjua - as "born and bred in Reading" and declares: "She will fight for us here in Church ward because she is one of us."

But that has angered figures across the political spectrum, including Lib Dems, Labour veterans and the Tories, who say it shows prejudice towards Cllr Janjua.

Tory deputy leader Cllr Jeanette Skeats said: "I am shocked that they should try to use racist dog whistle messages against a hard-working Conservative councillor who has lived in this country for almost 50 years."

Reading East MP Rob Wilson described it as "vile" and "beyond the acceptable knockabout of party politics" and said he takes "great exception" to attempts to brand his constituents as "racist". He added: "Residents in Church ward will comprehensively reject this title being hung around their neck by the local Labour Party."

The Flashing Blade internet blog - understood to be Andrew Tattersall, a former Labour councillor and husband of the party's ex-Reading East MP Jane Griffiths - said he is ashamed of his past connectionsd with the local party.

He added: "To have sunk so low as running a racist election campaign is the despicable act of some desperate men."

Conservative election agent Alison Swaddle has written to her Labour counterpart David Absolom demanding an apology and the leaflet's withdrawal.

But Mr Absolom countered by accusing the Tories of "smear tactics", threatened legal action should they repeat their comments publicly and told The Chronicle yesterday (Wednesday) they are seeking legal advice.

He said the Tories are trying to distract attention from their own problems, following the resignations of councillors Jamie Chowdhary and Mark Ralph amid reports of infighting,

He described Cllr Janjua, who resigned as a Labour councillor in 2007 following allegations of misconduct, as a political turncoat. He said the "one of us" reference to Ms McElligott was because she grew up on the Dee Road estate.

Mr Absolom added: "Labour voters in Church ward are entitled to know that their candidate is not likely to abandon her party and that she understands the issues that matter to them.

"In other words, she is one of us who understands just what damage the Conservative-led Government is doing to hard working families."

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  • AW - RG6
    Unregistered User
    Apr 16, 09:36
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    What a load of C***

    The only racists in this are the ones using the racist card

    I bet if the other candidate was a white person from Manchester or elsewhere they would not say it

    I am born, bred and still living in the same area of Reading and am proud to say it – because of that I know most of the people / what happens around the area so agree anyone in a similar vein would know more of what its like and what is needed than someone who comes from elsewhere – no matter where that is!!

    Recommend?   Yes 25     No 16

  • Bushes Bernal
    Unregistered User
    Apr 16, 12:30
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    This is a classic Tory trick; just look at their treatment of ex-colleague Chowdhary who was accused (by them alone) of homophobia. They'll sully anyone's good name to steal a few votes. However drawing attention to the above PC correct cobblers will more than likely win Labour a few voters who might otherwise have swayed towards UKIP. Either way it won't work in the Conservatives favour...

    Recommend?   Yes 32     No 14

  • S E N S E
    Unregistered User
    Apr 16, 12:52
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    OK let us dissect this in a sensible and sane manner;

    "Born and bred in Reading"

    The woman in question was born in Reading and raised here; clear so far?

    "She will fight for us here in Church ward because she is one of us."

    As a Labour party member she is obliged to represent and therefore fight for the local community. The fact she has lived in Reading her entire life therefore means she is one of us/you.

    I can see no inherent racism in either of the two statements although perhaps for those without a brain (aka the politically correct Tory members) it could have been worded as follows;

    "I wasn't born and bred in the area and therefore cannot fight your corner as haven't got a clue about current local affairs".

    Happy?

    Recommend?   Yes 26     No 9

  • HiHoSpeaks
    8 posts
    Apr 16, 16:38
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    Surely the point isn't if you are born / bred here but that you accept your community and that your community accepts you and that you do something worth while for your fellow man. This is a cheap trick by Labour while the Tories are in disarray. The Tories have a nasty side and now we are seeing Labour's. Choices / Choices who to vote for :-) bad or worse

    HiHo

    Recommend?   Yes 14     No 17

  • Una Bubbs
    Unregistered User
    Apr 16, 20:41
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    Eileen McElligott needs to get out and experience new places - the world is much bigger than Church ward. She should try visiting Oxford Rd or Karkowistan as it is now known - it is one big multicultural cesspit.

    Recommend?   Yes 32     No 3

  • That Fella
    Unregistered User
    Apr 17, 17:03
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    Una, the last time I risked the Oxford Road I awoke the next morn spitting feathers with a camel's mobile number in my pocket and a very dodgy case of the Polish trots. It was like that movie The Hangover only with dual subtitles.

    Recommend?   Yes 7     No 2

  • UKIPper
    Unregistered User
    Apr 28, 11:04
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    "The only racists in this are the ones using the racist card".

    You rarely read anything of worth online but this statement is probably the only true gem amongst the crud. One need only browse the UK news to realise a certain part of society have realised they can play the race card to their advantage. And as a result ride the inevitable gravy train to cash city. And our government being so spineless and politically correct go along with it which is exactly why I will not vote Conservative or Labour (let alone Lib Dem) in my lifetime. UKIP albeit not the ideal solution are the only alternative and henceforth will get my vote.

    Recommend?   Yes 1     No 0

  • PollyTheWasp
    Unregistered User
    May 3, 10:09
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    It's getting so you can't say anything, in case someone manages to construe an opinion of of your words that you didn't in the slightest intend. Saying that one is "one of us" doesn't in any way state that someone else isn't "one of us". If you look at it as a statement of racial separatism,, the only prejudice is in the eye of the reader, not the author. And "Born and bred in Reading": well, that's got to be a good thing for a Reading Council candidate, hasn't it? WHATEVER COLOUR HE OR SHE IS.

    I knew Eileen when she was younger, and I can assure you, she ain't no racist.

    Recommend?   Yes 0     No 0