The film of the Brent East STW hustings is one of a number of films documenting the views of Prospective Parliamentary Candidates on the aggressive action taken against Iraq. The Catch Your MP project aims to hold to account the 412 Members of the 2001-2005 Parliament that voted in support of military action.
Candidates for Brent East: Shahrar, Sarah, Yasmin, Kwasi and George along with Rocky (Wasn’t that a Rainbow cast?) who was standing in Brent South all spoke and responded to questions from the floor.
After stressing the pacifist credentials of the Green Party, Shahrar gives an articulate response to the question ‘Do you support an end to the Anglo-US occupation of Iraq and a speedy withdrawal of troops?’ His view is that troops would be ‘better of not there’ but adds the important qualification that there is a need, following the aggressive military intervention and the destruction caused, for support and that troops should remain ’subject to the will of the Iraqi people’.
Yasmin used the platform to distance herself once again from the party that took Britain into an pre-emptive war and to stress that she’s more ‘anti-war’ than anyone else. Kwasi picks up on this distance and points out that Yasmin is not standing for the Yasmin Qureshi party but is standing as the PPC for the Labour Party. With supporting calls of ’shame’ from the audience, Kwasi reminds us all that being the Labour PPC means that she is representing the Labour Government.
Yasmin rolled up her sleeves and revealed her ‘Old Labour Till I Die’ tattoo while explaining her interpretation of the ‘choices’ (A new Labour word) available to the electorate in Brent East. ‘The Labour Party is the party of the organised working class by the trade union movement’ she said. ‘It contains many thousands of people who are part of the anti-war movement who are socialist and internationalist as well’ and had the ‘largest parliamentary group who opposed the war’. ‘The working class traditions of these MPs meant that they did not flinch in their opposition to the war, once it had began’. She then goes on to name check Ken Livingstone and Tony Benn the anti-war and anti-imperialist Labour party stalwarts who have given her support.
Sarah reminds everyone of the Lib Dem opposition to military action and highlights the damage that has been done to public confidence in politics and the loss of trust in government due to the secrecy and constant redefinition of reasons and evidence given by in support of this conflict.
The highlight of the film was Shahrar Ali, dressed in a orange boiler suit, logically destroying the argument for detention without trail – another Labour policy innovation from the last parliament.
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Catch Your Own MP.