Ramadan Mubarak to all Muslims around the world. This month always catches me off guard, especially with exams just around the corner. But I hope for it to be one full of tranquility, hope, self reflection, knowledge, abstinence and charity. In light of recent tragic events in the world, I pray that the spirit of Ramadan encourages people to not lead themselves astray from what is merciful and just and stay committed to tolerance and patience, as is taught by our faith. My heart goes out to the millions of Muslims who will find Ramadan difficult as a result of continued warfare, poverty/famine or personal grievances. I pray God gives them the sustenance and hope they need ❤
You can donate to Muslim Aid’s Syria Emergency Appeal here: https://www.muslimaid.org/campaigns/syria-emergency-appeal/syria-critical-emergency-appeal/
East Africa’s Famine: https://www.muslimaid.org/campaigns/current-emergencies/east-africa-emergency-appeal/
Bangladesh Emergency Appeal after a severe storm: https://www.muslimaid.org/campaigns/current-emergencies/bangladesh-emergency-appeal/
Myanmar Emergency Appeal: https://www.muslimaid.org/campaigns/current-emergencies/myanmar-burma-appeal/
Also Iraq, Yemen, Gaza, Europe’s refugee crisis, South Asia: https://www.muslimaid.org/campaigns/
The past couple of years has changed the scene of politics. 2016 bought the Brexit referendum, the election of Donald Trump as President of the USA and the resignation of former Prime Minister David Cameron following the referendum result, leading to Theresa May as the new PM. A general election has been called which, while spontaneous, gives the general population a chance to change the course of politics, or continue with a Conservative government. This election is all the more significant, considering the changes of the past few years. So why vote?
- IT GIVES YOU A STAKE IN THE GOVERNMENT’S PLATFORM: Young people, for example are significantly underrepresented as many choose not to vote or engage with political issues that will directly affect us as we grow older. By voting in mass numbers, you can become a cohesive group that parties are forced to be responsive towards and include in their manifestos. Many people complain of feeling disengaged with politics and see no point in voting yet so few are willing to re-engage and challenge the status quo. Politicians are there to serve the people, and be held to account – one vote contributes to that. A higher turnout gives the government a larger mandate to govern which is true democracy.
- VOTING MUSTN’T BE TAKEN FOR GRANTED: In liberal democracies, it’s all too easy to be used to having the privilege of voting once you turn 18 and so . But you have to remember that marginalised and minority groups across the world have fought for this right, from the Suffragettes to the Civil Rights Movement, and so to vote is to carry their legacy forward of universal suffrage. In many countries in the world, including acclaimed democracies, the rigging and corruption of elections is not uncommon. Registering to vote and casting your ballot is so simple and easy yet so many don’t.
- YOU CAN VOTE IN DIFFERENT WAYS: A common reason people give for not voting is because they either don’t know who to vote for, they feel too disillusioned from the party’s manifestos or see the voting system as simply wasting their vote. You don’t have to cast a firm ballot – you can protest vote by simply handing in a spoilt ballot. That way, you haven’t voted for any of the candidate but will be counted in the statistics of spoilt ballots, rather than be counted in the percentage of those who simply didn’t vote. This can send a clear message of discontent to political parties on issues such as electoral reform. You can even vote tactically by forming part of a voting bloc to vote out your least favoured party/candidate by voting for the most popular opposition. You can also vote by post if you cannot make it to your polling station.
Be sure to register by the 22nd May here: htww.gov.uk/register-to-votetps://w, and use your political power.
So Theresa May has done a U-turn and called for a general election to apparently give stable leadership to the Brexit negotiations. While I personally favour a softer Brexit and welcome an opportunity for people to decide on the Brexit they want seeing as there is a divide between a soft or hard brexit, it can’t be forgotten that the House of Commons voted overwhelmingly to allow the PM to go ahead with the negotiations and trigger article 50 and Theresa May has consistently stated that she wouldn’t call an election precisely for ‘stability’, so it does seem more motive driven.
Many MP’s believe it is a distraction from the Tories recent election scandal in which they have been fined £70,000 by the Electoral Commission for failing to declare expenses used to re-elect MP’s in the 2015 elections. Some Conservative MP’s have decided not to contest their seats this time round. An election therefore seems appropriate for the Conservatives to act as not only a distraction, but also a means of confirming their mandate in light of the investigation, all acting under the guise of ‘Brexit means Brexit’. Let’s face it, while Brexit is the major factor being played out in regards to how many will be voting, it is not the only issue on the card. Domestic policy such as education, the health sector and the economy are causes of concern which people must not forget. Ironically, many who voted for a Tory government are now suffering in regards to
cuts to school funding, the NHS funding crisis, cuts to the disabled and increase in the use of foodbanks. The rich are getting richer. The poor are getting continuously poorer.
There is more to Britain’s future than Brexit. While Labour more recently have appeared to dance around Theresa May’s hard brexit, with Corbyn allowing for a three line whip to ensure the triggering of article 50 without full scrutiny, the bigger picture must be looked at and a Labour government is the only realistic alternative. While it likely that the Conservative’s will retain their majority, a shift in voting behaviour would send a clear message of holding the government to account. By all means vote Tory but don’t forget the bigger issues at hand.
Young people especially – politically educate yourself. Use your vote. 18-25 year olds have a low voting turnout and therefore do not form a major stake in policy. We must over time become a mass voting bloc. We won’t all share the same views, but will all bear the weight and policies of the next government. Vote Labour in Labour strongholds, or Lib Dem in Lib Dem strongholds. Protest votes in discontent of both the Conservative and Labour party will maintain the status quo of your constituency. They would however be useful to show discontent for a particular candidate. For example, in the Leicester East constituency, Keith Vaz is increasingly unpopular as many constituents now feel disconnected and feel the seat has been taken advantage of, though do want to vote for the Labour party, hence the continuous majority. I’d vote Labour if there was a replacement of candidate but would instead vote Liberal Democrat here. However, this only works if there is a united voting bloc, as it is a Labour stronghold. So vote cautiously. Though if Brexit is your main concern, bear in mind that the Lib Dems are the only ones offering a softer approach to Brexit.
Stay politically aware and use your vote wisely. Think ahead as opposed to being swayed by a single issue.
Happy voting! DON’T FORGET TO REGISTER TO VOTE BY 22ND MAY if you haven’t already done so: (5 mins) – https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
As the world focuses it’s attention on the many political controversies of our time, we are forgetting the millions of beautiful lives which are disappearing from the surface of our planet as we know it. Despite decades of progressiveness, the world currently faces the ‘worst humanitarian crisis since 1945’, according to the UN, with billions required to combat the famine declared in Somalia, South Sudan, Nigeria, with countries like Yemen on the brink of it. Many of these developing nations are also, unsurprisingly war stricken nations which is serving as a major stumbling block to the lives, let alone health of over twenty million facing famine, and therefore imminent death.
There seems to be the resources to fund destructive proxy wars worldwide, redundant defensive systems and to silently prop up those that clearly violate basic principles of human rights, but not enough to ensure that our fellow brothers and sisters in humanity can at least have emergency aid? Many non governmental organisations are doing this, but they can only have so much influence on the situation as a whole. Those responsible for giving a free pass to conflict in Yemen for example must put their self-interest behind and save the innocent civilians stuck in the midst of it. It is civilians that always pay the price.
War, poverty, lack of access to industralisation, and climate change (yes, President Trump) are creating a never-ending cycle of starvation and eventual famine. Let us be their voice and demand the allocation of the world resources. Continue to donate what you can. An incredible campaign is the LOVE ARMY FOR SOMALIA: https://www.gofundme.com/LOVEARMYFORSOMALIA, who have amazingly convinced Turkish Airlines to use their flights for tonnes of lifesaving aid to Somalia. So beautiful!
As International Women’s comes around this year again, it’s important to remember who we are as woman. Friends, partners, sisters, wives, mothers, but most importantly, an inseparable part of society. We form approximately half of the world’s population and in an ideal world, should have half of the influence on the global agenda too.
Unfortunately, many woman around the world barely have the means to live a decent life, let alone be able to have the ability to discuss issues such as higher representation in institutions like parliament and equal pay. Woman’s literacy rates are shockingly low in parts of Asia and Africa, especially in Niger, South Sudan, Guinea, Afghanistan, Mali, Central African Republic and Burkina Fas0, where it remains under 30%. Education is often denied if a family cannot afford the costs or if she is to be married off due to poverty. This cycle must be intervened in as higher literacy and education for woman can drastically solve other issues too, such as escaping poverty with the chances of better job prospects which in turn can lead to a thriving national economy as well as a reduction in poverty which would reduce the chances of human trafficking, early marriages, and a reduction in the amount of children a woman has in her lifetime, especially if she is educated on and given access to contraceptive methods. Her increased participation in educational activities could on a whole lead to a larger voice of woman in representative institutions as her part in society would be just as fundamental to the fabric of society as that of a man.
Beyond this, there are a whole array of issues which affect woman worldwide from female genital mutilation, gender based violence, forced marriages/honour killings and human trafficking to sexual harassment, the pay gap, body shaming and legal mandates on dress codes. We must also remember the different social, economic and political factors which affect our advancement as different woman which is why I advocate intersectional feminism. There is a long way to go, but with mutual empowerment and respect between the sexes and woman of all kinds, we can.
Happy International Woman’s Day!
I discovered the #LoveHasNoBorders on Twitter where interracial families, friends and couples are sharing their stories. In light of the upsetting xenophobia which has been pushed forward particularly by the far right, who fail to understand that every story has it’s own human face and merits, I thought this quick post was fitting.
As the world gets smaller, borders seem to be getting unfairly discriminatory towards people who just want to live, love and not have to face the horrendous attitude and prejudices towards immigrants at the moment. Borders are superficial, but the emotions created by treating someone without dignity are real. As I said, every story has a human face. People migrate to new countries all the time for many reasons whether that be for work, refuge or to join family. And through that journey there is love, hardships and potential fear, especially if leaving a dangerous country to seek refuge. Compassion does not have to mean accepting anyone anywhere at anytime without any form of criteria, but it does mean respecting that fundamentally we are all human, and fear of a minority group should not overtake our solidarity and desire to offer support to those who need it most.
Let us build bridges, not walls and understand that we all have far more in common than our differences. Nationality is determined by a piece of paper but how you treat those who are different to you can never be bought.
Disclaimer: While I don’t believe I am speaking for EVERY individual in the constituency of Leicester East, I do believe the confidence of many in him is drifting away. This letter is one I have sent to him calling on his resignation. If you are a constituent of Leicester East, feel free to copy and paste the letter to send the same message to firstname.lastname@example.org , as other’s have done.
To Keith Vaz,
We write to you in great urgency and discontent with the way our constituency of Leicester East has been portrayed due to your incompetency to run as our MP as a result of abusing your role with your many scandals and neglect of the constituency we once called home. There are numerous occasions in which you have failed us by contradicting your actions for your own benefit. We see this has prompted your resignation in the Home Affairs committee, but as a constituency the general consensus, as seen by the many petitions and demonstrations in Leicester is that we feel the need to demand you to not dishonour our constituents wishes any further and offer your resignation. We fail to see why you have decided to withdraw from the home affairs committee but not as the MP for Leicester East. We are strong Labour supporters, however, this constant feeling of dissatisfaction has forced us to reconsider our commitment to a party which allows a candidate who constantly violates the principles that we as a constituency need now more than anything
You campaigned to remain in the EU which was the general sentiment of Leicester East constituents yet now refuse to honour the fact that the campaign was based on lies and fear mongering and will not put our voice to parliament as other Remain MP’s are passionately doing, as is clear by your vote of triggering of article 50, a clear betrayal of the wishes of Leicester East and once again, a clear contradiction of your post Brexit comment that the result was a ‘terrible day for Britain and a terrible day for Europe’. Your duty should be with the interests of your constituents who voted you in should you have forgotten. There has been no consistent presence of your desire to engage with constituents on these matters; it simply feels as if you act in accordance with the party line, and turn your back on the people who have genuinely lived, worked and stood by this constituency. It has been 30 years and we truly feel it’s time for you to respect and honour your constituents by resigning. 2020 is far too long away for Leicester East who deserve an MP with a presence beside when it suits their agenda. It seems far more appropriate to offer your resignation than to receive a further three years of discontent, which will merely echo to the emerging youth who will not have the confidence to vote for you in the next election, let alone Labour.
Many are willing to voice this desire until 2020. This will eventually be taken up with the Labour leadership. How can a liberal democracy with a clear consensus of disillusionment, discontent and shame be simply ignored? Leicester East deserves a breath of fresh air.
A Disillusioned Leicester Constituent