“Respect Yourself” – Is this leaflet part of a dirty tricks campaign in Rotherham?

23rd November, 2012 9:56 am

According to the Guardian:

“The Labour party has complained to the police over an election leaflet purporting to come from George Galloway’s Respect party, which refers to Labour as a “party of closet racists” who are prone to “anti-Islamic bigotry”. The leaflet, entitled “Respect Yourself”, was allegedly sent to a number of Asian households in Rotherham…”

Here’s the leaflet (via the Rotherham By-election blog):

Respect candidate Yvonne Ridley has denied that Respect was responsible for the leaflet. However, in Bradford West earlier this year, a leaflet was produced attacking Labout that memorably said:

“God KNOWS who is a Muslim and he KNOWS who is not. I, George Galloway, do not drink and never have.”

Galloway denied at the time that the leaflet had come from him. Yet the Guardian now reports that:

“The day after Galloway overturned Labour’s 6,000 majority, his press officer, Ron McKay, confirmed to the Guardian that the leaflet had been sanctioned by Galloway.”

We’ll leave it to you to decide who was responsible for this latest vile and baseless attack on the Labour Party…

Update: Respect recently posted a video of Lee Jasper canvassing for support outside a Mosque in Croydon.

The background music? “Respect yourself”…a coincidence, I’m sure.

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  • Dear Female Voters. George Galloway recently said raping a woman in their sleep is just “bad sexual etiquette” not rape, if they voluntarily slept with you previously or voluntarily got into bed with you. His comments saw a Muslim woman giving up being party leader, yet he has not been affected at all in any meaningful way that I can see. Do not vote for him or his party. He is a bell end. You’re welcome.

  • NT86

    As if we ever had any doubts that this horrid party was anything other than a bunch of vicious demagogues who exploit Muslim voters and then proceed to do nothing positive for them, other than whip up racial and religious hatred. Sounds very similar to the BNP.

    If you want to protest against MacShane, vote UKIP if you must, they’re saints compared to Galloway et al. What does it say when even their leader bails out?

  • Pingback: Respect implicated in aggressive and slanderous Rotherham campaign leaflet | Left Foot Forward()

  • aracataca

    Hands up those of you who are surprised.
    Thought so.
    Galloway and his small band of followers are beneath contempt.

  • I met people who had received the Bradford W address. It is vile. How any decent person can vote for such a party is beyond me. “Respect” is a misnomer – they neither have any nor display any!

  • I met people who had received the Bradford W address. It is vile. How any decent person can vote for such a party is beyond me. “Respect” is a misnomer – they neither have any nor display any!

  • I guess we shouldn’t be that surprised. For what it’s worth, last week the Centre Left suggested that this would a divisive, sectarian campaign, because it’s clearly where Respect are concentrating their resources. Sadly, it has delivered. http://thecentreleft.blogspot.com/2012/11/rotherham-is-most-important-election-of.html

  • Brumanuensis

    The formatting in that letter isn’t very good. I expect a more professional approach for political correspondence.
    I mean really, is that Times New Roman they’re using?

    • Redshift1

      Perhaps that’s an attempt to give the letter some plausible deniability?

      • Brumanuensis

        Damn! They’re a devious bunch, this Respect lot.

  • jaime taurosangastre candelas

    There are at least two aspects of concern in this, beyond the party politicking.

    There is an admission of using a stolen electoral register to set up a database defined on race (stolen, in that it was presumably legally held by the Labour Party, then passed on to Respect without Labour knowledge, and containing personal data defining people by race and religion). I know little of the law, but I do know there are lots of legal safeguards about personal data and a Data Protection Act – is this allowed? Also the law on stolen property is quite clear.

    There may be other legal worries about the fair conduct of elections, but I do not know what the law says on that. Brum: you are a legal person, what do you think?

    Secondly, is there not a libel or slander about Phil Woolas? Did he really claim Muslims spread disease through family marriage? Also with Simon Danczuk linking a person’s religion to paedophilia and child sex offences.

    I realise Respect claim the leaflet is not their’s (and agree with everyone that it looks as though it could probably be from them).

    • Brumanuensis

      The Woolas claim is a somewhat exaggerated version of these remarks he made a few years ago: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7237663.stm

      Simon Danczuk’s remarks were made more recently: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-18005765

      Whether or not the remarks in the letter are libellous is difficult to judge. The assertions about Woolas probably aren’t, but Danczuk might have a stronger case, on the grounds that the statement in the letter is clearly mis-stating his position. There are about three common law tests for what is libellous content and I think the passage could meet at least one of them – probably Sim v Stretch, ‘defamation is something that tends to lower the claimant in the estimation of right-thinking members of society’, one of the most commonly used definitions of defamation. I suspect the writer of the letter could raise a defence of fair comment though, and I really can’t say on the facts of the letter whether that would succeed, although the Supreme Court issued a judgment in Spiller v Joseph (abbreviated) last year, which extended the ambit of fair comment somewhat.

      On Data Protection Law – not my specialty I’ll freely admit – I’d have to know more about the distribution of the letters. It may be that Respect got the information from the electoral register, which is not illegal. Political opinions are a form of sensitive information, under data protection regulations, so if the information was improperly processed there might be grounds for claims or prosecutions under data protection laws, but this will be very hard to prove. I think the more likely provable breach is of election regulations on party logos, which looks pretty open and shut.

    • Redshift1

      Erm, I agree with most of the anti-Respect comments on here, but may I point out a little flaw in this one.

      Electoral registers are available to all political parties. Assuming Respect has any Asian supporters locally at all, they could use those people to go through the register and mark people into different racial/religious categories using their names (which is essentially what mosaic origins does on the Labour Party’s Contact Creator system) and one excel spreadsheet later you’d have a database that’s perhaps slightly imperfect but pretty damn accurate. I could have a fair pop at doing this and I am by no means particularly knowledgeable on Asian family names.

      So my feeling with this particular accusation is – why bother stealing anything? They already have all the resources at their disposal that they need to do this.

      • Redshift1

        I would add to that however, that if Respect managed to steal any Voter ID information from the Labour Party (or other party for that matter) that would indeed be a very clear breach of the Data Protection Act.

  • Daniel Speight

    But how much easier the arguments would be if the candidate selection process hadn’t been stitched up.

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