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Bradford East LibDem Wipeout

WIPE-OUT-DW-560LORD ASHCROFT has released polling data that suggest that if an election was to be held tomorrow the Liberal Democrat MP for Bradford East, David Ward, would lose his seat to Labour after an 11.5 per cent swing away from his party.

Further polling data shows that the LibDem vote in several key constituencies has halved, with Brighton Pavilion, home of the only Green MP Caroline Lucas, being much closer – with a 1.5 per cent swing to Labour.

Bradford East data also suggests UKIP roughly in line with the national average, suggesting much broader support nationally than many would like to admit.


Typically you would expect to see a swing back towards the party of government as we approach a general election. Circumstances this time, however, are very different. Firstly, will is happen again this election? Crucially for the LibDem’s, will it happen to them? After all, they have been saddled with the unpopular decisions of the coalition government and not been able to take credit for popular measures – something all European parties know very well, where coalitions are much more likely.

But this is a snapshot. The Liberal Democrats have proven in the past that they are excellent at both organizing campaigns and getting the vote out. With them no longer being the protest vote of choice – UKIP now fills that void – I expect that the share will increase but a Labour gain.

ANOTHER question which will not be answered until next year is if Bradford West MP, George Galloway, will choose to stand again. There has been speculation, which has been fuelled by Galloway him self on many occasions, that he will run for mayor of London.

It would not be impossible for an independent to win, especially one such as Galloway. With the first election the former prime minister, Tony Blair, and Ken Livingston had a public dispute which led to Livingstone been forced out of Labour and having to campaign by himself. And, as you will know, Livingstone won the election and was soon brought back inside after the humiliation was over.

There has been no polling of the constituency, but it is unlikely that Galloway could pull it off again. The Respect Party has had its fair share of trouble and it would be almost impossible to bring local support to the levels that were present in the byelection because it is no longer there. Furthermore, Labour would not be willing to take the risk again of losing (or failing to win, now) a constituency that should be a Labour strong hold.

Furthermore, a huge amount of tactical voting will take place. Few like Galloway outside of the Respect bubble, which would suggest that the odds are stacked against him even more than last time; a battle that he will be unwilling to fight for such little reward.

The polling was performed between 11th and 21st of June with a sample size of 1000. The full data is available on Lord Ashcroft’s website

Are the Scottish Conservatives really that unpopular? No.

Alex Salmond

THE Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) has increasingly pushed the line that the Scottish Conservatives are more unpopular than standing on a plug in the middle of the night; but, as with many SNP lines it is, in fact, somewhat of a miss-truth.

As was pointed out at Political Betting sometime ago, the Scottish Conservative Party are not as unpopular as you would think if you followed SNP-propaganda in the run-up to the referendum. When you look at the results in percentage terms for both the 2010 General Election and the 2011 Scottish Parliament elections you discover that they are merely a victim of First Past The Post in the Westminster elections and have similar levels of support with the Scottish Parliament elections, too.


6th May 2010 – General Election (First Past The Post)

Labour – 41 seats (n/c) – 42% (+2%)

Liberal Democrat – 11 seats (-1) – 18.9% (-3.7%)

SNP  – 6 seats (-1) – 19.9% (+2.3%)

Conservative – 1 seat (n/c) – 16.7% (+0.9%)


5th May 2011 – Scottish Parliament (List System)

SNP – 46 seats (+23) – 45.4% (+14.5%)

Labour – 44 seats (-7) – 31.7% (+2.5)

Conservative – 15 seats (-5) – 13.9% (-2.7%)

Liberal Democrat – 5 seats (-12) – 11.3% (-3.4%)


Another fashionable line to tell as anti-Union propaganda is that Scotland never voted for the governments Britain got, it does not get a fair voice and by leaving the United Kingdom they will have a ‘progressive government’.

What this means, essentially, is a huge shift to the left with the SNP dominating politics in what critics claim would be a quasi-dictatorship.

A point against would be to highlight that before arch-nemesis for all Scotts, David Cameron, the past two prime ministers have been Scottish … even if one sounds far from it.

Secondly, it can be argued if they continue with the list system (which ensures that leaders will never face the humiliating situation Portillo, and almost Ed Balls, found themselves in and wipes out the proper protest vote as seen spectacularly with George Galloway in the Bradford West byelection) they will never be able to eradicate sub-par MPs or even hold them to account under a parliamentary recall system the Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith has proposed, a move I would suggest is quite progressive, very-SNP. I would suggest that this completely anti-democratic, flying in the face of what the Nationalists have been preaching since the 1970s.

As the debate over Scotland continues it will only become more Americanised. With the level of polarisation already splitting families apart, according to ICM polling, whatever the result there will be an irreparable fracture. The only question is, will it also tear a country in two?”

Imran Khan’t

Hindustan Times Leadership Summit 2013

  • Khan Misses Another Graduation
  • Yet Another Failure of Chancellor to Attend a Ceremony in Bradford

THE chancellor of the University of Bradford, Imran Khan, has failed to attend any of the graduation ceremonies in December which marks yet another graduation season where the chancellor has failed to make an appearance on campus.

The Bradford Student understands that the last time Mr Khan attended the university campus was the December 2010 graduation ceremonies – therefore this makes six consecutive graduation ceremonies where he hasn’t been present at the graduation.

Last summer Mr Khan was in the United Kingdom as part of recovering from his fall off a podium in the Pakistani election campaign. On the evening of one graduation ceremony he was giving an interview to Channel Four News about the Pakistani elections, the success of the PTI (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf) and his fall but never mentioned this institution. One former student told this publication that they “were really disappointed” that he did not attend the university or even send in a video-message for their graduation; he did, however, send an email statement to all students explaining the situation in May of last year.

In December 2011 the university released a statement from Mr Khan along with a message claiming that they “were most grateful for the time our chancellors’ give in support of the university” and that it “is not usual for chancellors to attend all award ceremonies” and that “Imran gives most generously of his time”.

In the statement released by Mr Khan on the 2nd December 2011, it said, “I am sorry that I will not be able to be at your award ceremonies next week.

“You may be aware what a difficult time it is at the moment in my home country, Pakistan. I am involved in critical talks about the country’s future and there are meetings next Wednesday and Thursday in Pakistan which I need to attend. This means I am not able to join you in Bradford for ceremonies this time”.

However questions were then raised by students regarding how Mr Khan was able to attend the Oxford Union to give a speech on the 23rd February of last year yet was apparently unable to come to the winter graduations or make an appearance on campus.

The vice-chancellor, Brian Cantor, has told the Bradford Student that he is “aware of the issues” that have been raised.

Throughout his first three months he tells us he has “given a lot of thought” to the current situation and that he “hope[s] to meet with him in the near future to review his role and how it goes forward”

“I have tried very hard to meet with Imran Khan over the last couple of months, but due to the ongoing political situations in Pakistan this has proved impossible”, Mr Cantor says.

The vice-chancellor also wishes to “appeal to the better nature of our student body to be more supportive of the work Imran has to carry out as a politician”, adding “He is faced with challenges which directly impact on the lives and existence of those living in Pakistan.

“I would hope that any student in Bradford who might find they are they are faced with similar challenges would be as courageous and committed as Imran is to improving the lives of others through education and policy changes, at the same time as handling threats of terrorism and armed conflict”

Mr Khan, who is leader of the opposition party PTI in the Pakistani National Assembly, has “a major political role in Pakistan” according to the vice-chancellor.

He says that whilst it is frustrating for students regarding his attendance record he urges students to be “sympathetic to the situation in Pakistan and the responsibility Imran has to improving the state of the country”.

Despite being unable to arrange a meeting in the past three months Mr Cantor is hopeful of being able to actually meet with the chancellor, saying, “when I meet with Imran we will discuss his role as chancellor at Bradford and how that sits alongside his role as leader of the opposition in Pakistan”. It is understood that dates for an eventual meeting between Imran Khan and the university are currently been discussed.

Imran Khan has been chancellor the University of Bradford since 2005 and is currently the second longest serving chancellor in the institutions almost fifty year history. The longest serving was former prime minister Lord Harold Wilson.

Originally published in February’s edition of The Bradford Student. 

Yesterday in Hustings – 5/3/14

YESTERDAY IN HUSTINGS candidates for LGBT Officer, School of Management Officer, Environment and Welfare Officer, Women’s Liberation Officer and Council answered questions, some better than others.

The Environment and Welfare Officer position was where the evening really begun, with the LGBT Officer role only having one candidate, Taz Gibbins-Klein, and the School of Management hustings being split into two because one of the candidates was late.

Zakerias Haileselassie and Rosemary Ellingham are both currently part-time officers and played upon this experience. Haileselassie was slower to warm up than expected, with him committing the cardinal sin of reading off his manifesto in his opening speech but once the questions started he used his incredible oratory skills which would usually destroy any other candidate. Ellingham, though, proved an equal match with no clear victor.

Their roles as either Black and Minority Ethnic Students Officer – Mr Haileselassie – or as LGBT Officer – Miss Ellingham – did begin to make the debate somewhat polarised. At points it seemed like they were just expressing what they have done leaving a huge gulf where they could have explored what they want to do in the role, something which when they did do they both did on a far better scale than any of the candidates of the evening by some margin.

Then the potential Women’s and Liberation Officer. Current officer, Steffy Bechelet, against Diko Blackings and Samayya Afzal.

This debate followed a similar trend of clichéd questions that anyone could have written. But there were some that were suspiciously written, almost as if they were planted. For instance, a 24 hour hotline question which seemed suspiciously like it is central to Miss Blackings’ campaign and was by far the best answer she gave all evening. I’m sure it’s just a pure coincidence that this question came up, though.

Miss Bechelet was the surprise winner of the evening. Past public speaking engagements have proved to get the better but it seems when the pressure is on she is a capable performer and the only candidate with perfectly timed and performed opening and summation speeches. It wasn’t the evening for Miss Afzal, though, who didn’t seem to be able to match the other candidates strong performances.

The cringe-induced bloodbath of the evening came with, as you would expect, with the nominees for Council Lay-member. A role that has historically been filled with sub-par, wannabe politicians forced into it by their society under the delusion that it expands their influence. Like years gone by, the event failed to disappoint and the candidates were lined up against the wall and committed what would in a functioning democracy be career-suicide.

One question was “who do you want to represent?” which should illicit a rather obvious response. Everyone wants to, shockingly, represent everyone. One candidate, though, must have been so startled by the flash of the newspapers camera that they forgot where they were and started talking about events that they want to hold.

“I want to hold tailor made events, not just for, but for like everyone even post-grads and errm, international students”, one candidate drivelled on about … perhaps it should be worth informing her that the Media and Entertainments Officer hustings were yesterday.

The repetitive drivel continued with one candidate answering and then the majority of other candidates parroting what was just said. “Buzzword, buzzword, students, buzzword, vote for me” was the formula of the day.

The public humiliation only got worse when the comparatively difficult questions were asked. Firstly, how would they reform council? The first person declared that she alone could make it more efficient, and then mumbled about making more publicity for council. Guess what the next answer was. “I’d like to … can you repeat the question … I’d like to make people more aware of what the council is wand what we can actually do for students on council”. And then the same. It went on. Most of the panel who will become your councillors fail to understand the conversation that has gone on in council regarding reforms, no candidate with a clear plan and about two candidates who have the ability to act properly within council.

In the same barrage of questions, one about how to increase the transparency of council. One candidate didn’t understand what transparency meant. A majority of the others ignored what was said and answered their own questions with only one expressing how maybe the union should release the minutes publicly, something they have failed to do for the past year.

Laughing at the complete and utter incompetence is a somewhat childish pursuit once you realise these are the people that are meant to be representing you in what is meant to be a legislative body and is part of a mechanism that holds the Sabbatical Officers to account. It’s completely outrageous that two candidates completely failed to submit a manifesto and is perhaps more egregious that they are allowed to continue in the election.

Hustings, historically known for its coma-inducing nature, became more interesting yesterday. There was more than one candidate in some of the positions, which is always nice for a democracy, and the usual public humiliation of wannabe politicians which always brightens the mood.

Today candidates for NUS delegate, Community Engagement Officer, Disabled Students Officer, International Students Officer, International Students Officer, Academic Affairs Officer and Development and Democracy Officer will be taking selected questions from the floor. 

Yesterday at Hustings – 4/3/2014

YESTERDAY IN HUSTINGS a candidate for Mature Students Officer, a candidate for Black and Minority Ethnics Student Officer, a candidate for Chair of Council, two candidates for Media and Entertainments Officer and, in case voters had the audacity to believe they might have a choice in an election, a candidate for Sports and Societies Officer.

Peter Kerr, candidate for Mature Students Officer and current holder of the office, was the first to take questions from the crowd of about twenty, with about two thirds of those candidates themselves. In his opening speech he said that he was “very keen to take the position on” and that he can “promise, I’ll do everything I can to help you”.

After a few brief clichéd questions including “how would you help mature students” and, of course, “what is the biggest issue facing mature students” the summation speech was given. “Vote for me because I’m really good at this so far …” going on to say, “so, come on, vote for me!”

Then, the hopeful Black and Minority Ethnics Student Officer, Subira Ismail. Wanting to “support, unite and represent” minority students it was a huge tone down from the rhetoric of last year.  Promising to work with Academic Affairs Officer to bridge the attainment gap and exclaiming her love for white chocolate as the filling in her crapes, it was Shrove Tuesday after all, her summation speech Miss Ismail said that she “want[s] to make sure everything I have said, I will do” … which is always nice for a politician to remind us.

Liam Barker, the only candidate for the unbelievably prestigious position Chair of Council, had a number of promises. Moving on from last year’s universally deprived “hiya guys” opening he, after countless hours writing and consulting focus groups, evolved it into the more common man “hey guys”.

His opening speech was full of claims. He will draw upon the “experience I have within the union”. “I’ve spent quite a lot of time reading the constitution,” he declared. He will, “make sure it runs smoothly”, or in other words he will do his job. There is nothing he cannot do. Nothing!

Barker will promote union engagement, jumping to the overwhelmingly obvious point that there isn’t much of that at the moment.  He also will create a forum where lay-members must attend.

If it is anything like last year, where one lay-member was taken off council and others entered and left at their own pleasing and a majority of council lay-members, when they were there, were only there physically with absent minds.

With the greatest respect to Liam Barker, as one of the council lay-members who actually does anything and has engaged in a role more than two thirds of other councillors, it is a huge disappointment that there is only one candidate trying to be elected … last year, there was three.

Competition exists somewhere, thank God. The Media and Entertainments Officer has two people. That’s right, a whole two human beings who believe that they are most suited for the job. TWO PEOPLE IN AN ELECTION … The shock, the horror, the unbelievable fact that two people are standing in an election and people, voters, you, has a choice.

New boy Liam Dixon, who is standing for the first time, against Felix ‘Fresh Prince of Bellaire slogan here’ Kankwamba who hopes to succeed after four years. If it was hustings to go by, he’s won, easily out classing Mr Dixon and having the stage presence that proves so important.

There are two problems with this, though. Last year the Fresh Prince easily outclassed everyone and was unable to turn the performance into a win. Secondly, whilst the audience increased slightly, there is a huge disinterest this election season with the Fresh Prince even acknowledging that hustings doesn’t have the same reception as last year.

The questions seemed to largely ignore media areas and as a consequence seemed somewhat rigged by the contenders. There was one from Dixon asking about what he would do for mature students, an element that is central to his campaign. There was one from the Fresh Prince that seemed to enable him to talk about his work with young offenders.

As ever, there was also the usual ridiculous question regarding “non-drinking events” which gave the same, dull, inspired drivel as usual with both candidates talking about outrageously boring coffee mornings, karaoke and the incredible dancing around religious sensitivities including one choice quote declaring some students “are of non-alcoholics”.

Also unlike last year, there is no one candidate who is so incompetent they’ve lost already; likewise, there is no one candidate to laugh at profusely which is a shame …

The final event of the evening is current Sports and Societies Officer, Sam Butterworth, who has no other candidate standing against him.  As proven in the past, Sam Butterworth is an incredible performer and, as ever, that continued throughout hustings. He spoke about the fact the influence of Sports and Societies has increased dramatically, Team Bradford has become a huge brand with the university fully supporting it, and how the societies are now on a sustainable footing.

Sadly, though, the “Keep Calm and Vote Butters” line has gone and so too has the ridiculous cat outfit he had last year. This year it’s quite simple, “don’t vote for RON”, which is pretty to the point.

Hustings so far has been dogged by poor attendance and tame questions with candidates who are held in such high regard throughout the union nobody is willing to stand against them or have the pleasure of not having to really fight an election and answer tough questions. The only show of the evening was the MEO, and that paled in comparison compared to previous hustings’.

In this evenings hustings candidates for LGBT Officer, School of Management Officer, Women’s Liberation Officer and all nine candidates for Council are standing.