Wednesday, May 25 2016

London mayoral elections and dog-whistle politics

London mayoral elections and dog-whistle politicsThe London mayoral elections in May this year is proving rich-pickings for the anti-Ken Livingstone brigade as evidenced by recent articles, see for example Andrew Gilligan on his Daily Telegraph blog.

Islamophobia Watch has a great piece dissecting the ES hatchet jobs of the previous week in which Livingstone’s association with Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman is used to discredit both men as unsuitable for elected office.


The ES draws on the remarks of Poplar and Canning MP Jim Fitzpatrick. It also contains this curious sentence, “The Jewish Chronicle believes "Ken has calculated that backing Mr Rahman's brand of Islamism-lite will win him enough support to justify sacrificing the votes of Jewish, gay or more moderate Muslim Londoners".”


Given that the JC’s political editor is none other than Martin Bright, the remark can hardly be treated as the astute reflections of an impartial observer, let alone question whom the JC’s definition of “moderate Muslim Londoners” might apply to.

Tower Hamlets councillor, Rabina Khan in the Guardian Comment is Free fires back at the scaremongering tactics on the right, observing:

“The polls are showing the two leading contenders for London mayor – Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson – running neck and neck. Predictably, sections of the rightwing media have started reaching for the proverbial dog whistle; playing politics with race and religion and appealing to a diminishing band of bigoted voters who respond to the politics of fear. They are painting a picture of the East End which doesn't exist – but which aims to frighten the voters in suburbia down to the polling stations on 3 May.”

Andrew Gilligan responds to Khan writing on his DT blog:

“Rabina Khan, Lutfur Rahman’s cabinet member for housing, penned a sharp attack today on the Evening Standard’s recent series of articles about the electoral roll shenanigans in Tower Hamlets, the Sharia-tinged administration of which she is part.”

Were Gilligan to describe shenanigans in Westminster as 'Israeli-tinged' or 'Zionist-tinged' he’d rightly be condemned as anti-semitic.

As The Cold War on British Muslims observes of the curious relationship between right wing think tanks and their media and political allies, the end game is to “stigmatise and even criminalise politically active Muslims”.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 August 2012 10:58

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