Saturday, April 30, 2005

Keith Vaz election communication

Hello Keith Vaz fans! Exciting scans of Keith Vaz's election communication (Evington and Thurncourt version) are being put up at the Leicester Election blog as we speak! Also news of Keithy's Labour-clone website. Check it out. All updates will go up there: Vote Leicester's Leicester Election 2005 site. I'll see you all back here after the election, to commiserate at the end of my Vaz proxy blogging time or celebrate at the joyous thought of potentially four more years of Vaz blogging? Which is it to be? You decide.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

BME candidates

Tories winning on Black representation is an interesting article from Black Information Link assessing the Black and ethnic minority candidates being fielded by the parties and their likelihoods of getting a seat. There is criticism of Labour's not shortlisting any Afro-Caribbean men in eight vacant London seats.
Labour MP's Diane Abbott, Keith Vaz, Mark Hendrick, Piara Khabra, Ashok Kumar, Khalid Mahmood and Mohammed Sarwar are all shoe-ins to be re-elected.

Keith Vaz and abortion

An article in today's Sunday Times about abortion, Toll of babies aborted with chance of life hits 1,000 a year, which looks at the debate around lowering the time limit on abortion from 24 weeks uses research by Keith Vaz in to how many healthy foetuses were aborted between 22 and 24 weeks, when there was a slight but potential chance they could have survived birth at that point.

On Vaz: He believes the figures show why the abortion limit should be lowered. “We have got to reduce the time limit. All the research indicates that 24 weeks is too late,” he said.

The full article also has more information, including the other side of the argument from
the chief executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service.

Friends in high places

Our Keith has friends in high places and they're sacrificing Bollywood stardom to come help him out. Bollywood flavour in British polls- Tahil supports Vaz campaign, Telegraph Calcutta.

Dalip tahil was a Bollywood actor who came to Britain to star in Bollywood dreams and then Eastenders before almost being deported, with Vaz and others campaigning for his right to stay.

It's always interesting to read stuff written for people who don't already know what's going on, take a look at this lovely spin on things:

On paper, Vaz does not actually need any outside intervention because he has a safe seat with a large majority and is recognised as being a good constituency MP.

In the last general election in 2001, he had a majority of 13,442 votes but this was down from 18,422 in 1997, which was when Tony Blair was elected Prime Minister.

Vaz, a Catholic of Goan origin, rose to be the minister for Europe but he later left the government and, unlike Peter Mandelson, a close Blair aide, he has not been brought back by the Prime Minister. If he records another thumping majority on May 5, Blair, assuming he is voted back, will recognise that Vaz remains an important player on the British Asian and UK-India scene.

He may even consider giving Vaz another government job and may consider him, along with Lord Swraj Paul, as possible future British high commissioner to India.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Keith Vaz Publicity

A quick post, Vaz fans to bring your attention to some newly uploaded Vaz publicity, which can be found in the Vote Leicester Archives. It's the 'Belgrave and Rushey Mead News', an infrequent at best publication because I've surely never seen one before. I suspect it may just be a ruse to sneak Keith vaz into our homes, as this copy was received by post in Evington.

We lead with 'Labour landslide buries other parties', referring of course to the Belgrave byelection where Amrit Kavia, brother of the deceased Belgrave councillor Ramnik Kavia did indeed get himself a landslide with 65% of the vote and a 1400 majority.

Next up, 'Abbey school action plan' which is the old old news about Abbey's problems with Gujarati lessons provision.

On the flip side 'Video game campaign reaches the Prime Minister' with a photo of Vaz, Tony Blair and Mrs Pakeerah with some uncredited man, who I would hate to think was Mr Pakeerah. More on this later, to be sure.

'Eastenders star switches on Merlyn tree lights' from Christmas and the memorial tree for Merlyn (Vaz, it fails to mention), well respected local councillor who died in 2003. Her grandchildren (aka our Keith's children) make a slightly uncomfortable looking appearance.

Next up a picture of Vazzy rubbing shoulders with celebs and... well, Jack Straw. Vaz was at an obscure 'Conference in Blackburn' which was also attended by Straw, Kriss Akabusi, Chris Bisson and Shobna Gulati. We're not told what the conference was for or how it benefited us so I can only assume it is simply there to show off. Speaking of Blackburn, check out Craig Murray who is running against Jack Straw there.

If you have been sent anything you would gain much thanks from then sending it to me. You can email voteleic(at) or leave a comment. Thanking you.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Keith Vaz and travellers

Further to Keith Vaz's almost vigilante mob dealings with the travellers living in Hamilton a very sensible letter has been written to the Leicester Mercury, We should not hate travellers:
I am saddened and disturbed by the vitriolic hatred directed at travelling communities within the city and county of Leicestershire.

In a fair and democratic society, the voices of those involved, both for and against, must be heard before one can possibly form an opinion. This democratic right was denied to the travellers' spokespersons at the community meeting in Groby. They were shamefully heckled and jeered.

To the prominent MP who stormed the Hamilton encampment, I would like to inform him that the travelling community are categorised as a minority group and as such are entitled to the same courtesy and dignity afforded to other minorities.

A Brinnall, Beaumont Leys.
There is lots in the papers about travellers recently. There have been some high profile encampments and evictions in Leicestershire and the death of a leading member of the community shortly after having been released from police custody, Travellers' leader dies after raids. We have riotous council meetings in Groby (Villagers want action over travellers' camp), lots of action in Market Harborough (Police arrest 11 in early morning raids) where there are vehicles and assorted items that have been seized because they may or may not have been stolen or bought with the proceeds of crime (Police display vehicles seized in series of raids).

It's a mess. And a disgrace.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Are you thinking what he's thinking?

I think I need to go and have a lie down...



10:30 - 31 March 2005

A group of 50 residents, led by councillors and an MP, stormed onto a travellers' site to ask when they were leaving.

More than 150 Hamilton residents had signed a petition to present to Leicester East MP Keith Vaz, asking for his help to get rid of the travellers, who have been on council-owned land off Sandhills Avenue, for six months.

Yesterday, the MP visited the site and trudged through the mud with a large group of residents and onto the site before introducing himself to a woman living in a caravan on the site.

He then read out a list of complaints from residents about the noise, pollution and problems with the travellers' dogs.

The woman said that she did not personally own a dog, adding: "We're not doing no harm. This is our place and it's where we'll stay."

She then walked quickly back to the main group of caravans.

Mr Vaz's visit was prompted by a mysterious hoax planning application published in the neighbourhood proposing a permanent site in Hamilton.

Mr Vaz assured residents there was no city council plan to use the area as a camp and told them the application was a fake.

Mr Vaz told the Leicester Mercury: "There has been a long-running problem with travellers suddenly appearing on this land.

"The ward councillors and I obviously fully support the residents in getting them removed."

Residents said that they used to enjoy quiet walks around the lake at Hamilton. It was also a popular spot for dog-walking and fishing, but now the area has been taken over by the travellers' dogs and horses.

The travellers are accused of polluting the lake with rubbish, as well as causing a rat infestation. The city council is currently involved in a court battle to evict the travellers.

Ramila Shah, 49, of Bellflower Road, who has campaigned against traveller encampments on the site over the past nine years, said: "Twenty years ago, when I moved in, the whole of Hamilton was spotless with not a single piece of litter.

"But the travellers don't seem to care about polluting the area with metal in Hamilton Lake and bin bags and canisters all over the place."

Residents spoke of incidents when ash from burning plastic had stuck to their cars.

The fires are also a problem for the nearby Ismaili Community Centre. Shahed Karim said: "Our ventilation system sucks in the smoke, which makes it unpleasant inside."

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