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Wednesday, 11 July 2012
A report from Bradford Council Chamber on Tuesday, 10 July by Nadim Qureshi.
Well done to all Bradford Respect Party Councillors! Excellent maiden speeches were delivered by Alyas Karmani, Ruqqaya Collector and Faisal Khan. All their speeches tonight provoked a great deal of debate on issues covering young people and employment, the welfare state, Bradford Bulls and immigration laws. The motions put forward by Respect were very pertinent and of critical importance to the people of Bradford.
What I found absolutely telling of the other parties was their inability to bring motions on these critically important issues themselves. Instead they could only bring amendments and claim the motion for themselves. They also accused Respect of 'sloganising' and not putting their motions in a more “appropriate” language. This was rather patronizing and really a cover, I believe, for their own insecurities. As such I believe this is where Respect scored highly. Respect made itself heard. Respect today was certainly the new kid on the block, a new kid that is not afraid of being critical of itself or others. A new kid that is speaking in the language of ordinary folk for a change. A new kid that doesn’t keep on making itself believe that past Council administrations have been successful in regenerating Bradford. And how can it? The facts speak for themselves.
Just yesterday, the Yorkshire Post reported unemployment in Bradford West and East constituencies stands at twice the national average and happens to be amongst the five worst constituencies in the whole of the Yorkshire and Humber region. Not to mention poor performance in educational attainment and, of course, the Wastefield site. This kind of false belief in success is dangerous as, whether intended or not, it blinkers us all to the reality of the current situation and circumvents any future action to address these issues. It dulls the minds of people to see things for the way they really are and absolves them of any responsibility to do something about their plight other than to live with it. I am really glad about the 'sloganising' and the Respect Councillors motions today because, for the first time in many years, someone has stood up and said enough is enough and called the bluff on the so called progress made by the other parties.
This is a really good start for Respect in Bradford Council and the high standard of speaking by the Councillors has not gone unnoticed by the other parties. Having been an ex-Councillor in Bradford myself, a number of former colleagues came up to me to say how well the Councillors spoke. Credit to the Councillors also as this was one of the longer Council sessions starting at 4pm and finishing at 8.30pm. It was also good to see supporters there too for the early part of the session. Look out for the next meeting of full Council, where Mohammed Shabbir and Ishtiaq Ahmed will make their maiden speeches.