I was horrified to discover that the apologist for Stalinism and Islamism, Andy Newman is to be the Labour Party candidate for the Chippenham constituency at the next General Election. Newman has a bigoted pro-religious view of the world and because he is an active trade union member some people on the left and in the trade union movement may be lulled into a false view of this man and his reactionary politics.
Not so long ago Newman was running a witch-hunt against Anne Marie Waters of the One Law for All campaign which seeks to act against the imposition of Sharia law in the UK, which particularly discriminates against women. Ms Waters was running for the winnable seat of Brighton (see here) in which he quoted the misogynist and holocaust denier Yusuf Quaradawi in order to justify his actions.
The issue Newman was writing about was female circumcision. Despite his nonsensical claims that Quardawi is fighting for women's rights, the reactionary cleric has this to say:
"whoever finds it serving the interest of his daughters should do it, and I personally support this under the current circumstances in the modern world. (Modern Fatwas)
And despite Newman claiming to be against anti-Semitism, his "hero" Quardawi also says:
Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the Jews people who would punish them for their corruption...The last punishment was carried out by Hitler. By means of all the things he did to them – even though they exaggerated this issue – he managed to put them in their place. This was divine punishment for them...Allah Willing, the next time will be at the hand of the believers.
And that's only the start.
Andy Newman runs the laughably named Socialist Unity website, renowned for promoting Iran, Hamas, Assad and the Chinese Communist Party amongst other reactionary causes laced with a thin covering veneer of trade union causes and support for the Labour Party.
Trade unionists, particularly those in the GMB (where Newman is an active Rep) will be interested to know that he considers trade unions an obstacle to socialism:
It is not unusual for socialist governments to have a tension with trade unions, and to expect the trade unions to prioritise increasing production for the common good, trade unions who impede the advance towards greater equality may clash with the government.
So now you know. When the time comes brothers and sisters we will all be in the way of Newman's vainglorious "socialist" project.
Further examples of his contempt for people fighting for their rights are clear in his views about Tibet:
...the historical defacing of Tibetan Buddhist monasteries during the Cultural Revolution was mirrored by the same defacing of Zen monasteries, mosques, churches and synagogues – it was not an aspect of national oppression, but of the China wide campaign of secularisation.
Breaking the unity of the historical Chinese state and nation will not strengthen the Chinese people in their struggle for economic and democratic progress, but only carve China up at the mercy of the imperialists.
Interesting that he sees secularism as a defensible position in China, but not in the Muslim world or in the UK. His political background in the Socialist Workers Party and more recently Respect still continue to influence his thinking though he has come to deny Marxism as an influence. The Swindon Advertiser reported his comments when he invited George Galloway to a meeting in his home town in May 2008:
Andy Newman, the Swindon spokesman for the Respect Party, said: "The achievement of Swindon Stop the War Coalition has been to keep together people with a wide range of opinions, united on the single issue of opposition to the war."
Following the split in Respect and Newman realising he had no future with Galloway (and apparently fell out big time with the "gorgeous one" over an article on Socialist Unity) it was time for Newman to join the Labour Party.
His flagship project Socialist Unity has been almost (but not quite) alone on the British left in backing the Assad regime through articles written by John Wight, a seasoned malcontent who appears to wake up every morning with a "hate-on" for all things Israeli and will seemingly defend any regime or group no matter how unpleasant providing it seeks to be part of what he calls the "rejectionist front". Whilst Newman has taken a "back step" on these issues his ambivalence over the solution to the Israel/Palestine conflict is worrying.
No doubt he'll be taking a further "back step" now that he's been selected as the Labour candidate for the fortunately unwinnable Chippenham seat, but it occurs to me that the Labour Party leadership have been watching the wrong people in Falkirk. Instead they should be concerned about Newman's entry onto their slates for Parliament.
Perhaps an investigation by Ed Milibands team is in order. Newman is one of the most unsuitable candidates ever selected by a Labour Constituency Party. Newman is a "cuckoo in the nest" as his mate Nick Wright says in a note of congratulation on SU yesterday illustrates:
Congratulations. I like the idea of a Socialist Unity Party in parliament
Time for Newman to go. We don't want another Militant Tendency wrecking Labours chances at the next election. The press will have a field day when they look into his background, which I hope is sooner rather than later.