Having had a number of constituents complain to me about an offending islamophobic remark in the GLA election booklet on page 9, I have written a letter of complaint to London Elects, the election commissioners of the GLA election on the 3rd of May.
The offending quote from Robert West reads ” I’m backing BNP because they support our traditional christian faith. We need strong leadership to protect our national identity from the threat of Islam ” This is clearly islamophobic in its intent.
In my letter I have asked London Elects to explain how it saw fit to sanction such islamophobic comments. It is simply not good enough for them to tell us it’s not its role to make value judgements about the contents of the booklet from all the various political parties. Such remarks fall foul of Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010, as it denotes that all persons of the islamic faith pose a threat to the wider population. This is not only untrue, it is also detrimental to race relations between different faith communities to promote this belief.
Public authorities like London Elects must have due regard to the need to “eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct that is prohibited under the Act….and foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it” This has clearly not happened in this instance.
All this when l had earlier in the week complained about London Elects permitting political slogans on the ballot paper. Lawyers at London Elect need to consider this again along with how the islamophobic comments were permitted to be published in the first place.
Unfortunately, the damage has been done because the booklet has already hit the door mats of millions of homes! Furthermore the quote from Robert West can also be found on the London Elects website. This at least can be dealt with and must be taken down immediately. You can email them at email@example.com or phone 020 7983 4444 to complain.
Ultimately the best way to counter this injustice now, would be to make sure that the BNP does not get another one of its numbers back into the London Assembly as they did in 2008. For this, we have to make sure that enough people vote across all the political parties to ensure the BNP do not make the 5 per cent threshold needed to get one of their Assembly Member which were only serve to peddle further their islamophobic views.
I hope all readers will go out next Thursday and use their vote to stop this threat and such negatives messages reaching voters again next time round.