Rotherham Respect… Was I there at the start of something big?

First report on yesterday’s meeting of Respect Rotherham, our thanks go to Warren Vale for this:

“Let me start by saying well done to Sarah/Kiran. With alleged shennanigans again over a venue (this time forced to change over fears of rioting if you can believe that – but I’ll leave the details to Respect members to share), Sarah/Kiran and her small team of four managed to get 40 people in a room on a late Saturday afternoon to witness the official birth of Rotherham Respect and that’s no small feat.

Of course we were there to hear from George Galloway, but we’ll get to him shortly. I want to stick with Sarah and her team just for a moment. I’m sure that everyone on this blog realises just how quickly we all lose our ‘innocence’ in politics and it was refreshing to see young people still full of charm and naivety leading the Respect charge in Rotherham. Don’t go changing too quickly Sarah. Of course public speaking will get easier, but you were great, don’t go down the slick and polished route too soon.

So George? I’ll admit that politics is like rock n roll to me. If Dave, Ed and Nick are the bland One Direction of politics (pun intended), then George is the Sex Pistols – angry, confrontational but still lovably British. The Sex Pistols were the perfect band for the punk era and in some ways, Respect should be the perfect political party for these angry, nihilistic times. “No-one speaks for me anymore” is a refrain that needs to change, and quickly. At the moment, neither, Respect, TUSC nor the growing independent movement under Simon Copley are quite hitting the mark. Time will probably change that, but time is short.

George and Yvonne spoke passionately about Respect core beliefs of Peace, Justice and Equality, and you’d have been hard pushed to find anyone disagreeing with those sentiments. We were a little short on detail, particularly local campaigns in the offing, but that’s to be expected from a party just finding its feet locally. What gave me pause to consider Respect a little more than I may have done before was the make up of the audience. There were people there whom I admire and respect greatly, stalwarts of the Rotherham left, who are moving towards Respect, and this in itself demands our attention.

One point raised that does need addressing was an audience question concerning the notion that Respect is an Islamic Party. This is not true as any glance at the history of the Party will show, but it is a perception that persists. It is up to all of us, Respect supporters or not, to dispel this notion and examine policies rather than skin colour or faith. Let Respect stand or fall on policy, not on some distracting false division. So Sarah/Kiran, get some more meetings organised, advertise them here on Rothpol, and grow your numbers. It was a great start yesterday, but it was just a start. I know some of the people who helped with Yvonne’s campaign in November, and these wise old heads (sorry Tom) should be brought even closer in to Rotherham Respect – there is much you can learn from them and, dare I say it, there is much they can learn from you.

Does Rotherham need Respect? Well yes, if the rise of UKIP endures. Labour is not an option for much of the left, and TUSC are still not chiming with the public in a meaningful way so far. Respect may provide that organised opposition. Council seats are winnable next year (although a Parliamentary seat may still be a fair distance off into the future, sorry George) and there is definitely a ‘Rotherham’ feel to the Respect youngsters there yesterday.

Respect in Rotherham is new, it’s young, and it’s exciting. It’s small, so your voice can still be heard. Most importantly, it’s here to stay. So whatever your feelings towards marmite George, Respect are worth examining. Keep Rotherham Respect young, keep it vibrant, keep it going. George was great (as always), but it’s Galloway’s Garrison here in Rotherham that could make a difference.

Warren Vale

Rotherham Respect may be contacted through the Secretary, Sarah Kiran Mahmood, by email click here.

27 thoughts on “Rotherham Respect… Was I there at the start of something big?

  1. It was a brilliant day.
    All the relevant issues were discussed and most importantly Respect Party is growing in Rotherham.

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  2. Peace, Justice and Equality.
    Fine sentiments of the Respect party, which as you say Warren Vale, we ‘ d be hard pushed to find anyone, let alone a campaigning political party to disagree. I doubt a tag line of ‘ War, Injustice and Inequality’ would get many/any votes.
    But what about Rotherham ?
    A little short on details especially campaigns locally, you say ? Do they have any plans at all ? Respect’s website mentions supporting worthy causes worldwide, but nothing local. In fact Rotherham is not mentioned at all, which I would have thought would be top news if this is a new era for them in Rotherham. Perhaps they are waiting to be elected before they decide on
    policies for our town ? Don’t think we’ve heard anything of them here since November 2012 election, and they didn’t have much to say on Rotherham then either.
    Just hope we don’t end up voting for the best of the worst when election time for Rotherham comes around.

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    • ‘War, justice and inequality?’- that worked for New Labour, MB, they got a whole 13 years in power with that slogan 😉

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  3. Right Mr maltbyblogger, be rest assured Rotherham will be on the national website in the near future as for it not been mentioned then all I have to say is that actions speak for themselves, let Rotherham walk the walk not just talk the talk then feel free to add to the aftermath or whatever u want to call it but I would definitely like to hear all constructive criticism and what the likes have to offer as an alternative. As I mentioned yesterday at the meeting, we are still very much at the early stages hence the fact that we are not on the website. Be rest assured you will be updated as mentioned above this is just the beginning of what appeared to be a nightmare for some as also mentioned previously.

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  4. Maltby blogger if you attended the meeting then you won’t be asking me this question.
    Your asking a question when it was open public meeting you should have attended and listen to the views.

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    • Now then Mr Anonymous can you kindly lay off with the patronising words towards Mr Maltbyblogger. Allow Mr Maltyblogger to have his say. We are living in a democracy or atleast I would like to think we are. After his last visit of having to stand outside in the cold after the venue being cancelled, I am surprised that our honourable MP George Galloway even bothered to step into Rotherham with yet again SURPRISE SURPRISE another venue cancelation that luckily thanks to the man of the day, our Rotherham treasurer, drastically became a venue change and not a venue cancelation although the owners of the original venue were not to blame. So much for democracy any how the meeting happened and we and as our Rotherham Vice-chair we are still, what i’d like to add to that is we are still here even if thunder and lightening decide to strike a third time to give it a nice round figure. Although I must say the weather was much better this time round compared to Galloway’s last visit as he mentioned at the public meeting. 😀

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  5. Not Sure i’m convinced about them claiming not to be a Islamic party, I mean the two places they have had MP’s Bradford West and Bethnal Green and bow both high in Muslim population, In the Rotherham by-election 2012 George Galloway is on ILM news (some Islamic news agency based in Sheffield) talking to a group of Muslims saying he hopes every Muslim will vote for respect ! As for their policies all Yvonne Ridley could say was people of Rotherham need respect, she never answered how she would create Jobs,housing ect, Respect Party would be nothing with Galloway

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  6. Annoynmous, that is possibly true. I didn’t attend the meeting and you did, but it seems that you are keeping all the “views” to those who did attend. That sounds rather like RMBC and the Labour members that we have in office at the moment.

    Thankyoufor your response Sarah Kiran Mahmood (why you would assume I am a “Mr” I don’t know )
    I look forward to seeing the policies and ideas that Respect Rotherham have as a party, and hope that it is not too long before this happens. All that “walking ” and “talking” you describe tells me nothing at all about what Respect intend doing. That is what Rotherham voters are interested in .

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  7. Interesting developments here in Rotherham. For as long as we can remember most of South Yorkshire has been a one-party state with Labour’s domination challenged by the Torys and Libdems only in a handful of council areas. Will the newly emerging groups like Respect, UKIP, TUSC and so on be able to provide much needed opposition in areas where the other parties cannot reach? Perhaps they could start by looking at those areas where voters have previously rejected Labour but where they will never turn to other established parties. Even a diverse rainbow opposition would be better than none.

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    • Can I ask mr maltby blogger.
      What is going on here if you were so interested in the meeting you should have come down and we have organized a branch, making progress for Respect Party in Rotherham, soon you will see the fruits coming out soon.
      If Mr Maltby Blogger so interested we will invite her down for the next meeting she can see for herself.
      As it will good opportunity for her to see the manifesto in the future.
      Remember one thing we will say what we mean and do what we say.

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      • Maltby blogger.
        It’s called all in “good time” you will see everything hopefully.
        Look we have sorted a committe out for Respect Party in Rotherham, we have other major plans, as Yvonne Ridley has laid down the foundations for the people of Rotherham and we appreciated that thanks to her and George Galloway MP.

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  8. Maltbyblogger, my apologies for the assumption there. And well said to both our anonymous parties on here and yes all in good time. I intend to keep everyone informed of the plans we have for Rotherham and as I said the walking and talking will be done by Rotherham and yes all in good time. My apologies if it isn’t all clear as of yet but patience is truly a virtue and that is all I require.

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  9. I would also like to say thank you to the TUSC members who attended the meeting, my apologies for not mentioning this at the meeting, this was not intentional at all.

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  10. Annoynmous – In answer to your question, if you read other posts by maltbyblogger or look at http://www.maltbyblogger.com you will know that I am very keen on Agendas and Minutes for any meetings that are held in any capacity in our town. I prefer to know what is on the Agenda for a meeting before the meeting goes ahead, not after, as is often the case.
    If meetings are held without Agendas and Minutes being available to all the public then things tend to get said and agreements made which are not recorded and go ahead regardless of what the public really think and want. “All in good time” is not an attitude that I would expect from a campaigning political party.
    This is not democracy and we ought to be ensuring that democratic decisions are always made.
    If the Rotherham Respect group provide an Agenda for their next meeting I shall be able to decide if it is worth me attending. (Presumably by then there will be minutes of the meeting on Saturday available).

    Sarah Kiran Mahmood – I would like to bring to your attention that there are comments here from
    Annoynmous and Anonymous. (There are also comments on Rothpol from ‘anonymous’ )
    It is very important that we respond correctly to the people who have made the comments as readers could easily be confused if you do not make it clear to whom you are referring.
    maltbyblogger does not need you to chastise other commenters on my behalf, for any reason, especially for what you class as “patronising”.
    🙂
    ps Patience may be all that you need, but Rotherham voters need more from you.

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    • You give me information about the council in maltby about their agenda and there plan that will be helpful.
      So we can look at your policies if that is okay with you mr maltby blogger.

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      • So we can get an idea.
        As your idea will help us look for that’s what we want to ask for from you mr maltby blogger as you say you want agendas and etc why don’t you come out of your post show us a sample.

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  11. Maltbyblogger, when I said I require patience what that means is that I intend to answer all your questions in the right place and at the right time, don’t forget this is a brand new campaign, it requires some level of patience. I will answer all the questions and the agenda does include an outline of the policies to be delivered shortly but we had already highlighted these policies at the public meeting, nevertheless I plan to reiterate alot of that in an upcoming Newsletter so the public including yourself will be informed in time within reason.

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    • As for using the term patronising, the remarks of one of the Anonymous parties can be termed as patronising in my opinion and that is only my opinion as clearly indicated. As for the number of Anonymous parties, I was referring to 2 of them and they both know who they are. If I was saying something to 1 particular anonymous party then it would be necessary for me to differentiate between the 3.

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  12. To Annoynmous and Sarah Kiran Mahmood : I would have liked to respond to what you have both commented on here but as I can not make any sense out of it I am unable to do so.

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  13. I think we may be missing the point here, and that’s probably my fault in the initial post. I go to these meetings to get a feel for the people. The written policy documents can be forensically examined later, via website, newsletter, whatever.

    What I found on Saturday was a small group of Respect activists wanting to launch their party in Rotherham. What impressed me was their enthusiasm, their charm, and their desire for the people of Rotherham to talk to them while they formulate their local plans. They have time to do this as they’re not standing a candidate this time. (Not too long though Sarah, time is short for all of us in the current climate.)

    I’d be worried, and a little suspicious, if they already had some five year plan or whatnot, without any input from the people of Rotherham – let’s leave that to the mainstream parties. I’m reassured that this is not the case, and I’m glad that anyone out there can let them know what they think should be the priorities for a new party in Rotherham.

    Even though my preference is for independent candidates, maybe this is our chance to tell a political party what we want, not demand what they’re going to do for us. As Rotherham Respect grows, I’m sure people (me included) will find things to disagree with. When the balance shifts from mostly agree to mostly disagree, then we can say ‘thanks, but no thanks Rotherham Respect’. Until then, I’m grateful to Sarah and her merry band for at least asking, and more importantly… appearing to mean it.

    And let me be clear, this isn’t an endorsement for the Respect Party, but it is an endorsement of some individuals who struck me as sincere and genuine in their desire for a better Rotherham.

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    • ” …it is an endorsement of some individuals who struck me as sincere and genuine in their desire for a better Rotherham.”
      and the more there are of those the better!

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      • Thank you for your comments everyone. Maltbyblogger, I don’t understand what it is that I have said that doesn’t make sense to you but thanks for the feedback

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  14. You do not have a democaratic agenda. Your agenda is based purlely on religion. Your agenda is based purely on Islam. This is a democratic country. Our agenda is based purely on democracy. If your are not purely democratic, you are the enemy.

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