Socialist Worker

A moral victory for Salma Yaqoob in Birmingham

Issue No. 1950a

Working for Salma (Pic: Adam Yosef)

Working for Salma (Pic: Adam Yosef)

Salma took second place with a total of 10,498 votes, some 27.5 percent. Godsiff came first with 13,787.

Salma described her vote as a “moral victory”, adding, “People no longer have to vote for the ‘least worst’ party. Today we have made history and it is now time for change — time for Respect.

“This is a fantastic and unexpected breakthrough. Labour has been complacent about its vote for so long in this area.

“For Respect to come from nowhere and get this result is amazing. With this result we’ve built a good foundation for Respect.

“There were three other Muslim candidates in this constituency. My result shows that there is no such thing as a Muslim block vote — every vote cast for me was a positive vote for Respect.

“We hope to carry on campaigning over the issues we fought for before the election — in particular getting people to the G8 protests in Edinburgh in July.”

‘Anti-war, pro-public services’

Adam Yosef , a leading Birmingham Respect activist, describes the atmosphere around Salma’s campaign.

When the vote was announced several Lib Dems said they couldn’t believe how well we’d done. We managed to do something in a few months that ought to have taken decades.

Everyone is talking about Salma and her campaign and Roger Godsiff is panicking now — when you take 10,000 votes off someone, that’s a big thing.

The war was a feature of our whole campaign, but it wasn’t the only thing. What really summed is up was the final postcard we put out.

It showed a picture of Salma and Godsiff having a boxing match. In Salma’s corner it said “anti-war, pro-public services”. In Godsiff’s it said “pro-war, pro-privatisation”.

The closure of the Longbridge MG Rover plant hasn’t been as big an issue in this constituency as it has been in other areas of Birmingham.

Nevertheless, Salma went down to meet Longbridge workers who were holding a rally on election day. She was the only candidate to show her face there.

We sent a couple of people to every polling station in the constituency. People wanted to go back out after they finished their shift because the response was so good.

We had a cavalcade with a message to voters broadcast in five different languages. We had the biggest presence in the constituency.

We are now trying to identify which wards are strongest for us in preparation for the council elections next year.

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Article information

Sat 7 May 2005, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1950a
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