By Thomas Foster
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2911

‘The two party system is broken’—Birmingham independent candidate speaks out

Kamel Hawwash is also standing on a platform of nationalisation of public services and a wealth tax
Issue 2911
Kamal Hawwash at a Palestine protest

Kamel Hawwash (centre in scarf), marching for Palestine

“The two-party system is broken. In parliament, I want to be a real voice for ordinary people,” says Kamel Hawwash, who is running to be an independent MP for Birmingham Selly Oak. 

He’s standing for Palestine and opposes Labour’s and the Tories “business as usual” politics.

Kamel spoke about how he broke from Labour. “I was a member of Labour until October last year. When Keir Starmer agreed that Israel had the right to cut off water and electricity from the Palestinians—I resigned,” he said.

“I’m of Palestinian heritage—my parents were born in Jerusalem. I couldn’t stay in a party whose leader supported war crimes.” The current Labour MP, Steve McCabe—who chairs Labour Friends of Israel—announced he wasn’t standing for re-election in May.

Instead, Labour has “parachuted in an army colonel with absolutely no connection with the area”. “His CV is winning an award for bravery in Afghanistan. Depending on your starting point, people will interpret that differently.”

Speaking about the impact of Israel’s genocide in Gaza, Kamel said, “Gaza triggered in people’s mind the detachment of the political class from the people.

“People think what Israel is doing is atrocious but at the same time they look at their politicians and find that they’re standing with Israel, which is the occupier,” he said.

People are recognising that “politicians aren’t listening, even on issues to do with the cost of living crisis and the NHS”.

Kamel argued the Palestine protests were leading to a wider shift in perspective, saying, “It will be remembered that what triggered people to think about a change in political system was Gaza.

“People then look at how the government is dealing with refugees. There’s no celebration of the contributions that migrants have made.

“If migrants weren’t here, the NHS would be poorer, and we would be worse off.” And Kamel slammed the failures of both Labour and the Tories over many decades. “What happens is you have ten years or so of the Tories, then ten years of Labour, then ten years of Tories, then ten years of Labour. Neither party has delivered.”

And he pointed out that “the 20 point lead that Labour has over the Tories isn’t because of Labour’s policies, but because of how poor the Tories are—they are disintegrating as we watch”.

He reported that many people on the doorsteps say, “We’re not voting Tory, we can’t vote Labour so we’re not going to vote. No—go and vote for an alternative. And if there’s a good independent candidate, question them and quiz them.

“If I win, I will hold the Labour government accountable on behalf of my constituents”.

“The most needy in our society are being denied basic services,” he said.Whether it’s the closure of libraries or day centres, or the mistreating of children with special educational needs.”

Kamel argued that this must stop. A first step is to “nationalise water and railway companies, introduce a wealth tax and end tuition fees that are burdening students with debt”.

“The two-party system is broken. People used to go into the booth and just put an ‘X’ against the logo of the party, sometimes not even knowing anything about the potential MP.

“It’s time for a change—electing an independent MP is a start.” Left alternatives that fight for Palestine and stand up for all oppressed people are popping up across Britain—activists should get stuck in.

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