Welcome To Zelo Street!

This is a blog of liberal stance and independent mind

Thursday 21 April 2016

Simon Danczuk’s BNP Freebie

Rochdale’s nominally Labour MP has on many occasions spoken at events organised by the town’s Bangladeshi community. He clearly values their support. He has also visited the country, his latest trip being last month, for five days. That trip has now been logged on the Register of Members’ Interests, so we can see who paid, and what they paid. The identity of those paying may be familiar to Zelo Street regulars.
As the Guardian told at the time, Danczuk “addressed tens of thousands of supporters of the opposition Bangladesh National party – telling them that since taking power, the current government had created a ‘culture of fear’ with a ‘break down in human rights ... and political opponents disappearing’”. He then concluded “Sanctions should be applied if there is not a return to true democracy”, thus angering the country’s Government.
What may also not have pleased the Bangladeshi authorities is that the Bangladesh National Party (BNP) paid for the MP to fly out there - to the tune of £3,103. Yes, Simon Danczuk was paid by the BNP to go and shill for them at their conference. He also told the gathering “Let me start by saying Tarique Rahman is very well and in very good spirits. I met with him recently and there is no doubt he is looking forward to returning shortly”.
Who he? Well, Tarique Rahman, aka Tarique Zia, is the son of BNP leader Khaleda Zia, and one of the cables released by Wikileaks told that he “has a reputation as a corrupt thug”. Rahman is believed to have assisted Danczuk in setting up a meeting with members of the Bangladeshi community at the Bangladesh Association and Community Partnership in Rochdale prior to the 2015 General Election.
That meeting, held with a BNP flag as a backdrop, was a segregated males-only affair. And the BNP is a right-leaning party with some less than reassuring associations: it has been accused of allying itself with fundamentalist Islamic parties. It gets worse: There is an Interpol “red corner” notice out for Tarique Rahman, described as “accused in the Aug 21, 2004 grenade attack on an Awami League rally in Dhaka”. The notice tells “He is under the charge of murder and explosion of hand grenade in the Awami League meeting”. And Simon Danczuk has done a video interview for him.
The BACP in Rochdale has, in recent times, been the subject of disputes and complaints relating to how it is run, but continues to secure council grants. Indeed, when the latest round of cuts imposed a whopping 23% grant cut on many community centres in Rochdale, BACP managed to get away with a lesser cut of 15%.

It would no doubt be wrong to conclude that BACP, which has been the means by which Simon Danczuk secured a significant number of votes last year, has been given favourable treatment of any kind. But the MP’s closeness to a political organisation which contains a number of less than totally savoury individuals cannot give his party any confidence in him.

Perhaps Danczuk would care to comment. I’m sure there’s a perfectly good explanation.

No comments: