Politicians in the Wrong Parties: A Tale of Keith Vaz and His Friends in Leicester

We live in strange times where politicians often seem to be members of the wrong political party. In Leicester East we have the so-called Labour MP Keith Vaz, whose ongoing parliamentary career continues to both defy logic and all who want to support Jeremy Corbyn’s principled leadership of the Labour Party.

As if spending the last quarter of a century voting in support of each and every imperialist war was not enough, Keith Vaz’s anti-socialist, anti-working-class brand of personal opportunism were further clarified last month when he took an unhelpful and apolitical approach to resolving a religious planning controversy in Leicester when he chaired a massive public meeting of 388 people (for more on this, see “Planning development controversies in Leicester and the socialist alternative”).

Vaz subsequently sent a letter to select members of the public noting: “This was the largest Public Meeting that I have attended in the last 10 years.” Yet for a politician so committed to self-promotion, it is intriguing that Vaz has not yet boasted about his central involvement in this affair on his parliamentary web site.

Now to top it all off Vaz is now so ill that the investigation into his cocaine/rent boy scandal has been put on hold; this occurring shortly after Vaz’s controversial and arguably undemocratic ‘re-election’ to the Labour Party’s National Executive Committee (see “#BAME Labour NEC member Vaz ‘elected unlawfully’”).

But while Vaz is one who generally prefers to avoid the spot-light when he sticks the knife in the back of principled socialists, Leicester’s other local celebrity, Liz Kendall, has no such reservations. So this week Kendall defied Corbyn (and the democratic results of the EU referendum) by joining 62 other Blairite rebels in casting her vote in Parliament to try to keep the UK in the single market and customs union after Brexit.

Yet it is not just Labour MPs who have found themselves stranded in the wrong political organizations of late, it is happening to Tories too. Thus last week Kishan Devani, the Tories former parliamentary candidate (who stood against Vaz in 2015), decided to trade in his blue tie for a yellow one, all the better so he too could oppose Brexit.

Kishan Devani tie change

Writing about his change of tie, Devani points out: “Politics surely should be about policies and not personal attacks – what a shame it hasn’t remained that way?” (Asian Voice, December 19, 2017)

But surely that is exactly what the Tories have always stood for, denigrating and attacking the working-class?

Anyway, unjustified personal attacks were exactly the substance of Devani’s previous parliamentary campaign. Devani even had the gall to distribute a leaflet which pretended that, owing to the fact that Tory cuts to local services were being carried out by Leicester’s Labour Council, then we should therefore believe that these Tory cuts were entirely the fault of the Labour Party, not the fault of the Lib-Dem Tory coalition which had slashed funding for local authorities.

In his unambiguously titled leaflet “Unnecessary tax rises, unnecessary cuts” — Devani even stated that Leicester City Council was actually better-off financially than before the Tories came to power?! “This is politically-motivated lunacy,” Devani stated.

This is the same Devani who last week justified his political ‘conversion’ by stating, “conscience comes before one’s own ambitions and equality, tolerance & justice are far more important than one’s own career path.” That is right, and is true for principled socialists like Jeremy Corbyn, but probably not very true in Devani’s case.

Kishan Devani 2015 election leaflet

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