post-Gallowatch: I received a letter from my new MP yesterday. Or at least I received a letter from the woman who'd like to be my new MP. I know I'm going to get a new MP at some point in the next 2½ years because my current MP George Galloway is buggering off to stand in the constituency over the road. His headlong escape allows a free-for-all to fill the void left by his gaping personality. And, who knows, we might even get an MP who spends more time representing us in Parliament than spouting off on talk radio.
My letter was from the prospective Labour Party candidate for Bethnal Green and Bow, the not-yet Right Honourable Rushanara Ali. It was very nice of her to write and introduce herself, although a bit slow given that she was selected nine months ago and I'd never heard of her before. If elected, Rushanara would become Britain's first ever Asian woman MP*. Possibly joint first, depending on how other selection decisions and elections go elsewhere, but Ms Ali might soon be the one to end this desperately poor national record. *Bethnal Green elected its first Asian male MP in the 19th century
Rushanara uses her letter to introduce herself to her electorate. She tells us how very local she is and about the core values of an East End upbringing. She tells us how proud she is of Labour's record, although she's quick to distance herself from the war in Iraq (because that's how previous candidate Oona King lost support). She rather pointedly promises to stand up for the local community rather louder than our current MP (which shouldn't be difficult). And finally she promises to campaign for local jobs, local housing, local education and local old people (I suspect because Labour Party HQ asks all its prospective candidates to mention this particular list).
At the bottom of the letter is an invite to visit Rushanara's website, which goes by the utterly unmemorable URL of www.RushanaraAli4BethnalGreenandBow.org. You're lucky, you only have to click on my link to view the site, whereas I had to correctly type 39 separate characters (including two consecutive As) which I suspect will be beyond the ability/effort of most of my fellow constituents. And what do you know, her official campaign website is rubbish. A mere four press releases lined up one below the other, with the most recent wishing local residents a happy religious festival that ended four months ago. So thin and slapdash is her site that anyone would think we were expecting a snap election last October. Must try harder, Rushanara.