A very intelligent young woman, she contributed regular columns in Awaz newspaper promoting the advantages of staying together through Muslim Friends of Labour of which she is the General Secretary, or at least she was until yesterday, as many of you will have come to know through the Sunday Herald, when Anum wisely decided to walk over to the Yes camp leaving behind Labour’s the lack of vision over the subject of independence; a frustration she could no longer tolerate.
I know Anum’s father well who is a successful businessman and a close friend of Anas Sarwar’s father. A law graduate who worked as an interim for Anas’s constituency office, Anum, I am very sure, was well placed for a very bright future and a career as a labour politician; she had a lot going for her.
But she sacrificed all that because she could no longer fight her conscious. She changed her mind.
It was her growing dissatisfaction at Labour’s continuing failure and lack of willingness to return to its core values of social justice and equality, the very principles upon which it was formed.
Indeed, no one can disagree with her.
New Labour abandoned its mission statement as soon as Tony Blair in his slick city attire grabbed the reigns, taking the country into two illegal wars and one of the biggest financial crisis this country has witnessed. A party created for the working man yet it failed to tackle poverty that today it is our misfortunate to witness hand-outs and food banks at our very own door step as more and more families, including children, go to sleep hungry.
Labour has traded its core values for securing more power in Westminster.
In fact Anum describes as “toxic” the direction in which the UK Labour Party is dragging its Scottish counterpart in.
However, there is one particular thing she has said which is very crucial and at the heart of her realisation to exercise her right to change her mind. It is her desire to revive “the very soul” of the Labour Party by removing it from the UK Labour Party.
Herein lies the very significant need for consideration and contemplation for every Scottish Labour member to ponder over.
If they wish for Scottish Labour to be an independent party working for the Scottish people then they must contemplate its future and start shaping its own unique destiny based on a Scottish identity and the ideals and wishes of the people of Scotland.
Scottish Labour members must also like Anum Qaisar make the bold and courageous decision to think of Scotland, their country, and its future. They have to realise the survival of their party and its future or lack of cannot be separated from the question of Independence. It is time for them to think beyond what they can do for Westminster and instead rather what they should be doing for Scotland.
I know many labour voters who will be voting yes in the referendum without severing their affiliation with the party. I also know of some labour members who in public have to sell the party line but in private they say they will be voting yes!
Mr Obama’s thought that a United UK would serve America’s interests better makes one wonder-perhaps he doesn’t realise we are trying to serve our own interests better, as the First Minster brilliantly said the US can have two good allies after independence.
I would ask everyone to welcome Anum and hope others like her will change their minds too whether openly or secretly, as long as they vote Yes, and we look forward to welcoming them too.
Devolution is not the answer for Scotland, INDEPENDENCE IS!!
Councillor Shabbar Jaffri (Pollok)