Batley and Spen is a small, seemingly insignificant old mill town in the British Midlands. Its drabness and decay are depressing in their ordinariness, but behind these old tenement houses — where outside toilets have been clumsily reattached — is a seething rage no one is prepared to talk about. It’s the reason I have spent time there in the past, to try and force this conversation into the open.
And right now, these awkward truths are glaring the country in the face.
Batley and Spen’s Member of Parliament (similar to a US Congressman) recently stood down, so a by-election was recently held on Thursday, June 30 to find a replacement. That’s the dull mechanics of the thing. The reality is that this tiny town is a glimpse into the political future of Britain (and, by extension, America) — and it is anything but pretty. It has earned the title: the most divisive by-election in British political history.
Muslim voters are SUPPOSED to vote Labor in the same way black America is SUPPOSED to vote Democrat. But here in this place, religious Muslims oppose Labor’s support for LGBT. This is not politics based on policies. This is politics based on one faith group pitting its grievances against all faith groups. And it’s a faith group that refuses to accept tolerance of LGBT or of Israel. It is a voting block that wants LGBT teaching removed from schools, and wants to express its commitment to “free Palestine” at the polling stations of this tiny Midlands town.
Batley and Spen has made headlines more often than most small towns set miles away from the capital. It drew national attention in 2015 when its MP, Jo Cox, was murdered on the streets in the run up to Brexit, allegedly by an “anti-Muslim white supremacist” — or, in other words, a man with a history of severe mental illness. Cox’s sister, Kim Leadbeater, was put in as the Labor candidate and for perceived righteous reasons, should have been the frontrunner for a win. But this town is not so easily swayed by the emotions of mere mortals. Muhammad matters more.
Perhaps you saw the headlines about a British teacher suspended for showing his Religious Education class a picture of the prophet Muhammad? That, too, happened in this tiny town. A Muslim mob gathered at the gates of the school demanding that he be killed for blasphemy.
This poor man remains in hiding with his family, in fear for his life. I have been supporting the schoolchildren championing his return and I can tell you firsthand, this former teacher will never again be a free man in the UK. He will spend the rest of his life looking over his shoulder.
A well-known rabble rouser, George Galloway, also stood in this election to capitalize on the anger of the Muslim mob. I loathe the ease with which the term “dog-whistle politics” is bandied about, but Mr. Galloway whistled harder than a shepherd with a deaf dog. By splitting the vote on the Left he hoped to destroy Labor’s easy run here.
He spoon-fed the angry Muslims with everything they wanted to hear, ratcheting up their fury, and vilifying opponents. “I believe in the judgement day that all of you do,” he told predominantly Muslim voters in 2012.
“I just say this… how will you explain on the last day that… you voted because of village politics for a party that killed a million Iraqis, that killed a hundred thousand Afghans, which has supported Israel killing uncountable numbers of Palestinians. How are you going to explain that one?”
Tensions between supporters of Galloway’s Workers Party and Labor brought ugly scenes out onto the streets. Labor’s Kim Leadbeater was shouted at in the street by one group of Muslim men, known to me through my work: “Are you going to support Muslim parents who don’t want their children to learn about LGBT domination?”
I spent time with some of these men to better understand their views. (It is confusing to the Left that a supposed “Islamophobe” like me has taken time to listen respectfully to the opinions of those who do not want to see the LGBT agenda forced down the necks of children in class.) I support them on this matter.
Another group of Labor activists was pelted with eggs, and then attacked.
“I was terrified, to be honest,” one campaigner said. “They reached in their bags to grab eggs but I was terrified they were going to pull out a knife. I’m scared to go out campaigning.”
It has been brutal.
Despite agitating the Muslim mob to the point of violence, Galloway failed in his efforts to push Labor into third place, and courtesy of a massive effort by Jewish Labor groups in the area, Labor won by just 323 votes.
All the while, no one will speak the plain truth: the future of political power in the UK sits with the Muslim majority — who will tolerate neither LGBT rights nor Jewish communities. The Left will have to choose.
Jewish families have been intimidated into hiding by rowdy pro-Palestinian groups descending on other towns and cities across the UK. One mother messaged me frantically, hearing the mob in the street shouting for the rape of her daughters. She does not have the luxury of pretending this is not happening in the UK.
Batley and Spen must begin to force this conversation, a conversation I have been trying to have heard for well over a decade. Britain is no longer voting by party, but by deeply-held religious beliefs, and with The Squad gaining ground, it is not hard to see this repeating itself in America.
An insignificant by-election in a tiny town in the UK has become a glimpse into the future of political power in Britain — and America. It sits with the Muslim majority and it is truly dark for the LGBT and Jewish communities.