Friday 20 September 2002

Shock rise in Tory support

Ashraf Anjum wants to be the first Asian member of the Scottish Parliament which has 129 MSPs. 73 of these are elected by the "first past the post" system and the other 56 get in by means of a "party list" proportional representation scheme. The candidate at the top of the Tory list in Glasgow stands a good chance of becoming an MSP. Lo and behold, 113 new members have joined the Tory party on the same day and:
Almost all the new recruits, which immediately sent the Tory party membership in the city up from 680 to 793, a rise of 16 per cent, were from Glasgow’s Asian community. Most were known to Mr Anjum, a former aide to the Glasgow Govan Labour MP, Mohammed Sarwar, and very few, if any, had shown any obvious interest in party politics before that time.
This hasn't gone down too well with some of Mr Anjum's colleagues:
The backlash against Mr Anjum has been so fierce that some Tory activists have even threatened to mobilise the party membership in an attempt to defeat him.
It seems as if Mr Anjum has broken no party rules and he is being supported by the Tory hierarchy. As the Scotsman editorial says:
But the problem does not lie with Mr Anjum. All he has done is recognise how the system works and use it to his best advantage.
Well, maybe so, but for the Tory leadership to upset its all too few rank and file party members is not good politics.