Talking of Scottish Independence - and to my disgruntlement we who live up here are not going to talk about much else until well after the referendum - there is a new campaigner for the Yes vote, though she is old in her many appearances on Harry's Place.
I am talking about Yvonne Ridley, who has been living north of the border for some time.
She now calls for Scottish independence on the Islamist site 5pillarz.
She states her reasons for coming northwards:-
The truth is I’d had a gutful of Westminster politics, the futility of chasing what was described as the “Muslim block vote” and the sectarianism it often brought.
A brief foray into the duplicitous, back-stabbing world of patriachal East London politics last year reinforced that view and prompted me to quit English politics for good.
Just a hint of a different political landscape where the people could actually break free from the predictability of London rule was enough of a lure for me to want to quit my Soho pad for a new home north of the Borders.
Yvonne Ridley sick of sectarian politics! That's like a vampire getting sick of human blood.
The last time I heard about her she was representing the "Muslim community" speaking in favour of gender segregation.
Now she has joined the independence bandwagon and is wooing a prospective 2% Scottish Muslim vote.
Next month I will be taking part in a debate on independence aimed mainly at young Muslims, which will include a mock referendum vote, at the University of Strathclyde.
Presumably the meeting will be gender segregated.
The event on March 9 is being organised by the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS), with the panel of speakers including Scottish Labour deputy leader Anas Sarwar and the SNP’s external affairs minister Humza Yousaf. Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, an advisory board member for Yes Scotland and a representative for the group Scots Asians For Yes reckons the independence vote will help engage women – particularly older members of the community – in politics.
“What we term as ‘Aunty-jis’ are engaging in the referendum, they are interested in what it means for them, their families and their future and they think it matters,” she said. “We are now third, fourth-generation Asian – we don’t consider ourselves Asians living in Scotland, we consider ourselves Scottish Asians,” she told The Scottish Herald newspaper recently.
Alex Salmond has been chasing the Asian vote via the glamorous Humza Yousaf Tasmina (OBE) for some time. Her career has gone from Labour, the Conservatives to the SNP and she is also a founder of the Scottish Asian Woman's Association (SAWA). Key supporters - Alex Salmond and Iqbal Sacranie, book-burner in chief. Doesn't putting Ibqal Sacranie on your front page put off other Asians like Hindus or Sikhs or atheists? It certainly spoils its credibility for me.
Alex Salmand and Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh at the SAWA launch
SAWA was launched at Stirling Castle, and the Scottish tax payers picked up the bill. (Read the whole story here). Later Alex Salmond hosted an awards ceremony for SAWA, and the awards winners "were as SNP-heavy as the SAWA launch. It was made pretty clear to any non-SNP guests they were asked along as political cover. The amount of saltire-waving would have made the average nationalist cringe.”
From my brief googling Yousaf-Tasmina gives the impression of being an energetic go-getter and an opportunist, no worse than other politicians and more stylish than most. Has anyone further information about her?
But Ridley has supported hideous politics in her time and shouldn't be touched by the Yesses and SNP with a pair of tongs.