SHAFAQNA – The UK general election will take place on May 7 as polls indicate there are 33 seats which hang in the balance and could decide which party forms the next government. Meanwhile, research indicates that as many as 40 seats are likely to be influenced by “the Muslim vote”. Therefore, the Muslim minority could play a vital role in the election.
In the past, MP George Galloway benefited from the Muslim vote twice, propelling him into parliament against the odds.
The Muslim vote is complicated and Muslims traditionally do not vote in the same numbers as the general population, but a recent poll showed that Muslims mostly care about jobs, the National Health Service, education, racism, Islamophobia and foreign policy.
Moreover, recent research found Muslims are facing the worst job discrimination of any minority group in Britain. Muslim men are 76% less likely to get a job compared to their White Christian counterparts with similar qualifications, while Muslim women are 65% less likely.
Surveys also showed that 50% of Muslims identify with the Labour party, but only 40% voted for Labour in 2010 after a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan. So Labour is in danger of losing its Muslim voters.
To win the Muslim vote the main parties – which traditionally ignore Muslims outside election time – will pretend to care about the issues Muslims care about and show how their party addresses them.
So in the run-up to the election, Labour will intensify its engagement with an increasingly disenchanted Muslim electorate, while the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats will try to exploit that frustration.
Meanwhile, some Muslim groups will discourage fellow Muslims from voting full stop because they feel that they will not benefit from engaging with the system.
All in all, 2015 could be a pivotal year for British Muslims. They could either make their electoral weight be felt or not, thus determining whether they will be taken seriously or not in the next parliament.
Source : Press TV