Poster disaster: The Labour party has won the Batley and Spen by-election it so badly needed to. But an election poster circulated by the Labour candidate in the Batley and Spen by-election has sent shockwaves among Indians across Britain, particularly among those who still support Labour. The Labour candidate Kim Leadbeater circulated a poster carrying a picture of the prime ministers of the two countries shaking hands, with the warning, “Don’t risk a Tory MP who is not on your side". The poster was clearly aimed at the sizeable Pakistani community in the constituency.
Vaccine armour keeping Covid at bay: On the face of it the rapid jump in Covid cases reported on Thursday should be alarming: the number of new daily cases reported jumped above 28,000, about twice of what it was just about a week back. But the overnight number of admission to hospitals rose only slightly over this period, and far below the graph for the number of reported vaccinations. This would suggest that the viral infection is not particularly dangerous among the unvaccinated young, or vaccinated adults. This is one of the clearest indications yet, for Britain and the world, that the vaccines are working, and that most people getting the virus are not getting it badly.
Conversion issue takes parliament centre stage: Six MPs have sponsored an Early Day Motion in the British Parliament against forced conversions in Pakistan. They include Bob Blackman from the Conservative Party and others from the Scottish National Party and the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland. But not a single Labour MP yet. The motion reads: “That this House notes with grave concern reports from Pakistan that Kavita Kumari, a 13 year-old Hindu girl was abducted at gunpoint from her home in Kandhkot, Sindh, and is further appalled that, despite her school certificate showing her to be 13-years-old, she was converted to Islam in a triumphant public ceremony by Mian Mithoo, the custodian of a Muslim shrine, Barchundi Sharif; and calls on the UK government to do everything in its power to help Kavita and all of the estimated 1,000 Pakistani Christian and Hindu girls who are kidnapped, forced to convert and marry their abductor every year.”
Hotel horror: Far from being reassured and protected by security staff, recent incidents have people, women particularly, worried about their security. A number of women who have been in quarantine upon arrival in the UK have reported that the security staff at the hotels have threatened and sexually harassed them. In a related incident, a hotel night porter, Zeshan Akhtar, has been arrested for walking into a woman’s room, pinning her hands above her head, and biting her on the neck. He was caught at Heathrow airport trying to flee.
India faces uphill task against buoyant England: The ferocity with which England’s bowlers ran through the Sri Lanka batting and then the ease with which they cruised to a win, yet again, looks worrying for India. Sam Curran looked lethal in reducing Sri Lanka to 12 for 3 at one stage. Sri Lanka has lost every match against England and doesn’t look close to winning one. England is trying out new players and finding more and more. Meanwhile, the Indian team rests in a hotel, and will continue to do so for all of this month before emerging to take on England in August.