Batley and Spen: What really happened? | Chang Jiang

I am writing this article, several weeks after the fact so I can look at everything holistically. For context, I initially felt the need to write this during the by-election after a conversation (which will be discussed in the following sections) with a group of Labour Activists in Batley.

It has been my opinion that lots of things happened during the By-Election, which have not been discussed openly by either ‘right’ or ‘left’ wing commentators, before, during and after the election. It is because of this; I hope to present an image that is away from mainstream sources and give a true image of what was happening on the ground. I intend to do this through several sections outlining what happened and stuff that was missed regarding candidates. Although, this does aim to present a more appropriate picture of what was happening, rather than a chronically document or reference point for such an historical event. 

Ryan Stephenson

Mr Stephenson is the personification of everything physically wrong with the Conservatives on a local level. This man should never have even been a candidate or even selected, Mr Stephenson lives in Selby (That’s North Yorkshire and not even West Yorkshire), is a Leeds Councillor in Harwood (If Leeds Council was the USA, then Harwood is Barrow, Alaska) and was brought in to represent Batley and Spen (which is not even in the Leeds area but instead is in Kirklees). Why was this man even selected to represent this seat, when he had no clear connection to the actual area? 

This was somebody that ran perhaps one of the worst election campaigns I have ever seen. The first time most people had even seen Mr Stephenson was the count, it was the first time I had ever seen him. There were journalists at the count, who did not even recognise when he entered the building. This man was meant to be the favourite and people did not even recognise him, at the count for which he turned up two minutes before and silently left before any journalists could even speak to him. Stephenson ran what I would like to say was a ‘Submarine Campaign’, this being an election campaign that tries not to break the surface and remain hidden as much as possible. With Galloway and Ledbetter getting in a quagmire at every turn and on every issue, Stephenson was meant to just silently cruise across the line. 

Why was Stephenson selected, I would assume a combination of entitlement, elitism, and careerism, which makes up the majority of the Conservatives in Yorkshire. I will remain astonished that not a single person could be found in all of Kirklees to stand in the election for that Election. This was best shown when he did not turn up to community meetings, he did not turn up to debates if they were organised by/ for South Asians. He did not show a present in the community and because of this he deserved to lose. During the count, Harrogate and Knaresborough MP, Andrew Jones was at the count and was as rude as could be and when the initial results were announced had what I could only describe was a mild temper tantrum. 

I will leave it for the reader to deduce what they want to make of this but, I feel that it would be a fantastic image of the types of individuals that make up the elected parts of the modern Conservative party, in this part of the country. 

George Galloway

Galloway cannot be trusted whatsoever. This is more than narcissism in his campaigning, and I am not sure Galloway believes in anything substantial. He will deny it, but he really wanted Stephenson to win and to win big. Galloway was serious about winning but his victory would have been the Conservatives winning. Galloway whipped up every fear and anxiety that he could for the election, regarding the South Asian community. Palestine, Transgender, Kashmir and Sex Education in schools.  

Perhaps my favourite conversation of the campaign on the night of results was with Mr Galloway’s campaign manager, who opened my eyes about how certain people do things. Galloway had zero interest in the winning of the election, this man hates, and I mean hates Keir Starmer. 

I cannot comment too much on Galloway and his campaign because it already has been so well documented, but much more articulate men than myself. Overall, too many dodgy things were happening between Galloway and Ledbetter’s campaign teams to fully explain and document accurately. It was an open secret that both sides were doing everything in their powers to harm each other’s campaigns and I would not be surprised if a few court battles happen in the future of such matters. 

Kim Leadbeater

My second time in Heckmondwike I spoke to a family member of a local Labour councillor who had admitted that the party had rigged it so that Leadbeater was the only local candidate on the list. Besides that, there was a candidate from London and another from Sheffield that had been shortlisted, over local councillors. Make no mistake about this, Labour is a complete disaster of a party it would seem, the stories of local Asians being unhappy with Kim due to her own private life and Starmer having Jewish kids symbolise this well.

My criticisms are not against Miss Leadbeater, whom I do believe truly cares about the area and appreciates what it all means. However, it had been increasingly obvious that she and other members had not been fully committed to the idea of her becoming the local MP. This was more about narrative building and virtue signalling. Watching Kim Leadbeater walk around with a police escort while campaigning, might have been one of the saddest sights of the campaign. I would find out later from a labour activist that people on the campaign were worried that someone might walk up to a candidate and “stick a knife in their chest”.

I met with a bunch of Labour ‘canvassers’ in Batley that thought they did not need to campaign in certain parts of Batley, because “we have already got 80% of ‘these peoples’ votes, so no need to knock on doors”. They might well have said ‘we own the South Asians’. This tone and attitude were partly my reasoning for reaching out and seeking to write about these things. Labour and its membership have a real attitude problem, they act and grift off the problems of minorities and even hold them onto a monolithic mindset. 

I have a friend who lives in Huddersfield during 2019, Labour canvassers (University students from Leeds if I remember correctly) had knocked on his door. My friend told them that he considered Brexit to be the most important issue facing himself and the lack of decent infrastructure (trains and roads are truly terrible). The students told my friend that they wanted the country to prioritise minority rights and safe spaces for transgender people.  Unsurprisingly, Labour’s vote share went down.

I remembered that story before the result was announced and wondered if Labour had followed such trends. I guess they just about got away with it this time. Race, Religion and other uncontroversial things.

The first door I knocked on in the Spen Valley (I am not going to name the town, but it was not Batley), I had perhaps one of the saddest conversations I could ever have, when I spoke to a middle-aged couple, who confided in my and a person I was with several things. Firstly, that on the street directly outside they live was a common place for drug dealing by local South Asian men and secondly, that they had overheard such men discuss topics relating to Child Abuse within the surrounding areas (they had specifically said was Huddersfield). The reason they brought these two things up, was because they told me that they had reported both things to the local police in the area and to the Kirklees Council. They told me that nothing was heard back from either the police or the council. This was until earlier this year, when a group of young South Asian men were dealing drugs at night in front of their home, they decided to call the police again but this time they did not mention the description of the young men. The police turned up.

The message the couple were implying was that the first two things they had complained about, to the council and police they had mentioned descriptions (ethnicity-wise that is) of the young men but the time they didn’t, the police turned up. I do not know what message people want to take from this, regarding the local council and police but I suspect this is more common than one might imagine, and they were not surprised by this at all. 

The truth of the matter is that, for some individuals within the constituency hold the view that these things do not matter because they have become normalised. While many individuals champion the desire and need for a multicultural Britain, a true feeling on the ground was very different. I am not a conspiracy theorist nor a proponent of such thinking, however I was truly shocked to find several individuals outlining what I could only describe as being as ‘the Great Replacement Theory’. If this is being silently spoken about, I truly wonder how many are thinking these things behind closed doors, this has been something that multiple people have talked about during the election but was never spoken about (Those that spoke about it, were not skinheads nor elderly people but rather truly ordinary people). 

Bradley Gedhill 

I will make a solid bet with any reader that the name Bradley Gedhill means nothing to you, do not worry it means nothing to the people running any election campaigns either. Google him, because he mattered and what happened to him matters. 

Racially campaigning by the Labour Party

During the campaign Labour completely and immorally used race for its own benefit. In white areas of the consistency, they did not mention any racial issues and changed the colours to being purple and not red, focusing on Kim and nor Keir. In the Asians areas, they targeted Palestine and Galloway. I will not get into the Modi stuff, but I have a strong feeling that British Indian Hindu voters will remember that for a very long time. 

Cough Cough Leicester Cough

Palestine and LGBT issues

The Labour Party are truly screwed, the ‘unholy confederacy’ was a term I overheard from someone, and I think summed it up well. The idea that you can hold lots of differing groups together, with different ideas of what is good and acceptable becomes a joke eventually. A tightrope that becomes only tighter and tighter. 

The Media

Why didn’t the Media ask these questions?

1st. Bradley Gredhill, who was he and why does he matter?

2nd Why did not a single major party come out and support the Batley Grammar School teacher?

3rd Labour’s unholy alliance between several groups that do not respect or like each other. 

4th Why the hell do the media and pundits think that Asians are the same and lack individual agency?

During the count, above were the journalists and they were the most rude and dishonest people I have ever overheard. At one point Sky News were verbally harassing George Galloway and his Wife, during the announcement of the results.

What is 300 votes amongst friends?

I have never been more embarrassed watching a by-election result. Labour activists at the count were acting like they had just won the lottery and speaking to each other as if they had just pulled off the heist of the century. In 2017, they held the seat with nearly 9000 votes and now they hold it with just over 300. In four years, this had happened, and they were celebrating if this had been the greatest story ever told. 

Seriously, people were talking as if this was Keir Starmer’s golden era starting. 


Nobody thought Kim would win, I did not think, nobody in the counting hall thought that and even when I chatted with the key Labour campaigners even hugged me when the results were initially announced to their own surprise. People often get caught up into thinking one thing, especially when there are groups believing it. For all his deficiencies many did think Stephenson was going to win, Galloway was going to split the Asian Vote and Ledbetter was living on the coattails of her dead sister. 

Labour is a complete disaster on the doorstep, and they are most likely not going to win the next election. The only person on that ticket that deserved to win did not even run. His name was Ryan O’Halloran, if the Conservatives wanted to be actual Conservatives, then they would have put O’Halloran in. From all the figures I have met, the only one with a decent handshake was David Kurten of the Heritage Party, everyone was a complete lettuce. 

If Batley and Spen is an indicator of the future of the UK’s politics, then I will move abroad ASAP. To be brutally honest, in hindsight it is obvious and very sad but I fear that Batley and Spen-like elections will become the norm. 

Photo Credit.

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