Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Would you vote for this man?

George Galloway claims to represent the anti-war left but in fact many left-wingers who opposed the war want nothing to do with him.

The left-wing anti-war group Alliance for Workers Liberty have published an article on Galloway simply titled: Would you vote for this man?

The Alliance article questions, among other things, Galloway's claim to be a 'rebel' in the Labour Party:

In the 1997–2001 parliament Galloway rebelled against Blair in just five votes out of 665, 0.8%. (For comparison: Jeremy Corbyn rebelled 77 times, and John McDonnell 72.)

Galloway has only attended 19 parliamentary votes since April 2003. Too busy taking time out in his villa in Portugal, writing his autobiography, fixing up his next book (on Fidel Castro), or swanning around the Middle East? Maybe. But why should anyone want to vote for him to be an MP?

Note: Respect Watch depends on our readers to pass on to us articles like this from more obscure sources. Thanks are due to 'Sonic' - a commenter at the Harry's Place blog for his assistance in this case.

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Mainly we need to ensure that we are high up in the searches that voters will be carrying out on the web to get information about the election and RESPECT.

There is a way to do that and I am sure bloggers need know explanation but just in case.....

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And please encourage others opposed to Respect to do the same.

Just what has he been doing?

Galloway wants to represent the people of Bethnal Green and Bow in parliament and is promising to "fight for local people".

Luckily for voters we already know what kind of constituency MP Galloway is and thanks to They Work For You we can compare his record with that of sitting Labour MP Oona King.

So, lets start off with contributions to parliamentry debates.

Oona King spoke in 15 debates in the last year. George Galloway did not speak once.

Oona King asked 90 written questions in the last year. Galloway did not ask a single question in the last year. None.

Oona King has attended 64% of votes in parliament while George Galloway has attended, wait for it, a grand total of three percent.

We wonder if the people of Glasgow Kelvin have any clue why their MP missed 97% of votes in parliament and never managed to ask a question on their behalf?

Respect lies (part one)

Respect don't want voters to know the truth about their party. Respect also repeat lies and distortions in the hope that people will swallow their spin.

So Respect Watch will be providing a regularly updated guide to some of Respect's lies.

Today we start with the widely-repeated myth, repeated sadly in the press, that George Galloway was expelled from the Labour Party because of his "opposition to the war in Iraq".

It is simply not true.


Around 140 Labour MP's voted against the war. Only Galloway was expelled.

Thousands of Labour Party activists opposed the war in Iraq - only Galloway was expelled.

So Galloway was not expelled because he opposed the war.

The weblog Eric Unread provides a timely reminder of exactly why Galloway was expelled from the Labour Party:

Inciting Arabs to fight British troops.
Inciting British troops to defy orders.
Threatening to stand against Labour.
Backing an anti-war candidate (against his own party) in Preston.

It is also worth noting that there has been no campaign from all the other anti-war Labour MP's to have Galloway brought back into the party. They do not treat him as one of their own.

The truth is Galloway's rampant ego and his close links with Saddam's regime in Baghdad were an embarassment to most anti-war MP's and there were no tears when he was booted out of the Labour Party.

Nor did any of the other anti-war parties - the Green Party or the Liberal Democrats want anything to do with Galloway.

So why didn't Galloway do what many isolated MP's do and stand as an independent?

Quite simply he hadn't enough support in his own constituency in Glasgow to mount a credible campaign.

An independent, like Martin Bell, needs to have a circle of friends and supporters willing to help him out. Galloway didn't have that support.

So he attached himself to the Socialist Workers Party, who have plenty of activists but no well-known political figure to lead them.

It was a marriage of convenience. The SWP got the chance to have their first ever representative in parliament (even though they reject parliamentry democracy) while Galloway got the foot-soilders he needed to ensure he kept his tidy salary in Westminister.

Of course those naive SWP activists might wake up one day and realise they have been taken for a ride and that in fact, as always, Galloway's priority was nothing but himself.

SWP members are always being kidded by their leaders and led up the garden path.

But no-one else need be so gullible.

First result

The main aim of Respect Watch is to provide ordinary voters and campaigners against RESPECT with real information about the organisation but of course we are always pleased if newspapers and other media take our information and give it a wider audience.

The Scotsman appears to have done just today as they contacted Craig Murray to ask him whether he was now backed by RESPECT.

Respect woos whistleblower standing against Jack Straw


THE anti-war party Respect is hoping to woo a former ambassador-turned-whistleblower to stand as its candidate against Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary.

Edinburgh-born Craig Murray was recalled as ambassador to Uzbekistan after he highlighted concerns about human rights abuses under the regime.

He has now vowed to try to oust Mr Straw as an anti-war candidate in his Blackburn constituency, which has one of the largest Muslim populations in the country.

Last night, he said he was still standing as an independent candidate, but was "grateful" for the "support" of Respect, the party of rebel MP George Galloway.

Mr Murray told The Scotsman: "Respect have said they will back me because they support my stance on the war and my human rights work."

Given this development, we will now be including coverage of Craig Murray's activities in Blackburn as part of our monitoring work.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The strange case of the Sedgefield Stripper


GEORGE GALLOWAY has lent his support to a 60-year-old former Benny Hill girl who is standing against Prime Minister Tony Blair in his Sedgefield constituency.

Galloway's RESPECT party are not planning to stand a candidate in Sedgefield but were expected to back Reg Keys, the father of a soilder killed in Iraq, who appeared on a recent Stop the War platform.

But according to a report in the Express, Galloway has instead been advising seventies pin-up girl Cherri Gilham on how to run a campaign.

The Express reported:

Miss Gilham, 60, who is the only candidate being fielded by the Pensioners Party, has a spring in her step after being fully briefed by "Gorgeous" George Galloway - the energetic Glasgow Kelvin MP who was expelled from the Labour Party.

"I said to George, 'Teach me all you know about politics'. And he did!" twinkles Cherri, whose charms have previously excited the Marquess of Bath, Omar Sharif and - for one night only - Sylvester Stallone.

Cherri has even legally changed her surname to Blairout-Gilham.

Respect Watch suggests Galloway's allies in the Socialist Worker Party and the Muslim Association of Britain could hold a fundraising night by gathering round to watch her 1974 'classic' Confessions of a Sex Maniac.

She likes a man with a tan. Galloway's new ally Cherri Gilham pictured with LA crooner Buddy Greco.

Galloway Gaffe over 'Syrian' lunch

George Galloway is to hold a Respect fundraising dinner at a Lebanese restaurant in London but we have to wonder what kind of reception he will get from the Lebanese community after an embarassing and revealing gaffe.

The Al Waha restaurant in Notting Hill is rated as one of the top Lebanese restaurants in London and prides itself on serving traditional Lebanese dishes.

But the invite to Galloway's bash states: Enjoy a Syrian Sunday lunch.

Coming at a time when millions of Lebanese have been on the streets demanding Syria's occupying arming finally leave Lebanon, Galloway's gaffe is likely to infuriate voters of Lebanese origin in London.

Even those Lebanese who still support Syria's collapsing occupation of their country are unlikely to take kindly to having Lebanese culture simply described as 'Syrian'.

But such a gaffe is no surprise given that Galloway is a supporter of Syria's illegal occupation of Lebanon which flies in the face of UN resolutions.

Galloway recently said that he "cheered" a pro-Syrian demonstration in Beirut.

He said:

"I'm no friend of the Syrian regime, but Syrian troops in Lebanon maintain stability...."

We wonder how many of London's Lebanese community agree?

Welcome back!

After our successful campaigning during the European elections last year, when we helped to alert the public to the true nature of George Galloway's Coalition, we have decided to relaunch the site for the upcoming election.

As before we will focus on news and analysis bringing together reports on Respect activities from around the country.

To do that effectively we need your help.

If Respect are standing a candidate in your area, keep an eye on their publicity and the local press statements of their candidates and send them into us at our email. Also recommend this site to any family or friends who might be toying with the idea of voting for Respect. They can get the truth about Respect here without Galloway's spin.

We are an independent site with our only advice to voters being to DON'T VOTE RESPECT, VOTE FOR A DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE. So whatever your party affiliations, or even if you don't have any, feel free to help us campaign against Respect.

By the way George Galloway is appearing on BBC's Question Time on Thursday and Respect Watch plans to have supporters in the studio audience. Watch out for our questions!

Is Craig Murray following Straw?

Craig Murray, the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan who was removed after taking a stand against the human rights abuses in that country, is to stand against Foreign Secretary Jack Straw in Blackburn.

Murray's principled stand against torture and human rights abuses has made him a popular figure and there have been some who have compared his campaign in Blackburn to Martin Bell's famous and successful white-suited challenge to Tory Neil Hamilton.

But is Murray about to make the same kind of shameful compromise he rightly criticises Jack Straw for?

Straw and the British government turned a blind eye to human rights abuses in Uzbekistan because the country was an ally in the Afghan war. But is Murray about to turn a blind eye himself to supporters of terrorists and human rights abuses?

Leading RESPECT figures such as the pro-Saddam George Galloway, Lindsey German and John Rees are open in their support for armed Iraqi groups which they call a 'resistance'. These groups have been involved in a series of terrorist outrages in Iraq, beheadings, murders and suicide bombings against civilian targets. Their crimes against humanity dwarf even those of the Karimov regime in Uzbekistan.

“I don’t propose to lecture the Iraqi people on the methods they use, and neither should we," said RESPECT's John Rees when asked about a meeting he held last year in Beirut with leaders of the al-Sadr movement - accused of serious abuses of human rights, including murder and executions while they held control of the Iraqi city of Najaf.

According to RESPECT's website Murray, is now to appear with Rees and co at RESPECT's campaign launch on April 6 in London.

Is he about to become an official or de facto Respect candidate?

There is still time for Craig Murray to think again.

Does he really want his reputation as a honest opponent of human rights abuses to be tarnished by association with the apologists for horrendous crimes in Iraq?

Tariq Ali gives the game away

RESPECT were furious at a recent article written by leading anti-war activist Tariq Ali which said that a vote for their party was a wasted vote. The veteran radical suggested voting instead for the Liberal Democrats in most places.

Although Tariq Ali is still backing his pal George Galloway in Bethnal Green and Bow his call for a Lib Dem vote everywhere else has left Galloway in a tricky position. Everyone knows that of all the RESPECT candidates only George has a chance of actually winning a seat but it is not done to admit that in public.

So an embarassed Galloway rushed off a letter to the Guardian trying to put Tariq Ali right.

In fact Ali had given the game away. RESPECT will put all their energies into Galloway's campaign at the expense of almost all their other candidates.

It remains to be seen how other RESPECT candidates react to this development which adds to suspicions that they are being taken for a ride and that the election campaign is about little more than allowing Galloway to hang on to a seat in parliament.

After all, the great leader, says he can't operate on less than £150,000. What would happen to that holiday home in Portugal without his salary as an MP?

Who are RESPECT?

So you have had a leaflet from RESPECT The Unity Coalition put through your door and you've come on the internet to find out more about this group. Thankfully you have found our website where we tell you the truth, with no George Galloway spin.

So, just who are RESPECT?

You may have noticed RESPECT leafleting your area or campaigning in your town centre. If you ask them who they are they will always tell you that they are a 'new organisation' born from the 'anti-war movement' and that they represent a 'new left-wing alternative'.

In fact there is nothing new about RESPECT at all.

The organisation is controlled by the far-left Socialist Workers Party along with former Labour MP George Galloway and some Muslim supporters.

The Socialist Workers Party were not 'anti-war' or peace campaigners at all. Instead they supported Saddam and his secret police cronies in the war and they now support the anti-Shia Muslim terrorist groups who have been murdering Iraqi civilians and blowing up Mosques.

Here in Britain, the SWP are opposed to parliamentry democracy and in their party documents talk of replacing our democratic structures with a dictatorship - they would be the dictators of course.

George Galloway's admiration for Saddam is well-known and he has close links to other dictatorships and conservative regimes in the Middle East. He admits his political campaigns have been funded by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Although he might leave the impression that he has converted to Islam, Galloway is in fact a Roman Catholic. He also revels in a playboy reputation with his cigars, flash suits and holiday home in Portugal. He says he can't operate on less than £150,000 a year although plenty of people in Bethnal Green and Bow, who he wants to kid into voting for him, have to make do with a fraction of that.

He has been kicked out of the Labour Party and RESPECT was the way for him to try and keep his parliamentry income flowing.

Many of the Muslim supporters of RESPECT have come from the ranks of the Arab dominated Muslim Association of Britain. MAB is not a mainstream British Muslim group and is not to be confused with the Muslim Council of Great Britain. It is, in fact, the British wing of the fundamentalist Arab-based Muslim Brotherhood, which is banned in a number of Muslim countries.

So RESPECT is nothing new.

All that unites them is opposition to democratic rights and freedoms.

That is why we say - don't vote for friends of dictators.

Candidate list

This is a list of RESPECT candidates as of March 29:

Plymouth Devonport Tony Staunton
Bristol East Paulette North
Dorset South Berny Parkes
Hove Paddy O'Keeffe
Slough Jazz Khan
Birmingham Sparkbrook and Small Heath Salma Yaqoob
Birmingham Perry Barr Dr Naseem
Walsall South Nadia Fazal
Cardiff Central Raja Gul Raiz
Neath Heather Falconer
Manchester Stretford and Urmston Mark Krantz
Preston Michael Lavalette
Tyne Bridge Jill Russell
Bradford North to select
Sheffield Central Maxine Bowler
Leicester South Yvonne Ridley
Luton South Mohammed Ilyas
Harwich John Tipple
Cambridge Tom Woodcock
Tottenham Janet Alder
Hackney South Dean Ryan
Bethnal Green and Bow George Galloway MP
Poplar and Canning Town Oliur Rahman
East Ham Abdul Khaliq Mian
West Ham Lindsey German
Tooting Ali Zaidi