[Marxism] Galloway a winner
lnp3 at panix.com
Fri May 6 07:51:03 MDT 2005
The Independent, May 6, 2005
Galloway ousts Labour in Bethnal Green
By Caroline Gammell, PA
George Galloway took the safe seat of Bethnal Green and Bow from Labour
today in a shock election victory.
He polled over 15,000 votes in the supposedly safe Labour seat to defeat
Labour's Oona King.
Mr Galloway, who based his campaign on opposition to the Gulf war, said:
"This for Iraq."
Mr Galloway, 50, overturned a 10,057 majority for Ms King at the last
election. He polled 15,801 votes to Ms King's 14,978 in a result that will
send shockwaves through the Labour Party.
Ms King, 37, was one of Tony Blair's most loyal supporters and backed the
war in Iraq.
The east London seat was one of 25 being contested by Mr Galloway's Respect
Taking to the podium to make his victory speech, the leader of the Respect
party directed all his comments at Mr Blair.
He said: "Mr Blair, this defeat is for Iraq and the other defeats that New
Labour has received this evening are for Iraq. All the people you have
killed and all the loss of life have come back to haunt you and the best
thing that the Labour Party can do is sack you."
Mr Galloway said New Labour had "plumbed new depths" in the election
campaign and described the London Borough of Tower Hamlets as "in the grip
of a corrupt political culture".
He was surprisingly lenient towards his rival Ms King saying his campaign
had not been against her, but against Mr Blair.
"The defeat was not her defeat this evening, it was a defeat for Tony
Blair," he said. He wished her well in her future Parliamentary career and
said he was sure she would return to Government.
But he could not resist attacking the returning officer Christine Gilbert,
saying she had presided over a "shambles of an election which would
disgrace a banana republic".Mr Galloway said a further example of the
council's shabbiness was that the result was not declared until 4.45am.
He congratulated his Respect colleagues, some of whom achieved a credible
second in their constituencies.
He said: "There is a revolt spreading throughout East London against the
betrayal of New Labour and you ain't seen nothing yet."
The 50yearold was expelled from the Government in 2003 and went on to set
up the outspoken Respect Party.
His seat was one of 25 being contested by the new political group, which
has campaigned for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq.
Mr Galloway fought a fiercely antiwar campaign to combat Ms King's prowar
But the campaign between the two lead candidates was fraught with anger and
In April, Mr Galloway was the victim of death threats by a gang of Islamic
extremists as he canvassed the community.
During the four weeks of the campaign, Ms King had her tyres slashed as
well as being pelted with eggs and vegetables.
Both politicians even met with police to try to take the "heat and vitriol"
out of the electioneering.
In addition, Mr Galloway claimed that electoral fraud had occurred.
He criticised the Tower Hamlets council electoral office for publishing an
electoral roll which he said was "so shot through with errors and
anomalies... as to be almost meaningless".
Mr Galloway said the Respect Party had learnt of more than 200 votes
registered at an address which was turned into offices more than a year ago.
Speaking after his success, the outspoken politician insisted he had won in
spite of, rather than because of, such fraud.
Mr Galloway claimed 15,801 votes, narrowly beating Ms King, who received
Ms King said: "It has been the best job in the world and I have been so
proud of what Labour has achieved. Labour Members of Parliament working
with a Labour council, working with a Labour Government to make real
improvements in the lives of people here.
"It is clear that Britain is set for another four years of a Labour
Government and I am very happy for the country as a whole because I know
that only Labour is committed to delivering on health, education, jobs,
housing, police on the beat."
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