[Marxism] Galloway a winner

Louis Proyect 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 
party.

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 50–year–old 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 anti–war campaign to combat Ms King's pro–war 
stance.

But the campaign between the two lead candidates was fraught with anger and 
even violence.

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 
14,978 votes.

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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