George Galloway Receives A Hero's Welcome Home
An Explosion In British Politics
George Galloway received a rapturous welcome this Wednesday at a Respect rally in central London, less than twenty four hours after his barnstorming performance in the US Senate.
by: Antony Wright on: 19th May, 05
Galloway, with tears in his eyes, was unable to reach the platform for several minutes as he pushed through a sea of cheering and clapping party members.
Supporters said that they never doubted that Galloway, Respect MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, would be able to rebut the Senate claims of involvement in the oil for food scandal, but that they were 'amazed at his skill' in turning the proceedings against his accusers to 'get across' their 'message on the war'.
Supporters had to wait to hear their hero speak as a line up of Respect candidates and leaders spoke about the success of the Respect general election campaign, a campaign which Professor John Curtice of Strathclyde University described as "easily the best performance by a far left party in British electoral history".
The speakers included national secretary John Rees, who warned supporters that they were in for a tough ride from a political establishment who were determined to destroy their nascent movement.
They also heard from Respect candidate Salma Yaqoob, who received a reception the warmth of which was palpable. Yaqoob delivered an amusing speech that was designed to illustrate a symbiotic relationship between the Labour party and big business, the obvious conclusion was that Respect was now the party of the working class.
A surprise speaker was John Pilger, who has long been critical of party politics, when asked about his appearance at the rally Pilger said he was “Here to support his good friends”.
In his speech Pilger used the opportunity to amplify Galloway's senate criticism of the oil for food programme. Pilger described his first meeting with Denis Halliday, former head of the UN 'humanitarian' programme, who resigned claiming he could no longer administer 'an immoral and illegal' policy. Pilger said that Haliday had told him "I had been instructed, to implement a policy that satisfies the definition of genocide: a deliberate policy that has effectively killed well over a million individuals, children and adults.” We were then reminded that Hallidays successor, Hans von Sponeck, also later resigned along with the head of the World Food Programme. Pilger finished his speech by condemning the media, who he described as complicit by their silence in that genocide and the recent invasion of Iraq.
When Galloway finally spoke, he outlined Respects goal of taking control of the London borough of Tower Hamlets and Newham, in the forthcoming local authority elections. He said that Respect would launch a charter for the people of east London, using it to create a mass movement to force change at Westminster that would benefit working class people.
Galloway also announced that a Respect victory at Tower Hamlets would result in it being twinned with Jenin in occupied Palestine and that he would fly the Palestinian flag from the town hall, an echo of his campaign in Dundee, Scotland.
The rally was truly electric with an enthusiastic party membership in tune with their leadership, a rare thing in British politics. Anybody that thought Respect was going to be yesterdays news had better take cover. These guys will either further explode onto the political scene or go out with a bang. Either way they will undeniably leave their mark on British electoral politics.