Socialist Worker

We’ve marched – now let’s vote to punish Tony Blair

Issue No. 1944

At the Trafalgar Square peace camp (Pic: Guy Smallman)

At the Trafalgar Square peace camp (Pic: Guy Smallman)

There was a deep feeling on last Saturday’s demonstration that people should use the expected general election to punish Tony Blair.

Craig Murray, the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, announced he is standing against foreign secretary Jack Straw in the election. The government forced him out after his opposition to Uzbekistan’s oppressive, pro-Western regime.

He said at the rally in Trafalgar Square, “Having worked on the frontline of the war on terror I saw a regime sponsored by the West torture and imprison its own people.

“Iraq was an illegal war. At the ballot box, if anyone puts a cross next to a Labour candidate some of the blood from this war will be on your hands.”

Tariq Ali, the activist and writer, said to huge cheers, “It’s no good simply marching. We need to get together and get the warmongering MPs out.

“We need to support those who voted against the war. We have to make sure that George Galloway MP gets back into parliament.

“This is a critical moment in British history. We have an unpopular prime minister. We have to drive this home. The Spanish have pulled their troops out of Iraq. Even Berlusconi in Italy is saying the troops will have to withdraw.

“If you don’t want to see Blair’s ghastly, triumphant face after the election make sure every MP is confronted over the issue of the war and make this a political campaign.”

George Galloway, the Respect MP, said, “My election headquarters are in Brick Lane, east London. You are all welcome there over the next six weeks. I am standing against a New Labour MP who has voted for privatisation and war.

“Every marcher should ask their MP whether they voted to kill 100,000 in Iraq, and do they refuse to support immediate troop withdrawal.

“If the answer to those questions is yes, you must punish them at the ballot box. If they don’t pay for crimes as big as this, why should they stop doing it?

“We should march and protest, but it is meaningless unless we vote in overwhelming numbers to clear out the warmongers in Downing Street and their puppets in Westminster.”

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Sat 26 Mar 2005, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1944
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