Socialist Worker

Respect triumphs in East London

by GEORGE GALLOWAY, Respect MP for Bethnal Green & Bow
Issue No. 1950a

George Galloway carried on the shoulders of Tower Hamlets residents in the early hours of Friday morning (Pic: Guy Smallman)

George Galloway carried on the shoulders of Tower Hamlets residents in the early hours of Friday morning (Pic: Guy Smallman)


The defeat Tony Blair suffered in east London and his other losses in Thursday’s election are for Iraq.

All the people he has killed and the lies he has told have come back to haunt him.

For Respect, and all progressive forces in Britain, the victory in Bethnal Green & Bow is a historic breakthrough.

For the first time in two generations a party to the left of Labour has won a seat in parliament.

This, more than the loss of any other seat on Thursday night, is the bitterest pill for New Labour to swallow.

At a stroke Respect has demolished the stultifying myth that you have to stick with New Labour because there is no alternative.

In the teeth of smears and chicanery we have shown there is somewhere for disillusioned Labour voters to go.

A revolt is spreading through east London against New Labour’s betrayals — from Liverpool Street to East Ham.

And not only in east London — Salma Yaqoob’s tremendous result for Respect in Birmingham Sparkbrook & Small Heath should also send shivers down the spines of New Labour MPs and councillors.

They will not disappear overnight. But now they know they face opposition, and the vitriol from the Blairites betrays their fear.

Blair is finished. And it is the disaster of the Iraq war and the movement we have built against it that have finished him.

It was on the streets of east London over a century ago that the labour movement was born. Today a new political force has erupted onto the scene.

It is uniting the students and the pensioners, the poor and the immigrants.

Respect is here to stay. We have laid a solid foundation to build on. We need to build quickly.

For information on how to join Respect

Phone 020 8980 3507

Web www.respectcoalition.org

E-mail office@respectcoalition.org


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Article information

Features
Sat 7 May 2005, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1950a
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