George Galloway has issued his own statement about appearing on Big Brother. In it he says he did it to raise money for a Palestinian charity, which he will, and to reach out to an audience turned off by conventional politics.
Nevertheless lots of people feel that it’s not an appropriate way for an MP to spend their time. People in their workplaces and communities say that many Respect supporters don’t think that this was a good idea.
We didn’t know that George Galloway was going to go on the programme until 24 hours before it happened. We didn’t agree with the idea, but by that stage the die was cast and the contract signed.
But what matters is the stand George has taken against war and neo-liberalism. That’s why we continue to support him and Respect. We stick by our allies, even if we feel they have made a mistake.
Respect arises out of a deep social process of alienation from the Labour Party—and that process will go on. Those in New Labour who complain that George is not representing his constituents are the same people who voted for war and privatisation in the face of opposition from their constituents.
And come May, people will not decide to vote Respect or New Labour on the basis of Big Brother. Our main job is to stick to the perspective we put forward when we formed Respect and concentrate on the preparations for the May elections.