George Galloway – speech 06.02.10 at the Brady Centre
Leaders of the community brothers and sisters, comrades and friends Asalamu Alaikum.
I think were going too win this campaign, don’t you? I feel it, I feel it in this room today, when I see the breadth and the potential power of the opinion leaders in this hall, I feel that we are going to win this. This is an idea whose time has come.
We are very proud to be associated with it in Respect and were proud of the part that we’ve played with many others in bringing about this referendum. It was an extraordinary sight outside, however, as we came in I really couldn’t work out what was going on and most of the people of the demonstration were members of the Labour party in Tower Hamlets. But directed elected Mayors is a Labour policy. Ken Livingstone is the best thing that ever happened to London.
We have a Labour mayor in Hackney directed elected, we have a Labour mayor in Newham directed elected so what is it about Tower Hamlets that the Labour party doesn’t want it. Elected mayors exist in Newham, in Hackney, in Lewisham but not a directed elected mayor in Tower Hamlets, I tell you its absurd, its crazy.
What are they afraid of?
One of them told us in the East London Advertiser this week, my opponent in Poplar, the man who wants to introduce a law to force Muslim men and women to sit together at weddings, he says he doesn’t want a directly elected mayor because it would be a job for me! Well flattering though it is, for my opponent to imagine that Im so popular that 51% of the people of the borough of Tower Hamlets would choose me as mayor. I have no intention of standing for mayor of Tower Hamlets but I have every intention of giving the people of Tower Hamlets the right to directly elect a mayor. That’s my intention.
Others say the fact that there’s posters outside saying “Ken”, (I don’t think they know that Ken’s much more popular than the local Labour people here in Tower Hamlets) “Ken don’t divide our community” saying that a directed elected mayor will divide the community, but the opposite is the truth. To be elected mayor under the system of STV (single transferable vote) you have to obtain the votes of 51% of the people, what could be more united of the community!
I’ll tell you what divides the community its 20 people in a cabal, in a dark room, down in Canary Wharf ‘wheeling and dealing’, back scratching and back stabbing and offering Peter the money you use to give to Paul, or you’ll give it back to Paul if you’ll vote for the right candidate for leader and changing your leader every year. That’s what is dividing the local community and we have had enough of it here in Tower Hamlets.
But the real reason is not because they think it will divide the community or that they think I’ll be the mayor of Tower Hamlets, the real reason was standing out there on the demonstration pulling the strings as always they want to keep things as they are because a tiny tiny cabal of labour party grandees pre eminent of which is Michael Keith. He wants to run Tower Hamlets like he has ran Tower Hamlets over the last 10-15 years and I say to you Michael Keith- if you want to run Tower Hamlets put yourself up as a candidate. For the directly elected mayor of this borough and lets see how you do in that campaign
Madam chair, brother and sisters I believe that we can win this campaign we are united here, there are people from Labour, from Liberal from Conservative from Respect even people of no party people, of all faiths, all communities, all colours, young and old, men and women, if we unite on this for a ‘yes vote’ in this referendum- I tell you we will sweep the boards in this referendum.