At a Spectator-sponsored debate on Scottish independence in Edinburgh on Monday evening, chaired by Andrew Neil, George Galloway lined up on the No side of the argument alongside Tory MSP Annabel Goldie and Labour MSP Iain Murray. Putting the case for Yes were former SNP MSP Andrew Wilson, Jeane Freeman of Woman for Independence, and Blair Jenkins, Chief Executive of the Yes campaign.
I attended the event and have to say that even though I’ve heard George speak many times, I’ve rarely heard him speak with the kind of passion and fire he did on Monday night. He really did steal the show, blowing not just the opposition but the audience away in the process.
Each speaker was allotted nine minutes in which to make the case either for or against the motion on independence. Here’s George Galloway making his case:
An online threat by the ultra-right wing Britain First organisation against George Galloway has been passed on to the West Yorkshire police force which is investigating the series of incursions by uniformed thugs into several Bradford mosques on Saturday.
“I tweeted about this desecration of Muslim holy places by jackbooted thugs and received an explicit threat from them,” the MP said. “I have handed over a screen grab of it to the police force who will investigate it thoroughly I am sure.”
Following a meeting with senior police commanders Galloway said, “The police are taking this extremely seriously and have set up a detective task force under a very distinguished officer. They are stressing that they need to talk to anyone who saw these Britain First stormtroopers, however briefly. I am urging those that did to talk to the police, dial 101 and tell what you know, or call in to any local station to give your evidence. This is crucial because these idiots are promising to return to cause more trouble. The sooner we clear them off the street by legal means the better.”
George Galloway is now touring the mosques which were raided.
In many ways, Jim Sillars and George Galloway have much in common.
Both were Scottish Labour MPs at Westminster whose politics ultimately took them outside the Labour fold.
Both inflicted shock by-election defeats on their former party.
And both are now on the campaign trail ahead of Scotland’s independence referendum.
But while Mr Galloway wants to influence Labour at a UK level, Mr Sillars hopes for “a rejuvenated left-wing Labour Party” in an independent Scotland.
Mr Sillars sees a “Yes” vote as “the only thing that will deliver to the working class people in Scotland”. His left-wing counterpart describes independence as “a divorce which will destroy everything”.
Their situation illustrates the sharply different approaches that the radical left has taken to the independence debate.
While neither is at the bosom of the official referendum campaigns, both men are doing their bit to win over the voters for their respective sides.
I was a “Bennite” (which became a considerable term of abuse in the 1980s) since the 1960s. I was brought up in a Labour household in which the premiership of Harold Wilson was the sun and in his constellation Mr Benn was the brightest of the many stars clustered around that Labour cabinet. There were so many stars – James Callaghan Roy Jenkins Barbara Castle Tony Crosland Richard Crossman Dennis Healey George Brown – but even in that company, the young, fresh-faced, bursting with ideas Wedgwood-Benn (as he was then known) stood out.
For us he seemed to exemplify the “white-hot heat” of the “technological revolution” – Mr Wilson’s wheeze for disguising his socialist purpose from a hostile media and the “Gnomes of Zurich” who, even then with their financial power had the means of destroying any real Labour government. Mr Benn was brimful of innovative unorthodoxy, and seemed just what the doctor ordered. Click to continue reading →
Tonight in Edinburgh we had the ultra left of the Radical Independence Campaign and the far right of the SDL united in protest against George Galloway, who was in the city speaking against Scottish independence. You couldn’t make it up.
George Galloway has succeeded in raising over £160,000 via crowdfunding to finance a documentary on Tony Blair - The Killing Of Tony Blair.
Expelled from the Labour Party in 2003 over his opposition to the war in Iraq, Galloway aims to uncover the former prime minister’s role in “destroying the Labour Party” during his time in office, taking Britain into the war in Iraq in 2003, and his career upon leaving office, which has seen Blair amass a substantial personal fortune as an adviser to various global corporations, governments, and on the international speaking circuit.
Crowdfunding has proved an innovative way of raising money to finance movies, art projects, political campaigns, business start-ups, etc via individual donations in return for equity and/or personal satisfaction at helping to fund a good cause or campaign. Rather than seeking large donations from wealthy investors or banks, crowdfunding is a concept geared towards accessing small donations from thousands of individuals instead. It allows projects and campaigns which otherwise would probably never receive funding to be realised, thus lending them a democratic aspect lacking with regard to conventional funding streams.
Through Kickstarter, the world’s largest crowdfunding platform, Galloway raised the budget for his documentary in forty days from over 4000 individual donations, which came in from all over the world. Using Facebook and Twitter to promote the project, the amount eventually raised has far exceeded his initial target of £50,000. In response, the MP for Bradford West announced:
“Kickstarter has triumphantly demonstrated the power of the people and their hunger for justice. You have successfully raised £163,891 over 40 days on Kickstarter. Thank you and I won’t let you down.”
Tony Blair remains a polarising figure in British politics. Accused of being a war criminal by his detractors, he has never accepted that Britain’s role in Iraq was a mistake and continues to deny that he lied to Parliament or the British people in the lead-up to the war, as many have and continue to allege.
Upon leaving Downing Street, he was appointed Middle East Peace Envoy representing the UN, EU, the United States and Russia – collectively known as The Quartet – in trying to foment a last solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Critics, such as Palestinian academic, politician, and legislator, Hanan Ashrawi, have accused the former British prime minister of being ineffectual in the role.
“Frankly speaking,” Ahsrawi said earlier this year, “there are no tangible achievements – apart from maybe his frequent flyer points. Blair has an instinctive sympathy for the Israeli perspective. His first impulse is to present Israel’s point of view.”
In addition to his role as Middle East Peace Envoy, and his various business interests around the world, the former prime minister set up The Tony Blair Faith Foundation in 2008. According to the website it “provides the practical support required to help prevent religious prejudice, conflict and extremism.’
In September 2010, Blair published his memoir A Journey, donating his advance of £4.6 million to a centre for injured British soldiers in a gesture variously described by critics in the media as “blood money”, an act of “desperation”, and a “cynical stunt”.
One man who undoubtedly agrees with those critics is George Galloway, whose opposition to Tony Blair and Britain’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan led directly to the creation of his party, Respect, in 2004. Outlining his objectives with his upcoming documentary, he said:
“In 2003, I was expelled from the Labour Party over my outspoken opposition to Bush and Blair’s war in Iraq. I promised that until the last day of my life I would go on fighting to put Tony Blair on trial, a real trial in The Hague, for war crimes and crimes against humanity. This documentary, the mother of all documentaries, will expose Blair’s crimes.”
He went on:
“This documentary will not be another sterile chronicle of the Blair years. I witnessed his mendacity firsthand and am able to offer you the inside story. I will pull no punches in going toe to toe with those in the upper echelons of New Labour; the likes of Peter Mandelson and Alistair Campbell are all in my sights and so are the big business bankers he consults for. There is no doubt that the debates will be heated. But from that heat will come light.”
Respect MP George Galloway and Ukip leader Nigel Farange will both be on BBC1′s Question time tonight, 13 June. Should be a cracker – at a time when the BBC keeps giving the EDL free reign on its channels, it’s be great to have people on our side on: Salma Yaqoob last week, George Galloway this week.