by Fintan Dunne 10:30pmET Thur [Update 9:30 Fri]
George Galloway has scored a major victory for the antiwar movement in Britain, stealing the supposedly safe Labour seat of Bethnal Green and Bow which the ruling party has held unbroken since 1945.
The former Glasgow Labour MP -who was ejected from the party over his stance on the Iraq invasion- is the founder of anti-war party Respect. His stunning win over Labour's Oona King, overturned a Labor majority of 10,000 at the last election by almost a 1,000 vote margin. [Final Result]
Galloway denounced Blair in his victory speech, telling the Prime Minister: "All the people you have killed, all the lies you have told have come back to haunt you"
Blair, knowing well that the Labour party is totaly unrepresentative of Labour supporters, in his own early morning speech to supporters used the leftist catchphrase words "solidarity" and "comrades" to try put a grassroots veneer on his party's return to government.
The win is a tremenduous boost for Britain's antiwar movement. It gives them a voice in Parliament -where no party currently reflects their views. The election has seen Labour's vote cut, but the modest scale of that ebb in support is no reflection of antiwar sentiment in Britain. The lack of a national political alternative to Labour proved to be the party's key defense. Most of the electorate who had antiwar views ended up voting for Labour because of this democratic defecit.
Galloway was interviewed overnight on BBC by establishment hatchet-man Jeremy Paxman. It was the second time a TV station had tried to ambush the antiwar candidate in three days. But Galloway was well up to the job:
JP: We're joined now from his count in Bethnal Green and Bow by George Galloway. Mr Galloway, are you proud of having got rid of one of the very few black women in Parliament?Galloway was previously the target of a smear campaign alleging he had links with Saddam Hussein's regime, but last year the rebel MP was vindicated when he won libel damages from newspapers in the UK and USA.
GG: What a preposterous question. I know it's very late in the night, but wouldn't you be better starting by congratulating me for one of the most sensational election results in modern history?
JP: Are you proud of having got rid of one of the very few black women in Parliament?
GG: I'm not - Jeremy - move on to your next question.
JP: You're not answering that one?
GG: No because I don't believe that people get elected because of the colour of their skin. I believe people get elected because of their record and because of their policies. So move on to your next question.
JP: Are you proud -
GG: Because I've got a lot of people who want to speak to me.
JP: - You -
GG: If you ask that question again, I'm going, I warn you now.
JP: Don't try and threaten me Mr Galloway, please.
GG: You're the one who's trying to badger me.
JP: I'm not trying to badger you, I'm merely trying to ask if you're proud at having driven out of Parliament one of the very few black women there, a woman you accuse of having on her conscience 100,000 people.
GG: Oh well there's no doubt about that one. There's absolutely no doubt that all those New Labour MPs who voted for Mr Blair and Mr Bush's war have on their hands the blood of 100,000 people in Iraq, many of them British soldiers, many of them American soldiers, most of them Iraqis and that's a more important issue than the colour of her skin....
JP: I put it to you Mr Galloway that Nick Raynsford had you to a T when he said you were a "demagogue".
JP: Nick Raynsford. You know who I mean? Nick Raynsford. Labour MP?
GG: No, I don't know who you mean....
JP: He was a Parliamentary colleague of yours until very recently.
GG: Well, most of them just blend one into the other, Jeremy, they're largely a spineless, a supine bunch....
JP: Tony Banks was sitting here five minutes ago, and he said that you were behaving inexcusably, that you had deliberately chosen to go to that part of London and to exploit the latent racial tensions there.
GG: You are actually conducting one of the most - even by your standards - one of the most absurd interviews I have ever participated in. I have just won an election. Can you find it within yourself to recognise that fact? To recognise the fact that the people of Bethnal Green and Bow chose me this evening. Why are you insulting them?
JP: I'm not insulting them, I'm not insulting you
GG: You are insulting them, they chose me just a few minutes ago. Can't you find it within yourself even to congratulate me on this victory?
JP: Congratulations, Mr Galloway.
GG: Thank you very much indeed. [Removes microphone, terminates interview]
In the runup to the election he wrote the following about Blair:
He lied, and more than 100,000 died: the real blood price of his grotesque special relationship with Bush. The Blair betrayal is deep in the mire precisely because it has been a disastrous failure....
The troops were told the war was both legal and unavoidable. We now know it was neither. They were promised a warm welcome by "liberated" Iraqis. Red-hot and razor-sharp has been the reality. This is treason - and it hasn't prospered. [source] firstname.lastname@example.org