Sunday, 21 August 2016
Respect Party closes for business
The Respect Party was founded in a blaze of publicity bt George Galloway, some Islamist politicos and the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) in 2004. Galloway became its first and last MP and a number of councillors were elected in areas with large Muslim populations such as Tower Hamlets, Bradford and part of Birmingham. They were joined by the sole SWP councillor in Preston.
The group was fraught with contradictions and infighting from the beginning, eventually leading to a very public spat and split as Galloway fell out with what his supporters called the "control freaks" of the SWP in 2007. Lyndsey German and John Rees led a new style "Respect" which despite getting support from the General Secretary of the PCS Union was never more than the SWP and it's supporters.
The SWP suffered an internal upheaval as leading members of their group, Keith Ovenden and Rob Hoveman stayed as bag carriers for Galloway. Eventually the SWP leadership fell out and the German/Rees faction left to form Counterfire, a tine group that has moved away from "Trotskyism" towards an odd mixture of pro-Islamic anti-imperialism and Stalinism influencing the anti-West Stop the War Coalition.
Galloway has lost his parliamentary seat and Respect was believed to have declined to just around 300 members. He wishes to rejoin Labour now that Corbyn is in control of the Labour Party, but would have difficulty in rejoining not just because he was a member of Respect and it's leader but also was originally expelled from Labour so only the NEC can now rule on his return.
In an almost publicised move Respect has voluntarily unregistered with the Electoral Commission which means it can no longer stand candidates and is effectively closing down. The reason for this is clear. Galloway and at least some of his supporters will want in on Corbyn's Labour Party.
Respect was one of the misnamed political organisation this country has ever seen (along with the StWC) with Galloway and his supporters trying to use use the "Muslim" community for it's own purposes causing much division wherever they operated.
Respect will not be missed and Galloway still has his lucrative media deals with Russian TV and others in the reactionary Islamic world. Unfortunately this dangerous demagogic politician will just not disappear.