The Socialist Unity Network



Socialist Unity expresses its dismay at the interview by George Galloway with the Mail on Sunday [text below] in which he attacked the SSP and called on Tommy Sheridan to abandon the party and join him, presumably as a Respect candidate. His dismissal of the SSP executive as "Trotskyite apparatchiks" (this to the right wing press) is especially pernicious.

SUN's supporters in Respect will demand of the Executive that it declare publicly that it will not be standing against the SSP in the Westminster or Scottish Parliament elections.

To add your voice to this appeal;

Galloway's intervention in the midst of a crisis which the bourgeois media is attempting to use against the SSP, is a contemptible act.

Did he discuss this with the other Respect leaders? We suspect he was acting in an individualist fashion. But if he is allowed to behave in this way without challenge, it would be the worst political opportunism.

Socialists worth the name will support the SSP in this difficult period. Galloway's disgraceful intervention should be condemned for what it is: an unprincipled use of the bourgeois media to attack a workers' organisation, at the service of political self-interest.

If Respect does not condemn this then labour movement activists who have not already written off Respect will draw their own conclusions labout an organisation which allows a prominent leader to act in such a fashion."


Text of article

The Mail On Sunday, 05/12/04

Galloway to team up with Sheridan for assault on Labour seats at

By Jane Simpson

REBEL MP George Galloway wants to stand as an MSP and is planning to launch a ferocious assault on the Scottish parliament. And he revealed he is considering a radical joint assault on the parliament with former Scottish Socialist Party leader Tommy Sheridan.

Mr Galloway believes the recent implosion of the SSP, coupled with its treatment of Mr Sheridan over newspaper allegations, has created a crucial opening for his anti-war party, Respect, in the 2007
Holyrood elections.

Attacking First Minister Jack McConnell's `parody' of an administration, Mr Galloway, 50, said he was certain Scots voters would support his alliance with Mr Sheridan in its bid to win seats from the Labour Party.

Speaking exclusively to the Scottish Mail on Sunday, Mr Galloway added: `I would certainly like to contend in Glasgow for the Scottish parliament elections.

`Tommy and I would be a great double act, a dream ticket and people would vote for us. I am certain that together we could set the cat among the pigeons.

`Tommy is still fighting his corner in the SSP but I fear he will have to accept they have betrayed him and move on.' Mr Galloway revealed his Holyrood plans after winning 150,000 damages from The Daily Telegraph over an article suggesting he was on Saddam Hussein's payroll.

And just days ago he announced that he will step down as MP for Glasgow Kelvin to stand for Parliament in Bethnal Green and Bow at next year's General Election under his new Respect party banner.

Although he could be a Westminster MP if he wins the East London seat, he said that would not necessarily stand in the way of his Scottish ambitions.

He explained: `We are talking about two years down the line. `If I am in Westminster we'll have to see if it is possible and look at the situation in more depth. If I am not in Westminster then obviously it is more possible.'

The MP, who vowed the Labour Party would `rue the day' it ditched him over his anti-war views, said Respect has already started to explore the best way to use the proportional representation list system to wins Holyrood seats at the 2007 elections.

Yesterday, Mr Galloway kicked off his assault on Holyrood with a stinging attack on Mr McConnell and the Labour-LibDem coalition. He said: `Jack McConnell's administration is all about small-time
with small horizons and lacking in its ideas. It is a shameless parody of what Labour is supposed to be.

`They strike me more as people running Cumbernauld town council than powering the whole of Scotland and I think the country deserves better.'

Mr Galloway, who won his Glasgow Kelvin seat for Labour with a majority of more than 7,000 at the last General Election, would have a powerful support base if he contested the Holyrood elections.

Respect, The Unity Coalition was launched last January as an alternative to Labour. It now has a reported 1,000 members.

Mr Galloway intends to steer it down a more socialist path. As well as its strong anti-war stance, party policies include linking pensions to earnings and repealing union laws. Mr Sheridan was one of the speakers who took to the stage to offer support at the launch of the party.

Yesterday, Mr Galloway said he had discussed the extra-marital allegations about Mr Sheridan with the former SSP leader, who claims never to have met the woman at the centre of the reports - now the subject of legal action.

Since the story appeared, there has been bitter division within the SSP and members have admitted they are in crisis.

Mr Galloway added: `The Scottish Socialist Party has made a catastrophic blunder. It is my estimation that much more than half, maybe even much more than three-quarter who voted for them, did so because of Tommy Sheridan.

`The idea that these unknown Trotskyite apparatchiks who have done him down are going to get the same kind of vote that they did when led by Sheridan seems to me inherently improbable. These people who
have done him down are not fit to tie his shoe laces.'

Mr Galloway has stated he has made no plans for his libel winnings as they have been frozen until The Daily Telegraph makes a decision whether or not to appeal.

He added: `In the end I will spend it on my political life, which is what I spend my existing earnings on.'



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