George Galloway’s victory in the Bradford West By-Election is one of those rare things on the left: a pleasant surprise. Not because the potential was not always there to give the establishment parties a bloody nose, given the vicious attacks on the working class and the poor by this government and the flagrant capitulation to the austerity agenda by the Labour Party under Ed Miliband. But because it appeared that Galloway and his party had lost the desire and appetite to confront Labour, preferring a strategy of maintaining Respect as a ginger group on the Labour left while quite a few of his former supporters joined the Labour Party and basically gave up any attempt to build an alternative.
A more comprehensive analysis of the reasons for his victory and its implications needs to be worked out in due course. One thing is clear, that the need for a new party of the working class and the oppressed is as strong as ever. That means the need to unite the labour movement in struggle, both on the industrial level, in terms of combating the coalition’s attacks with strikes and other effective weapons, and politically, in terms of forging independent class politics and a party that gives expression to that class interest, which Labour has long ceased in so many ways even to pretend to do. There will be a challenge from TUSC, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition including a range of prominent trade unionists and socialists, in the May elections and Galloway’s victory has in a very welcome way underlined that it is possible to challenge Labour and win.
There is a crying need for unity of left forces on a tactical level to draw a basic class line in elections – for or against the struggles of the working class and the oppressed. There is also a need for the rebirth of a coherent, revolutionary socialist alternative that can move beyond the sterile sectarianism and opportunism that has crippled the left and repeatedly aborted the potential for even that basic, broad-based class unity, let alone anything more advanced. But more on that later. In the meantime, congratulations to George Galloway!
What was flagrantly obvious was the political bias of the BBC this morning, unrestrained and there for all to see. Galloway had around fifteen seconds of coverage of his by-election victory, one of the most sensational ever and certainly of this parliament. And that was it, as the announcers went off wittering about every other subject you could imagine except Galloway’s victory. Such a sensational victory in a by-election would be expected to produce blanket coverage, and if virtually anyone else was involved, it would have. One had to turn, ironically, to Rupert Murdoch’s Sky News to find any analysis of the remarkable result, with Galloway achieving 56% of the vote, or an interview with the new MP himself.
Hardly very surprising. The BBC’s response to GG’s equally sensational victory in the 2005 General Election was a vile ‘question’ from Jeremy Paxman implying that Galloway was a racist for standing against and defeating the black former Labour MP Oona King, who was in fact blown out by the voters for her enthusiastic support for the Iraq war. And of course, there is Galloway’s staunch support for the Palestinians, which is even more of a reason for the BBC to boycott him even as he returns to parliament in 2012. After all, the BBC has been led by the Zionist Mark Thompson ever since the Hutton purge, the BBC boss who visited the butcher Ariel Sharon on a mission to ‘improve’ the BBC’s relationship with the Israeli regime, and then proceeded to ban from the airwaves a humanitarian appeal for aid to Palestinian civilians after the one-sided Israeli butchery of ‘Operation Cast Lead’ in 2009.
People disgusted with the BBC’s blatant bias against George Galloway over his by-election triumph should complain to the BBC itself, as well as doing everything else to scandalise it. I certainly will. The BBC is a supposed to be a public service. That you have to turn to Murdoch’s Sky to get even the minimum necessary coverage of this important political issue is simply a sign of how much the BBC has become a tool of rabid supporters of a warmongering agenda in which Israeli government interests take precedence over the basic right of people here to get a reasonably objective picture of what is going on in the world or even the UK itself.