Sunday, October 15, 2006

Respect: Galloway to knife Sheridan?

Respect – the electoral front formed by the Socialist Workers' Party and former Labour MP George Galloway, pictured left in a pose unusual for the head of a serious political formation – held its annual conference in London this weekend.

Media coverage has been limited, although the coalition has issued a statement outlining its view of the proceedings. I was particularly intrigued by this extract:

‘George also hinted that a number of councillors in the North of England are in the process of severing their links with mainstream parties to join Respect, and reported that a staggering 10,000 students had joined Respect over the last few weeks.’

Mainstream parties? Parties plural? Now, a handful of defections from Labour wouldn’t surprise me. But the clear implication here is that some Lib Dems – perhaps even some Tories? – are about to jump ship.

As for the 10,000 students … anybody know how many kids the Socialist Worker Student Society signs up at the start of an average academic year? Is this a qualitative breakthrough or simply par for the course?

Meanwhile, this from the Sunday Times Scotland. Et tu, Brute?:

‘George Galloway’s party is preparing to challenge Tommy Sheridan in the Scottish parliament elections, following tabloid allegations about the former Scottish Socialist party leader’s private life.

‘The London MP and leader of the Respect party has long been a supporter of Sheridan and struck a deal not to challenge him in Scotland. But if Sheridan is charged with perjury after claims by the News of the World that he lied in court, Respect will stand against him.'

Given that the Socialist Workers’ Party is the core component of both Respect and Sheridan's new vehicle Solidarity, it will be interesting to see how they square this circle. For, as the Bible makes plain in Matthew 6:24, no man can serve two masters.

Finally … Respect is looking for a new logo and is inviting ‘all budding artists’ to submit designs. Details here. If any of you photoshop merchants out there submits a satirical entry, please copy me in.

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