The Ghost of Watt Tyler

Watt Tyler was one of the leaders of the 1381 Peasants’ Revolt. He was a slain by the King’s supporters after drinking a jug of beer “in a very rude and disgusting fashion before the King's face.”

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Mostly sour grapes but…..

Oona King today on er… Today said she regarded Jeremy Paxman’s now infamous interview with George Galloway on election night as an insult because nobody should be barred from standing against her on the basis of the colour of her skin. Of course she also came out with a load of bullshit about how her Jewish background lost her election. As the letter in last post points out: she was black, female and Jewish in both 1997 and 2001 – what changed was her support for the invasion or Iraq.

Oona King talks about the election campaign for the first time since losing her seat in Bethnal Green and Bow.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Now the struggle for meaning begins…..

George Galloway’s victory in Bethnal Green and Bow represents a historic victory for the left. Unsurprisingly that’s not how New Labour and its friends in the media see it - they are seeking to present it as victory for communalism and opportunism. Sadly this ‘interpretation’ seems to be gaining ground amongst some sections of society. Middle class liberals seem particularly susceptible. The following letter in the Guardian puts it into perspective:

After Oona King's defeat, I found comments by Tony Banks and others patronising and insulting to us British-Bangladeshis/Muslims. Contrary to the pathetic excuses they were making for her, we did not vote against Ms King because she was a woman, or because she was black, or Jewish. She was all those things when we voted for her in 1997 and 2001. We voted her out because she did not listen to us on Iraq. If she had done her job and represented her constituents (rather than pursue her personal ambitions by following Blair) she would still be our MP. Simple.
Suber Akther

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Who is trying to destroy Galloway?

Over the weekend The Sunday Times ran a story about Galloway’s impending divorce. I can’t find the original online – perhaps because they’ve developed a conscience… but I doubt it. Anyway here’s a follow up in the Scotsman:

GEORGE Galloway, the leader of the anti-war party Respect, yesterday claimed that a newspaper was seeking to damage his election chances by publishing a story about his marriage split. His Palestinian-born wife of five years, Dr Amineh Abu-Zayyad, told the Sunday Times that she wants to divorce him over his friendships with other women. She said she would be contacting lawyers this week. A spokesman for Mr Galloway, the former MP for Glasgow Central, said that the timing of the story, with the election only days away, "could not have been worse".
The matter was a "personal tragedy" for both parties, he said, but added: "It was timed obviously to impinge on the election."

It reminds me of the campaign to destroy Arthur Scargill after the miners strike. Eventually it emerged a shady plot had been hatched by the security services. The then editor of the Mirror, Roy Greenslade, was forced to apologise. It is all documented in Seumas Milne’s (the comment editor of the Guardian) excellent book “The Enemy Within.” It would not surprise me if something similar is behind Galloway’s troubles. Who made the phone calls to Galloway’s wife?