Edgware Road or Brick Lane?

Rumours flying around that George Galloway may run as Tower Hamlets Mayor. This is surely a bit of mischief. After his defeat in May, his reappearance as a candidate would suit New Labour’s top command perfectly. That would allow them to unite their activists on an anti-Galloway campaign, and almost guarantee a New Labour Mayor.
The whole business is ugly.
Barring a handful of talented and dedicated activists somehow remaining (but surely looking for another home), the Respect project was hijacked a long time ago.
Beneath the veneer, there is nothing remotely ‘Left’ among the power brokers. It is Jamaat. Period.
The Sylhetis call the ‘political’ shots but are ill-served by a religious-backed entity against a tired, grubby New Labour outfit whose activists can only be galvanised by a negative focal point.

We need to see the back of this local election and the official demise of Respect before working out how politics can be re-configured not just in Tower Hamlets but in the rest of London… Why?
Because we are going to have a differentiate between fighting against Islamophobia (a barely disguised racism) and pandering to right-wing religious politics.
The message to Galloway:
Your politics belongs to Edgware Road, not Brick Lane.
You played with the identity of Bengalis to suit a Middle-East agenda, completely at odds with the meaning of Bangladesh.
The Liberation War of 1971 was won on the basis of Bengali First, Religion Second.
A whole generation of trumped-up politicos and their rich ‘religious’ sidekicks has been reversing that equation, hiding behind the shield of Islamophobia to deflect criticism.
Galloway remains one of the finest orators on this island. He should give up pretentions of cobbling together a political movement and continue his anti-war career.
All I would say…. please choose carefully when you search for new cannon fodder.
Leave Bangladeshis out of it…..


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