The outspoken left-wing Labour MP George Galloway is facing a witch-hunt
because of his anti-war stance. This attack, orchestrated by the Tory Telegraph
and Sun, has been seized upon by Blair and his entourage. The Tory
papers say they have discovered papers ("stumbled on by chance") alleging that
Galloway was in the pay of Saddam Hussein. Murdoch’s Sun was the very
newspaper which accused Galloway of treachery for his anti-war stance. Perhaps
these papers should be put in charge of finding the elusive weapons of mass
destruction. After all they couldn’t fail, if they could not find them they
could simply make them up. Like all the dubious evidence emerging from the
American and British occupation of Iraq, this is more convenient ‘proof’ for
the pro-war forces in the Labour Party who are intent on purging the party of
Galloway, Labour MP for Glasgow Kelvin, has never hidden his support for the
Iraqi people, and had campaigned consistently against the sanctions that
condemned 500,000 children to death. He established an anti-sanctions campaign
named after the Iraqi leukaemia sufferer, Mariam Hamza, and received money from
the Middle East for this project. Galloway denies benefiting personally in any
way from this charity.
But the Blairite machine is now in full swing, determined to bring charges
against Galloway at the NEC of the party. Labour chairman Ian McCartney said the
allegations were "extremely serious". They hope to use the campaign in the Tory
press – as they used the fictitious dossier of weapons of mass destruction in
Iraq concocted from an American student’s thesis – to lay the grounds for
expelling George Galloway.
Ben Bradshaw, then junior Foreign Office minister, last year described
Galloway as "not just an apologist but a mouthpiece for the Iraqi regime." When,
in fact, it was Bradshaw who was acting as the mouthpiece for US imperialism.
"The allegations add more meat to an investigation into the MP’s conduct by
Labour officials already under way, prompted by complaints from party members",
states the Financial Times. They are already busy hunting for witches,
armed with ‘complaints’ from so-called party members, pliant tools of the
Of course, these apparatchiks are more than ready to do the leader’s bidding.
However, when it comes to pursuing those right-wing MPs and ministers who have
taken money from the CIA and its fronts to promote their right-wing publications
and causes, they are stony silent. One such group is the Trade Union Committee
for European and Transatlantic Understanding (TUCETU), which is the successor to
the Labour Committee for Transatlantic Understanding. This was set up in 1976 by
the late Joe Godson, Labour Attaché at the US embassy in London in the 1950s,
and a close friend of Hugh Gaitskell. TUCETU chair Alan Lee Williams was a
Labour defence minister in the Callaghan government, before defecting to the SDP.
In the mid-1980s Williams and George Robinson were members of the European
policy group of the Washington Centre for Strategic and International Studies.
Organised by two officials of the NATO-sponsored Atlantic Council, TUCETU
incorporates ‘Peace Through NATO’, the group central to Michael Heseltine’s
MoD campaign against CND in the early 1980s, and received over £100,000 a year
from the Foreign Office.
The Atlantic Council/TUCETU network provided the recruits for New Labour’s
Ministry of Defence team. Defence Secretary George Robertson, before becoming
general secretary of NATO, was a member of the Council of the Atlantic Committee
from 1979-90; Lord Gilbert, Minister of State for Defence Procurement, is listed
as TUCETU vice-chair; Dr John Reid, former Minister of State for the Armed
Forces and chairman of the Labour Party, spoke at a TUCETU conference; and MoD
press office biographical notes on junior Defence Minister John Speller state
that he "has been a long standing member of the Trade Union Committee for
European and Transatlantic Understanding". Speller had his own office and
secretary in AEEU headquarters, and was deeply involved in Sir Ken Jackson’s
failed attempt to hang on to the leadership of the union. How was this operation
funded? Peter Mandelson has also written a pamphlet for TUCETU based on a speech
he gave to its 1996 conference.
In other words, the people round Tony Blair, and central to the New Labour
‘project’, are all linked to the United States, or the British foreign policy
Establishment, whose chief aim, since the end of the Second World War, has been
to preserve the Anglo-American ‘special relationship’ and to foster western
(i.e. capitalist) interests. Blair’s ‘special relationship’ extended from
Clinton to George W. Bush, so much so that he is known as the Member of
Parliament for Texas North.
The press remain silent on the insidious links of the right wing and the
Blairites. Against Galloway however they have let loose a Niagara of attacks, in
relation to his finances, his personal life, his holiday home in Portugal etc.
How many MPs receive corporate sponsorship, financial backing from lobbyists
etc? Socialist Appeal‘s position is clear, all Labour MPs should receive
a wage no higher than that of a skilled worker, their expenses should be audited
by the labour movement, and they should be accountable to the movement. How many
of the careerists in the Parliamentary Labour Party would then be so keen on a
career in politics? How many Labour MPs living the same lifestyle as ordinary
working people would support Blair’s privatisation plans and the attacks on
In reality the witch-hunt against Galloway has nothing to do with the
convenient allegations of the Tory press, and everything to do with the
Blairites’ fear of swelling opposition inside the Labour movement to the Labour
government’s policies at home and abroad.
The Blairites are desperate to prevent the tide of opposition mounting
against them throughout the labour movement. The attack on George Galloway is no
more than this. The rank and file of the party and the affiliated trade unions
must raise a storm of protest against this frame-up.
At the same time, any hint of breaking with Labour, or that Galloway should
stand independently, must be quashed immediately. This witch-hunt must be fought
inside the movement as part of a struggle to reclaim the Labour Party from the
Blairite hijackers. To walk away would be to hand victory to Blair on a platter.
From their point of view such an outcome would be even more favourable than
their current plan to expel Galloway.
This attack is a sign of the weakness of Blair and co. They have virtually no
base of support inside the movement, not even at the tops of the unions now. Now
is not the time to run from a fight. If this witch-hunt is allowed to proceed it
will not be the last. Such manoeuvres and disciplinary attacks are the only
method Blair and co. have to retain their grip on the Labour Party.
The campaign to defeat this witch-hunt must continue and go on to defeat the
Blairites and place genuine worker representatives in their place. The unions
must take this opportunity to take back the Labour Party once and for all!
No Witch hunts!
Don’t Contract Out, Contract In! Trade Unions reclaim Labour!
Defeat Blairism, fight for socialist policies!
Pass resolutions of protest through your Labour Party, trade union branch or
Fax a protest to Tony Blair on 0207 925 0918
Email your support to George
Galloway on email@example.com