Friday, 29 November 2013

Galloway hits out at Gaza's humanitarian catastrophe

Bradford West MP George Galloway has submitted a parliamentary motion pointing out the humanitarian catastrophe playing-out in Gaza and calling for the Foreign Secretary to make urgent representations to Israel, Egypt and the United Nations to help the benighted 1.7million people on the Strip.

The motion:

Crisis in Gaza 

That this House views with grave concern a United Nations report that the situation in Gaza is near the point of catastrophe; underlines that the UN special rapporteur warns that lack of fuel imports has resulted in power cuts dramatically affecting basic services including health, water and sanitation with the result that raw sewage is flooding into the streets; notes that residents only receive power for six hours a day after the only power plant in Gaza was shut down due to a critical fuel shortage three weeks ago; further notes that the little power that is available is not sufficient to meet the needs of specialised health services, such as kidney dialysis, operating theatres, blood banks, intensive care units and incubators, putting innocent lives at risk; concludes that the inhumane, six-year blockade erected by Israel on the tiny strip of land holding 1.7 million people is the principal cause of this widespread suffering and distress, added to recently by the Egyptian military regime's destruction of tunnels on the Rafah border which helped to breach the embargo; and calls on the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to urgently meet with his counterparts in Cairo and Tel Aviv to persuade them to remove the blockade and allow in urgent humanitarian aid and also raise the plight of the people of Gaza at the United Nations General Assembly

Greed is not good, Galloway motion tells the London mayor

Following London mayor Boris Johnson's invoking of Thatcherism, George Galloway today submitted a critical parliamentary motion rebuking him and pointing to the damage the former Iron Lady had caused.

In a speech commemorating Thatcher, Johnson claimed that greed was a valuable spur to economic activity.

The motion: Greed is not good

That this House rejects the greed is good philosophy of the Mayor of London Boris Johnson as expressed in his campaign for Conservative party leadership; fundamentally disagrees that it is futile to attempt to end inequality and that division and the spirit of envy are a valuable spur to economic activity; avers that there is no place for selective schooling in education; considers that building a further London airport in the Thames estuary would be economic and ecological madness; vows that there will be no return to the kind of bitterness and class warfare destructively visited on the country by his idol Margaret Thatcher; and urges the mayor to concentrate on his present job rather setting out his stall for his party's leadership after the 2015 election. 

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Is there only one province?

Is Rawalpindi’s condemnable incident a ‘tragedy’ because it happened in Punjab? Is it a tragedy because, for once, Sunnis were killed and not Shias? 

Pakistanis have been facing tragedy almost daily for the last few decades. Violence rages in our cities, towns and villages. What started off in Karachi during the mid-1980s has now spread throughout the country. It has become routine to pick up half-blown bodies from the wreckage of a bombing, rush the haplessly injured to hospitals and witness the funeral of the dead the next day. Violence is caused in our society due to sectarian intolerance, drugs, arms peddling and various other mafia activities. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan’s (TTP’s) war against Pakistan is a major cause of violence in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Karachi. The police, rangers and other agencies’ involvement along with political parties like the PPP, PML-N, MQM and ANP fuels the fire and increases the complexity.

Israel plans to outlaw children born to foreigners

George Galloway submitted the following motion about Israel's plan to refuse to register or provide birth certificates for children born in the country to people who were not Israelis. This is in breach of the UN convention on children's right.

That this House condemns the plan by the Israeli government not to issue birth certificates for babies born to foreigners; points out that this breaches articles 7 and 8 of the United Nations convention on the rights of the child, relating to every child's right to a registered name, nationality and the preservation of identity; notes that is another flagrant and unpunished contravention of a UN convention by Israel; but nevertheless urges the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to urge his opposite number to drop this proposal and preserve the enshrined rights of children, whoever they are born to within Israel.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Lebanese Black Market: Syrian Refugees Sell Organs to Survive

In the shadow of the Syrian civil war, a growing number of refugees are surviving in Lebanon by illegally selling their own organs. But the exchange comes at a huge cost.

The young man, who called himself Raïd, wasn't doing well. He climbed into the backseat of the car, in pain, careful not to touch any corners. He was exhausted and dizzy. A large bandage looped around his stomach, caked with blood. Despite that, the 19-year-old Syrian wanted to tell his story.

Seven months ago, he fled the embattled city of Aleppo, in Syria, to Lebanon with his parents and six siblings. The family quickly ran out of money in the capital, Beirut. Raïd heard from a relative that the solution could be to sell one of his kidneys, and then he spoke to a bull-necked man, now sitting in the passenger seat, smoking and drinking a beer.

His acquaintances call the man Abu Hussein. He said he's employed by a gang that works in the human organ trade - specializing in kidneys. The group's business is booming. About one million Syrians have fled into Lebanon because of the civil war in their home country and now many don't know how they can make a living. In their distress, they sell their organs. It's a dangerous and, of course, illegal business. That's why the gang has its operations performed in shady underground clinics.

Abu Hussein's boss is known in the poor areas of Beirut as "Big Man." Fifteen months ago, Big Man gave the 26-year-old a new assignment: find organ donors. The influx of Syrian refugees from the war, Abu Hussein's boss argued, made it more likely people would be willing to sell organs.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Galloway's motions on Roma and private schools

George Galloway submitted two motions to the British parliament on Friday 15 November 2013 - in support of the Roma immigrants attacked by former Home Secretary David Blunkett, and in favour of social mobility and curbs on private schools.


Roma immigrants


That this House condemns the derogatory comments of the member for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough about Roma immigrants; agrees that describing their presence here as likely to lead to an 'explosion' is widely inaccurate and could well lead to stigmatisation, prejudice and Romaphobia; understands that these migrants have been driven to our country through poverty and prejudice; believes that they should be welcomed and notes that repeated studies have shown that immigrants contribute more to our economy than they take out 


Private schools


That this House wholeheartedly agrees with the Prime Minister that there must be much greater social mobility in British society; wonders he has appointed the number of members of his cabinet and close advisers from Eton and other private schools; notes that his government has scrapped the educational maintenance allowance, allowed private school fees to be exempt from VAT, permitted universities to massively hike their fees to the detriment of working class aspirants; and urges him to insist to his Chancellor that one significant way of tackling this problem would be to remove the charitable status of the public school sector.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Galloway calls for police inquiry into Lewis land deal

Bradford West MP George Galloway has written to West Yorkshire chief constable Mark Gilmore asking him to ensure that the police inquiry into Kings Science Academy investigates the role of Tory vice-chairman Alan Lewis over the lease of land on which the school stands.

"Lewis' name is all over the initial report of financial irregularities at Kings but has been redacted in the published version," said Galloway. "He was a patron or benefactor of some sort of the academy. His company signed a 20-year deal to lease the land he owns on which the academy is built - at the quite extraordinary sum of £296,000 a year. According to a whistleblower who has come to me and who was involved in this farrago that is many times the going rent in Bradford. And on top of the £6 million in rent Lewis's company will inherit the £10 million building; all of this public money, all of this the very definition of a scandal."

Galloway added: "There is clearly the question of whether there is a conflict of interest here. But what the public needs to know is just who at the school was involved in agreeing this land deal and why a rent way over the odds was signed-off and paid for by the taxpayer. We already know that someone at the school forged and submitted invoices in the name of Lewis' company. The police must include this highly-questionable deal in their investigation, which is why I have written to the chief constable today."

Galloway pursues free school 'fraud'

A highly-critical investigative report into apparent fraud at one of the government's flagship free school was not investigated.

George Galloway has put down dozens of questions in parliament demanding to know why the Department of Education did not ensure that the police were called in to look at the financial irregularities at Kings Science Academy in Bradford, a free school which has been visited and praised by Prime Minister David Cameron and education secretary Michael Gove.

"The report makes clear that more than £80,000 of public money was misappropriated," said Galloway, "and the department singularly failed to make this known to the police. Instead it appears that someone made a telephone call which was logged as 'information only' and what any reasonable person having read the report would conclude as fraud was not investigated."

The Bradford West MP continued: "Mind you, if the report which was made public was handed over it would have made no sense because all of the crucial information has been redacted. And the DfE will not publish a clean one. At the beginning of this I wondered if there had been incompetence or a cover-up. Now it is clear there was both."

Monday, 4 November 2013

Galloway calls for urgent action on air pollution

The Bradford West Respect MP George Galloway today called for urgent action to improve air quality in the city which has the fourth-highest number of emergency hospital admissions for asthma in the country. And he hit out at the "churlish, petty and damaging" views expressed by the Conservative and Liberal Democrat leaders on Bradford council "who clearly believe this isn't a problem".

According to campaigning group Asthma UK, which is to give evidence to parliament next month, the city is one of the worst places in the country if you are an asthma sufferer. And air pollution is the principal cause.

"It's not often I commend an initiative by the Labour-controlled council but I hope the recommendations by its Defra-funded study on air quality improvement are rubber-stamped next week," Galloway said." It's obvious that vehicle pollution, particularly from heavy goods vehicles and buses, is one of the major causes of some 853 emergency hospital admissions last year of asthma sufferers. Pollution is particularly high in parts of my constituency, like Manningham for instance.