A talk presented by Max Keiser
hosted by George Galloway MP
Grand Committee Room Westminster Hall, Houses of Parliament
Tuesday 20th November 7.30pm

Are western economies about to be plunged into further financial meltdown through the collapse of key currencies? Will we be facing trade wars and hyper-inflation in the foreseeable future? And what must be done to avert this potential economic and political catastrophe?

Max Keiser is a renowned commentator on the bizarre shape of the world economy and particularly its financial structure and about the politicians who preside over this chaos.

Described as “America’s most outrageous political pundit”…whose broadcasts, according to the Independent newspaper “no channel in the United States will carry, which go well beyond the benign impudence of The Daily Show”.

Come and hear his challenging views at this meeting
hosted by the MP for Bradford West, George Galloway

George Galloway and Yvonne Ridley speak out on Gaza massacre

'3 major parties complicit in Israeli terror'

'The Israeli assault on Gaza is barbaric. Women and children are being targetted and murdered. If overwhelming military force was used on any other ghetto with 1.5 million people in it, there would be a major outcry from governments across the world. Because it is an Israeli attack, our government is spineless and our loyal opposition embarrassed and embarrassing.' So said Catherine Higgins, Respect's prospective parliamentary candidate in response to the air and naval attacks on Gaza on Wednesday, 14 November.

'This war is not going to end quickly. Israel has made it clear that it intends a ground invasion to destroy a democratically elected government in Gaza. It is an overcrowded ghetto that will rise in its own defence. While the 3 major parties are complicit in Israeli terrorism, the people of Britain must show support for the Palestinians now. The only option for peace is the unconditional withdrawal of Israeli troops, aircraft and ships and the relief of the siege of Gaza. Respect wants peace.

'He can be The Croydon People's Champion'

An amazing gathering took place last night planning the launch of Lee Jasper's election campaign for Croydon North.

Activists from all over London and the South East, black and white men and women, Muslims Christians Sikhs Hindus, young and old, pledged themselves to four weeks hard work to change politics in Croydon for good.

"I had the privilege of serving in Parliament for many years with the late Bernie Grant MP - known to all as the People's Champion" said George Galloway MP, the campaign organiser.

"I believe Lee Jasper is the true heir to that accolade. He can be Croydon People's Champion" said Galloway.

"Lee stands for Justice, Peace and Equality. He stands for Respect".

Respect Yourself. Respect Croydon. Vote Lee Jasper. That was the message from the meeting. The battle for Croydon North has begun.

Speak Up for Manchester

The Respect Party will contest the Manchester Central by-election on 15 November. The party has selected Catherine Higgins, a 40 year old mother of 6 children who lives and works in Manchester. Catherine’s platform is to ask the people of Manchester to speak up rather than being a ladder for the political establishment only interested in the ‘Westminster bubble’.
Catherine is of Sierra Leonean descent and has lived in the UK for over twenty years. She is a local community advocate and political campaigner in Manchester with a strong record of helping with benefit, housing and immigration issues. She has consistently worked in the voluntary third sector and has a passion for helping improve facilities for working class areas.

She intends to stand for election on a platform of opposition to the growing inequality and degradation of our communities.
  • More social housing built rather than student residences and supermarkets.
  • Free school meals and more school places with more teachers employed.
  • A major programme of creating community facilities starting with youth centres.
  • Abolish tuition fees.
  • Restore Education Maintenance Allowance.
  • Bring the troops home from Afghanistan.
In accepting the party’s selection, Catherine explained, ‘the Human spirit is being drained as Job centre Plus has sub-contracted job seeking to private companies...who really do not show due care to their customers, hence leaving unemployed people treated like second class citizens. I have slowly watched my neighbours, friends and families lives deteriorate due to the economic climate.
‘I put myself forward because I have a great yearning for real change, not one that is scripted, dictated then abandoned but one that is practiced. George Galloway’s stunning election victory in March is a model for an election campaign that can bring real change. It is time for the same in Manchester.’

Lee Jasper is Respect's candidate in Croydon North

The former policy adviser to the London Mayor is Respect's candidate for the Croydon North by-election.

'If I could have composed the perfect candidate to fight this seat then it would be Lee Jasper,' said George Galloway, the Respect MP. 'Lee has a stellar track record in activism and community involvement. As well as being a crucial member of Ken Livingstone's team in governing London, as Director for Policing and Equalities. His record of public service is unequalled.'

'I'm delighted to be the Respect candidate,' said Lee Jasper. 'Following George's amazing victory in Bradford West I welcome the opportunity to offer the people of Croydon North a viable alternative to the tired and failed politics of the mainstream political parties. The responsibility for the economic crisis lies with banks and not the people of Croydon North and yet they are seeing their services cut and the welfare reforms are causing real hardship and acute distress.'

Jasper said that the focus of his campaign will be to speak out for the poor, the elderly, the vulnerable, highlight and challenge the shared consensus on cuts and the austerity agenda, supported by Conservatives, Lib Dems and Labour. 'There has to be a strong argument in defence of the unemployed and the working poor and in favour of creating jobs and opportunities. We need fresh and dynamic approach to reducing crime, supporting the victims of the riots in their quest for compensation and tackling the strained relations between young people and the police are just some of our priorities.

'I will be a minority of those articulating that there is another way. I will be arguing against the austerity programme and for investment in public services and jobs. I am looking forward to taking these argument to the voters of Croydon North.'

The Croydon North by-election is likely to take place on 29 November

London Met crisis attacks all students

by Mary Robertson

The absurdity of the government’s xenophobic immigration policy was thrown into sharp relief yesterday as the UK Border Agency (UKBA) revoked London Metropolitan University’s right to authorise visas, effectively meaning that London Met can no longer accept international students. The announcement coincided with the release of figures showing immigration levels well above the government’s arbitrary and irrational 100,000 per year target. It is at best a desperate attempt to hit that target, irrespective of its pernicious consequences for higher education. At worst, it is a continuation of the government’s efforts that began in winter 2010 to systematically denigrate UK higher education.
The effects of UKBA’s decision will be most cruelly felt by those international students already half-way through their degree at London Met who, despite having already shelled out tens of thousands of pounds in tuition fees, are now unable to finish the courses they started. Not content with destroying the futures of young people in Britain, it would seem, the government is now applying itself to shattering those of young people from abroad. One student told the Guardian yesterday that his father in Nigeria had had a heart attack on hearing that his son will not be able to finish his degree.

The decision will also have more far-reaching but no less destructive consequences on other students. UK universities are increasingly dependent on overseas tuition fees (much higher than those for domestic students) to make ends meet. By sending a clear message to international students that they are not welcome here, UKBA’s decision is likely to deter future international students coming to the UK and put this important source of funding in jeopardy.

It is absurd that international students, who come to the UK temporarily - and are of great economic benefit to the British economy - are included in immigration figures. But as worrying is the fact that the effects of this absurd policy will not be equally felt.

Unlike Britain’s elite Russell group universities, whose visa-granting rights have not been put into question, London Met caters to local students from poorer and ethnic minority backgrounds. Two thirds of its students come from local communities, three fifths are non-white, and 96% come from the state sector. Last year overseas student fees accounted for 15% of London Met’s income and in interviews yesterday, the Chancellor of London Met was unable to rule out the possibility of closure as a result of UKBA’s decision.

The London Met decision therefore shows the government’s xenophobic and cynically opportunistic attempts to cut headline immigration figures dovetailing with its willingness (even wilfulness) to see non-elite higher education institutions fail. It is an attack both on international students and on students here whose life chances have been dramatically improved through the existence of institutions like London Met.

The tragic irony is that in the last year London Met has enthusiastically embraced the government’s vision for a marketised higher education system by outsourcing its services and slashing courses while cutting fees. That this compliance has only made London Met’s future more vulnerable is a stark reminder of why we need a properly funded education system - one that meets the needs of all young people, whether they are already here or are wishing to come from abroad.

Another squalid housing rip off

The ConDem government has released a report on the housing shortage in the UK today. The Montague report advocates the relaxing of planning restrictions and permission, allowing private investors to build on public land, the relaxation of affordable housing criteria and a voluntary code for what constitutes a reasonably constructed home. It represents a sick joke to the 2 million families that cannot find permanent accommodation in the UK at present.

There is a major housing crisis developing in Britain that is not being addressed by the ConDem government or the Labour Party in opposition. The end of the property boom and cheap mortgages has left the vast majority of people unable to afford to buy. Deposits alone are likely to cost £50,000 in most parts of the country. Private rents are soaring as a result with the average now being £722 per month, far too high for most families to even consider saving towards a deposit. The myth of the aspirant working class that can benefit from a ‘property owning democracy’ has been evicted.

Another whopper from the energy monopolies

The energy giant SSE has started another round of fuel prices rises in the UK. It claims that it cannot 'absorb' costs any more so must increase gas and electricity prices by 9% from 15 October. This is despite the wholesale price of gas and electricity power falling in the first half of 2012. In the US, the fall has been between 38-45% while it has been up to 13% in Europe.

Further, these rises are not the first that have come in well above the inflation rate. Gas prices were increased by SSE by 9.4% in December 2010; in September 2011, it increased electricity prices by 11% and gas by 18%. After being forced to cap its prices because of the public outcry, it has now returned to its profiteering pattern. 

The energy market is rigged by the big companies which are profiteering. SSE reported a 2% rise in profits to £1.33 billion yet pretends that it cannot absorb cost rises that do not exist. Ian Marchand, its Chief Executive, was paid £1.1 million in the last year.The regulator, Ofgem has been investigating alleged attempts by the energy companies (including SSE) to overload the national grid with electricity, switch off power plants and wind farms then claim compensation from the taxpayer totalling over £600 million in the last five years. A scam.

Meanwhile, working class people continue to struggle with pay failing to keep up with inflation. People's living standards are collapsing even before the capping of housing benefit. The astronomical increases in energy costs are creating fuel poverty across the country as people can no longer afford to put electricity or gas on for more than a few hours per day. It will lead directly to more illness and death among the elderly. It is callous profiteering that has to be stopped.

Richard Lloyd, of the consumers' association Which?, told the BBC that "we can't go through another winter with people worrying about their energy bills, the government and the regulator must reform our broken energy market."

There certainly needs to be reform and urgently. These thieves represent everything that is wrong with this society. We have reached the point where most people find their bills unsustainable due to private monopolies being allowed to fleece us. It is another example, alongside the railways and banks, of how the private sector is not good for us. Asil Nadir has been prosecuted for stealing from his companies 25 years ago yet the present day robber barons are being allowed to plunder the UK with impunity. We need to stop this and put them behind bars

Will benefit cuts help patients? No.

by Dr Kay Phillips, a GP in Manchester.
David Cameron's recent pronouncements about ending the ‘something for nothing' culture around welfare made me shudder in horror. He talked about working-age people being ‘encouraged to sit at home' on benefits, and the need to end this ‘culture of entitlement'.

This amounts to nothing more than scapegoating the poorest in our country and a strategy of stoking resentment between the poor and the very poor. I've always been proud of the welfare state and thought of it as being the bedrock of decent society in Britain.

When travelling around other parts of the world you appreciate the fact that we have a safety net, whereby the poorest and most vulnerable are looked after. We have a right to medical care, education and enough money to be able to eat and feed our families. None of us know whether one day we may fall on hard times and need the welfare state to be there for us.

Our NHS is our common wealth

The notion of madness is widely understood as a health condition that requires treatment. Market madness is not. If we are to save the National Health Service, there must be treatment for this appalling condition that now afflicts our hospitals and GP surgeries.

In South London, a hospital trust is collapsing due to its debts. Fifty more hospital trusts around the country are in a similar position. Why? Because both Labour and Conservative governments insisted on cooking the books to make it look like they were investing in our healthcare. They did this by giving private companies very lucrative contracts to build and maintain hospitals. These contracts allowed these companies to charges huge interest rates on loans that they gave to allow the NHS to build hospitals. Because these loans would need to be paid off over 25-30 years in most cases, the cost would be more than ten times the cost of direct government investment to build a hospital and would entail a very large amount of profit for the private financers. This policy was called the Private Finance Initiative (PFI). It is a disaster for the NHS and government finances.

The capital cost of rebuilding Calderdale Royal Hospital in Yorkshire is £64.6m but the scheme will end up costing Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust a total of £773.2m. Building the new Walsgrave district general hospital in Coventry will jump from an initial £379m to an eventual £4bn.

Current estimates of the final cost of the PFI programme in health and education are £301billion in repayments. These repayments do not come from the idiotic politicians obsessed with the notion that the private sector does things better (take a look at the mess in the banking system) who organized and negotiated these awful contracts. They do not come from the politicians and private financiers who cheerlead this private money making scheme at the expense of our health. It comes from the taxpayer who now has huge governmental debt built in for the next 30 years when all the investment could have come at less than a tenth of the cost.

The Labour government moved to creating an internal market in the NHS by launching the Foundation hospitals and trusts. The layer of managers and accountants that Margaret Thatcher brought into the NHS swelled in this internal market. Now the logic of a market has hit home as some will be wealthy while others collapse. The problem is that this means hospitals closing, poorer standards of care, less staff being paid lower wages and more selective healthcare with those most in need being turned away.

What is the solution of the ConDems? To increase the market in healthcare by getting GPs involved and letting private companies take over parts of the health service. When a cure doesn’t work, just do it more and more while looking the other way and hoping no one blames you. Since sliding into government, the ConDems have quietly added 39 new PFI contracts and £5.36billion to the debt. It has been quiet because both parties attacked Labour for going for PFI.

The National Health Service is one of the greatest prides of British social life. It is the most wonderful gain for working people in the last hundred years. It is now in real danger from the profit takers and the politicians who do their bidding. It must be stopped.

These contracts should be scrapped and replaced with direct government investment in health care. If effective taxes were levied against the financial sector and the private hospitals that make people pay for health care, the government could afford this investment. If the layer of managers and accountants were removed from the NHS, it would free significant resources for health. If the false market was removed, health care could be more organized and effective.

This country needs more nurses, more hospitals and clinics and less debt so why are the politicians helping the corporate looters to destroy our NHS. It is too important to lose and an alternative strategy is urgently needed.


Bradford West MP George Galloway met the Secretary of State Michael
Gove today (Thursday) to discuss the crisis in Bradford secondary education,
where the GCSE results are among the worst in the country.

'It was an extremely productive meeting,' said Galloway. 'Both of us
agreed that the London Challenge had raised standards in
London schools. I suggested a similar approach, a Bradford Challenge.'

The London Challenge school improvement programme was established in
2003 to improve outcomes in low-performing secondary schools in the
capital. The programme uses independent, experienced education
experts, known as London Challenge advisers, to identify need and
broker support for under-performing schools. The advisers are supported
by a small administrative team based in the Department for Education
(DfE). The cost of the support and the services brokered comes
directly from the DfE and is spent as the adviser directs. Many of
these advisers are also National or Local Leaders of Education.

The Secretary of State accepted Galloway’s invitation to come to
Bradford in the autumn, bringing with him educationalists who had been
at the heart of the London Challenge project. They will meet with,
discuss and have lunch with community groups and others on a
fact-finding visit. Following that visit, the Secretary of State and
George Galloway will look forward to receiving proposals for a pilot

Anatomy of a Tory U-turn

The government, after repeatedly pledging it wouldn't do, performed another spectacular U-turn after pressure from a powerful group of MPs including George Galloway.

Chancellor George Osborne announced today that the proposed 3p rise in fuel duty, trailed in the 'omnishambles' budget, was to be scrapped. 'He clearly realised that he couldn't win in the House in the debate next week and rather than face defeat, caved in. It's great news for motorists and the transport industry and another massive failure by his government which is now a total laughing stock,' George Galloway said.

George Galloway was a sponsor of an amendment which would have have been debated next week and, if carried, would have ruled out the increase. 'It was clear that the Cameron government would face a massive defeat in the Commons and that our amendment would have won the day. This is yet another reverse in policy by a befuddled and completely out of touch government. It's another fine mess George Osborne has got his boss into. How long can this incompetent remain in power before the men in grey suits visit him with the resignation letter to sign?'

Who feels 'entitled', posh boy? Cameron's welfare witch hunt

David Cameron spoke yesterday of wishing to end a ‘culture of entitlement’ on welfare benefits. He did so with a straight face just as he managed to claim that Jimmy Carr’s tax affairs were ‘morally wrong’ without a cheeky wink or raised eyebrow.

The utter hypocrisy of this Tory government (with a Liberal Democrat poodle yapping at its side) plumbs new depths every day. The Prime Minister’s family made its fortune from the use of tax havens. Over half of the Conservative Party’s donors operate offshore from the UK to avoid paying tax. They are the richest of the rich in this society yet do not wish to contribute to helping the society to function for the poor as well. As Gideon Osborne admitted ‘some of the very wealthiest people in the country have organised their tax affairs... so that they were regularly paying virtually no income tax.’ Cameron himself is worth over £30 million yet he claimed expenses from Parliament on his mortgage.

If there is a ‘culture of entitlement’ in Britain, it is evident among the richest. After all, how many large banks have trumpeted tax avoidance schemes yet ask for public bail outs when their gambling on the financial markets went wrong?

Why doctors are taking industrial action to defend their pensions on 21st June

Manchester GP, Dr kay Phillips explains why thousands of doctors like her will be taking action to defend their pensions on 21st June

UK Uncut - The missing billions

MPs act over Thomas Cook closure

Bradford MPs George Galloway and Gerry Sutcliffe today met with the national leader of the trade union representing the Thomas Cook employees at the Houses of Parliament on Tuesday 19.
The MPs pledged their full support to the union and its general secretary Manuel Cortes in their fight to save more than 500 jobs in Bradford city centre.
The MPs are commissioning an impact assessment from Bradford University and are asking the chief executive of Thomas Cook to meet them urgently so that the building 'does not become another shrink-wrapped mausoleum in the city centre,' Galloway said.
The union is still involved in the 90-day consultation process with the Cook management, with the jobs slated to go next March.
Galloway added, 'Gerry and I are determined to do everything we possibly can to save these crucial jobs.'

Bradford gets Respect

The Respect Party Conference takes place this Saturday, 16 June in Bradford, the scene of Respect's recent by-election and council election successes. The venue is the magnificent Connaught Rooms, Manningham Lane, Bradford, BD1 3EA.

The conference will discuss the way forward for progressive politics that challenge the three major parties which all say the same things. It will also include an afternoon session on the world in chaos, with a specific focus on the further attempts to foment war in the Middle East and the huge crisis in Europe.
Starting with registration at 10am, the opening address will be delivered by Salma Yaqoob, Respect's outstanding Leader followed by George Galloway, Respect MP for Bradford West who will introduce the session on the Bradford Spring and beyond. The morning will end with breakout sessions on building branches and student groups for Respect.

The afternoon session on the world in chaos will be introduced by Kevin Ovenden, Respect National Council member and Director of Viva Palestina. This will be followed by elections and some closing remarks.

Members and non-members are welcome (though only members will have voting rights). Registration can be booked on this website or at the desk at the entrance to the conference. It costs £5 to register as a member.


Reacting to the news that Thomas Cook is to close its Bradford operations centre and throw 468 people on the dole, Bradford West MP George Galloway accused the company of a 'heartless disregard' of the people and families involved.

'Once more we see a company put profit before people. There has been no consultation, just P45s all round. It's disgraceful,' the MP said. He called on the company, 'even at this late stage', to get round the table with local MPs, politicians and unions to save the jobs.

'Like any other company Cook has suffered through this shameful government's austerity programme. The economy needs growth, not retraction like this,' he continued. He pointed out that Bradford West had suffered the highest year-on-year increase of any of the country's 650 constituencies - almost 30% - and that more than one-in-five families were in fuel poverty. 'We need urgent action from the government to save these jobs and to grow the economy rather than stifle it. I am challenging David Cameron and George Osborne, the real people ultimately responsible for this tragedy, to come here to face the people and tell them why their job losses - and all the others suffered in the last year - are helping build the economy.'

Olympics, Anybody Got Tickets?

The LondonOlympics 2012 is a once-in-a-lifetime event. So why, asks Mark Perryman, have so few of us got tickets?
With the Jubilee over and the England football team unlikely to provide much of a lasting distraction at the Euros, the 50-day countdown to the London Olympics is now entering serious overdrive.
Right from the start of the bidding competition back in 2005, hosting a ‘home’ Olympics was sold to the British public as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This was no idle boast: Along with football’s World Cup (which England can’t even think of hosting till at least 2026) the Olympics is undoubtedly the biggest show on earth. Spread across 26 different sports and with over 200 countries competing, its reach and appeal is enormous.
The sales pitch of the Olympic organisers was explicit: This was an opportunity to be there while history was being made, to witness something unforgettable first-hand, to bring the memories of past Games watched on TV to vivid life. The Games organisers did little or nothing to dampen expectation that tickets for the Games would there for the taking.

John Carlos - the whole nine yards

A diamond job: the inhumanity of Workfare

Something deeply disturbing occurred on the river Thames in London over the weekend. While thousands had their parade rained upon as a flotilla of boats celebrated the Queen’s diamond jubilee, the scale of the attack on the poor in this society became more obvious.

To steward the event, a large team of unemployed men and women were bussed in from the South West of England by Close Protection UK . The company initially told the team that they would be paid for two days work during the weekend and bank holiday. Upon arrival in the middle of the night in London, the company reneged upon this offer. Thirty received no money at all while fifty more, on ‘apprenticeships’ received £2.80 per hour. The stewards were told to camp on the concrete under London Bridge as the rain poured.

When they woke, they were given clothes for the stewarding but nowhere to change. There were not even toilet facilities. After the parade, the group were taken by tube to Essex to pitch their tents in the dark. Another uncomfortable, cold and rainy night followed. Close Protection UK laughably claimed that this was part of the training for an NVQ in ‘spectator safety’ and, if the group did this work for nothing, they would be considered for the paid jobs at the Olympics. The question is how much are the contracts to provide safety at the parade and the Olympics worth to the company? Did the company’s bid include not paying staff and making them sleep rough in the streets?

While huge amounts of money are lavished on the diamond jubilee for a monarch who is paid by the taxpayer yet has wealth in excess of £300 million, the poorest are being reduced to Dickensian workhouse conditions. While enormous sums of money are frittered away for the Olympics, slave labour is being introduced for those without work. A government Work Programme has shown its true colours.

The Respect Party believes:
  • The Close Protection UK contracts for the jubilee celebrations and the Olympics should be made public immediately.
  • The group of unemployed people subjected to this abuse should be paid the going rate for manual labour from the point of pickup until return home and they should be given compensation by the company and the government for the indignity of what they suffered.
  • The government must declare how much it knew about this abuse and whether there are any conflicts of interest in relation to this company.
  • Close Protection UK should removed from all government contracts forthwith.
  • All government workfare and Work programmes should be immediately investigated.

The number of poor people in Bed and Breakfast accommodation has tripled; the number of people reduced to the charity of food banks has rocketed; jobs, wages and services are being slashed while contracts are awarded to private sector outfits that treat people in this disgraceful and inhumane way.

This is not the celebration of the pride of Britain, it is the calculated and brutal destruction of all that prevented widespread poverty. This is the scandal of government Work Programmes, for which the government should be put out of work. Our hope lies in resisting these attacks on our living standards and breaking the political orthodoxy that says austerity for the poor and bailouts for the rich.

It's the taking part...

According to the organizers, encouraging participation in sport is one of the main benefits of the London 2012 Olympics. Mark Perryman examines the evidence.

The Olympic motto “ The most important thing is not winning but taking part” represents some of the finest ideals not only of Olympism but of any sporting event aspiring to be democratic, participative and accessible. After this weekend’s Jubilee hoopla fades away, the coming summer of sport - Euro 2012, a serious British challenger to win the Tour de France, Wimbledon fortnight, overseas rugby tours to the southern hemisphere, a domestic test match series and the first, and last, home Olympics for most of our lifetimes - will no doubt test such sentiments to the full. A nation that invented many of the world’s team sports has, perhaps forgivably, some difficulty in coping with repeated defeats by the nations to which it exported them. Add in a lengthy martial and imperial tradition, and CLR James’ famous maxim ‘What do they know of cricket who only cricket know’ can be seen as essential to understanding why the British are not the world’s best losers.

'Wastefield' hole occupied in Bradford

Concerned residents of Bradford have started an occupation of the Westfield Hole in Bradford city centre this afternoon. It seems that a number of residents have decided to say enough is enough. Occupy Westfield are, we understand, determined to occupy the Westfield hole until Westfield go ahead with the centre they promised to build more than eight years ago, or the council takes the site back and does something constructive with it.
George Galloway was alerted to the occupation during the John Carlos meeting in Bradford and then went to the site to visit the Occupation and to hear the demands in person.

The Real Deal with George Galloway

Seamus Milne of the Guardian talks to George about the crisis in Greece and across the Euro-zone.

Film maker Ken Loach backs Respect's Paulette North for Bristol Mayor

Internationally renowned local filmmaker Ken Loach has given his full backing to Paulette North the Respect Party's candidate for the forthcoming Bristol mayoral election.

Ken Loach whose latest film is up for yet another prestigious award and whose other films include Kes, Looking for Eric and The Wind that Shakes the Barley, had this to say about why he backs Paulette North, "I am pleased to support Paulette. She would work for the ordinary people of Bristol. She would defend them against the vested interests of big business and central government. She would be the 'people's Mayor'!"

Paulette North said of the support of Mr Loach. " I am delighted that someone whose films are so inspirational, speaks so highly of me. But most of all it's an endorsement of the values and principles we both share".

Paulette North has made it clear about what she believes would make Bristol a better and fairer City, preferring straight talking to the usual bland vagueness of other politicians.

She has stated: "It is a disgrace that Bristol can be both so prosperous yet have some of the most deprived areas in the country.

Bristol should aspire to be a City of full employment. We can start by bringing all the empty housing stock back up to a living standard. It is wrong that we have thousands of empty houses whilst we have people on the waiting list and others are homeless. And at the same time there are unemployed construction workers, bricklayers, plumbers and electricians. That's ridiculous people in work pay taxes and will spend their money in the stores and shops in Bristol, making it right for everyone.

The council should bring work back 'in house' using direct labour with apprenticeships at proper rates of pay. Top quality support must be provided by the council to our elders. The cuts made in community funding must be restored. The Educational Maintenance Allowance [EMA] must be restored to give hope to the young people of Bristol. Schools should be under council control.

Privatised bus and rail transport has been a disaster - high fares, overcrowded trains and inadequate service. They need to be under the control of the council. Council tax should be replaced by a local income tax based on people's ability to pay and big business should be contributing much more."

Jerry Hicks Bristol Respect convenor said "Paulette [North] is unique in that she would not take any six figure salary but instead only accept the average working wage as Mayor. She is determined not to burden council tax payers with the costs of another layer of bureaucracy and would rely on existing council staff to support the work of the Mayor".

Respect and Labour debate - What happened in Bradford?

Next stop for the Respect 'spring' - Manchester Central

Leading Tory joins Respect in Bradford

George Galloway last Saturday welcomed the latest recruit to Respect, Qurban Malik. Mr Malik has been an active Conservative for many years and was deputy chairman of the Bradford Conservative Party. He stood for the Tories in Manningham ward in the recent local elections.

"The old parties have failed Bradford," said Mr Malik. "Respect has shown it has huge support in Bradford city from an electorate desperate for change and desperate for a positive vision for Bradford's future."

George Galloway welcomed Mr Malik to the Respect Party just before the party's national council meeting, held in Bradford for the first time. "We are attracting support from all of the major parties and from that majority in the country which is increasingly saying none of the above. Mr Malik gave me invaluable personal support in the by-election. I am delighted that a man of very considerable standing has now decided to do everything can to build the Respect Party here in Bradford."

Respect is surely due

George Galloway writes:
WE fairly kicked backsides last week.

In just over 50 days, Respect has arrived in ­Bradford, won a landslide parliamentary by-election victory, won five rock-solid seats on the city council, gutted the leader, come second in three other seats and held the balance of power on that council.

A group of extremist Muslims, led by Anjem Choudary, the poppy burner, were burning green and red Respect rosettes in Bradford, claiming that democracy is forbidden for Muslims and telling me to go home - the last time that was shouted at me was in Airdrie.

The same day the Liberal Democrats were declaring we were the extremists.

In fact, we are the antidote to these extremists. We have shown democracy is not only not forbidden, but that it can work, that a people united cannot easily be defeated.

While they sow ­separatism, isolation, even violence, we seek the fruits of those universal values - justice, equality, peace and amity between the people and the faiths. You decide.

Respect takes five council seats in Bradford

Respect candidates have won five seats on Bradford City Council in the process defeating the leader of the Labour group Ian Greenwood.

Respect won in Manningham (57.5%), City (56.1%), Bradford Moor (42.1%), Heaton (39.6%) and Little Horton (47.8%).

Further details and analysis will be published later. In the meantime congratulations to all our candidates for the fantastic campaign.

Congratulations also to independent candidate Michael Lavalette who won in Preston Town Centre ward.


'David Cameron and his Bullingdon Club buddy Gideon Osborne cannot blame Europe for Britain's first double-dip recession since the 1970s,' said George Galloway today, while campaigning in Bradford for the local elections.

'It is the savage cuts to public spending that have sent us back into this disastrous recession. It is ABC that if the private sector isn't investing and the taxpayer is cutting consumption for fear of unemployment, slashing government spending will drive the economy down. That's what I predicted and it's exactly what has happened.

'The government is now going to make things even worse in Bradford. They have singled out Bradford council for some of the worst cuts in the region and they now want to introduce regional pay in the public sector which is code for pay cuts.

'There are easy ways for the government to cut the deficit if this is the problem they claim it is. We should bring all our troops home from foreign wars, scrap the replacement of Trident and we could close the tax loopholes which allow £100 billion in taxes to be avoided and evaded every year. If we did those three things, we would be quids in with no deficit."

Murdoch's rotting politics

The Murdoch Empire is the symbol of the rottenness of our political system. It used its power and huge share of the media market to wield political influence and shape government policy. The admissions at the Leveson inquiry this week demonstrate how much the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats jump to the tune of the Murdochs. Christmas Dinner with Cameron, private jets to fly him to meetings with Murdoch, Jeremy Hunt and his staff liaising with Murdoch on a daily basis when it was seeking to make a huge amount of money from the BSkyB bid.
The Murdoch scandal goes all the way through the British political establishment. From the revelation of News International supported hackers deleting voicemail messages on missing schoolgirl Milly Dowler’s phone, the influence wielded at the London Metropolitan Police with leaks and people hired that were pro-News International to the leaking of ministerial statements on the BSkyB bid with the request that the Murdochs help rewrite and counter opposition arguments. This is a catalogue of the disgrace of the political and state elite.

Gideon's economic disaster zone

Britain is suffering a double dip recession for the first time since 1975. Yesterday’s output figures show that the UK economy is nowhere near recovering from the credit crisis that started in 2007.

What does a ‘double dip’ recession mean? In jargon, it means that in six of the eight quarters (each year is split into quarters) since the ConDem coalition took office, the British economy has been shrinking. When Gideon Osborne, the 'arrogant posh boy' Chancellor, took office, the economy was growing by 1.1% per year. Once he started the drums of ‘austerity’, cutting public services to keep the rich in the City happy, that growth quickly turned negative.

In reality, a ‘double dip’ recession means that the charity UK Foodbank, which provides food parcels to people unable to pay for themselves, doubled the number of people who it helped last year. It is opening 2 new foodbanks every week at the moment. For the last six years, wages have fallen behind price rises and the cuts in benefits have made the suffering worse. If people have less money to spend, then less will be bought in shops so the service sector (a whopping 75% of the British economy) is stuck in recession.

Pass the Poorest

The madness and cruelty at the heart of ConDem austerity policies has been exposed again. The London Borough of Newham in East London, one of the poorest areas in the UK, has a housing waiting list of over 28,000 people. Last year, because of ConDem local government grant cuts, it made £100 million of cuts in services. These cuts are having a terrible effect on some of society’s poorest but more is to come.

The ConDem housing benefit cap has placed further pressure on the council budget as private market rents are above the cap in Newham partly due to the coming Olympic games in the area. This means that the council will lose money each time it places a family on the waiting list in a London house or flat. This is not an incentive to help London’s homeless and in need. Capping the private rental charges makes more sense but goes against 'market knows best' mantras that get more hollow by the day.

Tax is for little people

Britain’s tax-dodging millionaires were officially exposed when new Treasury figures revealed that many are paying a lower rate of income tax than many low-waged cleaners.

The figures, which come as no surprise to tax justice campaigners, show almost one in 10 people earning more than £10 million a year are paying less than the 20% basic rate of income tax.

The Treasury figures also showed that 6% of £10 million-plus earners paid less than 10% in tax and another 3% came in below the basic rate. Fewer than three-quarters (72%) paid more than the higher rate of 40%.

A Treasury spokesperson admitted: “There are currently millionaires paying a lower tax rate than ordinary taxpayers.”

The figures relate to the 575,600 individuals in the UK who earn at least £100,000, with 10,600 of these each earning more than £1 million.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "These are truly shocking figures. For too many of Britain’s super-rich, tax is something for the little people.

"Unfortunately the government is making the mistake of trying to deal with tax reform in a piecemeal way — one day rewarding the very wealthy with a cut in their tax rate, the next trying to unpick their allowances that benefit charitable institutions."

The hatred and fear that stalks Europe

The trial of Anders Breivik in Norway this week has revealed the dangers of resurgent fascism across Europe. His own testimony has shown that he hates the multicultural society in which different communities live together and work together and targets immigration as a cause. He hates Islam, viewing it as a threat to his idea of ‘civilization’, which obviously involves murdering innocent people. Anders Breivik bombed government buildings in Oslo killing 8 then massacred 69 people on the island of Ut√łya, mostly teenagers attending a summer camp.

The poison of his ideas was matched by his deeds, revealing the problem with allowing fascists to air their racism. When they are allowed to speak and organize, it gives them confidence to attack, terrorize and kill. The trial of Anders Breivik illustrates that the main threat of terrorism comes from the far-right fundamentalists.

"The pull of Galloway" - George talks to The House magazine

George Galloway is perhaps the most experienced ‘newbie’ MP you’ll ever meet. As he walks through Westminster Hall, he urges guests not to step on the plaque to ‘Braveheart’ William Wallace. On the way to the Central Lobby, he points to the statue of Charles James Fox, his favourite parliamentarian (a fellow radical, anti-imperialist with a colourful private life). Up the steps to the Committee Corridor, he identifies the spot where Spencer Perceval was shot dead. And, adding a bit of 20th century history, he even recalls the site where John Reid once threw a punch at him during a row over the first Gulf War.

Like a London cabby showing off his (pre-SatNav era) Knowledge, the newly elected Member for Bradford West certainly knows the nooks and crannies of the Palace of Westminster. He may have a New York radio show, a TV programme in the Middle East, a column in the Daily Record and a new fanbase in West Yorkshire, but the Respect Party MP can’t resist the lure of the House of Commons.

Why people don’t believe main stream politicians

Have you heard the one about the Chancellor, the former Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition.

You couldn’t make it up!

Last week I was shocked to learn that: the Chancellor, George Osborne didn’t know that lots of rich people actually avoid paying tax. Yea right!

That was closely followed by former Prime Minister, Tony Blair had no recollection of any rendition flights to Libya in 2004. Blimey what is he like eh!

By the end of the week the Labour and official opposition leader, Ed Miliband had skilfully avoided any lessons from the Bradford West bye-election humiliation. Failing completely to ‘get the message’ that Labour had lost an ultra safe seat to a party that actively ‘opposes’ Austerity, War and Privatisation.

And the main stream or more appropriately the lame stream parties wonder why people don’t believe them!

Finally, I believe that trade unions should stop funding him [Miliband] and all the other Labour MP’s and Councils that continually refuse to support trade union policies.

Very eloquently written by Jerry Hicks of Unite the union.

The Bradford Spring: A stunning election victory for the people of Bradford West

This Thursday, 29th March, the people of Bradford West sent a clear message to the leaders of Labour, the Liberals and the Tories: "You can no longer take our votes for granted."

George won 18,341 votes beating Labour by over 10,000 votes.

In a stunning by-election victory, won over less than three short weeks, Respect's George Galloway has shaken up the political 'establishment.' Labour's is vote down, the Tory is vote down and the Lib-Dems are reduced to the fringe. Surely the austerity agenda of the Con-Dem Coalition or the 'austerity-lite' of New Labour fails utterly to address the concerns of everyday people.

The Respect Party intends to take George's victory further in the local elections in May - Bradford deserves Respect in the council as well as at Westminster.

You can help us by joining the Respect Party today.

George Galloway, Respect: 18,341 (55.9%)
Imran Hussain, Labour: 8,201 (25%)
Jackie Whiteley, Conservative: 2,746 (8.4%)
Jeanette Sunderland, Lib Dem: 1,505 (4.6%)
Other: 2,021 (6.2%)
Turnout: 50.8%

Majority: 10,140

Time to go, and end this disaster

The occupation of Afghanistan stands on the brink of disaster. It's time to get out.

That was the response of George Galloway to the latest grim news from Afghanistan - the shooting dead of 16 civilians, nine of them children, in a nighttime killing spree by a US soldier. That follows the deaths last week of six British soldiers from Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cheshire, and widespread protests and killings last month at news that US forces had burned copies of the Koran at Bagram airbase.

"We now stand at a immensely dangerous tipping point," says Galloway, who opposed the Afghan adventure from the beginning and is taking that message to the voters of Bradford West, where he is a candidate in this month's by-election.

"We were told over a decade ago that this would all be over by Christmas. But 11 Christamases have come and gone and the killings are soaring - Afghans, British, Americans and others. We were told that all this was necessary because there was no chance of talks and negotiations. But the US is talking now with the Taliban, who have opened an office in Qatar not far from the American Centcom headquarters from which this war and the invasion of Iraq were launched.

"So what can the politicians who led us into this - from all three establishment parties - say to the grieving relatives in the unemployment blackspots of Britain or the devastated villages of Afghanistan? No good purpose can possibly be served by any longer fighting this losing occupation. This is now about face-saving for those who blundered us into this war, just as they did into the catastrophe of Iraq.

"And time is of the essence. The news that a US staff sergeant, who served three tours of duty in Iraq, has run amok is spreading through every village and town in Afghanistan. Tragically, we must expect even more dogged and deadly reactions from Afghans who have made it so clear that they want an immediate end to the occupation of their country.

"How many more must die on both sides? Far worse is to come if the British government does not change course and, like so many other European countries, pull our troops out now. Instead, David Cameron is beating the drum of war against Iran. But Iranian influenced forces in the west of Afghanistan have so far held back from outright fighting. All that will change if Iran is attacked. And the people who will pay the price will be Afghans and ordinary British soldiers who thanks to our leaders now face enormous hostility in the hottest of hot spots in Afghanistan which they were plunged into as part of the US surge.

"It is time to end this, to announce the swiftest possible withdrawal and to close this chapter of 10 years of catastrophic foreign policy, begun under Tony Blair and continued under Cameron and Clegg. If the British government do not change course, outright disaster beckons - and all the crocodile tears in the world will not wash away their responsibility for it."


Let’s look at the unemployment figures ahead of the announcement of latest figures by the Office for National Statistics. The first quarter of 2012 is likely to see the prospects for UK jobs take a significant hit.

This is because a new report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development has shown that the three-month period is set to be the most difficult in the employment sector since the economic downturn.

According to the study, an increasing number of businesses will be looking to get rid of UK jobs - which could lead to unemployment figures totaling 2.85 million by year-end.

It was demonstrated that the difference in numbers between employers planning on taking new staff and the amount set to let workers go is currently at its highest since 2009.

Gerwyn Davies, public policy adviser at the CIPD said: "This will exert yet more pressure on a jobs market that is buckling under the strains of contractions in economic growth."

The jobless total increased to 2.68 million last month and is expected to rise again when the figures are announced on Wednesday. Surely the figures will give us the false impression of unemployment because they will only take into consideration the people who are out of work.

However according to the TUC study, the actual number of unemployed people in the UK could be 6.3 million, the highest since early 1990s.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "The headline unemployment figures are bad enough, but the true scale of joblessness is even worse. Over six million people are either out of work or under-employed. Tackling this crisis should be the Government's number one priority.”

"Our jobs crisis is not confined to those out of work. Nearly two million people are being forced to take low-paid, insecure, short hours jobs because of the lack of proper full-time employment. This means people are taking home much less pay, which is putting a real strain on family budgets.”

"When ministers say there are plenty of jobs out there, they are ignoring the sheer numbers of people looking for work, as well as the suitability and location of the jobs available. Rather than seek to blame unemployed people for being out of work, the Government should start helping them by putting proper resources into employment schemes."