'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."