Galloway launches campaign on factory conditions in Bangladesh

George Galloway today launched a campaign for western governments to penalise multinational companies which produce directly or buy from companies in developing countries if they don't take due precautions to ensure workers are producing in safe conditions. This follows the disaster in Bangladesh where more than 350 workers are now known to have died in a garment factory just outside Dhaka which was supplying western multinationals.

“This a terrible disaster,” said George Galloway this morning. “It has been caused by political corruption and negligence in Bangladesh and by the relentless drive by western multinationals for cheap sources of clothing. The western multinationals that bought their clothes from this factory owe compensation to the bereaved families and to the injured.

“However, quite understandably workers in Bangladesh are petrified that these foreign multinationals will take their business elsewhere to other low price, low wage economies. I've discussed this matter with people of Bangladeshi heritage in Bradford, Newham and Tower Hamlets.

“As a result I’m calling for western governments to bring in legislation which will mean western companies will face stiff penalties if they fail to take appropriate measures to ensure the workers in the factories from which they are buying are working in safe conditions. If this were the case, there would be no advantage in a company switching to lower cost producers, unless of course they were able to guarantee safer conditions for their workers.

“I also want the British government to work with the Bangladesh government to end the corruption that lies behind this disaster. Western governments and multinationals must take their share of responsibility for this disaster as must the government of Bangladesh.”

Ed Miliband and Me

Secrets are sometimes necessary in politics. So is telling the truth but not the whole truth. What is never acceptable are lies. Especially from the leader of a party still in recovery from a predecessor who may have fatally wounded it by the tower of lies he built along the path which led to a million dead Iraqis and cascading extremism around the world.

A Dream for the Ummah

Welcome to the MPACUK “A Dream for the Ummah” Conference
on Sunday 21st April 2013 10am - 4pm

This conference is for those who are courageous enough to dream and tenacious enough to fulfil their dream. For those who believe they can change the world. 

Hurry to reserve your place as limited places available.

For moe details and to reserve your place please click here

Plight of Rohingya

Rohingya, an ethnic minority community of Indo-Aryan origin from the state of Rakhine in Burma, has been living there since approximately 8th century. They have been subjected to inhumane treatment at the hands of majority Buddhist community since Burmese independence in 1948 from Britain.

In 1982 the Burmese government decided to derecognise them as citizens and treats them as illegal refugees. Since then they have been subjected to discrimination on the basis of their religion and ethnicity by Buddhist majority backed by Burmese government.

These human beings have been subjected to worse persecution by the Buddhist majority and Burmese government. So much so, that they have been described by the United Nations as “the most persecuted minorities in the world”.

Their men, women, young and old are tortured, maimed, raped, killed, and burnt alive. Their properties destroyed, they are not only displaced but deprived of their basic human right of life. Since 1948, circa 1.5 million Rohingya have been forced to flee their homes to avoid persecution at the hands of majority Buddhists.

2012 saw the escalation of subhuman treatment of this community in the face of Rakhine state riots, where whole villages have been decimated. Hundreds of houses have been razed, thousands maimed, raped and killed; 80,000 people have been displaced and the situation is getting worse by the day.

The international community is unaware of their frightful situation due to neglect on the part of our mainstream media and governments, particularly Europe and America.  The very governments that go around propagating humanity, supporting “Arab spring” in the name of freedom from tyranny and dictatorships. They wage wars against oppression and terrorism.

Yet, they don't see the human suffering; “Buddhist terrorism” against Rohingya in Burma; the modern time “Holocaust”. The world and media are criminally silent in the face of blatant violations of human rights.

I urge every responsible human being to lobby their MPs to force Britain, Europe, America and rest of the world to pressurise the Burmese government to stop the violence against Rohingya, because “It is not about religion, it is about humanity”.  

Stop the bedroom tax

We are being sold a whopper of a lie. The ConDems claim that the current wave of welfare and public service cuts are designed to get the country out of debt and the medicine, while it tastes bad, will work. So why is the public debt getting worse as a result of these cutbacks? Because reducing incomes for the poor by an enormous 38% since taking office in 2010 was always going to stop people being able to spend so create jobs in the economy.

Why are there no jobs? The banks are taking money from the government and using it to speculate in international markets rather than offering it as loans for investment. The result is that the banks get to plug the gaps in their balance sheets and reward each other with huge bonuses while the rest of us find it impossible to find sustained employment. This is particularly true of the young who are finding that the abolition of Education Maintenance Allowance and hiked tuition fees destroy their route into education but there are no jobs either.

Galloway comments on Mail on Sunday story

The Bradford West MP George Galloway today described a news story in the Mail on Sunday as, "being almost totally bereft of truth, potentially actionable and clearly motivated by malice against me. I am writing to the Metropolitan police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe today to ask, among other matters, what guidance his force gave the newspaper and whether the publication of the story potentially compromises a live investigation." 

Galloway pointed out that his parliamentary computer had not been "seized" as the newspaper alleged and, indeed, he had insisted that it was handed in to the Met police, investigating what he described as a 'dirty tricks' operation against him orchestrated by a member of his staff, Aisha Ali Khan, and a senior detective in the Met's anti-terrorism branch SO15, Afiz Khan. Both Khans have been arrested and are presently on bail on suspicion of data protection offenses and also, in his case, of abusing his position as a police officer. 

Labour joins the sinking ship

Tuesday 19 March 2013 is a date that will sit high on the wall in the Labour Party’s hall of ignominy (and a big hall it is). A few weeks ago, Cait Reilly and Jamieson Wilson won a ruling in court that their work at Poundland under the Workfare programme, again forced and unpaid work, was illegal because they were not informed that they could refuse the work.

Thousands have suffered benefit loss for refusing unpaid work under the Workfare programme so the ruling indicated that these people, among the poorest in society, were entitled to a rebate of their benefits.

The Condems were furious with the courts for permitting benefit claimants some rights and choice. Iain Duncan Smith, the sad failure of a minister at the Department of Work and Pensions, brought emergency legislation before Parliament to reverse the court decision and deny the rebate of money to the poorest. 

Workfare gets less people into work

The ConDem and Iain Duncan Smith in particular have trumpeted their desire to bring about ‘a change in culture’ by stopping ‘skiving’ from benefit claimants. Anyone who has been unemployed knows that this whole scenario is a fiction, made up by rich people to dump the blame for economic crisis and joblessness on those that are its victims. 

Their solution, the Workfare programme, brings in private companies with contracts to place claimants in work. They receive start up fees for each claimant of up to £600 but provide very poor, if any, training and support. If the claimant gets a job under their own steam in this time, the company receives a payment while the claimant receives nothing. If the claimant does not manage to find a job, the company loses nothing at all. 

Stakes rise in British society

British politics is now firmly cast upon the sea of uncertainty where ongoing economic crisis and political disaffection are leading to rapidly changing waters. The Respect Party is capable of playing a significant role in political developments in the next few years if it can reach out to construct an activist and membership base now. This was the message from discussions at the Respect Party National Council last Saturday (9 March).

Lessons from November
The November by-elections demonstrated both the possibilities and the difficulties involved in trying to articulate the call for social and political change that challenges the austerity and drive to increase inequality among the three major parties. The elections took place in areas where Respect had no effective presence prior to the campaign. The elections were called at short notice by the Labour Party, mainly for fear of Respect repeating the unprecedented victory of George Galloway in the Bradford West by-election in March 2012. Labour was able to pour resources and party workers from across the country into these elections, making it difficult for Respect to compete with limited resources.