Sunday, October 28, 2007

Respect in meltdown

This is really one of those things one has to do: post on the George Galloway/Respect fiasco. By now we all know the story (indeed some of us have been transfixed by each successive plot twist in this soap opera) power struggle, critical letters, petitions, walkouts, whips being resigned etc etc. One can't comment on this without saying that when it comes to Respect exclusives, Andy Newman over at Socialist Unity is the undisputed master of the art. That boy has some excellent sources and he has consistently delivered some cracking scoops in the last few weeks, leaving the gossipy Weekly Worker trailing in his wake. Honourable mention also to Liam McUaid for some good stories.
A few observations of my own. First, notice Councillor Rania Khan's sly imputation of sexism on the part of Councillor Abjol Miah: "his inappropriate behaviour to women councillors in the group is disgraceful," she opined. How shall we put this, the tactic of accusing political enemies of sexist behaviour is not unknown in the SWP. Secondly, notice that a lot of the names on the SWP's Respect petition are from Respect supporters, not just Respect members, inflating the petition's size in a somewhat misleading fashion. Some signatories, undoubted paid up members of Respect hail from towns at which Respect is at best an SWP auxiliary.
Respect of course, is one of the wierdest political coalitions of all time. It is noticeable that significant numbers, including senior members, of the SWP have not signed the petition, despite repeated requests in Party Notes for them to do so. Could it be that they were never keen on Respect? Are levels of cynicism about the whole project that high, or are we to believe that Comrades Harman and Smith couldn't afford the £26 joining fee?

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