George Galloway Victory in the U.K. Reflects the Rout of the Ruling Class

Well-known anti-war militant George Galloway, of the small Workers Party of Great Britain, won a landslide victory Feb. 29 in a special parliamentary by-election to represent the town of Rochdale. He had made stopping U.K. support for Israel’s genocide in Gaza the front-edge plank in his campaign, and he came in with some 40% of the vote, nearly double the score of the second runner-up.

This is for Gaza,” Galloway declared in his victory speech. “You will pay a high price for the role that you have played in enabling, encouraging and covering for the catastrophe presently going on in occupied Gaza, in the Gaza Strip,” he warned Keith Starmer, the head of the Labour Party. “This is going to spark a landslide, a shifting of the tectonic plates in scores of parliamentary constituencies, beginning here in the north-west” and then around the country, he stated confidently. Galloway had been a longtime Labour Party leader until he was kicked out in 2003 after criticizing then-Prime Minister Tony Blair for his role in the fraudulent Iraq War.

Indeed, his victory was a shock for both leading parties, Labour and Conservative, and follows huge demonstrations that have been held throughout the U.K. to protest against the slaughter in Gaza and the support for it from the British government. Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called Galloway’s election “beyond alarming”. To which the newly elected MP responded to a Sky News journalist that “little Rishi Sunak [is] in the fag end of his prime ministership. Don’t talk to me as if he’s come down from the Mount with tablets of stone, or the things that he says are somehow meant to awe me. They may awe you, they don’t awe me.” Asked whether he didn’t “respect” the Prime Minister, Galloway responded, “I despise the Prime Minister”. After his swearing in on March 4, Galloway pledged to campaign to throw a number of Labour MPs out of the Parliament in the next General Election.

The attempt by British political leaders to stifle any opposition to their consensual policies was addressed by former British ambassador and human rights advocate Craig Murray in an article on Consortium News titled “The Panic of the Ruling Class.” He points out that Sunak denounced Galloway’s election as an assault on “British values” and even on democracy itself. “The idea that democracy — i.e., voting for somebody — is an attack on, err, democracy was so crazy that, had we any kind of independent media, it would have been ridiculed to death.” Instead, we are told that “ordinary forms of democratic activity—free assembly, free speech and free voting—all threaten our society…. The political class are now in a panic, and lashing out everywhere.” They talk of banning pro-Palestinian assemblies altogether, and banning the Muslim Council of Britain and Palestine Action.

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