The Bent Copper, his Jail-Bird Lover, the Manhattan Zionist & the Tel Aviv Law Firm: a Curious Tale

Today’s referral by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority to the Metropolitan Police of a complaint against me lifts the dirty tricks campaign of recent months into the surreal.

Louise Mensch boasts on Twitter that the complaint is from her. A New York based former cocaine addict, an ex-Tory MP, and a current Sun columnist, Mensch has been running a virtually non-stop Twitter campaign against me, however fuelled, for many months, sometimes tweeting about me hundreds of times in a single day.

I don’t know if she is telling the truth about her authorship of the complaint because IPSA have never informed me of the nature of any complaint still less put to me the basis of the complaint for me to answer it. Neither have they informed me of the identity of the complainant.

The answers are appended to the bottom of this article and are our responses to the flurry of media inquiries on the same subjects which, predictably enough dogged the final weeks of my recent general election campaign.

What is certainly true is that her co-complainant Aisha Ali-Khan (about whom much more later) was introduced to her Tel-Aviv lawyers by Mensch (working pro-bono obviously because Khan had herself declared bankrupt a few months ago).

So, an axis stretching from England to New York and Tel-Aviv has had both the British parliament and media dance to their tune. Neither can have been unwilling partners.

I spent nearly thirty years as a member of the British parliament and grew used to their ways. But I must express my shock that IPSA should have taken the action they have at the behest of such an axis without a single telephone call, e-mail, letter, nor jot or tittle of any complaint being communicated to me. No question asked, no answer given.

As I told the US Senate almost exactly ten years ago “I know standards have slipped around here but….”

Aisha Ali-Khan was briefly a parliamentary assistant of mine back in 2012. She has complained to IPSA in 2015 (or Mensch has on her behalf, as I say, I don’t know) having hawked her story along what used to be called Fleet Street for many weeks.

Khan was dismissed by me in 2012 since when she has been convicted in two separate courts and sent to prison. She was convicted with her lover, a bent copper by the name of Afiz Khan a former head of the Muslim Contact Unit of the Anti-Terrorism Squad of the Metropolitan Police, on Data Protection offences. Afiz Khan was given a term of imprisonment which was suspended whilst Aisha Ali-Khan was sentenced for Data Protection Offences.

Former Detective Inspector Khan was cashiered from the force losing his highly paid job and his lucrative pension.

His lover Aisha Ali-Khan was separately sent to prison in connection with the sending of explicit photographs to former DI Khan’s wife and failing to obey the court order to delete them and desist.

It should be noted that she slept at my house with her lover Afiz Khan, without my knowledge or permission, when I and my wife were away. This only emerged after a suspicious break-in when a parliamentary laptop was stolen and DI Khan had to tell the investigating officers that he had been there and his prints and DNA would be found, so that he could be eliminated from the inquiry.

A gruesome twosome you might say.

But there is more, much more.

Aisha Ali-Khan took an industrial tribunal claim against me after her dismissal. Her union the GMB (which she joined only after her dismissal) washed their hands of her complaint. Her Israeli lawyers deserted the case shortly before it was to come before the judge. She began a County Court case against me claiming “unpaid overtime” for precisely the tasks she now claims to IPSA she was wrongly paid for.

There is not a scintilla of truth in any case in these false claims. The “work” she claims to one court she wasn’t paid for and to IPSA that she was paid for and shouldn’t have been, in fact is wholly fictitious. A tissue of lies.

Now she is in the hands of her Tel-Aviv lawyers however, without care of the financial consequences as a self-declared bankrupt (to avoid paying £20,000 in costs to former DI Khan’s long-suffering wife) and being worked from New York by Louise Mensch the curious case of the bent copper his jailbird lover and the New York former coke-head has reached the desks of the hard pressed Metropolitan police.

All of this campaign has been mounted to damage me politically of course. Only an idiot would seek to deny this.

Now that I am out of parliament and planning my next campaign it is an obvious attempt to both disrupt my plans and harm my chances. I am not in control of the latter but I am of the former.

So, for the record this will not stop me. The gloves are off. The bare-knuckle fight begins….

APPENDIX 1  | email from The Sunday Times and our response
From: Arbuthnott, George
<george.arbuthnott@sunday-times.co.uk>
Date: 16 April 2015 at 11:17
Subject: Letter to Mr Hoveman
To: r……….@gmail.com
Dear Mr Hoveman,
The Sunday Times
newspaper plans to publish a story this weekend that chiefly
relates to a complaint to the Independent
Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) that has been made
against George Galloway MP by Aisha Ali-Khan,
his former parliamentary
assistant.
Ms Ali-Khan alleges in
her complaint that Mr Galloway misused public money because
she was instructed to carry out personal and political work
when she was employed by him and being paid by the taxpayer
to do parliamentary tasks relating to his position as an
MP. She
says she spent at least
three-quarters of her time performing such non-parliamentary
duties despite being
paid £30,000 a year to work as a parliamentary assistant
from April 2012 to October 2012. .
She says Mr Galloway’s
conduct was contrary to rule 15 of the
Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament as approved by the
House of Commons on 12 March 2012: It says: “Members shall
ensure that their use of public resources is always in
support of parliamentary duties. It should not confer any
undue personal or financial benefit on themselves or anyone
else, or confer undue advantage on a political
organisation.”
IPSA guidance also
states: “MPs are not allowed to use any taxpayer-funded
business costs and expenses, including staff time, travel,
and office equipment for any electoral purposes. To do so
would be an illegal campaign donation under electoral
law.”
And the MP’s
Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses states that attendance
at political party conferences or meetings and work
conducted at the behest of a political party do not
constitute parliamentary duties.
It is alleged Mr
Galloway abused his position as an MP and misused public
funds by tasking his parliamentary assistant with performing
political and personal tasks for you – many of which were
conducted in normal office hours.
Of those, a number
appear to involve yourself in the tasking of Ms Ali-Khan
with political duties. They
include:
1. In July 2012,
Mr Galloway instructed Ms Ali-Khan to organise an event to
launch the Respect Party in Huddersfield. You also told her that
you wanted her to promote the event on social
media.
2. In June 2012, you
asked Ms Ali-Khan to assist in organising the Respect Party
National Conference – a
task that took her
five days to carry out. You told her to
promote the conference and communicate with the Respect
Party Treasurer who was arranging the event. She replied
that she would promote the event across all the networks in
Bradford and you then thanked her. Later you asked her to
arrange a meeting with the Respect
Party Treasurer and when she confirmed this was done, you
thanked her again. She liaised with
the Respect Party Treasurer, promoted the
event, contacted all the
members who were not registered for the conference and later
contacted potential volunteers to help at the conference.
The Treasurer requested that Ms Ali-Khan provide an update
on food, security,
accommodation, speakers and venue costs for the
conference.
3. In September 2012,
Mr Galloway told Ms Ali-Khan to emphasise the role he played
in saving Bradford’s Art Deco cinema
from demolition by posting on the ‘let’s elect
George Galloway for Bradford West’ Facebook page. Later
you told Ms Ali-Khan to organise a day-long seminar on the
future of the cinema under the ‘Respect
banner’.
4. In June 2012, Ms
Ali-Khan was instructed to attend a meeting with the
organisers of a protest against the English Defence League
in Dewsbury to see whether the Respect Party could share a
platform with the organisers. You told Ms Ali-Khan that Mr
Galloway was willing to attend the demonstration if security
could be arranged, which she confirmed she would organise.
Ms Ali-Khan then repeatedly communicated with the
event’s organisers.
5. In May 2012, you
told Ms Ali-Khan to issue an appeal to the Respect Party
activists in Mr Galloway’s name calling for them to pay
a fee to register with the party. Later Ms Ali-Khan herself
paid registration fees for Respect Party
activists.
6. In October 2012, Ms
Ali-Khan sent you a proposal
for the establishment of a new women-only group for the Respect Party.
You approved the initiative and suggested she involved other women and a
committee structure was set up. Later you asked her for a
report on how the meeting had
gone.
7. In August 2012,
Ms Ali-Khan complained to Mr Galloway that she was unable to
do 40 hours of parliamentary work as stipulated in her
£30,000 IPSA contract because of the personal and political
work he had given her. Mr Galloway then offered her a new
contract which stated he would pay her £15,000 a year and
IPSA would pay her £15,000 a year. She subsequently signed
this contract but Mr Galloway suspended her before it came
into effect. Also in August, you told her to extend her
office hours beyond the 20 hours she had previously been
working until the new contract came into effect. You also
advised her to describe herself on her business cards as a
parliamentary assistant rather than a personal assistant to
avoid contractual difficulties with IPSA.
Do you accept you were fully aware that Ms
Ali-Khan was conducting personal and political work while
she was your parliamentary
assistant? Do you accept this is why she was offered a
new contract reducing her salary by
half?
8. You were also being
paid by IPSA at the time so much of the conduct that relates
to you above represents a further potential contravention of
IPSA rules and electoral
law. Do you accept you
were fully aware that you were conducting personal and
political work while you were being paid by
IPSA?
We wish to give you the opportunity to comment
on Ms Ali-Khan’s allegations which will be reflected in
the article we intend to write. Please can you
respond by no later than 5pm on Friday 17th March in order
that we can include your reply in the article.
Best
wishes,
​George
ArbuthnottSunday TimesTel: +442077825335
Mob: +447990566439
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Rob Hoveman <r……@yahoo.co.uk>
Date: 17 April 2015 at 16:24
Subject: Absurd allegations from Aisha Ali-Khan
To: Ron Mckay
Dear Mr Arbuthnott,
The allegations below that have been made by Ms Ali-Khan are entirely false and without foundation. Ms Ali-Khan was appointed to the post of parliamentary assistant following George Galloway’s by-election victory on 29th May 2012. I was her line manager for the entirety of her relatively brief employment by Mr Galloway. She was never his personal assistant as this role does not exist for parliamentary staff. Her contract of employment and job description which she signed clearly describe her as a parliamentary assistant and lay down the kinds of duties and responsibilities such a role entails.
Unfortunately, it became apparent at a very early stage of her employment that she was entirely unsuited to the job. She was incapable of keeping regular hours in the office. She failed to get on top of the parliamentary email system. She wrote letters to constituents which had to be substantially corrected and she was not good at keeping the parliamentary diary which, as you might suspect, is a very important task for someone with as many demands on his time as George Galloway.
Various efforts were made to try to improve her competence. We did not want to give her notice despite her incapabilities as she claimed to have given up a well-paid and prestigious job to come and work for George. Incidentally, and unknown to us at the time, she did not terminate her employment with her previous employer until one month after she began to receive a parliamentary salary.
In June 2012, I believe she approached George Galloway with a request to return to Bradford to work as her son was not getting on well with her estranged or divorced husband who lived in Huddersfield. We were happy to accede to this request as again we did not want to cause her personal difficulties by insisting she stay in London. The volume of work being handled by the constituency office in Bradford meant that she could usefully support the part-time case workers there.
However, we could not afford from the parliamentary budget to replace her in London and keep her on full time in Bradford, especially at the London rates of pay. The intention therefore was for her to go part-time in Bradford but, as we did not want her to lose income through the move, George Galloway was hoping to find additional part-time work in order to make up for the intended reduction in her parliamentary salary. Until such time as this happened, we decided to keep her on her full-time salary.
Unfortunately, it also became apparent that she was not pulling her weight in the constituency office after she moved back toBradford in July. In August, I sent her a strongly worded message saying that she had taken unauthorised leave from the office for one week and that she had not been attending the office in fulfilment of her full-time contract. More specifically the message pints out that she seemed to be working on her parliamentary duties less than the part-time staff who were being paid pro rata much less than her. She did not deny either of these claims but promised to put things right. There is a written record of this exchange as it was germane to an Employment Tribunal case she sought to bring but which she later abandoned.
In October 2012, emails were passed to us by persons unknown. These originated from her personal email account which showed that she had set up false email accounts to communicate secretly with the press and that one of these email accounts had been used to communicate with Helen Pidd of the Guardian newspaper. Staff, including and above all Ms Ali-Khan, were forbidden from any communication with the press without express authorisation of either myself or George Galloway’s press spokesman Ron McKay. She was therefore suspended from office, pending a disciplinary hearing, for gross misconduct.
Ms Ali-Khan then went on the sick on full pay claiming stress. The disciplinary hearing was finally conducted on 10th December, with the current Labour candidate for Bradford West Naz Shah in attendance as Ms Ali-Khan’s friend. As a result of that hearing, Ms Ali-Khan was summarily dismissed for gross misconduct. At a subsequent appeal hearing, Ms Ali-Khan’s dismissal was upheld. In July 2013 she and her lover, now former Detective Inspector, Afiz Khan were convicted of criminal offences at Southwark Crown court, triggered by George Galloway’s complaint to the Metropolitan Police about the conduct of this senior police officer and his accomplice Ms Ali-Khan.
Ms Ali-Khan brought an Employment Tribunal case against George Galloway making a vast range of claims, none of which was true. She subsequently abandoned that Employment Tribunal shortly before she and her legal advisors were to appear before the ET judge. She then issued civil proceedings claiming over £32,000 from George Galloway, most of which consists of an absurd claim for £28,000 in unpaid overtime, or overtime amounting to roughly 50 hours a week for the entirety of her brief employment. We are strongly contesting this claim, pointing out that the hours she claims to have spent which were unpaid could not have been worked and were anyway spent on activities other than her parliamentary activities, including organising a party conference, activities on behalf of Viva Palestina, etc.
Therefore from the claim she entered in court, the time she spent on these activities was not spent during her paid employment and she was not compensated for them from the public purse. This seems rather an important admission on her part, don’t you think, subsequently contradicted of course by the absurd clams she has made to you.
It is a matter of extreme irony that she has now, according to you, lodged a complaint with the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority that she was “obliged” and “instructed” to carry out non-parliamentary duties whilst being paid as a parliamentary assistant. We were informed that a complaint had been lodged with IPSA some time ago but we were not informed of the nature of the complaint nor indeed who had made the complaint. I do not know if this is the complaint you are referring to but I am going to assume for the moment that it is. If these are allegations she has lodged with IPSA, no doubt they will raise them with us specifically in due course. I will however respond to each of them in due course in the terms that I would respond to them if put to me by IPSA. Before I do that, I would like to make the following more general comments.
Firstly, the fact is that Ms Ali-Khan was not only a parliamentary assistant, she was a Respect Party activist and member and indeed later a member of the Respect Party National Council. She was also an activist in Viva Palestina and she stayed rent free in George Galloway’s house in Streatham whilst she was working in parliament. Any activities she undertook in relation to any of these three roles were undertaken voluntarily and not under instruction and were undertaken on the understanding that time spent on them were entirely outwith the time she was obliged to spend on parliamentary duties under the terms of her contract. In addition, none of those activities were related to elections as there were no elections in the period covered by the specific allegations.
Secondly, former Detective Inspector Afiz Khan and his lover Aisha Ali-Khan engaged in a systematic dirty tricks operation to undermine George Galloway and the Respect Party over many weeks up to her suspension from work in October 2012 (and indeed ever since, witness the allegations she has brought to you). DI Khan engaged in continuous social media activity particularly through Twitter under one or more pseudonyms from July 2012 onwards. He and his accomplice Ms Ali-Khan created false email addresses to communicate with the press. Ms Ali-Khan spread malicious gossip about Respect Party members and systematically sowed division amongst the Bradford Respect Party members. Former DI Khan was given the Bradford Respect Party membership list by Ms Ali-Khan. In my view, the dirty tricks may have dated back to a suspicious burglary in May 2012 at George Galloway’s Streatham residence where Ms Ali-Khan was living rent free at the time and where only her parliamentary laptop was stolen.
DI Khan’s activities were investigated by the Professional Standards Unit of the Met Police following his suspension in December 2012. The investigation was codenamed Operation Bethany. We were very dissatisfied with the conclusions of this investigation when they were finally communicated to us. We therefore appealed against the findings to the Independent Police Complaints Commission with a series of detailed concerns. The conclusion of the IPCC investigation upheld key parts of our complaint and in our view supports our contention that a dirty tricks operation was carried out by DI Khan and his accomplice and lover Ms Ali-Khan, with or without the knowledge of superior officers. That is the story you would better spend your time pursuing if you are at all interested in the truth.
I will turn now to your specific points.
1) I have no recollection of this event or having spoken to her about it. However I would not have given her any instruction as her parliamentary line manager and any time she might have spent on it would have been outwith her contracted hours of employment as a parliamentary assistant.
2) I have no recollection of any conversation with Ms Ali-Khan about the Respect Party national conference but any conversations I had would have been because both of us were Respect Party members and would have been outwith our contracted hours of employment and my position as her parliamentary line manager.
3) I have no recollection of the events referred to and very much doubt that I would have had any conversation with her about it and certainly no conversation in my capacity as her line manager or her as a parliamentary assistant.
4) I have no recollection of any conversations with her concerning this event or the event itself. However, if I did have any conversations with her about this, it would have been in our party and not parliamentary capacity.
5) I have no recollection of any such conversation but, if I did, it would have been in a party and not a parliamentary capacity. I have no knowledge of her paying for party memberships. My experience of her was that she did not part with her own money easily.
6) I have a vague recollection of such a conversation. As Ms Ali-Khan well knows, this would have been a conversation between party members in which she sought advice but I did not give instruction.
7) This is complete nonsense. The reduction in hours that had been mooted was entirely driven by the fact that her going back to Bradford meant we needed to replace her with staff in London which then meant we would exceed the parliamentary staff budget. We therefore needed to reduce her hours in order to be able to stay within budget. It had nothing to do with her party or other non-parliamentary activities. As for the job description, I had suggested she would move to a contract as a constituency case worker, similar to the contracts of the other two case workers in the Bradford constituency office. She seemed to feel that this would reduce her standing in the eyes of the many enemies she seemed to have made after returning to work in Bradford. She said she wanted still to be known as George’s PA. I pointed out that the contract she had signed was to be George’s parliamentary assistant, not his personal assistant. The conversation was left, pending developments regarding alternative and additional employment were she to go part-time. However it was also made clear at the time that she continued to be on a full-time contract and those were the hours we expected her to put in in assisting with the constituency caseload.
8) I have always conscientiously carried out my responsibilities as laid down in my contract of employment. None of my activity as a party activist in any way contradicts this and I would regard as grossly defamatory any suggestion otherwise.
I trust this answers all your questions. Please get back to me with any further clarification you might need. In the meantime, I would draw your attention to the fact that there is an ongoing civil law case which Ms Ali-Khan has brought against George Galloway and to which we have entered a defence. I would not want you or the Sunday Times to find yourselves unintentionally in contempt of court.
Yours sincerely,
Rob Hoveman
APPENDIX 2  |  email from BBC and our resonse
On Sun, May 17, 2015 at 5:09 PM, Sarah Knight <sarah.knight@bbc.co.uk> wrote:
Dear Ron
I am writing from the Victoria Derbyshire programme which goes out on BBC 2 and the BBC News Channel.  It also broadcasts online.  We are intending to record an interview Aisha Ali-Khan, former aide to George Galloway, tomorrow.
As you will be aware she has lodged an official complaint with the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA). She claims that she spent just a quarter of her time on his parliamentary duties, and says she was paid public money to pursue a private agenda for Mr Galloway, doing personal chores for him and working for his political and charitable interests.
She has made the following points which may be included in the interview:
– When she first began working for Mr Galloway she lived in his house in Streatham, after he insisted she stayed there, with his then fiancee and other members of staff.  She says on a typical day when she first started working for him in London she would wake up and immediately prepare his and his fiancee’s breakfast. His fiancee would leave a note on the table outside their bedroom or she’d get a text last thing at night or first thing in the morning saying what they wanted her to make them for breakfast.
–  She says she was also asked to do their ironing and their food shopping. Initially she thought all of Mr Galloway’s staff were helping run the household but soon she realised it was just her.
–   She says the only thing she was doing that was parliamentary work was managing Mr Galloway’s diary, which also included organising his speaking engagements for his charity and travel arrangements.
–  She says the staff had no office and had to work from the café in Portcullis House in Westminster.   She says she was one of four members of staff who were paid using Parliamentary money.
–  She was also asked to help set up a beauty parlour business for his fiancee.  She says work included looking for venues and helping her get a business loan.
–  She says a lot of the activities that she was asked to do were outside the remit of parliamentary work. She says it wasn’t a one off, it was constant.
–  She was told by one of her colleagues that she had to say she was a parliamentary assistant on her business cards or they’d get into trouble with IPSA.
–  In the summer of 2012 she went to Bradford to set up his constituency office.  She says the main things she did in Bradford were charity work for Mr Galloway.  She says she also had to support people backed by Mr Galloway who were occupying a derelict building site in Bradford (where the Westfield company had scrapped plans to build a shopping centre a few years earlier).
– She says she was asked to help organise a women only convoy from Bradford to Gaza.  She says it raised thousands of pounds but the convoy was cancelled.  She says she raised concerns about the fundraiser and how it was being run and this led to her being sacked by Mr Galloway.
I would be grateful if you could provide me with a statement for the above allegations, ideally before 11am tomorrow morning (Monday 18th May).  We are recording the interview late morning and I would like to have the statement by then to include it in the piece and put any points raised to Aisha Ali-Khan.  We won’t be transmitting it until later in the week.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Thanks very much, Sarah
From: Ron McKay <r……….@gmail.com>
Date: 17 May 2015 at 20:17
Subject: Re: BBC Enquiry
To: Sarah Knight <sarah.knight@bbc.co.uk>

Sarah,

Below is the text of a letter sent by George Galloway to George Arbuthnott of the Sunday Times on April 17 when Arbuthnott raised, at Khan’s instigation, the alleged IPSA complaint. Again I repeat – no formal notification has come from IPSA that Khan has raised a complaint and all we know about what it may be comes from you, the Sunday Times and the Sun on Sunday. You will see that different questions were answered on the same subject.

I will respond to what remains of your questions in another email. But I have included here four relevant attachments.

Ron

Email to George Arbuthnott from George Galloway, April 17

It is clear that in seeking to give credence to the baseless allegations of a convicted criminal and liar, Aisha Ali Khan, you are attempting to smear me rather than to report honestly. It’s also abundantly clear that Aisha Ali-Khan is on some kind of vendetta against me after going to jail and being widely exposed for her manipulative scheming and serial untruths.

These allegations are being made three years after being dismissed when it was discovered she was conspiring with a senior Special Branch officer and using pseudonymous email accounts in an attempt bring me, as a Member of Parliament, and my office into disrepute. Her subsequent claim to an employment tribunal for unfair and wrongful dismissal was withdrawn by her last year. This also followed me giving evidence in the criminal case against her, in which she pleaded guilty at Southwark Crown Court.

So these allegations are a fabrication and a tissue of lies, which is custom and practice for Ms Khan. She was an employee until I first suspended her, little more than six months into the job, and then sacked her. But she was also a Respect activist. She is trying to claim that volunteer work carried out in her brief employment and in her own time was, in fact, undertaken and paid for on the parliamentary wage roll, which is a malicious lie I utterly refute. In fact, subsequent to the withdrawal of her employment tribunal case, she has made a claim for £28,000 incurred in the six months she was employed by me. This amounts to 50 hours overtime for each week of her employment. In identifying what she did in these 50 hours she lists party activities, Viva Palestina activities and personal matters. Our defence is that none of these were parliamentary duties, she has not been paid for them and is not owed for them. Her claim in the court contradicts what she has alleged to you where she claims she was paid for these activities.

Aisha Ali Khan was an incompetent employee, wilful and deceitful, who also made her own decisions, against instructions, which were usually wrong and repeatedly caused trouble for me. She lasted a very short time as my parliamentary assistant in London and then, after a break-in at my house in London where she introduced me to her secret lover and co-conspirator Detective Inspector Afiz Khan, I sent her to Bradford, where she proved equally incompetent and untrustworthy. After due process I sacked her.

The background, although you may ignore it, is this. In October 2012, I suspended Aisha Ali-Khan when it came to light that she, along with a senior Metropolitan police Special Branch officer, were secretly creating fake email accounts and exchanging untruthful information with journalists. This resulted in her immediate suspension and a restriction in work duties of the detective inspector involved, Afiz Khan.

In December 2012 Aisha Ali-Khan and Afiz Khan were arrested by the Metropolitan police on suspicion of data protection offences and conspiracy to engage in misconduct in public office. Aisha Ali Khan then made further untruthful and malicious complaints to the police.

Afiz Khan was at the time a DI in the counter terrorism command of the Met and also head of the Muslim Contact Unit. The Muslim Contact Unit had been formed in 2002 and headed up by Bob Lambert who had, in and amongst other roles, posed as a left-wing animal rights activist from 1983 to 1988, fathering a child with an unsuspecting activist during his deployment. In June 2012 he was accused in parliament by Caroline Lucas MP of planting the fire bomb that caused £340,000 worth of damage to the Harrow branch of a Debenhams department store in 1987 as part of his undercover work in the Animal Liberation Front.

These are perhaps extreme examples of the undercover and underhand tactics that Afiz Khan and Aisha Ali-Khan have attempted to use since October 2012 as a form of revenge.

In January 2013 I gave a witness statement to the police about this.

In July 2013 both Aisha Ali-Khan and Afiz Khan were charged with offences including the leaking of plans to arrest radical cleric Anjem Choudary http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2393077/Policeman-charged-leaking-plans-arrest-Anjem-Choudary-wife-worked-George-Galloway.html.

In December 2013 Afiz Khan pleaded guilty to a number of offences at Southwark Crown Court.

In March 2014 Aisha Ali-Khan was jailed for three months for Contempt of Court http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2594532/Former-aide-George-Galloway-jailed-possession-explicit-photos-policeman-lover-estranged-wife.html for refusing to confirm she had deleted explicit pictures she had obtained without permission of Afiz Khan’s wife from Afiz Khan’s computer equipment. Serious concerns were also raised by His Honour Judge Seymour QC as to Aisha Ali-Khan’s credibility as a witness of truth (see attached judgement, paragraphs 7, 8 & 14). That sentence of three months was later reduced to 28 days’ imprisonment.

It is worth noting that Aisha Ali-Khan held me somehow responsible for her incarceration and the instigation of those proceedings, as was touched upon by HHJ Seymour QC (see attached judgement, paragraph 12).

In June 2014, the day before her trial was due to start, Aisha Ali-Khan pleaded guilty to an offence of breaching Data Protection provisions by having requested from Afiz Khan material from police computers and was sentenced along with him in July 2014.

The combination of the imprisonment in March 2014 and the conviction at Southwark Crown Court in July 2014 has led to Aisha Ali-Khan losing her employment, losing all future employment prospects and considerable personal turmoil, all of which she holds me responsible for. This is evidenced by the numerous approaches she has made to press outlets to peddle her various untruthful and half truthful accounts, including now the Sunday Times.

On 10 December 2014 the Telegraph & Argus Newspaper in Bradford reported http://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/news/11656382.Conference_to_be_held_to_help_child_sex_victims__find_their_voice_/ that she was organising a conference on child sexual exploitation in partnership with Just West Yorkshire.

Next day the Telegraph & Argus Newspaper in Bradford reported that she had misled a Bradford councillor with responsibilities in children’s and young people’s services as to her true identity, also misled him about other matters in the event she was trying to organise and misled the councillor on the make up of the panel for the event. Councillor Ralph Berry can be contacted on 07976 382993 to verify.

In addition I am aware Aisha Ali Khan gave untruthful evidence to the Nottingham Employment Tribunal in 2010/2011 where she described herself as single and divorced. However, in October 2012, she told the Guardian that she was married to Afiz Khan. While she undoubtedly had a sexual relationship with him and stayed at my house in London with him without my permission it was a lie to allege she was married to him, as he remained married to his legal wife.

Aisha Ali-Khan is a liar, a convicted criminal and a jailed blackmailer from the civil courts. Anything she alleges about me is therefore almost bound to be untrue. This complaint is just another attempt in a long line of attempts to smear, distort the truth and blatantly lie while blaming me.

 Since 2012 both she and Afiz Khan have been involved in an orchestrated campaign to smear me through the use of pseudonymous social media accounts for my efforts in assisting the Metropolitan Police by giving witness evidence against Aisha Ali-Khan and Afiz Khan.

I have appended my answers to your questions. But as I said at the beginning of this email Aisha Ali Khan is trying to claim that volunteer work willingly undertaken was illicitly carried out on the parliamentary payroll. Untrue and defamatory. My answers below will, therefore, be repititous, reiterating that the tasks carried out were as a volunteer. You have also contacted my colleague Rob Hoveman who will add further detail to my response no doubt. There is not a scrap of evidence that any of these tasks she alleges she was asked to do or carried out were anything other than as a volunteer.

1) In July 2012, you instructed Ms Ali-Khan to organise an event to launch the Respect Party in Huddersfield. You chastised her for not sending out enough leaflets to promote the event and for changing the venue. She was also tasked with promoting the launch on social media by your Chief of Staff. You had exchanges with her about distributing the leaflets and thanked her for her work.

A) I asked her to help in the organisation in her own time. She willingly concurred. It involved very little work and was carried out in evenings and over weekends.

2) In June 2012, Ms Ali-Khan was tasked helping to organise the Respect Party National Conference – a job which took up her time over five days. She liaised with the Respect Party Treasurer, promoted the event, contacted all the members who were not registered for the conference and later contacted potential volunteers to help at the conference. The Treasurer requested that Ms Ali-Khan provide an update on food, security, accommodation, speakers and venue costs for the conference.A) She was not tasked, as you put it, but helped other volunteers organise the conference. In her own time.

3) In July 2012, you suggested to Ms Ali-Khan that a Respect Party stall should be set up at the Islamic Relief Annual Summer Fair in Leeds.A) If I did it was a sensible suggestion and if it happened then the organisation of that was in her own time.

In September 2012, you instructed Ms Ali-Khan to approach Bradford University about setting up a Respect Party stall during Freshers’ week. She asked you to provide a quote on tuition fees which would be carried on a banner at the stall. She then corresponded with Respect Party Treasurer over the cost of the stall.A) As in 3 above. This could not have involved more than a couple of telephone calls.

5) In September 2012, you told Ms Ali-Khan to emphasise the role you played in saving Bradford’s Art Deco cinema from demolition by posting on the ‘let’s elect George Galloway for Bradford West’ Facebook page. Later your Chief of Staff told Ms Ali-Khan to organise a day-long seminar on the future of the cinema under the ‘Respect banner’.A) Is this a serious point? It must have involved her in about five minutes on a computer in her own time. The seminar did not happen.
6. In June 2012, Ms Ali-Khan was instructed to attend a meeting with the organisers of a protest against the English Defence League in Dewsbury to see whether the Respect Party could share a platform with the organisers. Ali-Khan then repeatedly communicated with the event’s organisers. 

A) Ms Khan instigated this idea and any subsequent correspondence. I was extremely wary of it and did not encourage her. If she did this while working for me when she was supposed to be carrying out parliamentary duties then I have no knowledge of this and if I had done I would have disciplined her.

7) In May 2012, your Chief of Staff told Ms Ali-Khan to issue an appeal to the Respect Party activists in your name calling for them to pay a fee to register with the party. Later Ms Ali-Khan herself paid the registration fees for Respect Party activists and contacted the Respect Party Treasurer to inform him she had registered ten new members.A) I am sure Rob Hoveman will deal with this in his response. Again any work would be in a volunteer capacity.

8. In July 2012, Ms Ali-Khan was instructed to organise a party celebrating the opening of a political office for the Respect Party in Bradford. She sent an invitation to the event in your name to numerous Respect Party members asking them to RSVP to her. She also asked your Media Spokesman to let the media know about the event. A) Volunteer work. But she will not have told you that, using a false excuse, she obtained the Respect Bradford membership list of more than 300 people from the membership secretary, and sent it to her lover, Afiz Khan, head of the Muslim Contact Unit, so that these people could be logged on Special Branch computers, presumably. His defence in his trial evidence that he only wanted it to put ‘names to faces’ was risible and was dismissed entirely in our complaint to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

9) In October 2012, Ms Ali-Khan sent your Chief of Staff a proposal for the establishment of a new women-only group for the Respect Party. He approved the initiative and suggested she involved other women and a committee structure was set up. Later he asked her for a report on how the meeting had gone. A) Voluntarily.


10) In July 2012, you told Ms Ali-Khan to remove photos from Facebook of Respect Party members dressed up as Nazis and African tribal warriors that were taken at the Respect Party office in Bradford. You also told her to secretly remove various items of Nazi regalia including a ceremonial beret and armbands from the office
A) Was Prince Harry present? If there was a party I wasn’t present. I have never seen such items in the office in Bradford and wasn’t aware there were any. If I had I would certainly have binned them. I don’t have any recollection of this.

11) In September 2012, you instructed Ms Ali-Khan to visit a number of towns in Yorkshire to promote an anti-drones protest by – distributing posters and leaflets​ to raise awareness of your upcoming speech at the demonstration. She also drove to Blackburn to pick up a cameraman from the Ummah channel and deliver him back to Bradford so he could film the protest.A) She was an activist. She actually introduced the idea of visiting other places and I made it clear that if she did so it was on her own time and using her own petrol.

12. Between May 2012 to July 2012, you instructed Ms Ali-Khan to attend and report back on the “Occupy Westfield” demonstration on an almost daily basis for six weeks, which was organised by a Respect Party activist at your behest. This included taking photos and posting positive comments online about the protest using fake profiles. Ms Ali-Khan also set up aoccupywestfieldbradford@gmail.com email address and a youtube channel promoting the protest. She was informed her duties were to ensure the Respect Party received significant publicity for the protests and in June you praised Ms Ali-Khan’s performance at an Occupy Westfield meeting. Later you told her to attend a court hearing about the protest’s legality as your representative.A) Nonsense. I did not instigate the Westfield occupation but I was pleased it occurred and I supported it because it was instrumental in finally persuading Westfield to start building in the hole that had blighted the heart of Bradford for more than eight years. Respect never claimed any responsibility or credit for this at the time. She spent some evenings and nights there, I understand, supporting the occupation.

13) You told Ms Ali-Khan to arrange your wedding, including the preparation of the wedding list, sending out the wedding invitations, organising the hotel accommodation and travel arrangements, liaising with the staff at the House of Commons to book menus and the Terrace as a location for the reception. She performed these tasks from July to September 2012 and you repeatedly contacted her to ensure she was performing such tasks. She says you never reimbursed her for the £500 deposit she paid to to secure the House of Commons as the wedding venueA) Totally untrue. She did have some small part in the arrangements and I fully paid her.

14) During her period of employment, Ms Ali-Khan was asked to accompany your wife on a number of personal trips and errands including visiting a hair salon and beauty parlour. During these trips, Ms Ali-Khan was expected to act as an interpretor for your wife. On behalf of your wife, Ms Ali-Khan also purchased cigarettes, earrings, gold slippers, clothing and a pirate birthday cake for your son.A) My wife speaks perfect English and several other languages and would therefore have no need of Khan’s assistance in any purchases. The two were friendly at the time and may have accompanied each other to the places you instance

15) For the three months Ms Ali-Khan lived at your home in Streatham she made breakfast for you on a daily basis. S​he also​ frequently had ​to make supper, ​iron and launder your clothes and buy your shirts and underwear. You also asked her to buy flowers for your mother on her birthday and have them delivered to her home in Scotland.A) Please, this is beyond parody. Ms Khan lived rent-free in my house and ate the food I paid for. If she occasionally cooked or volunteered to undertake some household tasks then she did so. There was no ‘had to’. There was no compulsion to anything she did.

16. In June 2012 you told Ms Ali-Khan to help co-ordinate the first ever ‘Women’s Convoy’ to Gaza to help deliver humanitarian aid to women and children. Ms Ali-Khan was told to organise a fund-raising dinner, create promotional posters, send out tickets, arrange and collect prizes as well as recruit volunteers and be one of the convoy’s drivers. She worked on these tasks throughout the whole of July and most of August. A) Codswallop. She suggested that she organise such a convoy, but did not work throughout July and August on it, but as above. The convoy did not happen. She did, however, organise a fundraising dinner, but was unable to account for any of the money raised, some £4000, which she subsequently accused several other people of stealing (I have confirmation).

17) Your Chief of Staff and Media Spokesman were also being paid by IPSA at the time so much of the conduct detailed above relating to them also represents a further potential contravention of IPSA rules and electoral law. A) As this is untrue it follows that no rules were contravened and that this is another smear.

18) In August 2012, Ms Ali-Khan complained to you that she was unable to do 40 hours of parliamentary work as her £30,000 IPSA contract stipulated because of the personal and political work you had given her. You then offered her a new contract which stated you would pay her £15,000 a year and IPSA would pay her £15,000 a year. She subsequently signed this contract but you suspended her before it came into effect. Also in August, your Chief of staff told her to extend her office hours beyond the 20 hours she had previously been working until the new contract came into effect. He advised her to describe herself as a parliamentary assistant on her business cards rather than a personal assistant to avoid contractual difficulties with IPSA. 

A) Again a totally untrue smear. Rob Hoveman is covering this in his answers to your questions.

19) Do you accept you were fully aware that Ms Ali-Khan was conducting personal and political work while she was your parliamentary assistant? 

A) I do not. She was, as I have said, an undiscplined and incompetent employee in her brief period with me. If she carried out personal work it was without my knowledge and, had I known, I would have disciplined her earlier than I did. As I said, she has made an overtime claim to cover this.

20) Do you accept this is why you offered her a new contract reducing her salary by half? 

A) Fallacious. As Rob Hoveman will have told you this was because of her wish to return to Bradford and our need to employ someone in London and trim our problems. I also wanted to reduce her hours because she was not competent.

Reflections on Question Time of 5th February 2015

In the wake of last week’s BBC Question Time and subsequent events I wanted to make some observations. They are not in order of importance indeed to an extent the reverse.
I feel very let down by David Dimbleby. I have known him a long time, have always respected him and I didn’t expect the serial failures of which he was clearly guilty.
Again in no order of importance; his gratuitously insulting comment “when you turn up” was not just fatuous (he knows well that I am in parliament every day for much of my last 27 years) but was the only jibe at any of the panelists last night. Why? To insult just one of five panelists – me – in the highly charged atmosphere of the Finchley studio was questionable judgement to say the least.
Mr Dimbleby told me immediately after the show that the final question posed by the audience was not in fact the question which had been tabled and selected. The last part of the question which sought to put me on show trial, make the final part of the show about me, had merely been added after the fact by the questioner. This has subsequently been admitted by the questioner in the Jewish Chronicle.
But there there was no point in telling me this in private with an apologetic air (he did not actually apologise, I gave him more credit than he deserved in my initial comments after the show) when millions of people oblivious to the trickery were about to watch the results on the show.
Mr Dimbleby had a couple of options when this ruse occurred:
He could have shot the question again, the show is not live, there is time for editing (although the only person who was edited was me with a chunk of my answer on Bradford schools mysteriously excised).
He could have made it clear on the recording, immediately, that the question had been changed, with obviously potentially defamatory consequences.
He did neither and with predictable results.
The audience selection supposedly scientifically calibrated was laughably biased. Ludicrous and counter productive though that turned out to be, there was no guarantee of that outcome.
I know of several pro-Palestinian supporters, Muslims, and Respect members who were turned down in their attempts to join the audience. Fanatic supporters of Israel evidently had no such difficulty.
Contrary to contrived opinion, Finchley is not in an overwhelmingly Jewish borough. There are, to name just one section of the Finchley community, many Muslims who live there. Not a single visibly Muslim person made it to the audience.
Instead of punishing those loudly shouting against me, whom he had repeatedly asked to stop barracking me trying to stop me from speaking, Mr Dimbleby explicitly told two of them that he would call them to speak and then cut me off in order to facilitate it. It would never happen in parliament.
A special place in the hall of shame must go to the Guardian’s executive editor Jonathan Freedland selected for the role of chief prosecutor in the show trial. The Guardian, a faux liberal newspaper which last summer accepted (that which even Rupert Murdoch had declined) a paid full page advertisement from an Israeli organisation while the blood was still running in the streets of Gaza seeking to justify the slaughter and slander the Palestinians, thousands of whom had by then been slain.
There is intense competition for the title of Hypocrite in Chief at The Guardian but Freedland in my view shades it.
Once the doctored question had been posed, he lit the touch paper before smugly stepping well back. He made a series of distorted allegations against me knowing that if I got into rebutting them there would have been no time for the bigger picture. Like a latter day McCarthy he patted a portfolio which he claimed contained the basis for his allegations. Who produced this dodgy dossier must be open to question.
He said that I had claimed “Israel was behind the revolution (sic) in the Ukraine” but this is false.
I did say on a television programme that the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz had run a feature on at least two Israeli army reservist officers who themselves boasted of their role in the fighting in the Maidan coup against elected government of the Ukraine, prior to the overthrow of the President, the burning of the Parliament and the holding of guns to the heads of the parliamentarians to force them to validate the coup.
In that television broadcast last year I pointed out the irony of Israel army officers lending their military expertise to a “revolution” the cutting edge of which was provided by (and seen by all to be) ultra right wing Ukrainian nationalists and several thousand explicit fascists who held aloft the portrait of their historic leader Stepan Bandera who openly collaborated with the Nazi occupation forces and herded Ukrainian Jews into the cattle trucks bound for the death camps. Thus a statement of mine attacking antisemitism and the Holocaust was transformed by Freedland into a charge on my indictment for antisemitism.
He further alleged that I had claimed that Israel had supplied chemical weapons used in the attack on Goutha which in 2013 had propelled the US and Britain and others onto the tarmac, their engines revving ready to be the Air Force of what has now become ISIS.
I did say at the time of the attack that one theory was that the Syrian ‘rebels’ were the ones who had used these weapons on the basis that the  Syrian regime was unlikely to have chosen the day of the arrival of the United Nations chemical weapons inspectors to launch a chemical weapons attack a few kilometres from where the inspectors were just settling into their hotel. I continue to believe that this was the case. I did say that if they did one possible source of the chemicals could have been Israel.
As it happens this theory was superseded by my later claim on the BBC Daily Politics with Jo Coburn that the supply of the chemical weapons was more likely to have been provided by other regional powers.
But there was nothing outlandish about my first theory. The proximity of Israeli forces to the Syrian ‘rebels’ is at its closest a few hundred metres.
 Israel has a mountain of chemical biological and nuclear weaponry. Israel has used its chemical weapons against Palestinians and UN facilities in the territory. Israel is militarily engaged in Syria against the Assad regime and has repeatedly bombed their positions, facilities and allies. Most recently in the Quneitra on the Golan Heights in January of this year.
The Israeli media has reported that wounded Islamist fighters have been treated and sent back to the battle field from Israeli field hospitals and in Israel itself.
Finally the Israeli security service the Mossad is more than capable of assisting the Syrian opposition in such a way if they were minded to do so.
Moreover both of these instances cited by Freedland were broadcast on a television station no longer available to British TV viewers nor can they have been seen by many in Britain. Certainly to hold these responsible for a spike in anti-Semitic incidents in the UK is absurd. In addition to these two specific allegations Freedland claimed that my “rhetoric” had in part produced the atmosphere for the spike. He did not elaborate because he could not. All of my rhetoric and for more than forty years is against Israel. None of it is against Jews. The only time I ever mention Jews in my “rhetoric” is to single out Jews for honour and praise, to repetitively insist that our fight is NOT against Jews. And of course to describe as I did again on QT (though my critics were not listening) the Holocaust as the greatest crime in human history and to call for the denial of it to be a criminal offence in Britain as it is in several European countries.
Freedland’s own rhetoric spoke volumes however. He referred to last summers slaughter as a “resumption of violence” in Gaza. Firstly violence has never ceased in Gaza for almost half a century at least if you include military occupation, siege, calorie-counting quarantine, targeted and un-targeted assassinations and regular full scale invasion as violence as most people would.
Last summer was not the ‘resumption of violence’ but the cold-blooded killing and maiming of thousands of people, most of them women and children, inside a prison camp from which there was no means of escape.
In drawing on the CST report coincidentally released on same the day of Question Time, Freedland deliberately exaggerated its contents. Whilst every single incident of antisemitic bigotry is to be utterly condemned it is simply untrue to say as he did that 1000 attacks on Jews took place in Britain on 2014. In fact the number of Jews attacked was 84. One of which was a serious violent attack. I know about those as I’ve suffered one myself by a Jewish convert and Zionist fanatic wearing an IDF shirt.
The figure of 1000 includes for example “on-line” anti-semitic slurs and no doubt, threats. That would be a quiet year for me. I’ve received about a thousand such slurs in the last few weeks. It is hurtful alarming and disgusting when such things happen and the police should deal with it rigorously. But it is not the same as an attack as most people would understand it. There is and always has been anti-semitism in Britain as there has always been racism of other kinds. I am its implacable enemy and have been all my life.
But if there are, as Freedland said,around 300,000 Jews in Britain then statistically speaking the number of attacks upon Jews even if we include attacks on their properties bears no comparison to the numbers of hate attacks upon other minorities including homosexuals, black people, Asians, not to mention Muslims who have suffered many times over more such attacks than have British Jews, the main difference being there are not many police officers standing guard outside mosques. Recorded anti-semitic hate crimes constitute 0.5% of all recorded hate crimes in Britain almost the same proportion as Jews to the population as a whole.
All attacks on any minorities or their property should surely be condemned equally. They certainly were not on Question Time.
Finally Freedland was right about one thing though. Every time there is as he put it “trouble” in the Middle East there is a rise in anti-Semitism just like every time there is an outrage by Islamist extremists there is a rise in Islamophobia.
All the more reason then to resist and repel the false conflation, the fake synonyms that Israel equals Jews and Muslims equal terrorism. Freedland like so many liberals wants to have it both way.
Having painted a picture of a Britain seething with anti-semitism he then said that Britain was “not an anti-semitic” country. He said the fear was of a “Paris style attack” motivated by Al Qaeda or ISIS type elements.
But what could that conceivably have to do with me? Is there anyone in this country more opposed to these fanatical head-cutting heart-eaters than me? Has anyone denounced such people and their ideas more loudly or for longer than me? It is a pity Mr Freedland doesn’t listen to my television shows more often…
It is those who insist with such vehemence that they must defend what Israel does, that it does it in their name, and in the name of their religion who are responsible for the blurring of the dichotomy upon which I always, without exception, insist.
I turn momentarily to the bit-players on the panel.
Cristina Odone the saintly figure with wandering hands who is never done telling us what a Christian she is, her voice breaking with emotion, told us of the melancholy sight of police officers guarding a synagogue she had just passed. It is indeed a sad sign of the times and quite right that the police are there. She obviously is blissfully unaware, if she wasn’t she would have mentioned it, of the actual attacks upon mosques and other Muslim property which happens so regularly in Britain that it scarcely makes the news (at least that might be the reason it scarcely makes the news). In my own constituency just last year a fascist organisation actually invaded several mosques and terrorised the worshippers therein as well as invading the home of the then Lord Mayor of Bradford just because he was a Muslim. An elderly Muslim man in Birmingham was decapitated by a Muslim-hating fanatic prior to the atrocious murder of Lee Rigby. The two events attracted very different levels of media coverage, and sadly there were no police officers standing guard to prevent them.
But Odone is obviously equally unaware of the plight of the Christians of Palestine. The pleas of the hierarchy in Jerusalem have not been heard by Saint Cristina. Even the Holy Father praying at the Apartheid Wall with the Catholic faithful passed her by. She doesn’t know that Bethlehem is under siege, surrounded by checkpoints and walls and that expectant mothers often give birth, and die at them. She doesn’t know that Nazareth seethes with anger at the cruel fate of the Palestinian people trapped there, as “Israeli Arabs”, the lowest class of “citizens” in the apartheid system.
Last and certainly least is the hapless Tristram Hunt MP (who attended the same expensive public school as Freedland, in fact I was the only person sitting at the table who hadn’t been educated at a private school). Struggling all night as a B (lair) division stand in for New Labour he said only two things of any note.
The first was when he managed to slander the entire worldwide movement for Boycott Divestment and Sanctions against Israel as a movement for boycotting “Jewish goods and shops”. This slander was probably the result of stupidity rather than wickedness though I’m not sure which is worse in a man who wants to be in charge of our schools and universities.
And the last was when in his peroration he made the ritual act of obeisance and pledged himself and his party to the eternal and undivided determination to ensure the safety and security of the state of Israel. That wasn’t a result of stupidity. That was the real New Labour deal.
George Galloway MP
House of Commons
London

“Trouble is with Galloway is he prefers foreigners to his own.” (sic)

 

“Trouble is with Galloway is he prefers foreigners to his own.” (sic)

This message from a nationalist on social media is typical of many such missives which come my way. Usually I delete block and move on. This time I resolved definitively to state my position, my stand on nationalism. It will probably serve once and for all, we will see…

I regard nationalism, except in cases of national oppression, as an infantile disorder, a state of false consciousness. It has nothing to do with me. Include me out.

Those nationalists who say they were “let down” or even “betrayed” by my stance on the Scottish referendum and who seek motives “money” or “votes” or most absurd of all “treason” are really barking up the wrong tree, and a few minutes research would show that.

I have opposed the central SNP project of breaking up our small island of English speaking people all of my life. Why should it be any kind of surprise that when the question was finally put in September 2014 my answer should be no?

I feel exactly the same about English or British nationalism by the way. The sight and sound of nationalists standing at the border, all red in the face, shouting Boo at the people on the other side I find not so much repugnant as ridiculous. And the same goes for the beefy UKIPers doing the same at the white cliffs of Dover.

There are many comic opera nationalists in Europe who are equally ridiculous. An independent Cornwall would be a kind of Brigadoon with pasties. The Flemish nationalists who want to break up Belgium, a country I drive across regularly in 30 minutes, because they want to separate from the Catholic Walloons; the Venetians who want a state called after a dessert; the Italian Northern Leagues who want rid of the “Arab”, poor, south of the country… I could go on believe me.

I oppose the break up of democratic Spain too. During the fascist dictatorship all of Spain was oppressed but the national minorities, the Basques and Catalans, specifically so even if there was no shortage of fascist collaborators amongst both. But fascism was defeated forty years ago and Spain is a European democracy better together than broken into pieces. The Basque country and Catalonia are richer than the rest of Spain, particularly the latter. It is no part of my philosophy or my faith to enrich the already richer at the expense of the already poorer.

Some fools say that I support “freedom for Palestine” but not for Scotland. But Scotland already is free, it last exercised its right to self determination just a few months ago. There is no national oppression of the Scots. Ordinary Scottish people are oppressed by the same economic forces as oppress the people of Bradford, Liverpool, Swansea, huge parts of London etc. But that oppression cannot be compared to the Palestinians, indeed that is a repugnant comparison.

But even in Palestine I don’t support separatism as the answer to that oppression. For more than forty years I have struggled for a single Palestinian state, from the Jordan River to the sea, called Israel-Palestine or Palestine-Israel according to your taste where Jews Christians and Muslims live as equal citizens under the law, one man one woman one vote. Like in post-Apartheid South Africa.

Other fools say “you support a united Ireland but not an independent Scotland”. Apart from one clue being in the word “united” and a hatred of “partition” of small islands let me enlarge further.

Ireland was and partially still is an occupied country, held by force for centuries against its will. Its people were subject to specific national oppression, by the Scots as much as the English. Ulster I remind readers was one of the first “colonies” proclaimed by an independent Scotland almost a century before the union with England. When the Irish exercised their right to self determination and voted overwhelmingly for the independence and unity of Ireland their country was drowned in blood and partitioned by brute force.

Scotland was not and is not a colony of England. Scotland and England together colonised much of the world. There are no Black and Tans in Scotland. There were plenty of Scots in the Black and Tans in Ireland.

It is not that I have any affection for existing states – which is what people really mean when they say “country”. I don’t. For me states have outlived their usefulness and are rendered increasingly meaningless in the globalised capitalist world in which we live. I believe in the increasing unity of states and believe that individual states will “wither away”. The unity of the Arab states, the African states, the Latin American states and of course the European states.

Let us look at our own state. We have a monarch which neither I nor anyone else chose and which incidentally Alex Salmond is keener on than most of my constituents in England. We have a minority government, always a minority government: it is just that this one represents a smaller minority than usual. It is elected on a grotesque parody of democracy, a first past the post system which means that only around 200,000 of the tens of millions of votes which will be cast in May will count, that is those who live in the marginal constituencies on which the election will turn.

Whoever is in power is forced by the prevailing orthodoxy to govern in the interest of the few rather than the many. The few call all the shots and the economic system we have is their economic system which works for them but not for the rest.

It is not that Scotland shouldn’t opt out of all that but that it cannot do so. Running a St Andrews flag up on Edinburgh Castle would change nothing in relation to that. Electing a hundred MSPs like me or even Tommy Sheridan would change nothing in relation to that. Even if Scotland were ready to announce itself as a cold water Cuba it would change nothing in relation to that.

Facts are chiels that winna ding as Robert Burns said. An independent Scotland would not could not opt out of the prevailing fix we are in. Even Britain alone cannot though with around twelve times the population it can do more than an independent Scotland could.

But an independent Scotland breaking away from the rest of the island would have seriously weakened any future prospect of real change. It would have left the Tories in power in England in perpetuity. The Tories would have made an economic environment even more heavenly for the few. The currency which according to Alex Salmond we should have shared would have been governed by a Tory England. Scotland, whoever ran it would have had to match cut for cut deregulation for deregulation every free market reform introduced by the Tory England, or die. And thus would have begun the race to the bottom which would have beggared working people on both sides of the border.

So, returning to the title of this article let me deal with the question of “foreigners” and “my own”.

I am a man of faith. I believe in God. I believe like Robert Burns that we are all God’s children, that we are all therefor each others brothers and sisters. And that we are our brothers’ keepers. That is what Jesus said and it is what I believe. Therefor no man or woman is a foreigner to me.

Like Che Guevara I am “capable of trembling with indignation at any injustice visited on any person anywhere”. That is why I am a comrade of his.

Being born on the same piece of rock as me does not make you one of “my own”. If you are Brian Soutar the bible belting bigot, homophobe privateer and union buster then I despise you, whether you were born in my neighbourhood or not. “My own people” are the bus drivers who work for you, are the gay people witch-hunted by you, wherever they were born wherever they live whatever colour they are however they pray.

That is all. That is what I believe. Everything else flows from that.

George Galloway MP
House of Commons
London

Why I am a Bennite – A Eulogy to the Rt Hon Tony Benn by George Galloway MP

I was a “Bennite” (which became a considerable term of abuse in the 1980s) since the 1960s. I was brought up in a Labour household in which the premiership of Harold Wilson was the sun and in his constellation Mr Benn was the brightest of the many stars clustered around that Labour cabinet. There were so many stars – James Callaghan Roy Jenkins Barbara Castle Tony Crosland Richard Crossman Dennis Healey George Brown – but even in that company, the young, fresh-faced, bursting with ideas Wedgwood-Benn (as he was then known) stood out.

For us he seemed to exemplify the “white-hot heat” of the “technological revolution” – Mr Wilson’s wheeze for disguising his socialist purpose from a hostile media and the “Gnomes of Zurich” who, even then with their financial power had the means of destroying any real Labour government. Mr Benn was brimful of innovative unorthodoxy, and seemed just what the doctor ordered.

From his heroic ( and successful) fight to remain in the Commons upon the death of his father Viscount Stansgate – a Viscountcy which Mr Benn was to be forced to inherit – through to the Hovercraft, Concorde, TSR2, nuclear power, special edition postage stamps, tape-recording (we’d scarcely heard of it) his own interviews and speeches, he was every inch the “young Lochinvar”. Dashing, romantic, eloquent, unafraid.

The “technological revolution” cooled, the crucible crumbled but my love for Tony Benn never did which is why his death today at the age of 88 surrounded by his family whom he loved with extraordinary zeal is not just any other passing and has caused, unusually for me, the cancellation of a raft of important engagements.

I first met Tony Benn (as he was by then) at the Labour conference in Blackpool in 1974. I was 20 years old, the Secretary of Dundee West Constituency Labour Party. Whilst I was expressing my hero-worship of him, he told me that I was “the youngest constituency party secretary in Labour Party history”. It made that badge seem much brighter.

We remained in touch throughout the 1970’s as Tony Benn emerged as the most important, most popular socialist – as opposed to mere Labour – figure in Britain in the 20th century. When Mr Wilson and then Mr Callaghan’s governments (1974-79) ran into more and more troubled waters it was Tony Benn who became the parliamentary (and cabinet) focus of the fight for an “alternative economic strategy” being developed by the extra-parliamentary left and the trades unions particularly the engineering unions AUEW and TASS their supervisory section led by the immensely impressive Ken Gill.

On the eve of the Devolution Referendum in 1979 Mr Benn addressed a huge Yes Rally in Dundee’s Caird Hall attended by over one thousand people on a bitter winter’s night and gave a speech – the tape-cassette of which he sent me and which I still have – in which he gave quite simply the greatest speech for the socialist idea I have ever heard, bar none. In the vast cavernous auditorium his rolling cadences, his masterful command of the English language, his (by then) thinly coded attacks on the collapse into financial orthodoxy of his cabinet colleagues, the clarity of his call for the unity of working people on this island whilst supporting Home Rule within it, his unbelievably powerful case for democracy in our economy as well as our institutions (no-one believed in democracy more passionately than Tony Benn) still ring in my ears as I write this. It was a tour de force, even by his standards and no-one who was there will ever forget it.

Many of the words, concepts, imagery he used that night I still use in my own speeches today. Earlier he had posed in my home for pictures with my then baby daughter Lucy, today a mother of four, as he later would with her babies. His kindliness as well as his courage, intelligence, eloquence marking him out as head and shoulders above all of the political class then as now. If you can imagine the kindly old gentleman who sat at the back of the carriage in The Railway Children waving his handkerchief at the children and who came to their aid in their tragedy; that was the kind of man Tony Benn was.

Just before he launched his campaign for the Labour Party’s Deputy Leadership in 1981 Benn called my house. “Thish ish Tony Benn” he told my astonished then wife who thought it was a friend of ours playing a prank. “Oh yeah, right” she said.

He asked me if I would support his campaign. I was a full-time Labour organiser and the Chairman of the Labour Party in Scotland at the time and he knew it might put my job at risk. He promised to look after me should the worst happen and a job at his side if he won.

Without hesitation I supported him and threw myself into the campaign as the Scottish organiser. It proved a bitter and divisive battle, crystalising exisiting divisions within the movement and, when Neil Kinnock and a group of left wing apostates who included Robin Cook backed a “soft-left” rival John Silkin to split the Benn vote created new divisions some of which never healed.

The Labour Party had never seen a mass exercise within its ranks quite like it; and has since taken steps to ensure it never will do again. Thanks to democratic reforms within the party pioneered by Benn himself the choice would be made, not merely by MPs but by the rank and file of the party and the unions then affiliated, enthusiastically, in their millions. Benn chased every vote. Though supposedly handling Scotland I traveled with Benn the length and breadth of the country. If you’d believed the media Benn was then, literally, mad bad and dangerous to know. If you believed the evidence of your own eyes, he was the most exciting and inspiring leader in the land.

I remember one occasion in particular in a motor-way service station near Liverpool. We stopped for tea and toast (Benn rarely actually ate real food), Tony, me and Hugh Wyper the then legendary Scottish union leader and Hugh’s wife. First virtually every person in the station came over to greet him. Then, wearing their aprons and chef’s hats all the kitchen staff did the same (alas there were no camera phones then so each person had to get a time-consuming autograph) then people started coming in from the petrol-station forecourt leaving their vehicles unattended then Tony gave an impromptu speech. It felt like a popular revolution. And maybe it could have been.

At the height of his campaign when he seemed to be about to carry all before him, Benn was struck down by an obscure illness The Guillain – Barre Syndrome which attacked his nervous system, confined him to bed, and left him shaky on his legs for the rest of his life. It seemed suspicious at the time, and it still does now. Especially after what happened to Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez and other left wing leaders in Latin America.

For that to sound less fanciful one must recap on what Benn might possibly have done. He might have won the deputy leadership of a Labour Party then regarded as a natural party of government. And quickly thereafter, its leader. He would have pulled Britain out of NATO and from the EEC. He would have scrapped Britain’s vastly expensive, unaffordable and essentially useless nuclear He promised public ownership and workers control of the commanding heights of the British economy. He would have nationalised the banks and many other industries including pharmaceuticals. He would have mounted a profound challenge to the rich and powerful in Britain and beyond, AND he had mass popular support in doing so.

The media hysteria had to be experienced to be believed. Think Scargill, Livingstone, Crow, add it all together and double it. It was that bad. Whole pages in serious newspapers were given over to cod-psychologists making the case that Tony Benn was, literally, insane.

But Benn-mania was taking on Beatles levels in the ranks of Labour. With the whole Labour establishment against him, as well as the whole of the British ruling class and its media echo-chamber, Benn was winning. As we gathered on the eve of the fateful Labour Conference in the Brighton conference centre the buzz was simply electrifying. When the result came and the right-wing candidate Dennis Healy was announced the winner by the hair of an eyebrow – well less than 1% – a result achieved only by the votes of a raft of Labour MPs, traitors who promptly defected to the now-forgotten SDP – the rest of us lost our heads. But Tony kept his, taking his brilliant and beautiful America wife Caroline by the hand and walking to the nearest fish and chip shop on the Brighton sea-front for a rare slap-up.

Kinnock picked up his 30 pieces of silver later and is now an establishment clown (along with his wife) in the House of Lords. The remnants of the SDP (which helped keep Thatcher in power for a decade), now serve in David Cameron’s Tory government.

Benn lost his Bristol seat due to boundary changes in 1983, was re-elected in Chesterfield with the support of the Derbyshire Miners (he was among other things the most whole-hearted of the Miners supporters) before “giving up parliament, to spend more time on politics” and continued to the end to support the socialist alternative to barbarism and war. He died and will forever live as the Honorary President of the Stop the War Coalition, leading the greatest mass movement in British history. He was the greatest leader Labour, and Great Britain, never had.

In Shakespeare’s words “He was a man, take him for all in all; I shall not look upon his likes again”

George Galloway MP
House of Commons
London
14th March 2014

“Wag the Dog” – The Sequel Set in Syria

Over the last couple of weeks a western-backed (and armed) military junta slaughtered many hundreds of Egyptians in broad daylight live on television. The death toll, still concealed, may have been thousands.

The west confined itself to disapproving words and calls for “restraint” on “both sides” – even though the victims were unarmed.

In Syria hundreds of people have just been slaughtered in circumstances which are entirely unclear, and the west is about to launch (in our case without parliamentary approval with the prime minister acting from a beach in Cornwall) a military attack with entirely unforseen consequences on Damascus.

There is a “Wag the Dog” element about this, and indeed the war of President Clinton’s penis satirised in that masterful award-winning movie has already proved a handy diversion from Egypt before its even started.

It is entirely implausible that the Syrian regime chose the moment of the arrival of a UN chemical weapons inspection team to launch a chemical attack on an insurgency already suffering reverse after reverse on the battlefield and steadily losing international support with each new video showing them eating the hearts of slain soldiery and sawing of the heads of Christian priests with bread knives.

In the absence of conclusive evidence one would have to believe that the Assad regime was mad as well as bad to have launched such a chemical attack at a time when it is in less danger than it has been for almost a year. I do not believe that Bashar is mad.

There is ample evidence that the Syrian rag-tag-and-bobtail insurgency, dominated by the most extreme fanatic franchises of Al Qaeda, has access to chemical weapons, indeed any weapons the rag-tag-and-bobtail coalition behind them can get to them.

The US has a long history of using such weapons – and worse – and not just in SE Asia. In the destruction of Fallujah in next door Iraq they slaughtered thousands with the same kind of cocktails.

Israel regularly shares its own chemical weapons stockpile with their neighbours in Gaza. Check the pictures of phosphorous gas raining down upon the UN schools and hospitals in Operation Cast Lead if you don’t believe me.

Britain introduced chemical weapons to the middle east in the first place, dropping gas on the “uncivilised tribes” of Iraq in the 1920s and wondering in parliament “what all the fuss was about”.

Does anyone believe that the foul dictatorships of the Gulf – like Saudi Arabia – wouldn’t give the Syrian rebels some of their chemical weapons? Especially if the purpose was to draw the big powers into the war?

Does anyone believe that a Syrian rebel army whose vile atrocities abound on YouTube wouldn’t use them, for the same purpose?

So now we wait for the summer-surprise attack on yet another Arab country by the former colonial powers. Another summer, another Muslim country under murderous bombardment by the last people on the planet whose motives are trusted by anyone in the Muslim world.

Meanwhile, the money, and the weapons, keep on flowing to the Egyptian junta. The blood of some people, as always, turning out to be of far greater consequence than the blood of others…

George Galloway MP
House of Commons
London.

Design by Gayatri

Galloway Responds to Latest Guardian Attack

Bradford councillor Ilyas Karmani, an Imam and therefor bound to tell the truth, has at least been honest in The Guardian report compiled by Helen Pidd the ‘special’ Respect Party correspondent.

“Respect for me was just a vehicle to get elected” he says in the article. “Whether we continue to work with that vehicle is open to review”.

Honest, but breathtaking.

Respect Party Event with councillor candidates
Respect Party Event with councillor candidates

Karmani and the other councillors were all elected just five weeks after my by-election win in the city. None had ever been elected to anything before, none but Karmani was a legend outside his own street.

All were elected with a description on their ballot paper saying thus; The Respect Party (George Galloway). It can scarcely be doubted that they were elected on my coat tails. But that didn’t stop them stabbing me in the back. And almost as soon as the ink was dry on their party membership cards.

On the eve of the appearance in a central London Magistrates Court by my former secretary and her boyfriend, the head of the Muslim Contact Unit at Scotland Yard, a leading figure in the Anti-Terrorism Squad, the Bradford councillors group has struck through the Guardian. It is a diversionary tactic but it will not work.

My former secretary, Aisha Ali Khan, and the boyfriend Detective Inspector Afiz Khan stand accused of sundry offences against the public, and the Respect Party. Justice will take its course.

One thing is for sure, those councillors who have openly connived with the Khans in destabilising the party in Bradford have a lot to answer for.

As a matter of honour of course, people elected under one set of colours who defect to another set, should answer firstly to their electorate. After all, none of them would have won if their “vehicle” hadn’t been Respect. Honour of course will not be served on this occasion. These defectors have stated their intention to continue to sit on the council – and pick up £13.000 per year for doing so – under false pretences.

Let me deal with the attacks all five have made upon me, their words improved, of course, by the Guardian’s Pidd.

“Where’s George?” they ask.

Well, here there and everywhere of course, just like I’ve always been.

One of the councillors is quoted in the Guardian as saying he “reads of my appearances, at the Edinburgh Festival, at Westminster, my Scottish tour….”

Let us disect this attack. Westminster is of course where I am duty bound to “appear”. Such a strange “allegation”, the MP who “appears” at Westminster. As a matter of fact, as the CCCTV proves, I appear at Westminster virtually every weekday. As the Order paper proves I brought more issues before the Westminster parliament in the last year than any other MP. My speeches and parliamentary questions proved to be big media events in the main. Not something you could say about most of my fellow parliamentarians. Why, in my latest one I was fulsomely praised by all sides of the house including the Tory minister for the way I had led the campaign to save the National Media Museum!

The Edinburgh Festival appearances, on a Friday and a Saturday afternoon in August, during the parliamentary reccess were attended by large crowds of interested people. Again, not something likely to be experienced by most of my parliamentary colleagues.

In any case, how could anyone complain about an MP appearing at the Edinburgh Festival speaking about political matters during his summer holidays?

As for the Scottish Tour complained of, well, that hasn’t even happened yet!

I am giving three speeches in Scotland, in Aberdeen, my home town Dundee, and my former parliamentary seat in Glasgow on the subject of the forthcoming Scottish Independence referendum. In those speeches I will be asking my compatriots to vote no in that referendum, not least because of the effect seperating Scotland from England will have on cities like Bradford, doomed to perpetual Tory rule.

The speeches will be held on days and at times I would otherwise be “appearing” in Westminster, not Bradford.

In any case, who can legitimately complain about a political leader speaking in Scotland ahead of a seismicly important referendum, because I “should be in Bradford”? What kind of parochial madness is this? Yet such is the guff carried in

the Guardian today.

I am in Bradford virtually every weekend. Most northern MPs are in their constituencies virtually every weekend (except the likes of Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg etc). Virtually none however can say they conduct a weekly constituency surgery, every Saturday morning and where the constituents are often queueing out the door. But I can.

I have a fully staffed full time constituency office, choked with staff from Bradford, plus interns, plus seconded political professionals, seasoned and trusted. No other constituency in the country has an operation remotely like it.

So, what’s all this really about?

The Khan/Khan of Scotland Yard case is live and so cannot be discussed. Suffice to say that on this, the truth will out. The wheels of justice grind exceeding slow, but they grind exceeding fine.

The proximate cause of this latest brouhaha however is about something much more prosaic. A ticket to contest a council seat in the forthcoming local elections next May.

If I had succumbed to the political blackmail of giving (I am the Respect Party’s Nominating Officer) the nomination for the Manningham Ward in Bradford West to a man these councillors demanded I should, then the Guardian piece would never have been written and neither would this response.

But I refused to do so. The man they wanted is an inconsequential obscurity except in this regard. At the time of my by-election victory he wasn’t even a member of Respect. He did absolutely nothing in my campaign. He waited until we won to join us. Unlike the nominee I did choose, who was, my chief by-election organiser.

Naturally, I have all the paper-work to prove this.

It is never wise to give in to blackmail. As Detective Inspector Khan might well have told us if he hadn’t been in the dock today, blackmailers always come back for more.

The last time I saw Imam Karmani ironically was in a mosque. In South London where he works much of the time. We were both speaking for the last British hostage in Guantanamo Bay, Shaker Amer. He proudly introduced me to his father. I didn’t ask him why he was in Tooting rather than Bradford (he usually is) because I was just proud he was doing good work. Oddly, he didn’t ask me either, presumably for the same reason. It was a night to remember. I’m not sure how proud his father will be if he ever reads of his son joining in this base and baseless attack upon me in the liberal house-journal though.

George Galloway MP

Scotland, Farage and Me

The imbroglio involving Nigel Farage and a hate-filled mob on the streets of Edinburgh was a pure dead embarrassment to Scotland. Any sensible person can see that. It could have been so described by First Minister Alex Salmond if he was in any way prime ministerial, but it was not. Adding insult to injury Salmond put the boot in and made it all worse. For a popular elected politician to be forced out of Scotland’s capital city in a police van is intolerable and for many will be seen as the shape of things to come in the run up to the independence referendum and beyond – if Salmond were to win. Meanwhile the message sent to millions of English people who support Farage, to investors, tourists and customers, is that Scotland is not open for business if your face – or your flag – doesn’t fit. For me Farage is a right-wing populist Europhobe – the anti-thesis of everything I stand for. But he is not a racist – still less a fascist, and has every right to speak anywhere in the United Kingdom – so long as it exists.

The night before the roughhouse in the Northern Yorkshire town of Rotherham – filled with ex-miners and steel workers – UKIP won a sensational council by-election over Labour. A few weeks ago they scored 25% of the vote in English local elections. Unless millions of working class people in England have swung to Nazism this phenomenon needs better tools to fix than those deployed routinely against the likes of the BNP.

It is said that Farage feeds popular prejudice against foreigners – so do all the mainstream parties, including if the English are to be so described – the SNP.

That he is not particularly sound on gay rights. As sound as Brian Soutter of stage coach – the million pound backer of the SNP – who funded homophobic campaigns throughout Scotland. Farage who is admittedly better if you catch him before lunch time is no different in these things from many other political leaders who, if this fashion catches on, will be told to regard Scotland as a no-go area for them. Where will that leave us?

Not every racist is a fascist; if they were, we’d be being run by men in black uniforms and iron heels. If you believe Paulo DiCanio not even every fascist is a racist. And the idea that folk not keen on gay marriage, for which I voted, should be denied a platform would make Scotland look like Albania circa 1980. These false trails will have to be combatted by more sophisticated arguments than the Doc Martens of a Scottish rent-a-mob. Such tactics will merely garner increased support for them and an increasingly unpleasant reputation for a Scotland itself divided along many different fissures.

Salmond sunk to the occasion showing himself less than a national leader, more as a faction fighter at the head of a motley crew. If the virtual social media spoke for Scotland this game would already be a bogey. Cyber-nats bestride the internet in an increasingly poisonous parade of flag-waving and militancy which makes me wonder what happened to the Scotland I left just eight years ago. In that they are the mirror image of the Faragists who think getting all red-faced going down to the channel ports and shouting boo at Johnny Foreigner can somehow solve our problems, which are not, as it happens, the fault of the English, the immigrants, the gays or the Europeans.

I have had to block hundreds of Scots on Twitter for example, who deny my own right to speak on Scotland’s future despite my having been born and raised here, elected to parliament four times from Glasgow and been a feature in Scotland’s politics for 40 years. All on the grounds that I now live in England. Not that they’ll be sending Sean Connery’s campaign cheque back of course.  I have no doubt that when I pitch up to speak on the Fringe of the Edinburgh Festival this summer, that the same thing as happened to Nigel Farage will happen to me. What kind of Scotland is this? Is this really the kind of country you want?

It was once said that anti-semitism was the socialism of fools. So too is the idea that Scotland broken from the rest of this small, island of English- speaking people will somehow lead to some kind of progressive beacon of hope for the world.

The opposite is true. Socialism in one country was a myth, even when the concept was coined to describe a state – the USSR – which stretched from the Urals to Vladivostock. In Scotland, a country of five million, largely empty and with the only population in Europe that is falling, it is even more absurd.

We would be permanently joined to a perpetually Tory England and thus would begin a race to the bottom.

Tory England would always have lower corporate and personal taxation than a so-called socialist Scotland – unless Scotland undercut them. Where then would lie free prescriptions, tuition fees and free care for the elderly? Let alone the red-speckled dreams of the nationalist left fringe?

Independent, Scots would continue to be at the mercy of the waves of international vicissitude. The only difference would be that they had gotten out of an ocean-going liner and climbed into a Para-Handy puffer – with no life boats. The same is true of course of Farage’s fantasy of bulldog Britain. In that sense those waving their flags at each other in Edinburgh last week were bald men fighting over a comb and hair gel.

If Britain cannot face this storm alone how much less can an independent Scotland?

I’ll tell you what would happen when an independent Scotland proved to be a chimera.

Scots would turn inwards, turn on the English and turn on each other. First they would come for the ‘unionists’ as they describe people like me. We would become a ‘fifth column’. Soon other scapegoats would have to be found. Catholic schools, judging by the cyber-nats-speak, would have to succumb. Then it might be the immigrants, brown as well as white who would be ‘taking our jobs’, ‘our houses’, ‘marrying our women’ and the rest. We would become an embittered people, the very opposite of the Scottish internationalist we have been for so long. What a pity.

Who will guard Scotland’s 4000 miles of coast line. A Scottish Royal Navy? How will we pay for it? If you lose your passport in Uzbekistan when you’re scouring the world looking for work, who will replace it? The embassy of England? What currency will you use? Not the English pound I promise you. The Euro? How’s that going? The Icelandic Shilling perhaps? Covered in the ash of a volcanic national bankruptcy? Or would we bring back the Groat? Backed by what? Oil and gas reserves, fast running out? Or sell ice cream to tourists increasingly repelled by the kind of mentality we saw in Edinburgh…

Doesn’t all this seem like a high price to pay? To make Alex Salmond the Prime Minister, he’s just shown himself to be less than capable of being? A Brigadoon Scotland shrouded in the mist of Celtic obscurantism is not for me. Does it do anything for you?

Are the people of Liverpool or Leeds really foreigners to you?

You speak the same language as them, watch the same TV, read the same newspapers, listen to the same radio, eat the same food – usually curry. What foolishness is this?

Did you consider the Beatles your fellow countrymen or not? Have you seen the statue of the late Scotland captain Billy Bremner at Leeds United Stadium?

Do you know who has just followed the greatest living Scotsman Sir Alex Ferguson into the manager’s seat at Manchester United?

Scotland and England have been grafted together like bone, politically for 300 years, physically since the dawn of time.

We have committed – in times of empire – many crimes together. But for a time in the face of real Fascism we stood alone and changed the world. When we did so together, it was our finest hour. Running Nigel Farage out of a press conference  was not.

Words by George Galloway MP

Design by Gayatri

Altaf Hussain; Godfather of Karachi, resident of Edgware

Yesterday I called upon the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police to arrest a British citizen for incitement to murder. It is an open and shut case. You can watch his lips move on television, broadcast from London, in the wake of the controversial election count in the giant port city of Karachi, Pakistan. Hussain openly threatened the young democracy protesters agitating for a re-run of the election there that he would have them cut them down with swords.

No-one should think this mere rhetoric, Hussain is already convicted in Pakistan for multiple murder extortion organised crime and terrorist offences. That’s why he lives in Edgware. In fact he is chief suspect in over 100 murder cases, including in England in the murder of one of his own leading comrades.

Five years ago I gave a speech in Parliament asking why the then New Labour government was not only tolerating the presence in this country of a mafia style chief making regular broadcasts from London ordering crimes to be committed in a friendly country, but had actually given the Don a British passport!

The previous, Conservative, government had, I believed, refused citizenship to Altaf Hussain. New Labour as just one of many crimes against the people of the Muslim world thought differently and conveyed upon a convicted murderer all the rights of citizen upon him.

This at a time when a secret treaty with the United States had been signed by New Labour allowing the extradition of British citizens to the US merely on the say-so of American prosecutorial authorities without a scintilla of evidence that they had been involved in terrorism of any kind.

So much for the war on terror, I said.

The reply to my speech, from the now disgraced former Blair War leader Geoff Hoon is worth watching as a study in smug smirking malevolent arrogance, such a hallmark of the Tony Blair/New labour era.

If you can’t bear to watch let me tell you that answer came there none to my salient question; why was Altaf Hussain being allowed to mastermind terrorist operations in Pakistan from London in full view of the authorities? And why was he awarded British citizenship?

There the story would have lain – like the ten dead bodies a day in Karachi for which Altaf Hussain is responsible – stone dead.

Until this week, when in a broadcast extraordinary even by his standards he openly threatened death, disfigurement, murder, mayhem and secession in Pakistan. From his well-stuffed sofa in the capital city of the United Kingdom, chief adjutant state in the War on Terror.

I have tabled questions, which must be answered tomorrow, to the British Prime Minister David Cameron and the Home Secretary Theresa May, on this latest crime. Many millions of people in Britain, in Pakistan and around the world are waiting for the answers. Watch this space.

Words by George Galloway MP

Hilal-i-Qaid-i-Azzam

Hilal-i-Pakistan

House of Commons

Design by Gayatri

London

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.

Earlier this year the Leader of the Opposition Ed Miliband asked me to come and see him in his suite of offices overlooking the River Thames in the Norman Shaw Building in parliament. In fact he asked me again and again. When my diary proved uncomfortably crowded his office tried even harder to make it happen. “Ed is very keen to meet George” says one e-mail.

It’s not that I was avoiding him, in fact I was intrigued as to what this meeting – with no specified agenda – might be about.

In any case I would never refuse to meet any parliamentary colleague, still less the leader of the opposition. Such meetings, often private, are the stuff of politics at Westminster.

And when the leader of the opposition asking for the meeting is the leader of the party I joined when I was 13 years old, served in at every level for 36 years and loved a lot more than the leader Tony Blair who kicked me out of it ever did, it’s obvious I would fit him in. I’ve known many Labour leaders after all.

Harold Wilson, who won four general elections for the party was a friend of mine. I used to visit him, after his retirement in his rather gloomy flat behind Westminster Cathedral where he would demonstrate his tremendous powers of recall on matters ancient and no recall at all on what he’d said just five minutes before.

James Callaghan frequently invited me to tea in the House of Lords. He like me had never been to university, had come into the party through the trades unions, and was a real Labour man.

I regularly dined with Michael Foot in the Soho eaterie The Gay Hussar, discussed the Second World War over tea and crumpets in the Members Cafeteria of the Commons, sat beside him on the green benches, and of course we were fellow travellers over Iraq. When I was facing expulsion from the Labour Party, Michael Foot gave evidence on my behalf ( he having previously been expelled from the party himself).

Neil Kinnock – though we would become bitter enemies – many times offered me a spare room in his then Ealing house when I first moved to London in 1983 and entertained me in his South Wales home.

John Smith was a close friend of mine for many years until his death.

Gordon Brown – for whom Miliband was once an office boy – previously sat under my chairmanship of the Scottish Labour Party; when I was 26 years old.

 

The meeting with the current leader, which has become something of a brouhaha came out of the blue and entirely on his initiative. It was a one-on-one with no staff present – which surprised me slightly – and Miliband was gracious in the extreme. Apologising profusely for keeping me waiting slightly he actually helped me off with my coat and personally hung it up by the door. He gave me the best seat in the room and sat with his back to the river.

“The proximate cause of my request to meet you was to discuss the boundaries, but I note that we see eye to eye on that anyway, so thanks for that”. Those were the first words spoken in the meeting by him. The subject was not raised again throughout the remaining fifty-nine and a half minutes of the meeting.

More than one week before, and crucially, before he asked me for the meeting, the Labour Chief Whip had sent an emissary – my own usual channel – to ask how I would be voting on the new boundary proposals.

I had told that emissary that although the Tory sponsored boundary changes suited me in Bradford personally very well – they put me up against the hapless Lib-Dem MP David Ward with Labour nowhere in sight – I would be voting with Labour because I knew the overall changes were designed to help the Tories win the next election, something a good deal more important than my own electoral fortunes. Helpfully, hours later, I sent the emissary an e-mail expanding on my reasons for voting Labour on this!

Thus, Ed Miliband knew before he met me, before he EVEN ASKED to meet me, how I was going to vote on the Boundary Changes.

This is where, for some, it gets a great deal less interesting.

Mr Miliband did not raise with me any possibility of my rejoining Labour. Nor did he discuss any potential co-operation between us on any other matter, then, or in the future.

Neither of course did I, except to say, as we have said since our foundation in 2004, that no Respect MP would ever vote to put the Tories in power. Ever. We consider ourselves a part of the labour movement, indeed as the ghost of Labour’s past, saying the things Labour used to say, standing up for the people Labour used to represent. All this I said in fact from the victor’s rostrum a little over a year ago when I turned a solid Labour majority into a landslide victory for Respect in the Bradford West by-election.

So what did we discuss? We discussed politics. Local – Bradford and East London – national – the Bedroom Tax, the proper response to the Tory Austerity savagery – and international – Palestine, Iraq, the USA. That’s what parliamentarians do. And that’s all Ed Miliband had to say when – months later – the news of the meeting was leaked, presumably deliberately by someone in New Labour, to the Mail on Sunday. It would have had the benefit of being the truth.

Instead he chose to lie. The proximate cause of his lie is presumably rooted in the weakness of his position inside the Labour Party. The intention of the leakers was to administer a further kick at the man they’d never accepted as leader. For them his brother, the prince across the water David, is the true and rightful heir to Blair and the fact that the normal rules of primogeniture were so flagrantly transgressed in his defeat just makes it all much harder to bear.

First Blair himself then a train of camp followers, Peter Mandelson and Lord John Reid in the van, had been putting the boot in to Ed Miliband for the direction he’d been travelling in. Within the shadow cabinet, a pack of (frankly chihuahua-like) attack puppies seem to be constantly biting at the leaders ankles. The proximate cause of that is that Labour’s lead in the polls is vanishingly small given the mass unpopularity of the disastrous Con-Dem coalition government. The Blairite solution is for Labour to be even more like the Con-Dems – except where it’s possible to outflank them on the right!

All that is more Miliband’s business, than mine. His weakness in the ongoing inner-party struggle may well have been a good reason for him not to pursue me for a meeting. It’s not a reason to lie about it once news of the meeting he set up, leaks out.

The Mail on Sunday called me at breakfast in my Bradford constituency on Saturday 20th April. I refused to comment and immediately communicated news of the call to Miliband. I did not want to see him damaged. He had impressed me in the meeting. I want to see David Cameron out. That means Miliband as PM. I hate the Blairites – what’s not to hate?

If Miliband had played with a straight bat I would have never commented at all.

Instead in an act of unprincipled cowardice he immediately – on and off the record- began to authorise abusive attacks on me and my views. Even then, in last Tuesday’s Evening Standard I tried to exculpate him from the charge – which is in fact untrue – that he had tried to attract me back into Labour.

The last straw though came out of his own mouth, under pressure from slimy Nicky Campbell on Radio 5 Live on Thursday morning when he became both personally insulting as well as politically foolish.

He said I was an “awful man” with “awful views” that he wanted to see me defeated at the next election (although Labour has conspicuously NOT placed Bradford West on its target list of winnable seats – little wonder, my majority is more than 10,000 and 56% of the vote in an eight party race).

But if I am “awful” why did he pursue me so earnestly for a private meeting? Why did he say at the end of it “we must do this again…. but perhaps not here” (in his Westminster office)?

If my views are “awful” why have I been elected to parliament six times whilst holding fast to them? Why have I TWICE defeated New Labour, from their left, in rock solid Labour seats; because of my views, or despite them?

And why did his father, Ralph Miliband, hold to virtually identical views all of his long and illustrious life?

Unfortunately perhaps for Ed Miliband, there are many people who share my views, and for whom none of the big parties are speaking, for or to. And who appear to command so little respect from today’s New Labour Party. That, I believe whether he knew it or not, was the real proximate cause of Mr Miliband’s desire to meet me. Because I speak for them. Clearly and without fear and I intend to go on doing so.

That is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. So help me God.

[George Galloway MP]

“Tramp the Dirt Down”

The old saw that one shouldn’t speak ill of the recently dead cannot possibly apply to controversial figures in public life. It certainly didn’t apply to President Hugo Chavez who predeceased Margaret Thatcher amidst a blizzard of abuse.

The main reason it must not preclude entering the lists amidst a wave of hagiographic sycophantic tosh of the kind that has engulfed Britain these last hours is that otherwise the hagiographers will have the field to themselves.

Every controversial divisive deadly thing that Thatcher did will be placed in soft focus, bathed in a rose-coloured light, and provide a first draft of history that will be, simply, wrong.

As is now well-known, I refused to do that today on the demise of a wicked woman who tore apart what remained good about my country, and set an agenda which has been followed, more or less, by all of her successors. I certainly wasn’t prepared to leave the obituaries to those who profited from her rule or those who have aped her ever since.

So here is my own memory of Thatcher and what she did in her time on this earth.

On one of my first political demonstrations – against the Conservative government of Edward Heath (1970-74) the slogan of the day was “Margaret Thatcher- Milk snatcher”. It was the first but not the last time I spat out her name in distaste.

Before Thatcher, every primary school pupil received 1/3 of a pint of milk every morning. For some it was the difference between breakfast and no breakfast. I was sometimes one of those. I grew up in a brief period of social democracy in Britain, being dosed by the state with free cod-liver oil, orange juice and malt to build up my strength. Having been born in a slum tenement into a one-room attic in an Irish immigrant area, I needed all of that and more. And like millions I got it, until Thatcher took it away.

She became the Conservative leader after Heath’s two electoral defeats in 1974 and his subsequent resignation.

She was a new type of Tory leader, entirely lacking in anything resembling “noblesse oblige”. She was nasty, brutish and short of the class previously thought obligatory in Britain amongst leaders of the ruling elite. She was vulgar, money-worshipping, and blasphemous. She believed the important part of the Biblical story of the “Good Samaritan” was not that he refused to pass by the suffering on the other side of the road but that he had “loadsamoney”.

In the infamous sermon on the Mound in Edinburgh addressing the Church of Scotland she opined that there was “no such thing as society”…”only individuals”

As the Labour leader Neil Kinnock, in one of his better efforts, retorted: “No such thing as society? Only individuals? No such thing as honouring other people’s parents? No such thing as cherishing other people’s children? No such thing as us and always? Just ME and NOW? ME and NOW?”

She was the living embodiment of Marx’s prediction that under capitalism “all that is solid will melt into air… all that is sacred will be profaned”

Upon her election as prime minister (with just 40% of the vote, her position ensured by the treacherous defection from the Labour cause of the rats now squirming on the Liberal-Democrat ship) she set about “transforming” Britain allright. She privatised Britain’s key industries, enriching her friends, and robbing the public of their birthright. When she took over “Financial Services” represented 3% of the British economy; when she left office it was 40%.

 

She destroyed the coal industry, the steel, car, bus and motor-cycle manufacturing, truck and bus-making, ship-building and print-industry, the railway workshops… she destroyed more than a third of Britain’s manufacturing capacity, significantly more than Hitler’s Luftwaffe ever achieved.

She did this not just because she prefered the spivs and gamblers in the city -they were her kind of people. But because above all, she hated trades unionism, and was determined to destroy it.

I was a leading member of the Scottish Labour Party at the time she came into office, and a full-time Labour organiser. Scotland was to become an industrial wasteland in the first years of her rule.

I was also, from 1973, a member of the then Transport and General Workers Union, one of her  key targets – especially our Docks section.

Importantly, for me, I was an honorary member of the National Union of Mineworkers too.

In all of these capacities I was a front-line short-sword fighter in the rearguard action against Thatcherism.

I fought her at Bathgate, at Linwood, when she was sacking the automotive industry. I fought her at Wapping – every Saturday night when she destroyed the Print workers on behalf of her friend, the organised crime firm owner, Rupert Murdoch. I fought every day of the Miners strike when she destroyed the Miners Union and the communities they represented. I fought her at Timex in Dundee at Massey Ferguson in Kilmarnock, and at the aluminium smelter in Invergordon.

I fought against her poll tax – imposed first in Scotland – as a refusenik of the most iniquitous tax in Britain since mediaeval times, the tax which ended in flames – literally – whilst I was on the platform at Trafalgar Square. And which finally produced her political demise.

And I toured – as a political activist – the desolation in Britain’s post-industrial distressed areas which she left behind. The City of London – deregulated by her – boomed whilst the coalfields and steel areas sank into penury. I saw the rusted factories the flooded mines the idle shipyards and the devilish results of millions of newly and enforced idle hands.

I faced her in parliament from 1987 as well, on these and other issues.

You see it wasn’t just Britain that Thatcher made bleed.

Her withdrawal of political status from Irish republican prisoners and her brutal, securocratic, militarisation of the situation in the north led to much additional suffering in Ireland.

State collusion in the murder of Catholics became endemic during her rule. And ten young men were starved to death for the restoration of political status, before our eyes in her dungeons. She finally died on the anniversary of their leader, Bobby Sands, being elected to parliament as he lay on his death-bed.

During the Falklands War, she sent hundreds of young Argentinian conscripts to a watery grave when she shot the Argentine warship the Belgrano in the back – as it was speeding away from the conflict. She mercilessly exploited the sacrifice of them, and our own soldiers sailors and airmen, to save her own political skin. A lot of brave men had to leave their guts on Goose Green to keep Thatcher in power.

She pushed her alter ego – the semi-imbecilic US president Ronald Reagan – into Cold War fanaticism and burgeoning expenditure on more and more terrifying weapons – many of them stationed on our soil.

She pushed his successor George Bush Sen into the first Iraq War.

I was there, I saw her lips move, when she described Nelson Mandela as a “common terrorist”.

She continued to recognise the genocidal and deposed Pol Pot regime in Cambodia – insisting that Pol Pot was the real and recognised leader of the Cambodians, even as they counted his victims in millions.

And she was the author of the policy of military, political, diplomatic and media support of the Afghan obscurantists who became the Taliban and Al Qaeda. She even produced them on the platform of the Tory Party conference, hailing them as “freedom-fighters”.

I was one of the last men standing in parliament opposing this immoral policy of “my enemy’s enemy is my friend”.

On the eve of the triumph of these “freedom Fighters” I told Thatcher to her face; “You have opened the gates for the barbarians….and a long dark night will now descend upon the people of Afghanistan”. I never said a truer word.

I hated Margaret Thatcher for what seems like all my life. I hated her more than I hated anyone – until the mass murderer Tony Blair came along.

It would have been utter hypocrisy for me to have remained silent about her crimes today whilst the political class – including New Labour – poured honeyed words, lies actually, over her blood-spattered record.

I could not do it. I believe I spoke for millions. The wicked witch is dead. Tramp the dirt down.

George Galloway MP

House of Commons

London

Design by Gayatri

[COPY RIGHT RED MOLUCCA]