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The future of Respect?

For those with an eye on George Galloway and his relationship with the UK SWP -- within RESPECT -- Macauid has a video of a Socialist Resistance discussion contribution here.

Also, just published on Socialist Unity: Respect--the SWP Responds

Background:A Record of Success

The success that followed the launch of Respect was staggering. In the June 2004 GLA and European elections George Galloway got 91,175 votes for the European Parliament in London while the Respect list polled 87,533 in the Greater London Assembly (which meant Lindsey German came just short of the 5% needed to win a seat) while Respect got 20% of the vote in East London in the GLA elections. In Birmingham Respect averaged 7.4% and in Leicester 10% in the Euro elections.

In the June 2004 Leicester South and Birmingham Hodge Hill parliamentary by-elections Respect candidates Yvonne Ridley and John Rees polled 12.4% and 6.4% respectively.

In Tower Hamlets Oliur Rahman won our first council seat in August 2004 and a month later Paul McGarr polled 635 votes in Tower Hamlets Millwall ward, coming second behind the Tory winner who gained 828 votes, and pushing New Labour into third place.

Then in the 2005 general election not only did George Galloway secure a truly historic victory in Bethnal Green and Bow but it was accompanied by strong votes in Birmingham Sparkbrook, both Newham seats and in Canning Town and Poplar.

In May last year success followed with councillors elected in Tower Hamlets, where we are the second biggest party, Newham and Birmingham. That was followed this year with Michael Lavalette storming home to win an overall majority in his ward, another councillor elected in Birmingham to join Salma Yaqoob and Ray Holmes winning Shirebrook North West on Bolsover council. Significant advances were made elsewhere from Bristol to Cambridge to Sheffield.

Then in August a tremendous effort ensured we held the Shadwell council seat in a by-election caused by the defection of one our councillors to New Labour. That made up for much of the disappointment of the Southall parliamentary by-election where the established parties squeezed us in a snap poll following Gordon Brown’s anointment as Labour leader.

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