An exchange with Galloway

Submitted by Anon on 23 June, 2004 - 12:35

The first two letters of this exchange appeared recently in the letters page of the Guardian newspaper. The Guardian has not printed Sacha Ismail's reply to George Galloway's reply. Sacha is a member of the Alliance for Workers' Liberty.

Since George Galloway cannot seriously believe Respect is going to win any election, his desire to "defenestrate" Blair [by purely electoral means - in the uncut letter] implies a silent coalition with the Tories, Lib Dems and all other anti-Labour forces (Mea culpa, June 2).

A vote for Respect is not at all "unambiguous": it is a vote not only against the occupation of Iraq, but for its leader's shameful links with Ba'athist Iraq; for his opposition to a woman's right to choose; for a communalist appeal to the "Muslim vote" in place of principled working-class politics. The left needs to emblazon "Neither Blair nor Galloway" on its banner.

Sacha Ismail, London

Sacha Ismail manages three inaccuracies in 100 words (Letters, June 4). I am not opposed to a woman's right to choose and neither is the Respect coalition: we recognise people's right to express their own views and choices on this matter.

I never have had any kinds of links with the Ba'athist regime. My visits to Iraq were to express solidarity with the plight of the Iraqi people and to help prevent the calamitous war.

The Respect coalition is not engaged in a communalist appeal for Muslim votes. We recognise that many Muslims cannot bring themselves to vote Labour. We campaign to win their votes for a left alternative to Labour.

George Galloway MP, Respect, Glasgow Kelvin

It is George Galloway, not I, who "manages three inaccuracies in 100 words" (Letters, June 7) - on abortion rights, his links with Ba'athist Iraq and Respect's communalist appeal to Muslims.

In an interview with the Independent on Sunday printed on April 5, Galloway was asked to briefly summarise his politics and replied: "I'm not as left-wing as you think; I'm strongly against abortion."

Last year, in response to allegations that he had met with an Iraqi intelligence agent, he responded: "I have never met a member of Iraqi intelligence. I had no need to do so. As everybody knows, I had access to the highest political leadership in Iraq."

Respect Coalition leaflets for the 10 June European elections talk about "the Muslim campaign to elect George Galloway", describe him as "a fighter for Muslims", note that he is "teetotal, [and] has strong religious principles" and conclude that "we, as Muslims, want to see him continue to speak out for us." If that's not an appeal to communalism, I don't know what is.

Sacha Ismail, Alliance for Workers' Liberty, London

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