Saturday, 23 June 2007
Brothers my arse
Most of you will probably remember the rather amusing public meeting held by Solidarity just before the election, when Tommy Sheridan and George Galloway referred to each other as "brothers" during their oh-so-original thunderously booming speeches. To those of you who -by some hideously bizarre paradox of the universe- believe that Galloway is even vaguely associated with the concept of principle and honesty, I am extremely sorry to bring you the following revelation.
Yesterday's Herald reported that RESPECT is planning to start organizing north of the border. Our ultra-ninja-squirrel-informants had already informed us that this was being planned, with Galloway proposing at RESPECT's last National Council the setting up of a committee to investigate the possibility of establishing RESPECT presence in Scotland (or is it North Britain?). Back then, I did not want to comment on that filthy idea back then, as there were no other sources and the Squirrel Vanguard always protects its informants. Now however, it's all out in the open and thus, I can rip into it.
From what I know, Galloway is not at this moment planning to set up yet another party of the left (although whether RESPECT can be considered "left" is rather debatable at this point), but rather, as the Herald puts it, to forge a new alliance, no doubt under his shining leadership. It is quite telling however that, again according to the Herald piece, "a source close to the Respect leader said yesterday the Respect-Solidarity pact not to compete with each other 'expired with the election'".
The questions surrounding this potential move are manifold. First, assuming for the sake of argument that it was even theoretically possible for the strange mixture that is Squalidarity to somehow align with RESPECT, it would be rather interesting to see how the two "brothers" will resolve the matter of who gets to be the Great-Wise-Dear-Sunoftheparty-Leader. In Squalidarity, the Sheridan-Byrne co-convenorship was such only in name, with the Tangerine Man always in the spotlight and Byrne being a grey blur. Neither Galloway nor Sheridan however strike me as the kind of person who's willing to share, let alone forfeit, their Caesarian post. It seems to me that Galloway and the SWP have realised that Sheridan is going to get his arse handed to him by the Scots legal establishment and are preparing to abandon him. Some brotherhood right there!
What's more striking however is the sheer dumbness of the whole project. Firstly, there's the cadre problem. No one in Solidarity, apart from the SWP, would contemplate joining RESPECT Scotland. Everybody knows that CWI-Scotland hate the swips. In a discussion I had on the now no longer public Militant blog, one of the CWI Squalids was busting his arse to convince me that Solidarity is not RESPECT-Scotland. If Solidarity does become RESPECT-Scotland and CWI stay in it, they will face the contradiction of their Scottish group being part of an organization that's in opposition to their pet project in England. The non-platform Squalids on the other hand are almost exclusively pro-independence Sheridan worshipers. It is rather hard to imagine them joining a unionist coalition that is mostly known for being led by George Galloway. While this might not seem much of a setback, considering that the main activist base of Solidarity in the Central Belt are the swips, it should be kept in mind that the distinctive characteristic of Solidarity is that the bulk of its cadre is concentrated in rural areas like the Highlands and Islands and the South of Scotland, where there is little, if any SWP presence.
Secondly, it appears that the SWP all-wise Central Committee has failed to realise that the RESPECT model has next to zero chance of working in Scotland. The Muslim community in Scotland is not nearly as politically important as it is south of the border and more importantly, there is already a figure in Glasgow around which war-resenting Muslims can rally. Bashir Ahmad was elected to Holyrood from the SNP regional list, becoming the first ever Asian MSP. Similarly, the other half of RESPECT's politics, George Galloway, has little, if any, popularity in Scotland. On what basis a Scottish RESPECT could function remains a mistery to this humble Squirrel Lair.
Finally, there's also the possibility that the initiative will create trouble within RESPECT itself, as I suppose that the more principled, less colonially minded organizations that participate in this strange blend of anti-war politics, socialism and political Islam, will not be quite happy about the move.
Bizarrely, this might even end up benefiting the far left in Scotland, by replacing Solidarity with something even more idiotic and even less popular.