Tag Archives: Rochdale

The Rochdale by-election is about Gaza. Is that why the media aren’t covering it?

George Galloway: is he the most popular politician in Rochdale?

Did you know the Rochdale by-election is tomorrow – February 29?

It may have slipped your mind. The mainstream news media seem to have found other things to talk about after Labour’s candidate had his party membership suspended for claiming that Israel allowed the October 7, 2023, Hamas attack to happen in order to have an excuse for genocide in Gaza.

Perhaps coverage has lapsed because the front-runner seems to be the representative of the Workers’ Party, rather than Labour or the Conservatives – because his campaign has focused strongly on support for the people of Gaza, and because this has been popular with the people of the constituency.

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Palestinians support George Galloway and, as you can see from the clip below, people in Rochdale do too:

He has made his position clear from day one of his campaign:

And of course he is bolstered by the fact that both Labour and the Conservative Party have supported Israel’s genocide in Gaza, that has murdered and maimed so many children like those in the clip.

Nobody should be voting for a representative of a party that supported the genocide – This Writer agrees with Tom London (below) on that, and I’m sure the people of Rochdale do too.

He certainly seems to have support on the doorstep:

And he has the support of campaigning journalists too:

If you’re in Rochdale, will he have your vote?


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Rochdale Parliamentary candidate George Galloway launches legal action over TV slurs

George Galloway: he knows his way around the law, so Rachel Johnson, Trevor Phillips and ITV may have a fight on their hands.

The host and pundits of a Sunday morning TV politics show appear to have taken on the wrong person.

Rachel Johnson, Trevor Phillips and Sky News, the channel broadcasting his show, have all been targeted by George Galloway, after this (allegedly) happened:

In fact, if true, it would be libel – and it seems that Mr Galloway, who has long been attacked under the same banner and has proved himself to be well up to the challenge of dismissing such accusations, intends to prove it.

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Some are delighted:

The case may rattle on for longer than the by-election campaign – which would be perfect for Mr Galloway because it will give him a chance to continue campaigning for Palestine in full view of the public, no matter who wins on February 29.

Did Rachel Johnson have the slightest inkling that this might happen, when she spoke on Trevor Phillips’s show?


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Starmer finally gives up on Rochdale candidate – but is the damage already done?

Azhar Ali and Keir Starmer: the political damage to Labour’s leader of one of his supporters being accused of anti-Semitism, coupled with his own reluctance to suspend that person’s party membership, could be worse than any result in the Rochdale by-election.

Labour has finally suspended the party membership of Rochdale by-election candidate Azhar Ali, after the Daily Mail contacted the party with more allegations about him.

Mr Ali was already in trouble for claiming (correctly) that Egypt had said it had warned Israel of the October 7, 2023, Hamas attack well in advance, and (without evidence) that Israel had allowed it to happen in order to have an excuse for its current genocide in Gaza.

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Mail story published on Monday (February 12) added that

Ali said “people in the media from certain Jewish quarters” were “giving crap” about Andy McDonald, who was suspended by Labour after he used the controversial phrase “between the river and the sea” in a speech during a rally.

The paper also said the now-former Labour candidate claimed that Israel planned to “get rid of [Palestinians] from Gaza” and “grab” some of the land. It is thought he made the comments at the same meeting as the original story.

There was nothing wrong with Mr McDonald’s use of the words “between the river and the sea”, as has been discussed on This Site previously, and the idea that Israel wants to clear Gaza of Palestinians and grab the land is now widely-held, in the light of the genocide there.

It’s probably that the offending words were “certain Jewish quarters” which, coupled with his other remarks, may give some people cause to believe his comments were anti-Semitic.

The controversy has turned the Rochdale by-election into yet another discussion of anti-Semitism in UK politics – much to the disgust of some commentators:

This Writer can only conclude that the use of the hashtag at the end of the post above is sarcastic – a comment on the issue of possible anti-Semitism by one candidate taking precedence over any discussion of the real needs of Rochdale and/or the UK as a whole.

We can check this against the words of those who have been asked to comment on it. Does Lord Mann discuss the political issues facing Rochdale and the UK?

No.

Louise Ellman? No. And look – someone has followed her interview clip with one of Keir Starmer protesting that he would have a “zero tolerance” approach to anti-Semitism, with a laugh track added to his words. You may ask yourself why…

It’s because Azhar Ali is a Starmerite – a member of the current Labour leader’s loyalists within the party. Considering the allegations against him, this would be enough to make anybody in Starmer’s position a laughing-stock, from certain viewpoints.

Here’s one of them: Ash Sarkar, on LBC, telling Nick Ferrari that the process Starmer was describing (to laughter, above) is not fit for purpose because he used it for petty factional vendettas rather than fair investigations of facts, and claiming that it took him considerably longer to be forced to give Mr Ali up, simply because he was a member of Starmer’s faction within Labour.

But the buck won’t stop with Mr Ali – or it shouldn’t:

Good question!

Even Ed Balls can’t help but admit that Ali is a Starmerite – although he does still manage to get a dig in at Jeremy Corbyn in this short clip:

Factual background information now: the following quotes the New York Times which claimed Israel had been given a whole year’s foreknowledge of the October 7 attack:

So: commenting on this claim can’t be anti-Semitic in itself as there is evidence to support it.

Apparently it is the criticism of the Israeli government that failed to act that is anti-Semitic. But there’s a problem with that, which is that commentators have been eager to conflate it with wider attacks:

Why would the pundits on Newsnight claim any criticism of the Israeli government is anti-Semitic? This Writer can only conclude that it is to whitewash the genocide that Benjamin Netanyahu is carrying out in Gaza; if any criticism of the Israeli government is anti-Semitic, then it is anti-Semitic to condemn the genocide.

I don’t think that will wash.

Others have been desperate to whitewash Starmer. Robert Peston’s ‘X’ post defies belief – and I urge you to click on it in order to read it in full before moving on to the response:

Add it all up and it is clear that Starmer and his own regime will have serious questions to answer and the repercussions may continue, right up until the general election.

So the question below – whether Labour is distancing itself from a probable defeat – is probably academic. The real issue is where Labour voters will go. Is Ken Burch (below) correct?

Certainly The Guardian has said

a local Labour insider said that some activists would seriously consider throwing their support behind Simon Danczuk, the disgraced former Labour MP for Rochdale who was suspended from the party after sending inappropriate messages to a teenager.

But supporting someone with such a record would create a stink of its own – and the paper also admits that

[George] Galloway, who is concentrating on Rochdale’s sizeable Pakistani and Kashmiri Muslim community for votes, is expected to benefit from the row, with some local activists saying that Ali’s suspension makes him favourite to win on 29 February.

If Galloway is the front-runner now, then the wisest thing he can do is concentrate on policy issues.

He could win thousands of votes by talking about what he thinks Rochdale needs, while his competitors are still wittering about anti-Semitism.


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Could George Galloway win the Rochdale by-election? Given the state of the competition – possibly!

If you thought the Rochdale by-election had become extremely serious after Labour candidate Azhar Ali’s falling-out with his party over Israel and Gaza, think again.

Angry Yorkshireman Tom Smith has published an article explaining why Mr Ali’s faux pas (which was in fact more his apology to British Jews than his claim that Israel knew about the Hamas raid of October 7, 2023 in advance – although claiming Israel then let it happen is unsupported) could almost have gone unnoticed among the transgressions of the other candidates.

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He states:

It’s a long time since George Galloway stormed to by-election victory in the 2012 Bradford West by-election, but given the widespread public anger at Britain’s complicity with Israeli genocide in Gaza, and the identikit pro-privatisation pro-austerity agendas of the three main parties, who’s to say he can’t pull off another shock in Rochdale on February 29th?

You really need to read the piece for yourself (link below) for the full effect. This Writer’s favourite part is the reference to Reform UK candidate Simon Danczuk, who

was booted out of the Parliamentary Labour Party after sending sexually explicit texts to a 17 year old girl,

being in competition with Independent Billy Howarth

who is a Parents Against Grooming activist (hopefully he takes the opportunity to call out creepy sex pest Simon Danczuk if nothing else).

But there’s lots more to unpack here, so please go and read it for yourself, here: Could George Galloway win the Rochdale by-election?

I think this by-election could be the most fun we’ve had in politics for a good few years and I hope it gets as much coverage as we can all give it.


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Labour’s Rochdale by-election double-bind: hypocrites or election-throwers?

Azhar Ali: unsafe whatever he does.

Labour has put itself in a double-bind after its candidate in the Rochdale by-election apologised for voicing a well-known claim about the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel.

The party is rumoured to be about to suspend its candidate, Azhar Ali, after he accused Israel of complicity in the raid that killed 1,200 people and led to 250 being taken hostage.

It seems he not only posted about it on the social media but also passed comments on it in a community meeting.

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The BBC reported:

In the recording, which has not been heard by the BBC, Mr Ali is alleged to have said: “The Egyptians are saying that they warned Israel 10 days earlier… Americans warned them a day before [that] there’s something happening… They deliberately took the security off, they allowed… that massacre that gives them the green light to do whatever they bloody want.”

Egypt has indeed said that it warned Israel in advance of the raid. Still, Ali has had to make a grovelling apology to Israel’s supporters after his words were quoted by a hostile UK mainstream press.

Is that enough to save him from suspension, which would effectively end Labour’s Rochdale campaign?

Many think not. Skwawkbox is reporting that

suspending Ali would effectively end Labour’s campaign in the by-election, with no possibility to stand another candidate less than three weeks before polling day. Cynics have pointed out that the political fallout from exiting the election would be less damaging than Galloway beating Ali in a fair fight and accused the party of engineering the default.

But if Ali is allowed to continue, he would still face obstacles:

His willingness to stand for a party led by Keir Starmer, who has supported Israel’s ‘right’ to commit its war crimes against the Palestinians has already seen videos posted of him being ordered to leave doorsteps during his attempts to campaign. Such has been the contrast with the reception given to Workers Party GB leader George Galloway, a firm supporter of the Palestinians, that Galloway’s odds to win the by-election have been slashed from 16-1 to 2-1.

Not only that, but if Ali isn’t suspended, then Labour is endorsing a candidate who has admitted contradicting the party’s line on the Israel/Gaza conflict – and the inferred hypocrisy could be enough to cost it the forthcoming general election.

It seems Azhar Ali is set to lose, no matter what happens.

Source: Labour ‘set to suspend’ Rochdale candidate despite grovelling apology to Israel supporters – SKWAWKBOX


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Will George Galloway take Rochdale away from the ‘Big Two’ political machines?

George Galloway: will a voting public that is desperate for hope use him to send a message to the mainstream parties?

It seems there was a large turnout for the launch of Workers’ Party candidate George Galloway’s campaign to win the Rochdale by-election:

The poll will happen on February 29, after the death of Labour MP Sir Tony Lloyd.

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As Rochdale is considered to have been a Labour seat, it seems logical to believe the Labour candidate is the one for others to beat, and it seems that Galloway has a lot of support…

But what does he stand for?

There’s a 10-point plan:

  • Withdrawal from NATO and an end to imperialist wars and financial domination.
  • Restoration of British industry, providing useful, secure jobs for all in decent conditions, with a living wage, paid holidays, sick leave, maternity leave.
  • Decent, cheap and secure housing for all.
  • High quality, free pre-school childcare and education, followed by high quality, free, lifelong education and vocational training.
  • Free and comprehensive healthcare with no waiting lists; easy access to cheap and nutritious food.
  • High quality public facilities enabling women to take part in work and public life without prejudice or physical barriers.
  • High quality, free provision of all necessary support services for the disabled and senior citizens. Full state support to enable families to look after their older members, with nursing homes and sheltered accommodation for those in need of it, so everybody is able to live a full, dignified and meaningful life.
  • Universal access to a cheap or free, fully-integrated public transport system and all essential amenities: water, sanitation, heating, electricity, mail, telephone and internet.
  • Open and easy access to all forms of culture and the media.
  • A government that prioritises resources on the solving of urgent problems such as the need to live sustainably and protect the natural environment, putting science at the service of the people.

And there’s a manifesto on the Workers’ Party of Britain website, here, to explain how this can be achieved.

So if you’re registered as a voter in Rochdale, have a look at what’s on offer.

There are other candidates, and they all should have policy documents, so allow me to repeat:

You simply cannot vote tribally – for the party you think represents you.

Instead – and I cannot stress this strongly enough – if you want your vote to mean anything, you have to actually find out what the candidates are planning to do, if they are lucky enough to be elected.

That is what party manifestos are for. Independent candidates also have policy documents and they should all be online for you to find and read.

You need to find and read these policy documents, and then you need to make a dispassionate choice, based on what you have read.

Which of the candidates offers the most policies that fit what you need? And, by that, I mean: who will improve your own life the most?

Do not consider how your vote will affect anything else. That is not your concern.

It is not for you to worry about whether your choice of candidate will be able to enact their policies. This is a by-election, mere months ahead of a general election; what matters is the message the result sends to the mainstream parties across the UK.

BE SELFISH. Bizarrely, it might be the only way to get the kind of government that all of us need.


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This ignorant Tory councillor had better try justifying the deaths his party has caused

Too much for you? Too bad.

Too much for you? Too bad.

What follows should make you very angry: An ignorant Conservative councillor has attacked an opponent in the Labour Party for tweeting an entirely appropriate comparison between Iain Duncan Smith and Adolf Hitler.

Yes, Cllr Ashley Dearnley, leader of the Conservative group in Rochdale – it was perfectly appropriate for North Middleton Cllr Chris Furlong to tweet a picture of Hitler above one of Iain Duncan Smith and imply that the Conservatives may be responsible for the deaths of more disabled people than the Nazi leader – that is what the figures suggest.

Remember, the reference to the killing of 70,000 disabled people by Nazis is compared with only 81,040 people who died in only just over two years under Duncan Smith’s Conservative policies. We don’t have the full figures yet.

Mr Dearnley can’t say that Conservative Government policy has not led to any deaths because we have the case of Michael O’Sullivan to prove that it has.

Not only that, but north London coroner Mary Hassall’s report, blaming Tory policy for Mr O’Sullivan’s suicide, was filed in January 2014, meaning that the Tory Government’s protestations, throughout the summer, that there is no causal link between Mr Duncan Smith’s policies and the deaths of claimants, is proved to be a lie.

Cllr Dearnley, clearly ignorant of the hole into which his party has dug itself, is quoted as follows: “The remarks are appalling and are totally unacceptable. I would expect the Labour Party to withdraw his whip. If the new Labour leader has anything about him, he will make sure he is removed from the Labour party.”

It seems the matter has been referred for investigation by the Labour Party. This Writer would argue that, if Jeremy Corbyn has anything about him, he would celebrate Cllr Furlong’s forthrightness, highlight the support he has gained from disabled people and demand to know why the mainstream media have chosen to ignore this hugely important issue.

“I know if David Cameron heard that any of his councillors made remarks comparing people to Hitler, then David Cameron would make sure that they were removed from the Conservative party. If Corbyn has any mettle about him, he will ensure that this happens,” Cllr Dearnley continued. The rest of us don’t know that, though. We only see a man, whose policies have caused deaths, being rewarded for it.

Speaking to Rochdale Online, Councillor Furlong defended himself: “I posted the tweet because people are dying because of policies instigated by Iain Duncan Smith and the mainstream media is ignoring it. I have been campaigning on these issues for a while now but, for some reason, the mainstream media is choosing to ignore it.”

Join the club, Chris!

If the MSM really wanted to cover this, there are several possible issues to investigate:

  • The fact that in May 2014, I submitted a Freedom of Information Request on the number of incapacity benefit claimants who have died, and the Conservative Government has yet to honour that request with a full and honest answer. It claimed to have done so on August 27 but this was a lie.
  • The fact that part of the Tory Government’s failure to answer my FoI request means we do not know the full number of people who died after being found fit for work under the current government’s brutal regime. We know how many people who had been found fit for work died within two weeks of their claim ending (because they had been found fit for work) – but that is just a fraction of the total number of deaths. Mr O’Sullivan committed suicide six months later, but his death is still directly attributable to government policy. Mark Wood died of starvation, four months after being found fit for work – was the government any less guilty of causing his death?
  • The fact that the mortality rate in the work-related activity group of Employment and Support Allowance is three times the national average, yet these are people who are expected to be fit for work within a year. Attempts have been made to claim that they have conditions that make them more likely to die early, but this is irrelevant as they are pushed out to join the wider population (which has a far lower mortality rate) in any case. If they really do have more serious conditions, they should be in the support group. Right?
  • The fact that the death rates for all claimants of incapacity benefits do not tally with the death rates for Incapacity Benefit/Severe Disablement Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance individually. It is to be expected that the number of claimants won’t tally because people have been migrated from the older benefit to the new, so they may have two claims within a particular year – but you can only die once, and you can only be on one benefit when it happens.
  • The fact that the medical test, taken as part of the work capability assessment for ESA, includes a question about whether the claimant has had suicidal thoughts in the past. If a claimant admits contemplating suicide, the next question is “Why haven’t you done it?” Is this not designed to push the claimant towards taking his/her own life, thus removing themselves from the benefit bill? It’s called chequebook euthanasia, and the Nazis were very fond of it.
  • The fact that, after visiting the Nazi extermination camp at Auschwitz, Iain Duncan Smith himself started using the phrase “Work makes you free” in direct imitation of the words written in German over the camp gates. Those words were, of course, a sick joke – just as Iain Duncan Smith words have been for an unknown number of incapacity benefits claimants. He has recently adapted the phrase, as part of a drive to get even more ill people off the benefit books into “Work makes you healthy” – for which there is no medical proof at all. In the light of this behaviour, it is impossible not to compare this man with Hitler.

The above examples are just off the top of this writer’s head. The Conservative Government, and flunkies like Cllr Dearnley, want to pretend that everything is working perfectly and there is no cause for alarm.

But then, as you can see, the Conservative Government is full of liars.

Thanks to the Same Difference blog for bringing this to our attention.

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