Thursday, 2 October 2008

Galloway Its Bad!

The Campaign to End Child Poverty, an umbrella organisation for more than 130 including Barnardo’s, UNICEF and the NSPCC, has produced research showing 5.5 million children in poverty in Britain. Bethnal Green and Bow have some of the highest concentrations of child poverty in the country according to the research, with some 79% of children (23,450) in poverty. I was shocked but not surprised to have recently read that George Galloway the wayward self-seeking Respect MP for Bethnal Green and Bow had described figures on child poverty in his constituency as “truly shocking”.

The figures of children living in poverty are shocking and stands upright as proof that capitalism will never provide the vast majority with the necessary means of sustenance that ensures our families and children are always adequately fed, even in the twenty first centaury as the figures clearly demonstrate, and in the fifth richest nation in the world.

Mr Galloway explains: “I know the situation was very bad just from the many families who have come to my constituency in the gravest need. But these figures are a scandal and a disgrace. We have had 11 years of Labour government, which until now has been boasting of the unprecedented period of stable economic growth. We have the City on one side of my constituency and Canary Wharf on another where individual speculators have been walking off with tens of millions of pounds in bonuses. And yet here in the shadow of this wealth we have this terrible grinding poverty for those who should be looking forward to a bright future. ”

All of a sudden Mr Galloway recognises a situation what he calls ‘bad’ - I said that I was shocked but not surprised; shocked that Galloway has at last placed some impotence upon the scandal of child poverty and seen fit to make a something but nothing statement in the best tradition of a professional Labourite politico. Such language was one time common amongst Labour MPs a generation or so ago, when the backbenches of the House of Commons where occupied by Labour members who may have started their working life as skilled or semi-skilled manual workers like miners, postmen and building workers. I’m not surprised that Galloway has made such a statement after all he can not very well ignore or push aside condemning statistics, but I’m reminded that earlier this year; I helped organise a public meeting on the very subject of child poverty in Canning Town currently part of a constituency that he hopes to win at the next General Election for Respect, if he’s lucky.

The thing about the meeting in Canning Town is that although Galloway agreed to participate; his parliamentary assistant Kevin Overden, sought to scuttle the meeting, however he was unsuccessful and Galloway albeit reluctant did eventually participate.

Having lived and worked in the East End for over thirty years I can say that I’ve always observed the presence of poverty amongst its working population and particularly amongst the immigrants who have chosen to start a new life in Britain with their families. It seems that history constantly repeats itself in London’s East End. Two million Jews left Eastern Europe between 1881 and 1914, prompted by economic hardship and increasingly ferocious persecution. Following the assassination of Tsar Alexander II in 1881, the persecution of Jews in Russia became even fiercer, and a wave of pogroms swept across Russia and neighbouring countries.
Many Jews landing in England actually intended to go to America, but about 120,000 stayed in this country, attracted by the area's reputation as a place for cheap living, and by the fact that it had been home to a Jewish population in previous centuries, large numbers settled in Spitalfields, often finding work in the 'rag trade'. By 1900 Jews formed around 95% of the population in the Wentworth Street district of Spitalfields. The Huguenots came before the Jews, French speaking Protestants from France and the Low Countries (present day Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, parts of France and North West Germany) who escaped religious persecution by migrating to England from about 1550.
Edward VI granted them the Strangers' Church at Austin Friars. Strangers was the term used for all foreigners (and even sometimes people from other parts of Britain) before the term 'refugee' was adopted. In 1681 Charles II offered asylum to the people now called Huguenots, a name given to the Protestant followers of John Calvin, a French religious thinker. In 1685 the overturning of the Edict of Nantes that had granted toleration to Protestants in France, led to a mass exodus.
About half of the Huguenots who escaped to England in the 1680s, settled in London, mainly in Spitalfields working as silk weavers. In the late eighteenth century they operated 12,000 silk looms in the area. And, in the 20th century came the Bangladeshis. Many of these immigrants also worked in the clothing industry. The abundance of semi- and unskilled labour led to low wages and poor conditions throughout the East End that still exists today. I find it astonishing to say the least that the member for Bethnal Green and Bow after almost four years representing his constituents in the commons, the only thing he can say about child poverty is - its bad.


Anonymous said...

You are a real joke. The reason people didn't want to hold the meeting was the timing. It was in the middle of an election campaign, where everything the candidates do needs to get the biggest audiences. Everyone said you wouldn't get an audience for that meeting, and that you should hold it at a later date.

You got about 22 people there, of which only about 3 were local people - the rest were existing Respect members, who could've been out there campaigning but felt obliged to sit through your meeting (so embarrassed were your colleagues, they wouldn't even circulate photos of the meeting and wouldn't write a report for the newspaper or the website).

So, a total waste of time. Just as everyone outside the area predicted.

This is typical of you and your politics: You have this abstract notion that people need to hear about child poverty, but no actual tactical ability and no desire to actually spread a message in the right way.

Not that you would ever admit it, of course. You were completely wrong about that meeting, but all you can say is that people tried to call it off. Actually, people didn't. People simply told you that they thought it would be a bad idea to hold a meeting in that area at that time.

They were right, you were wrong, and you're a laughing stock because you put your own sectarian interests before the actual interests of doing something about poverty.

Additionally, your disgusting insinuation that Galloway has done nothing about child poverty shows you up for the joke you are. He has done more than most MPs.

You are just sour that people started to understand what a divisive, nasty piece of work you are.

faceless said...

Galloway has been railing against the poverty chasm, among many other issues, for years. On his radio show you will often hear him condemning the bonuses the city fat cats get, while a mile away people are scraping together money for essentials.

But don't let a simple concept like facts get in the way of you going for a ride on your high horse.

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