Bethnal Green Really Kicking Off Now

By Rob Last edited 158 months ago
Bethnal Green Really Kicking Off Now

We all knew that Bethnal Green was going to be one of the real 'battle grounds' of this year's election, but we meant it in the usual election cliche kind of way, not in the 'actual threat of real violence' kind of way it's turned into.

As you've probably read by now, George Galloway was threatened with violence last night at a Stepney council estate, after up to 30 Asian men starting shouting abuse" at him during a meeting.

According to reports, the tennants meeting George was attending was 'invaded' by a miltant group who, locked themselves in, and accused Galloway of being a 'false prophet', which was 'punishable by death'.

Oona King has also been targetted: over the weekend she had her car tyres slashed and she was pelted with eggs.

And to make matters worse there's a closed question-and-answer session tonight in Mile End, at which around 350 people are expected to grill all the Bethnal Green candidates.

But at least the Respect Coalition aren't trying to play up to the whole thing, and actively encouraging people to turn serious political deabte into a free for all:

The Bow and Bethnal Green parliamentary election is going to be one of the most interesting, controversial ones in the country. This is the *only* public appearance where Oona King and George Galloway will be seen together.

(Appparently the flyers they're handing out say "You'll kick yourself if you miss this one" on them...Jesus.)

Last Updated 20 April 2005


Oooh, eggs. How scary. Nothing like "allied" smart bombs, are they?


At the risk of sounding (as with my reply last week) completely humourless, I'm not sure it's constructive to (again) portray an alternative to New Labour as a joke, on the grounds that they're trying to gather momentum/support by making an issue out of, well, an issue.

King and Galloway on the same platform actually would have been worth seeing. I live just down the road but sadly it wasn't open to the public.
So, yes, I did kick myself that I missed it.

The wording on the Respect site was pretty neutral, so if you took it as an incitement for people to go down there and kick off, then maybe assumptions about anyone farther left than Oona King (which isn't that far left) have led you to read into it something that isn't there.

Correct, throwing eggs isn't big or clever, and King deserves a fair chance, but at least, at a time of supposed political apathy, passions are running high. A bit too high, clearly, but why keep defaulting to the 'lampoon Galloway' position? That isn't helpful or balanced.


Bello - I wasn't lampooning George Galloway here.. I did last week and that was enough.

However, as far as I'm concerned the Respect Coalition are fuelling a fire in Bethnal Green for their own means and that's wrong - when Ken Livignstone is worried about the style of hyerbole and rhetoric then you know something's up!

When politicians can't walk around their consituency becasue of the threat of violence then that's wrong (and isn't just 'passions running high').

When the Respect coalition are promoting these acts of violence and actually taking part in them (as they have been seen to do) then that's wrong too. No excuses.

As a blog we don't have to be 'balanced' so we can do all the lampooning we want, but having siad that we do try and keep things balanced when we can.

I'm all for alternatives to Labour and I was opposed to the war in Iraq - but that doens't mean I have to default to the 'vote for Galloway' position.