The Left

A Minor Addition

A relatively minor point, of interest only to nerdy fringe politics trainspotters like me, is that Salma Yaqoob has signed that letter in the name of the political party calling itself RESPECT.

This signature is intended primarily as a slap in the face for the SWP-RESPECT, whose own Lindsey German proposes to run for the Mayoralty.

It also, perhaps, signifies a shift in the Galloway-Jamaati’s strategy: away from contesting elections in the name of their own version of RESPECT – except perhaps where they can sew up the seat – and towards acting as a lobby group within extreme left politics. I’m sure that is a more realistic approach.

It is, in some ways, a triumph, for Ken Livingstone. He has been involved in a battle for Ikwaani and Mawdudist support with the RESPECT-ers for some time. But if Galloway’s RESPECT is supporting Ken Livingstone, the conflict is at an end and Livingstone has won.

But I question the wisdom of any politician allying himself with the politics of a movement which

– has only minority support in Bangladesh: where Jamaat committed war crimes in the War of Liberation against those who sought independence from Pakistan, in which millions died; and

– gets about 11% of the vote in Pakistan itself.

I do not know for sure that Ken Livingstone invited this declaration of support. However, if he did, I do not think that many people – including British muslims – will be impressed by his alignment not only with sectarianism, but with certain groupings whose political philosophy is widely regarded as extreme and obnoxious.