The Morning Star appeared to welcome Labour’s victory (albeit a narrow one) in Batley and Spen: “Labour activists are breathing a sigh of relief... The result is a welcome sign that Tory advances across northern England are not unstoppable... it also shows the importance of locally rooted politics...”
I say “appeared to welcome” the result because those words come from an editorial published in the 3-4 July edition — two days after the result. Before then, there was nothing to indicate that the paper was supporting Labour and a lot to suggest that it didn’t.
In fact, even that editorial went on to defend the only candidate that the paper had previously expressed any support for:
“[O]ver a fifth of the votes went to George Galloway standing for the Workers Party — whom Labour appears to have been at greater pains to delegitimise than they were the Tories. There were some very unpleasant incidents during the [campaign]...
“Whether any candidate is responsible is less clear... the dismissal of 8,000 mostly ex-Labour voters (and potentially a great many more in other parts of the country) as having backed ‘intimidation and hatred’ — though the term might fairly be applied to the Conservatives, it is clear that Labour is referring to Galloway — turns a deaf ear to the reasons it has lost these voters and implies their concerns are illegitimate.”
The unmistakable conclusion is that it might have been better if Galloway had succeeded in his avowed aim: to ensure Labour lost and — given that Galloway himself could not win — to hand victory to the Tories.
An article by one Beck Robertson in the 29 June edition was more explicit: “George Galloway’s campaign... shows left-wing politics can unify a diverse collective of working-class voters... As Galloway’s apparent progress demonstrates, by going grassroots, to voters in their communities — the left can build a movement.”
But it took the Morning Star regular and fanatical Brexiteer Nick Wright (formerly of the Stalinist Straight Left group that operated within both the CP and the Labour Party) to spell it out, in a paean to Galloway entitled “Galloway’s challenge to Labour won’t be going away quickly” (8 July). Wright — against all the evidence — blamed Labour for “an extensive dirty tricks campaign against Galloway” and stated: “Galloway owes the present Labour leadership nothing but contempt. In a constituency which registered a 60 per cent vote for Brexit his ceaseless criticism of Starmer’s politics was allied to the sympathetic hearing he deservedly won from British Muslims”. Wright conveniently ignored the many Muslims — women especially — who went on record objecting to Galloway’s cynical use of the “Muslim vote”).
The Morning Star, shamefully, had nothing to say about Galloway’s homophobic campaign (clearly aimed at Labour’s Kim Leadbeater, who is gay), including speaking at a “Freedom of Speech” event organised in the constituency by various extreme right wingers including Lawrence Fox, where Galloway explained he didn’t want primary school children taught “that there’s 99 genders, that men can become women.”
In the same speech, Galloway said he did not want children taught “how to masturbate” or “about anal sex” and “parents chest-feeding their children.”
In a leaflet aimed at the Muslim community, Galloway wrote that “I will demand parental involvement in the school curriculum. I don’t want my children to be taught in a moral vacuum” — a clear anti-LGBT dog-whistle.
The same leaflet, bizarrely, also described Keir Starmer as “the top supporter of Israel”. On the ground, Galloway’s supporters made a point of mentioning that Keir Starmer’s wife is Jewish.
This despicable Red-Brown figure used homophobia and antisemitism (sometimes dressed up as “support” for the Palestinian cause, but more often just anti-Israel sloganising) against Labour and the Labour candidate. Although he blustered about winning, Galloway knew that a big vote for him would give the constituency to the Tories, and gloried in that.
But you would never know any of that from the Morning Star, whose only mentions of Galloway during and after the campaign, have been supportive — because, at heart, the paper and the Communist Party of Britain, to a very large extent, agree with him.