Exclusive interview with London mayor hopeful, George Galloway

Richard Sudan
Richard Sudan is a London-based writer, political activist, and performance poet. His writing has been published in many prominent publications, including the Independent, the Guardian, Huffington Post and Washington Spectator. He has been a guest speaker at events for different organizations ranging from the University of East London to the People's Assembly covering various topics. His opinion is that the mainstream media has a duty to challenge power, rather than to serve power. Richard has taught writing poetry for performance at Brunel University.
George Galloway is a maverick who was expelled by the Labour party for voicing his opposition to the Iraq war, and one of the few MPs who stood up to Tony Blair for getting the UK involved in the Iraq War.

The leader of the Respect Party also has a knack for causing political upsets. He’s done it before in Bethnal Green, and also Bradford West. Now he’s running for London mayor, and with Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader, a successful run by Galloway next May could potentially reshape the political landscape in Britain. Such a tandem could also send reverberations through the world of European politics.

READ MORE: George Galloway: ‘If Corbyn wins, I’d rejoin Labour pretty damn quick’

A swing to the left for Britain could pave the way for other EU nations to reject neo-liberal austerity, something which Corbyn and Galloway are both opposed to. Greece tried to fight the powers-that-be, but in the end could not pull through to the finish. However, a Britain with a new political direction could have profound implications.

Such a reshaping of the political landscape when viewed through the lens of the current political climate might seem a tall order and far in the future, but it’s not impossible. In a nutshell, for this reshaping to take place, Corbyn must stay on as Labour leader for another 5 years to participate in the next UK general election and have a shot at becoming prime minister. Not an easy task, but then again Corbyn already defied the odds in spectacular fashion in September, winning the leadership by a huge margin.

Equally, Galloway must defy seemingly insurmountable odds, and outwit and out campaign two mayoral candidates who are hardly dynamic, but who nonetheless have a influential political machine backing them. Again a tall order, but Galloway has done the impossible before. More than once. If anyone has the capability to cause another political upset it is surely him.

Furthermore, Galloway winning the London mayor would be one of the biggest upsets in British political history. Britain at present seems in the mood for political upsets, and perhaps the atmosphere is ripe for another. If Britain continues to rally against the politics of cuts and neo-liberal economics then the mayoral election could prove key.

And other factors in this race could also end up influencing the outcome. Labour’s choice of candidate is arguably a very weak one. Sadiq Khan is not very well-known and in his eagerness to become mayor has already led him to make several ill-advised comments about both Jeremy Corbyn and pro-Palestinian supporters.

London however, has seen a huge swell of support for Corbyn, and also has a huge base of support for the people of Palestine, something which the demonstrations in central London last year against Israeli aggression proved. Not a wise move by Mr Khan.

The Tory candidate for mayor is cut from the same cloth as current mayor Boris Johnson, Oxford educated and heir to a family fortune worth hundreds of millions. These are actually the reasons the Conservatives have chosen Goldsmith. They might yet also prove to be the very reason Londoners reject him.

If Londoners want a break from candidates like Boris, and reject Sadiq Khan who has distanced himself from Corbyn and sided with new Labour, then George Galloway might be in with more of a chance than people realize. Don’t count him out.

The smart money according to the bookies suggests Zac Goldsmith will be next London mayor. But then again anything can happen in politics, and May 2016 is still a fair way away, and Galloway is a formidable campaigner, arguably perhaps the most formidable.
In this video interview he lays out his vision for London and explains why London also needs a Mayor with a firm grasp of international issues.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.