Friday, November 16, 2007

Respect conference

I hope I might be able to get a report for you on tomorrow's Respect conference. It should be good. The following speakers will be present: Francois Duval of the Ligue Communist Revolutionaire, Ihtisham Hibutallah of the British Muslim Intiative, Derek Wall of the Green Party, Craig Murray, former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, Andrew Murray, Chair of the Stop the War Coalition, Jane Loftus, President of the CWU (pc), and Sami Ramadani of Iraqi Democrats Against the Occupation. I should also point out that the witch-hunted trade unionist Karen Reissman, and Respect councillor Michael Lavalette will be attending the conference. I wouldn't have to point that out, but I did receive a statement from Renewal Respect recently implying that these two excellent activists could be part of the 'renewed' Respect. Unfortunately, that really isn't the case.

Michael Lavalette, who has recently led a successful campaign to stop NHS privatisation in Preston, has appealed for all divisions to be sorted out at the national conference. I have always thought there should be one conference, the one constitutionally mandated and approved by Respect branches across the country, and all debates should be organised in it - but there is no point in complaining about this any more. We are where we are. Both Karen and Michael did recently share a platform with George Galloway and Salma Yaqoob, and I think their contributions say a lot about what the Respect coalition is about: