Respect are a new political party in the U.K. who will be standing candidates for the first time in the 2004 European and London Mayor elections.
Formed by ex-labour MP and leading Stop the War activist George Galloway, who left his old party over its backing of the war in Iraq. It is hoping to cash in on the current anti-Blair feeling in the country with its strong anti-war message believing it is the best target for protest votes. Although the Liberal Democrats and the Greens are also standing on an anti-war platform, Galloway maintains the former's support for the troops during the conflict, and the latter's apparent support for a UN occupation of Iraq leave Respect as the true anti-war party, also, as he puts it:
"A vote for the Lib Dems or the Greens can have many meanings - from endorsement of the former's plan to deregulate the pornography industry to the latter's policy on free-range eggs. Supporting Respect, however, can have only one unambiguous meaning: no more war, no more occupation."
Apart from its anti-war stance the party is a socialist party with all the policies you might expect from one. Broadly it stands for equality, workers rights and trade unionism, protection of the environment, taking back into public ownership the utilities sold off by Thatcher and so on. In these areas it may proove sucessfull in picking up votes from those cut-out by Labour's move towards the right under Blair, and in London voters put off by outgoing mayor Ken Livingston's return to the Labour Party, although it may have to share with the Greens in these areas.
The only policy on which Respect seem a little confused is over Europe. In common with many U.K. parties they seem to want to appeal to both Europhilles and Europhobes together. The best way to summarise their European stance is that they are for membership of the EU but against closer links between countries, particularly against membership of the Euro. They seem to want to remould the EU along more socialist lines.
Respect Web Site: http://www.respectcoalition.org and,
Some leaflet they chucked through my letterbox yesterday.