Hammersmith & Chiswick parliamentary candidate: Worker’s Party of Great Britain

Images: The Worker’s Party of Great Britain’s parliamentary candidate for Hammersmith & Chiswick Raj Gill (right) with George Galloway (left), TWPGB logo

“We are a serious party, the Workers’ Party is a serious party and it’s a left-wing socialist party”

The 2024 General Election takes place on Thursday 4 July. The Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, is defending the Conservative Party’s record in government after 14 years in power.

As polling day approaches, The Chiswick Calendar has interviewed the parliamentary candidates for the newly created Chiswick & Hammersmith constituency, which covers most of Chiswick.

There are eight candidates standing for election. The fourth on the ballot paper is Raj Gill who is standing for George Galloway ‘s Worker’s Party of Great Britain which fashions itself as left-wing, but socially conservative, socialist party.

George Galloway has positioned the party as a direct challenger to the Labour Party, and said he was putting Keir Starmer “on notice” after he was elected to be the MP for Rochdale earlier this year on a ticket opposing Israel’s war in Gaza. Galloway is hoping to scoop up former Labour voters who are disaffected with Starmer’s leadership and people who are horrified at the ongoing war, which United Nations experts have condemned as genocidal.

Raj Gill, a veteran trade-unionist, is the Worker’s Party’s candidate for Hammersmith & Chiswick. He says that his background speaks for itself, having been a “tireless defender of working class people” for his entire life and consistently speaking out for the people of Palestine.

The Chiswick Calendar’s interview with Raj Gill – Worker’s Party of Great Britain

What are the primary issues facing Hammersmith & Chiswick voters that you believe the Worker’s Party of Britain can address more effectively than the other parties?

“Yeah I mean obviously one of the issues are the National Health Service. I don’t think there is enough facilities to Charing Cross Hospital. Because although we have urgent care centres, both at Hammersmith and Charing Cross, but I don’t believe… with the NHS… with mental health I don’t think there is enough after-care provided… so that’s one of the the issues that needs to be addressed.

“And then of course there are other issues like climate change and solar energy should be provided, cheaper solar panels and also the flooding of Thames… Houses near to the Thames in Hammersmith & Chiswick may well be subjected to flooding…

“So there are various issues, housing is also a problem. The provision of sustainable housing, not just high-rise flats, I am totally against high-rise flats. The cities, like White City, has been commercialised and the community aspect of White City has been taken out and there has to be a balance.”

What drew you to stand for the Worker’s Party, and what attracted you to George Galloway’s leadership in particular?

“Well I think to be honest the biggest issue at the moment are domestic issues but it also is to do with Gaza. I think Gaza and the fact there’s a genocide going on and the British government is enabling that by supplying arms exports is a constant concern. People are being murdered at the expense of the taxpayer.”

But I suppose critics have called George Galloway a bit of political opportunist, he says he is a socialist and that he cares about all of these issues but admitted a few months ago that he had received an offer from Reform UK to stand as a candidate, he tried to stand as a candidate for The Brexit Party in 2019 – How do you feel about that?

“I feel like anybody else, or most of many we had mix opinions, I was or still am pro-European because I wanted a united socialist states of Europe strong EU.  But the British people voted out and we did Brexit. Now the Union has become political arm of USA the war in Ukraine has made that clear, when this should be an economic union, a prosperous Europe with workers rights intact.

“So things happen, and sometimes people make a mistake, and sometimes the situation develops that you have to change your view on the world as it is. So George and anybody else including me.

“On a world policy we are… All the party policies is straight and the leaders of party policy, the party line, they are not allowing individuals to express their opinions.”

Okay, we’ll move onto some of the manifesto pledges of the Worker’s Party now Raj, how do you intend to implement the Worker’s Party’s promise to raise the tax threshold to £21,200, how will this affect people in Hammersmith & Chiswick?

“I mean, you might regard Hammersmith & Chiswick as well-off area. But, there are two parts to Hammersmith & Chiswick. Chiswick is regarded as much more middle class, it doesn’t really matter that much because the cost of living as gone up and in leaps and bounds. Particularly over debt and electricity.

“Everybody’s affected, and, you know, you have to move the threshold so it incorporates a higher population so they can benefit so the taxation system needs to be looked at on a regular basis.”

Another big issue is the issue locally is the issue of housing, specifically social housing, what steps would the worker’s party take to ensure the expansion of council housing in the area?

“We want to build council housing because the building of council housing are lacking since the Tory party under Margaret Thatcher, that sold off council house stocks…

“It should be housing for the benefit of the community and then you don’t sell that as a government asset, it’s a community asset.”

Let’s move onto another part of the manifesto which is foreign policy which I’m sure you’ll want to talk about in depth. There’s obviously the issue of Israel’s war in Gaza, how important is that issue to you and what would you call on the British government to do as an elected representative?

“Well I’d call for an immediate ceasefire and that is essential to stop the genocide continuing. The British government by their continuous support are implicated and they could well be implicated at the criminal court.

“Israeli leaders may be charged with genocide, leaders here may be charged as well. So you know the British government representing the British people, we shouldn’t be involved in foreign wars. This is not what we elect our MPs for.”

The party also wants to remove our nuclear deterrent. Considering the geopolitical consequences after Ukraine’s nuclear disarmament, how do you address concerns about the feasibility of the UK scrapping its nuclear weapons?

“The WPGB is against nuclear weapons and so am I. If we have a nuclear war every one will die what is the point of that.

“However I am in favour of building a naval defence and air force and not relying on the French or Americans support, perhaps more conversational army not part of NATO.  Spending 2.5% GDP on NATO war machines is not what we should be investing in.

“Perhaps we should look at solar energy and cheap panels not cheap import from China, we should creating good manufacturing jobs for British workers or funding the NHS. We value our Doctors & nurses and they should have a decent pay.”

What are the Worker’s party’s plans for improving public transport infrastructure in Hammersmith & Chiswick?

“Well we should work with Transport for London who assess our capability of more buses on the road and obviously proper training. You know in Chiswick in the olden days there was Chiswick bus garage, which still exists to a certain extent. Also people get on the buses and they’re cheaper to operate. Maybe more facilities for school children and for the older generation… it’s an essential part of travel. And I think the train service should be improved.”

I see thank you. So, given the Workers Party’s criticism of the UK’s electoral system, I think George Galloway described it as “rigged” against smaller parties, what reforms would you support to ensure fairer representation?

“I think there’s various ways of ensuring that. Proportional representations and there’s various different forms of proportional representation. So that’s something we need to look at. The current system I absolutely believe is rigged towards the main political parties, whether it’s Tory or Labour, and certain times the Liberals but it’s mainly the two main political parties in the first past the post system.

“It’s outdated, in a modern society we should reflect various opinion rather than the opinion of the majority. All of that’s important but we can reflect but people have diverse opinions in this country. So it’s outdated and it should go. The Labour Party is very reluctant to get on board with proportional representation.

“I mean, look at this snap election now. The main parties, particularly the Labour Party, benefit out of this. Because they have structures in places, and smaller parties are struggling to get people out and knocking on doors, struggling to get their materials prepared – leaflets and posters and other things. Smaller parties don’t have that [structure in place], so it’s discrimination. Its political discrimination against the smaller parties.”

Thank you. I only I have one more question really, so why should voters in Hammersmith & Chiswick vote for you and not perhaps another left-wing party, such as the Worker’s Revolutionary Party, Labour, The Liberal Democrats, The Green Party, what makes you the standout option?

“Basically we represent, we agree with parliamentary and some of the other left-wing parties, including the Worker’s Revolutionary Party,

“I don’t think they are serious candidates and the Workers’ Party is. We want to knock on every door, we want to talk to every individual, we want to get their views. We want to reflect the local communities issues  We are a serious party, the Workers’ Party is a serious party and it’s a left-wing socialist party and I think in terms of other political parties, The Labour Party, the Tory party The Conservative party is dead in the water now. Labour Party has been caught out on a number of policies they have abandoned, Liberal party abandoned free grants for students.

“I think the Labour party’s core own issues of nationalisation and the Worker’s Party is strong on nationalisation, gas, electric and water. And the transport industry, bringing in the private contractors into… and the […] is costing us a lot of money […] rail stocks, the fares go up. We want to bring the fares into line so people can travel whether it’s travelling in London or a different part of the country. We should extend the rail network.”