Thursday 12 November 2015

The Return of George Galloway

Or not.

Ever since the election of Jeremy - and before - there has been whispering that the Gorgeous One, George Galloway will make a triumphant return to Labour. Ever since his expulsion from the party for "bringing it into disrepute" for suggesting that soldiers should disobey orders given by officers, it's no secret that is has held out for a return. That is despite running against the party on a number of occasions, and - in 2005 and 2012 - winning two Parliamentary seats from it. There has always been an uneasy feeling among a section of the membership that a return was never ruled out.

The rumour mill ground out more nervous jitters last week with Ken Livingstone stating that Galloway should be allowed to return. Was he speaking from the heart are indulging some unlicensed kite-flying? No matter, at Monday's PLP meeting, members of that august body stated in no uncertain terms that he shouldn't be allowed back - a position apparently shared by the leader.

Long before the disgraceful campaign Galloway waged in Bradford to try and keep Naz Shah at bay, and his unconscionable comments in support of the rape charge-dodging Julian Assange, at best he was a Marmite figure. Galloway is undoubtedly a man of oratorical gifts and a charisma that charms and rubs people up the wrong way equally, and is capable of soaring triumphs and crashing lows. Witness his bravura performance in front of the US Senate, and how quickly that political capital was pissed away months later. Oh what fun was had watching the SWP twist and turn to defend his Celebrity Big Brother antics - remember, this was before their ugly falling out with everyone else in Respect.

Though why does Galloway inspire fear and loathing right across the left political spectrum, what is it about the man that brings forward a rare united front ranging from (some) Trots to Progress types? Part of it has to be rooted in his highly critical and uncompromising position on Israel, one that does not recognise its right to exist. Just as some Stalinists of old took the mildest criticism of the USSR as blackest blasphemy, so criticising the less savoury aspects of Israeli society - not least the occupation - is beyond the pale for some. But there are plenty of lefties like that (including the leader). What truly inspires a visceral reaction against old Gorgeous is not so much the blindspot toward nominally anti-imperialist movements and dictators, but their whole-hearted embrace. Whether it be chumming up to figures in Ba'athist Iraq, his unapologetic appearances on Iran's Press TV and Russia Today, his opportunistic courting of communalism to get elected, the soft-soaping of Hamas, Hezbollah, and Assad, and effectively putting pluses wherever the Western foreign policy establishment put a minus, for many the values Galloway professes to cherish at home are abandoned when it comes to matters abroad. It makes him look like an opportunist. A charlatan.

There are worse people than Galloway presently in the Labour Party, but worse for entirely different reasons. That said, letting George back into the party sends an entirely wrong message, that it's okay to give enemies of labour movements everywhere a free pass if they're episodically opposing interests set against our own, and - yes - that it's okay to indulge sexist abuse if the cause, in George's case a re-election campaign, is deemed just enough. Galloway is fine where he is. He seems happy doing his thing outside the Labour Party, and we're doing just fine ticking over without him.


Stokeyblokey said...

Galloway can fuck right off. And then fuck off some more. And keep on fucking off until he pops his clogs. I don't usually swear in comments online, but for Gorgeous George I make an exception.

BCFG said...

I think allowing George Galloway to return would be the biggest signal that the end of New Labour was Corbyn's intention. Maybe this would finally get New Labour types to quit the party, who knows maybe you would leave?

To say that Galloway puts a minus where the West puts a plus is lazy blogging, though when it comes to the Middle East it would be an entirely justified position given the chaos and ruin Western policy has left the region in.

That part of the world is still coming to terms with the destruction wrought by New Labour in their historic criminal war in Iraq.

George opposed that criminality and paid the price. Where were you? Oh yes, fully campaigning to get the criminals re-elected!

Get off the high horse, it doesn't suit.

David Parry said...

episodically opposing interests set against our own

Erm, forgive me for being pedantic, but shouldn't that be 'episodically supporting set against our own'?

Anonymous said...

It's disappointing to see your caricature of Assange.

Are you aware of the Pentagon documents suggesting using false rape charges to smear him and Wikileaks? Or the very real risk that he'll be extradited from Sweden to the USA and tortured?

Sad to see a Labour blogger blind to human rights abuse.

Chris said...

He is a true socialist hero, a man who speaks the truths most people are too PC or respectable to admit and has suffered for his principles. Personally I thought his campaign in Bradford was admirable.

I hope he rejoins the party he should never have been expelled from in the first place.

Robert said...

Galloway made two mistakes: going on Big Brother and his statement on the Assange rape allegations. The first can be lived down but the second won't be forgiven so easily.

Chris said...

He was right about Assange. It's impressive how the authorities have brainwashed the left into turning against Assange. Rapewashed, you might say. It's clever.

asquith said...

Yes, he was right about the illegal war in Iraq, but that was a rare outburst of stopped-clockery from someone who is almost always wrong. Really, what made him imagine that this country needs more sectarian fighting as if 1960s Northern Ireland was his model, or the "Israel-free zone" was a good idea? Has it NEVER occured to these "intersectionality" "activists" that boycotting Israel would only lead to unemployment and poverty for Arabs, and further repression at the hands of the Islamic "leadership" of Hamas, and the allegedly moderate Mahmoud Abbas, who only "moderately" persecutes those under him, like my friend Waleed al-Huseini.

You can criticise settlements. Guess what, millions of people in Israel, Jewish and Arab, do too. They need to be engaged rather than saying everyone in Israel is a pariah no matter who they are. Why, I demand to know, is one country singled out for criticism by people who have nothing at all to say about any hellish terrorists and dictators so long as they're against the west and "Zionism"? We all know why, and it sure as buggery isn't concern for the Arabs: white middle-class "activists" have none of that and it's just laughable when they pretend they do.

It'll be Tim Farron for me, you can count on that.

Anonymous said...

'Rape-charge dodging Julian Assange'. My word, the right and right-on liberals have done their job well.

Chris said...

Feminism has put the left right where the establishment wants it.

Phil said...

That mid-November pong of sexism masquerading as proletarian radicalism.

Chris said...

It's not about sexism Phil and you know that.

You know full well that what's called feminism these days is a middle class, professional movement that's completely compatible with the preservation of the economic and political status quo. Jobs for the girls and rape fetishism are all it is. We're not talking bloody Sylvia Pankhurst.

You know also that accusations of sexual wrongdoing can easily be used by the state to silence political dissidents. They do it in China all the time.

Do you not think that the modern left's uncritical acceptance of contemporary feminism leaves it particularly vulnerable to manipulation by the state in this way?