How many lives will we grant George Galloway?
Not content with simply imitating the physical characteristics of a cat, politically Galloway seems determined to prove he has nine lives as well
Judging by the audience reaction during his recent Question Time appearance, one might suggest George Galloway is somewhat of an unlikely national treasure.
Dressed in a remarkably Blofeld-like jacket and dark-rimmed ‘intellectual’ glasses, the Respect MP appeals to our appreciation of eccentricity. Positioning himself aside from the political mainstream, it could be argued that Galloway provides the Left with its equivalent of Nigel Farage; a public figure who says what others are thinking, or at least what others want to hear.
But the former Labour politician is so lacking in political decorum that he makes the darling of UKIP look like a suitable candidate for leading the Equality and Human Rights Commission. This was perfectly displayed at a recent Oxford University debate, where Galloway stormed out of the event at Christ College after discovering, simply, that a fellow speaker was an Israeli citizen.
Many would manage a wry smile at a picture of him arm-in-arm with ex-IDF soldier Uri Geller that resurfaced on the Internet yesterday afternoon.
It helps to be reminded that this is not some lunatic activist dishing out his spiel from the edges, but, since what Gorgeous George himself dubbed the ‘Bradford Spring’ by-election in 2012, a Member of Parliament with the interests of his constituents to serve. As has been rightly questioned, if Galloway refuses to engage in conversation with Israelis, does that mean he refuses to canvass and represent the views and interests of his constituents with Israeli backgrounds?
Galloway declared on Twitter that “an Israeli citizen could not by definition be my constituent”, seemingly inferring that one has to live in Israel to be an Israeli citizen. In which case, why did he walk out on the student living and studying in Oxford? You can’t have it both ways, George.
Once again we are reminded of Galloway’s true colours, to whom controversy is nothing new; this is the man who saluted the “courage, strength and indefatigability” of Saddam Hussein when meeting the tyrant on a visit to Iraq. David Cameron’s recent response to Galloway in the Commons might have seemed like a callous slapping down of a question in need of being answered, but it’s arguably all the questioner deserved.
Convincing performances on Question Time and the like prove not that he is a fighter for the interests of the working man, but simply that he is capable of performing zealous acts of demagoguery which shield a bigoted, divisive, deeply ideological and self-serving politician.
The question is: why does the public seem willing to forgive and forget? Not content with simply imitating the physical characteristics of a cat, politically Galloway seems determined to prove he has nine lives as well. Time and time again Galloway embroils himself in controversy, but a comeback remains always on the cards.
Bad press from this recent storm means the ‘Bradford Spring’ honeymoon period has been put on ice; perhaps the 18,341 voters who elected Galloway in March will come to realise the mistake they made. Or perhaps this was indeed just what they wanted to hear.
Robert Smith is a freelance writer. He tweets at @robertsmithUK
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