Friday, May 20, 2005

More bloody Galloway: George goes to Washington

This is about Galloway.

So is this.

And this.

This too.

Another one.

Nearly forgot this.

And this.

Finally - in this collection which was gathered in under five minutes and represents the tip of a particularly bloated ice-berg, Paul Anderson writes that "This Show Will Run and Run".

Neither he nor anyone else is giving any indication of how long this pantomime will last, which is unfortunate because if anyone had any idea, I'd plan my holiday around it.

As well as agreeing with the basic analysis of Galloway's position that we've all read about a million times (the idea that if one's position is to oppose the US regardless, you end up becoming as unprincipled as Washington etc.), I've been a fully paid-up member of the George-is-a-complete-tosser club sometime before he was caught on camera kissing Saddam's arse and before most of the London-based bloggers even knew who he was.

But this madness has to stop, dammit - for the following controversial reasons:

1) Galloway goes to Washington, does the verbal equivalent of kicking Christopher Hitchens in the nuts - walking into the Senate hearing, grabbing one of them by the lapels and splaying his nose over his face with a well-timed headbutt. The other Senator gets smacked in the chin with an empty bottle of Buckfast before he can say "indefatigability".

Despite intellectually holding him in contempt, I felt a very strange primordial sense of national pride. Say what you like - and I have said it - the man's got balls, and they were made in Scotland.

Apart from anything else, all this scrutiny he's been under has spectacularly back-fired: for the moment at least, Galloway must be the most famous Scotsman in the US, apart from Sean Connery.

The next two are more serious - and controversial.

2) I'm really not sure that Galloway will be found to have done anything criminal; we've been down this road before up North (War on Want) and nothing came of it. But even if he has been personally enriching himself, this is still out of proportion. The Oil for Palaces scheme stank of corruption and a number of American and British capitalists - not forgetting Kofi's boy, of course - have been implicated. They haven't been convicted of anything yet - but then again, neither has George Galloway.

3) This is a contentious point. It'll be misunderstood but that's too bad; I genuinely believe it needs to be said by one of Galloway's political opponents : what if it emerges that Galloway's dealings with the Miriam Appeal were all above board and nothing comes of this latest story about vote-fixing in Bethnal Green? Without any evidence of criminal activity on Galloway's part - it will be impossible to avoid the conclusion that he has been persecuted for his beliefs, and that ain't a good place to be folks.

Yes I know, I know : he's odious, a complete phoney, and has by effectively backing Saddam - and now the "resistance" - achieved the negation of nearly everything he once professed to believe in.

But that's not in and of itself a crime, is it? And if one believes in liberty, one should defend his right to say it.

You find this offensive? Tough shit - because liberty, if it means anything at all, means the right to tell people what they don't want to hear.

Update: seems I forgot to put the irony tags around reason #1. As lenin might say, do I have to wear a sign?

Update #2 - Apologies to readers; this is obviously one of my more incoherent posts because it's been somewhat misunderstood and I'll try and rectify that now.

Particularly in the blogsphere, it seems one either has to think Galloway's an anti-imperialist hero who is entirely innocent of everything he's ever been accused of or you think he's a fascist and a criminal.

My own view is that while I agree with much of the criticism made of his position vis-a-vis the Ba'athist regime in Iraq (but I eschew the long and ignoble tradition on the left of calling people you disagree with a fascist), it is a mistake to assume that he must therefore be guilty of what he has been accused of.

For what it's worth, I personally think it is very unlikely that he will be found guilty of any criminal offence. I was trying to do a sort of, "I hate what you're saying but I'll defend to the death your right to say it" riff; I've obviously failed miserably...

Update #3 - Which is not to say I'm going soft on him or anything. Anon writes in the comments: "His beliefs should not render him immune from investigation." No, no - of course not. And if he has done something dodgy, he should be strung up by his gonads and be pelted to death with Quality Street.

Update #4: Hitchens on Galloway - via Will.

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