IN all the many bizarre utterances which litter his life and career, there is surely none which better capture the sheer barefaced effrontery of George Galloway than his “invitation” to Scottish Labour to join him in a pact to save the Union.
You have to read his Tweet to believe it: “Dear @scottishlabour. I know you hate me. Believe me I hate you back. But this is way bigger than me, bigger even than you. All pro-#Unity forces must unite. Or everybody loses and the match is over. @Alliance4Uni”
Dear @scottishlabour I know you hate me. Believe me I hate you back. But this is way bigger than me, bigger even than you. All pro-#Unity forces must unite. Or everybody loses and the match is over. @Alliance4Unity
— George Galloway (@georgegalloway) July 13, 2020
The latter hashtag refers to the Alliance for Unity, a shadowy grouping of would be Better Together types whose Twitter account says they are “an Alliance of all who wish to see the defeat of the SNP and an end to the Neverendum on Scotland’s future.” They claim 7000 followers on Twitter but does the Alliance exist in any meaningful way?
It’s (expelled) Labour former MP Galloway’s wishful thinking that Jackson Carlaw, Richard Leonard, and Willie Rennie will join him in this new Alliance, but while the Tory, Labour and LibDem leaders may be ineffably incompetent, even they are not stupid enough to link up with Galloway.
He has re-emerged – he has had to do that a lot over the last 40 years – as the self-styled “anti-imperialist and socialist politician” head of the Workers Party of Britain. You can just see Tories everywhere thinking “like that party, George is the boyo for me.”
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For those of us who have followed his career since the early 1980s, this is just the latest in a long line of miserable disappointing downgrades from his early status as a firebrand left-winger with leadership potential to his current status as a national embarrassment, a politician who is threatening to return to the Scottish scene and stir things up. Oh, please George, please do it – we all need a laugh these days.
It is tempting to castigate him, but the emotion for Galloway at this time must be pity, for how has someone of his talents come to such a pretty pass in which, like Johnson, Gove, Jack and Carlaw, he wishes to deny the Scottish people their democratic right to choose their own future – that’s some company to be in, George.
And how can this noted supporter of Irish reunification, raised a Catholic son of an Irish mother, campaign for a Union which is institutionally bigoted against Catholics. Act of Union 1707 article 2 states that “All Catholics” are excluded from the throne of the United Kingdom. A bonnie fechter he has been for minorities over the years, but the precious Union overcomes his natural inclinations.
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Going back to the late 1970s and early 1980s, in his twenties Galloway looked a future star as the youngest ever chairman of the Labour Party in Scotland. Then the Dundonian who would make a career out of carpetbagging tried to become Labour’s candidate for Dumbarton but the local party wasn’t having it, selecting John McFall instead. Now Lord McFall, he was an assiduous constituency chairman while Galloway just sauntered in accompanied by future BBC chief John Boothman and tried to razzle-dazzle the local membership with his undoubted oratorical skills. Thanks, but no thanks, they said.
He moved on to Hillhead and beat Roy Jenkins for the seat in June 1987, but in winning he had to step down as Secretary General of the charity War on Want. Alistair Campbell, no less, had filleted Galloway’s WoW accounts previously on the front page of the Daily Mirror – he repaid £1700 contested expenses – but the question that got him into trouble was put by the late journalist John Nairn at a press conference in September, 1987. Nairn, who detested the new MP, asked him about scandalous allegations about his conduct at a conference in Mykonos, to which Galloway replied “I travelled and spent lots of time with people in Greece, many of whom were women, some of whom were known carnally to me. I actually had sexual intercourse with some of the people in Greece.”
That should have been the end of his career there and then, but he survived losing a vote of no confidence by his local party executive. He is nothing if not a survivor.
Galloway did some tremendous work supporting the cause of the Palestinians and was right about the Iraq war, he won libel trials aplenty and kebabbed the US Senate over mythical oil deals, and of course he has proved a brilliant by -election campaigner, but over the years he’s had a roll-call of misjudgement: Sadam Hussein’s “indefatigability”, his catty performance on Celebrity Big Brother, his remarks that led him to be sacked from TalkRadio, even if they weren’t anti-semitic, and now he’s going against the democratic tide in Scotland and would deny us a second independence referendum.
Galloway’s time has long gone here. He is an irrelevance to Scotland and should be ignored.