The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'george galloway'
Well, that all turned dark pretty quickly.
The Tories achieved a surprise upset in the general election, not only getting vastly more votes than Labour but confounding expectations of an inevitable hung parliament and winning an outright majority, their first since 1992. The Lib Dems, as expected, suffered heavy losses, not only losing dozens of seats but forfeiting hundreds of thousands of pounds' worth of electoral deposits when candidates failed to reach the magic 5% mark, and Labour lost all its seats in Scotland. What's more surprising is Labour falling flat south of the border; this was undoubtedly helped by the entire press (save for the Grauniad) throwing their weight behind the Tories and stoking fears about those awful Scots and their unreasonable demands. The UKIP surge also failed to happen, though that's partly because the Tories moved into their ideological turf (a strategy echoing the Australian Tories' appropriation of the xenophobic One Nation party in the 1990s).
The upshot of this is that, for the next five years, Britain will have a Tory government unrestrained by either more squeamish coalition partners (the all-but-extinct Lib Dems, who were, as Charlie Brooker so memorably put it, “the lube on the broom handle”) nor by any considerations of being seen as “modernisers”, “moderates” or “compassionate conservatives”. The raw, atavistic, Murdochian id of the public has spoken, and revealed that it responds to fear and outrage: that it believes some proportion of the people they
share compete for space with on this damp island are, to put it bluntly, scum, and demands that they be punished, harder, and Cameron has shown that he is listening. The gloves are off, and the night is about to become much darker. The next legislative programme is already known to include ever harsher austerity, more severe cutbacks to what remains of the social-democratic safety net, the forced sell-off of housing association housing to the for-profit private sector, the abolition of the Human Rights Act and warrantless mass surveillance of all electronic communications (all the better for dealing with the “enemy within”). The dismantling of the NHS as we know it will continue apace, with the result being an underfunded veterinary service for peasants who can't afford private health insurance. The Murdoch papers and Daily Mail are likely to get off scot-free, with the Leveson press reforms being scrapped or watered down to the point of ineffectuality. Which will come in handy for swinging a vote for leaving the EU when the promised referendum comes around.
So, in short: if you're a non-dom tax exile, a buy-to-let landlord or merely asset-rich, the next five years will be just fine, thank you very much. For everybody else, struggling on exploitative zero-hours contracts, eating expired baked beans from the food bank, not complaining about breathing in mould spores for fear of (perfectly legal) revenge eviction and hoping that you don't become sick or disabled, ever, life will suck more. But at least you can blame the Romanians. Or the Scots. In short, in a few years' time, people will genuinely miss the Lib Dems.
Labour, meanwhile, seem to be in a bind. With Miliband (branded “Red Ed” by the right-wing tabloids due to making vague noises about social justice and inequality rather than just preaching from the Blairite trickle-down prosperity gospel) gone, the temptation might be to triangulate rightward again, choosing a slick Blairite leader (or perhaps manufacturing their own Farage-style jolly reactionary bigot-whisperer) and hope that the punters buy it; though the problem with this would be (as Channel 4's Paul Mason pointed out) that this could trigger the largest union, Unite, cutting its ties with Labour and using its funds and resources to set up a hard-left party along the lines of Syriza/Podemos, and eclipsing a Labour who, after the loss of Scotland, no longer have any ideological base or coherence. Or Labour could bite the bullet and become the aforementioned hard-left party, alienating all the big-business donors they have so carefully built up connections with, and losing credibility with the mainstream before earning the trust of the angry precariat, though that won't happen.
Scotland, meanwhile, is drifting away from the Westminster settlement. The Westminster parties are all but extinct north of the border, with Labour joining the Tories in oblivion; currently, as far as the Westminster parliament is concerned, Scotland is almost a one-party state governed by the SNP. This, of course, is hardly a sustainable state of affairs, and at some point there will (hopefully) be a vigorous opposition. It's not a safe bet that this will be a reinvigorated Labour Party. If Britain does leave the EU, the SNP is likely to vociferously demand a rerun of the referendum; of course, as far as Westminster is concerned, the matter of Scotland's place in the UK has been settled once and for all, though they said similar things about Irish Home Rule. (Speaking of which, if Scotland does, sooner or later, break away, the knock-on effects on the status of Northern Ireland will also be interesting.)
There are a few minor glimmers of sunshine in the gloom: Nigel Farage failed to win Thanet (but mostly because the Tories ran a UKIP-alike, pandering to the electorate's perceived xenophobia) and promptly fell on his sword; this, incidentally, should free him up to host Top Gear. The Greens' Caroline Lucas has held Brighton Pavilion with a greatly increased majority (despite predictions that the unpopularity of a Green local council would damage her chances), and though the Greens have not claimed any additional seats, they did make back their deposits in a few. And George Galloway has lost the seat of Bradford West after a dirty campaign; Galloway blamed the loss on “racists and Zionists”; the candidate who beat him, Labour's Naz Shah, is a Muslim woman of Asian heritage.
Galloway has said that ‘the disappearance of the Soviet Union was the biggest catastrophe of my life.’ To Saddam Hussein, he said, ‘I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability. And I want you to know that we are with you until victory, until victory, until Jerusalem!’ We know that Galloway signed a petition demanding the release of Saddam’s number-two Tariq Aziz, with whom Galloway once danced in a North African nightclub. The Iraqi ‘resistance’, jihadis who kill civilians, socialists and aid workers, is ‘defending all the Arabs, and they are defending all the people of the world from American hegemony.’ When trade unionists broke down in tears at their recollections of torture under Ba’athists, Galloway sneered that their visible emotion was ‘a party trick’. He called Iraqi trade union leader Abdullah Muhsin an ‘Iraqi Quisling’. He said of the Syrian dictator that ‘Syria is lucky to have Bashar al-Assad as her President.’ We know that he described Hamas as a ‘Palestinian national resistance movement, analogous to the organisations fighting for freedom in Kashmir,’ and said at a London antiwar rally that ‘I AM HERE to glorify the Lebanese resistance, Hezbollah, and I AM HERE to glorify the resistance leader, Hassan Nasrallah.’ He has also said that ‘in poor third world countries like Pakistan, politics is too important to be left to petty squabbling politicians… only the armed forces can really be counted on to hold such a country together.’
Galloway’s Respect party was an alliance between the SWP and conservative Muslims. To keep its new friends on board, the party threw out its commitments to secularism, female equality and gay rights, which SWP leader Lindsey German dismissed as a ‘shibboleth.’ That is Galloway’s legacy, if nothing else: he has brought the communalism of the BNP into left-wing politics, and brought religious reaction into left-wing politics.
Stalinist MP George Galloway has caused another stir after praising Iraqi insurgents as "martyrs"; which is rather odd language for a good dialectic-materialist Marxist to be using, wouldn't you say?
He told Syrian Television: "Two of your beautiful daughters are in the hands of foreigners - Jerusalem and Baghdad. "The foreigners are doing to your daughters as they will. "The daughters are crying for help and the Arab world is silent. And some of them are collaborating with the rape of these two beautiful Arab daughters."
"It can be said, truly said, that the Iraqi resistance is not just defending Iraq. They are defending all the Arabs and they are defending all the people of the world against American hegemony."It makes one wonder: do the martyrs and heroes include those who beheaded Ken Bigley and brutally murdered Margaret Hassan? Are al-Qaeda now in George Galloway's list of global freedom fighters?
Problem for him is, that he has not sworn the oath in the House of Commons. He will not be back in London until after the Queen's Speech, which is the deadline when all MPs have to have affirmed or taken the oath.
Unless the Speaker lets him off, if he sets foot on the floor of the House when he gets back, he will be fined £500, and his Bethnal Green and Bow seat would be automatically vacated.
Though didn't Gerry Adams also refuse to take the oath, and manage to retain his seat (not to mention his Westminster office and parliamentary perks), merely forfeiting the right to enter Parliament? In any case, it looks like the voters of Bethnal Green won't get much in the way of democratic representation.
According to this Graun article, George Galloway may not have won his seat (which, after all, he picked up by a slender margin) without the help of gangs of enforcers intimidating the opposition:
Others in the room had voted for the Liberal Democrats. None had cast their vote for Galloway. Rowan Livingstone, who decided to go Green, explained, 'They came to our door and when my flatmate said she would not be voting Respect they shouted at her and called her ignorant.'
Elsewhere in Bethnal Green, student Benjamin Virgo, 34, explained what had happened to him on Tuesday night. 'On the way out to the corner shop to buy milk and bread I passed a couple of young guys. After I'd crossed the road they threw a bottle at me. They became more aggressive, so I reached for my mobile and started to call the police. They followed me into the shop and announced to the other customers and staff that I was a racist. Then, fists in my face, they ordered me to stop my call, reminded me that they knew where I lived and threatened to burn my house down. The police never came. George Galloway is now my MP.'
You find the oddest things on LiveJournal, such as a blog reporting on the doings of the British militant left. Nowadays they've got their hands full with "Gorgeous George" Galloway's Islamo-Stalinist Coalition (also known as the Respect Party) and their many attempts to shoehorn militant Islamic fundamentalism into the image of a Marxist liberation movement whilst jettisoning liabilities such as commitments to womens' rights, gay rights and secularism.
Phil Doré was a member of the Stop the War Coalition, the group which organised huge anti-war protests in the UK; then he left the group and now runs a website on what's wrong with it. In short, the coalition is run almost entirely by hard-line totalitarian leftists like unreconstructed Stalinist George Galloway. Their ideology seems to be that anything goes as long as it's against Western capitalist liberalism; thus they give uncritical support to anti-Western totalitarian dictators like Saddam Hussein, ally themselves with Islamic fundamentalist groups (something any moderate socialist, let alone liberal progressive, would find alarming), and pulled a bait-and-switch on the thousands of moderate Guardian-reader types who came to their rallies, promising opposition to a war but handing them banners praising anti-Israeli suicide bombers. Doré's site (and the abbreviated Butterflies and Wheels article distilled from it) talks about Britain's StWC, but from what I heard, the US and Australian organising groups like ANSWER are similarly riddled with reprehensible ideologues.
This conjunction of the SWP and the MAB led to the STWC drawing a clear link between war in Iraq with Israel/Palestine. At protests such as those on February 15 th 2003, middle-of-the-road liberals who had turned up to voice their disquiet at a reckless military adventure in Iraq were bemused to find themselves being handed placards that said not just Don't Attack Iraq or Not in My Name but also Freedom for Palestine. The MAB in particular seemed to be giving out almost as many Freedom for Palestine as Don't Attack Iraq placards. The Socialist Alliance went further, subtitling their Freedom for Palestine placards with the words Victory to the Intifada, at a stroke turning middle-class Guardian readers into standard-bearers for suicide bombers.
A look at the list of names on the Stop the War Coalitions steering committee gives an idea of the scale of the takeover. The chair is a man who thinks that people shouldnt whinge about Stalin's careless slaughter of 20 million people (Andrew Murray). The convenor is a member of the Socialist Workers Party, an organisation that advocates the overthrow of democracy and its replacement with a dictatorship of the proletariat (Lindsey German). Of the Vice-Presidents, one is a man who thinks that the indiscriminate murder of Iraqi civilians can be likened to the French resistance in World War Two (Tariq Ali). Another spent the 1990s condemning Saddam's regime when he was in London and sucking up to it with a nauseating sycophancy when in Baghdad (George Galloway MP).
As another bomb goes off, slaughtering a few more Iraqi policemen or another crowd of Shia pilgrims, theres something very distressing about people like Tariq Ali and John Pilger actually welcoming this. When such figures suggest that these brutal and indiscriminate killings may lead to democracy and social justice, as Tariq Ali has (1), then one is left wondering whether to laugh or cry. You might as well hope that the BNP will take over the Equal Opportunities Commission and set about improving race relations.
Anyway, the site has a wealth of insightful and balanced criticism of the radical left's arguments, from their Intifada-good-Israel-bad take on the Palestinian issue to their support for the Iraqi "people's uprising" (which, surprisingly, isn't as popular with the Iraqi people as one would think after reading the Green Left Weekly). He signs off with a 7-step programme to rehabilitating the protest movement and saving it from the clutches of the paleo-Marxist ideo-zombies.
1. Communism is obsolete. Get over it.
2. Follow universal values. Instead of cheap partisanship and outdated revolutionary ideals, one should follow humanistic principles based on democracy, tolerance, respect for human rights and concern for ones fellow human beings. The key is the principle of democracy. Be wary of anything that smacks of condoning violence. Theres nothing more dangerous than an idealist with a gun.
3. Apply the same rules to everyone. This is important, because its necessary to be consistent in the application of ones values. Opposing the brutalities of the Israeli occupation of the Occupied Territories does not mean ignoring the indiscriminate slaughter of the Palestinian suicide bombers. Likewise, its perfectly possible to condemn racism against Muslims while also criticising the narrow-minded religious bigots of the Muslim Association of Britain and condemning the theocratic fascism of al Qaeda, the Taliban and the Iranian ayatollahs.
(One could add a meta-rule to this: beware of people who think in binary dualisms; that you must either be a Trotskyist or a neo-con, that you're either a hardline likudnik or you're cheering on the suicide bombers, that you're either with the gang of thugs torturing prisoners in Abu Ghraib or the gang of thugs blowing up civilians in the Fedayeen "resistance"; that you're either With Us or Against Us.)
(via Peter, who has his head screwed on the right way.)
Remember the Iraqi secret documents proving that bolshy anti-war MP George Galloway was a traitor in the pay of Saddam? Well, it now looks like they're highly dubious. (via NWD)
A scrawl claimed to be Mr Galloway's signature on "receipts" has no similarity to his real one. The operation, revealed by the Mail on Sunday, also threw up glaring misspellings of Iraqi officers' names and mistakes in the title of Saddam's son Qusay, also said to have signed the document.
The documents were offered for sale by a former Republican Guard General. What is the world coming to if you can't trust the Iraqi Republican Guard?
Documents have allegedly emerged in the ruins of Iraqi government buildings proving that a left-wing British parliamentarian was on Saddam Hussein's payroll. The documents suggest that Labour MP George Galloway, an outspoken critic of the war best known for vehemently denouncing Tony Blair as a "war criminal", was receiving £375,000 a year from Baghdad for his services. Apparently, this princely sum was still not enough for Galloway, who was asking for more. Galloway has denied the allegations and is planning to sue the Daily Telegraph for libel. Blair is confident that the papers are genuine; Galloway's supporters claim they're part of a smear campaign, and cite the case of forged papers "proving" Iraqi uranium purchases, now discredited.
I wonder whether the usual liberal-bashers will run these allegations, citing them as proof that the anti-war movement were Saddam's dupes.