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George Galloway is a carpet-bagging Scottish politician, radio and television host and the former leader of the British left-wing (lack of) Respect Party. He has been elected to the House of Commons six times, four times as a Labour MP, and twice, subsequent to his expulsion from the Labour Party, as a Respect MP. He was expelled in part for calling for troops to disobey orders in 2003 during the Iraq War. It appears his luck may have run out as he was not re-elected at the 2015 general election with a large swing vote against him. It's fair to say that Gorgeous George is something of a carpetbagger. It's also fair to say that George Galloway never met an enemy of the West that he didn't like.
George Galloway has been politically active since the 1960s, becoming secretary of the Constituency Labour Party in Dundee as a teenager and chair of Scottish Labour when he was only 27 years old. He was first elected as the MP for Glasgow Hillhead at the 1987 general election, where he gained the seat for Labour from Roy Jenkins of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
He has had a stormy relationship with the establishment, often voting against the party's policies and whips' instructions, although Galloway managed to survive a February 1988 vote of no confidence by the Glasgow constituency party. In 2003, he was expelled from the Labour Party for his outspoken criticism of Tony Blair's leadership; his opposition to the Iraq War led him to incite British troops to disobey orders, one of the reasons for his expulsion. He would later obliquely call for Blair's assassination.
“”"Would the assassination of, say, Tony Blair by a suicide bomber, if there were no other casualties, be justified as revenge for the war on Iraq?"
The Respect MP replies: "Yes it would be morally justified. I am not calling for it, but if it happened it would be of a wholly different moral order to the events of 7/7."It would be entirely logical and explicable, and morally equivalent to ordering the deaths of thousands of innocent people in Iraq as Blair did."
Galloway, using every carpet-bagging trick in the book, was elected at the 2005 general election as the MP for Bethnal Green and Bow in East London; standing as a Respect Party candidate, and defeated Oona King of the Labour Party by 823 votes. In 2006, he appeared on the reality TV programme Celebrity Big Brother, where he pretended to be a cat sipping milk at one point and hugged house visitor Jimmy Savile at another. In 2007, he was briefly suspended (for 18 sitting days) from the House of Commons for criticisms of the House and a Select Committee, which had investigated his financial arrangements after The Daily Telegraph alleged that he had received kickbacks from Iraqi sources under a UN aid programme (allegations which were found libelous after legal action by Galloway, though that should be taken with a grain of salt, as English libel law puts the burden on the defendant to prove the statement true).
In March 2012, again capitalising on religious tensions, Galloway won a by-election in Bradford West - a seat previously held by Marsha Singh of the Labour Party - and defeated Labour's candidate Imran Hussain with a majority of 10,140 votes and a large swing in his favour. (It was reversed in the next general election with a large swing against him.) This election was fought partly with a bizarre campaign stressing that Galloway doesn't drink alcohol, making him a better Muslim than Hussain, and a speech in which Galloway implied that people who voted for his rival would be punished on Judgment Day. As writer Nick Cohen pointed out, not even Rick Santorum went quite that far.
In May 2015, Galloway lost his Bradford West seat with the Labour candidate Naseem "Naz" Shah regaining the seat, with a majority of 11,420 votes.
Support for repressive regimes
In January 1994, Galloway visited Iraq and met Saddam Hussein and concluded a speech while there by praising the then leader of Iraq: "Sir, I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability". GaLLoway has always said he meant the Iraqi people while speaking directly to Saddam Hussein himself using the honourific "Sir". Galloway is a long-standing supporter of Hezbollah.
Galloway defended the government of Iran, especially during the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a Holocaust denier, asserting that the country does not execute people for homosexuality and that the boyfriend of Mehdi Kazemi, a gay Iranian asylum seeker, was instead executed for "committing sex crimes against young men." Galloway's argument was condemned by gay rights activist Peter Tatchell, who said that Galloway had provided no evidence for his claim and was merely purveying Iranian propaganda. Needless to say, at the time, Galloway was being paid by the Iranian government with his very own television show on
the Ministry of Truth Press TV, the Iranian version of Russia Today.
Galloway will support any regime, no matter how vile, to pander to his constituents. To wit: while the conflict in Darfur was still going on, he made excuses for Bashir's regime, claiming that the charges of genocide were actually part of an American conspiracy to stop Sudan from trading with China. To the surprise of absolutely nobody, he has also said that the whole affair in Darfur is really Israel's fault.
While Galloway usually relies on weasel words to defend dictators in Muslim countries, he makes no effort at all to hide his admiration of Fidel Castro of Cuba. He has barked "viva Fidel!" during televised interviews. He has often reproduced on his Twitter account an image of the two men hugging.
Galloway has been accused of supporting Saddam Hussein and allegedly profited from Iraqi oil dealings, while decrying the United States for doing the same. As such, he opposed the Iraq War partly because he saw Iraq as a latter-day Soviet Union, claiming that the day the Soviet Union fell was "the biggest catastrophe of my life". Galloway fell out with Christopher Hitchens because of this, having previously described Hitchens as "that great man of letters" and "the world's greatest polemicist." He went on to say that Hitchens was "the first ever metamorphosis from a butterfly back into a slug", though he did not elaborate on when in natural history he had observed a slug transform into a butterfly as it tends to be caterpillars that do that. Galloway also described Hitchens as "a drink-sodden, ex-Trotskyist popinjay," prompting Hitchens to respond "Are you saying I can't hold my drink?" and "only some of which is true".
Views on rape
Galloway has a history of making embarrassing statements, but he reached truly self-destructive levels in August 2012 when he weighed in on the accusations that Julian Assange is guilty of rape. Galloway said that "I think that Julian Assange's personal sexual behaviour is sordid, disgusting, and I condemn it" but also argued that Assange's alleged action—having sex with a sleeping woman after previously having consensual sex with her—did not constitute rape. Galloway was widely criticised for this statement: Salma Yaqoob, then leader of Respect, left the party, while the National Union of Students banned Galloway as a "rape denier."
Atzmon appeared on Galloway's Sputnik television programme on RT in early January 2015, although he had insisted two years earlier that "I don't debate with Israelis" when walking out of a debate at Oxford University. (The other speaker possessed dual British-Israeli nationality, to which Galloway has an objection.) Atzmon, he insisted, is "politically fascinating". He admitted being "enthralled" by Atzmon's book, The Wandering Who? and said he and his wife had read a chapter each night commenting "we went to bed thinking of you." The Jewish charity, the Community Security Trust, has described the book as "probably the most antisemitic book published in this country in recent years."
George Galloway's defences of Palestine has often crossed the boundary into antisemitism. In June 2019 he was sacked from a presenting role at radio station TalkRadio due to an antisemitic tweet about Tottenham Hotspur football club (which traditionally has a large Jewish following; also, he'd broken the station's code of impartiality by covering for official Moscow in a failed assassination attempt not long before). Earlier in 2019, he had compared complainants about the Labour Party's antisemitism to the Nazi propagandist Josef Goebbels. Although Galloway praised Jewish anti-apartheid activists in South Africa, he also defended former Labour politician Ken Livingstone when Livingstone was accused of antisemitism, Galloway saying that in a sense "Nazism and Zionism were two sides of the same coin". He has also campaigned against Labour deputy leader Tom Watson, saying "Tom Watson has done more for Israel than he has done for West Bromwich", his constituency.
Brexit and right-wing nuts
Since the 2016 Brexit referendum, Galloway has expressed support for a hard Brexit and various right-wing political figures associated with the movement. He gave his support for Nigel Farage's Brexit Party in the 2019 European Parliamentary elections. He was also seen hugging former Breitbart editor and Trump advisor Steve Bannon in Kazakhstan in May 2019.
In March 2021, Galloway was accused of "race-baiting" after attacking Scottish Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf (of the Scottish National Party) on Twitter. He said in part: "Well #Humza you’re not more Scottish than me. You’re not a Celt like me." Yoysaf responded: "You haven’t managed to ever get elected to the Scottish Parliament like me. And I suspect the voters of Scotland will show you the cat flap again come May 6."
“”I was re-elected despite all the efforts made by the British government, the Zionist movement and the newspapers and news media which are controlled by Zionism.
|—George Galloway, MP. You'll be reassured to learn that he isn't an anti-Semite.|
“”South Korea exists because America invaded Korea, killed millions of people, divided the country and continues to garrison South Korea with military bases, nuclear weapons, and chemical and biological weapons.
|—George Galloway, MP, wishing that Korean people could be abused as one nation.|
“”There have been achievements in North Korea … They do have a cohesive, pristine actually, innocent culture. A culture that has not been penetrated by globalisation and by Western mores and is very interesting to see.
|—George Galloway, MP, praising North Korean cultural purity.|
“”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. Some of them are collaborating with the rape of these two beautiful Arab daughters…
|—George Galloway, MP, attempting to rile up the mob with rape metaphors.|
Things that make George happy
- Alex Jones,
- Nigel Farage,
- Gilad Atzmon
- Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
- Suicide bombing
- Bashar al-Assad
- Pervez Musharraf, until late 2001
- Saddam Hussein, from 1991 onwards
- The Taliban
- The Soviet Union
- Vladimir Putin
- North Korea
- Gamal Abdel Nasser
During May–June 2018, Galloway was in disagreement with an English-language Wikipedia editor who had edited Galloway's Wikipedia biography nearly 1,800 times, adding numerous verifiable facts Galloway was not happy with. Editing as User:Philip Cross and living in the UK, Cross and Galloway made comments about each other on Twitter, following Galloway's offer of £1,000 for his "positive identification". The Russian news media covered the story heavily, implying that Cross is a British government agent. The Times journalist Oliver Kamm, himself accused of being Cross, dismissed the conspiracy theory asserting that they were "baseless and damaging rumours" and defended Cross.
- George Galloway wins Bradford West byelection, The Guardian, 30 March 2012
- The Return of Galloway, The Return of Sectarian Britain, Hurry Up Harry, 30 March 2012
- Vote George Galloway Vote Respect no 2 Bradford West (video 3), YouTube
- Galloway and Livingstone: twins in so many ways, Nick Cohen, The Guardian, 1 April 2012
- Bradford West Parliamentary constituency BBC Election 2017 website, 2017
- "Profile of George Galloway", BBC News, 22 April 2003
- Saddam and me, The Guardian, 16 Sep 2002
- http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/article.php?article_id=9334, Socialist Worker
- Galloway's Iranian propaganda?, Peter Tatchell, The Guardian, 26 Mar 2008
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMtJQvq762w, YouTube
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdocmonnovk, YouTube
- [https://www.theguardian.com/world/2002/sep/16/iraq.interviews Saddam and me, The Guardian
- George Galloway Is Gruesome, Not Gorgeous, by Christopher Hitchens, Slate, September 14, 2005
- George Galloway attacked over Assange 'rape' comments, BBC News, 20 August 2012
- Respect's Salma Yaqoob: 'Why I quit', Aida Edemariam, The Guardian, 22 September 2012
- http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/09/27/george-galloway-banned-by-nus-rape-denier_n_1918468.html, Huffington Post, 27 September 2012
- "Great weekend: Anniversary of Bradford Spring and our wedding, hung out with Gilad Atzmon and Julian Assange. Two of the world's greatest.", George Galloway, Twitter, 31 Mar 2013
- When George schmoozed Gilad, CST
- TalkRadio sacks George Galloway over 'antisemitic views', The Guardian, 3 June 2019
- George Galloway sparks backlash with Nazi reference as he talks about anti-Semitism in the Labour party, Evening Standard, 20 February 2019
- Is George Galloway an Antisemite, Times of Israel, 5 September 2016
- George Galloway launches campaign against local MP Tom Watson in Dudley, I Am Birmingham, August 14, 2019
- Why I’m voting Brexit in the European elections, George Galloway, RT (Russia Today), 22 April 2019
- Steve Bannon and George Galloway 'hug' in Kazakhstan after learning Theresa May has resigned, The Independent, 24 May 2019
- George Galloway: former-MP’s 'race-baiting' Twitter post explained - and why Humza Yousaf responded with cat joke, The Scotsman, 18 March 2021
- Haaretz - The Witch Hunt Against a 'pro-Israel' Wikipedia Editor
- Galloway's war of words with a mystery Wikipedia editor, BBC Trending
- How credulous cranks made me the subject of their baseless conspiracy theory, CapX