Monday, 17 January 2011


"Would you like me to be the cat?"
The Herald today confirms rumours that former Labour MP and founder of the Respect Party George Galloway will stand for election to the Scottish Parliament.

An unreconstructed socialist of the old school, Mr Galloway would like us to believe he made his name "taking on the US Senate" – well, a Senate sub-committee charged with investigated claims he had profited illicitly from Iraqi oil deals, at least.  In truth, he owed rather more of his early fame to his very public praise of Saddam Hussein, compounded some years later by comments he made likening British soldiers in Iraq to "wolves".

Expelled from the Labour Party after calling on those same soldiers to disobey orders even as he urged Arabs to take up arms against them, Mr Galloway managed a brief return to Parliament when his new Respect Party cornered the Muslim vote in Bethnal Green and Bow.  Now back in the political wilderness, this latest play for a seat in the Scottish legislature is presented as an attempt to raise the quality of debate at Holyrood, which Mr Galloway feels is of a standard more appropriate to "Cumbernauld town council rather than a national parliament."

“It’s my contention", he says, "that today’s Scottish Parliament has too few real Parliamentarians in it, heavyweight Parliamentarians who would be recognised outside their own street ... Too many in Holyrood would regard the term 'non-entity' as an accolade and I think that’s bad for the Scottish Parliament.  It’s bad for politics in Scotland."

Well, no arguments here.

But if, like me, you can remember Mr Galloway as he appeared on Celebrity Big Brother  by turns bullying, vindictive and utterly cringe-making  then you may find that you too question his claim that he is the man to lend proceedings "a touch of class".

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