He used to be somebody
Nothing is more pitiful than a rebellious politician who has lost power, except perhaps a newspaper mogul, the latter an occasion for celebration; which brings me to the subject of this essay, frazzled George Galloway. Of late he has taken to wearing a fedora to hide his well-buffed bonce. He wears it wherever he goes, and whatever he does, in interview, talks, shopping, driving, selfies, presumably while in the bath too.
In hat wearing affectation he copies some intrepid American journalists of last century. In particular, I am thinking of the late, great Bert Sugar, a boxing writer and sports historian, recognizable by his trademark fedora and unlit cigar. If your face is unremarkable, aging fast, dress it up to be noticed, like lipstick on a pig. Men who can grow beards. Galloway grows fuzz and liver spots.
Galloway likes a cigar, fallacio with the best tabacco leaf. The defender of the down-trodden and the working class, who, like the poor, enjoys a good Havana cigar, the sign of a man visibly contradictory as he is dogmatic on everything. Poor man has taken to squandering the autumn of his life telling Scotland ‘like it is’, intent on reducing the civil rights of folk who have never done him the slightest harm in their life.
His entire political outlook is encapsulated in the declaration he wants Britain to be a sovereign state but not Scotland. He means England. Even Westminster acknowledges Scotland is a separate country.
Firebrands either burn themselves out early, or end a career covered in ermine, a career spent decrying the establishment, ended supporting the establishment by pocketing £300 a day for signing on to snooze in a comfy, warm corner where a few hundred cattle died to leather the House of Lords.
Galloway burnt himself out years ago. A carpetbagger on the prowl for money, he might be forced to accept the ermine against his better judgement, for he’s planning to belittle Scotland for a lot less.
You tak the high road an’ Ah’ll tak the low road
During Scotland’s referendum debate Galloway, ever the opportunist – took to highways and byways of Scotia- correction: B-roads and back roads – of his homeland, touring his comedy show, “Jist Say Naw,” a risky choice of title considering people took him at his word and ‘just said ‘naw’ to his blether.
Face lined and pouched from too many irregular hours, he does his best to appear dignified yet manages to present the dreaded image of a Scotsman on the make.
There’s the street fighter about him, bare knuckles until the man goes down. He thinks he is still in the fight game. Punch drunk he looks for a cause, any cause, and hopes he has found one demanding Scotland should give him a last chance at a title.
“Ah’ll take yous awe oan!!!”
He managed to confront only semi-retired coach, Jim Sillars, a veteran of the well-honed answer who rarely needs to put on gloves to land a hit to the jaw. In the televised face-to-face debate Galloway tripped out all his usual semantics about Scotland, trying hard not to say his nation was poor and weak, and too whatever entered his head. After all, it educated him. Whatever problem he thought afflicted Scotland, staying under the thumb of Westminster was his sole, tired solution. At the end of the debate, Galloway and Sillars shook hands, nothing solved, no earth shaken, no punching the air in glee.
A man in search of his reputation.
If only he had shunned wearing that lurid pink cat suit on Big Brother and had not shimmied around like an automaton afflicted by constipation. There is no dignity in parading yourself as a willing patsy for a few dollars. Those slimy television producers sure know how to humiliate a man before fifteen million viewers. The image goes with you to the grave. Cremation cannot erase it from the public memory.
One can argue, fairly, by his television misadventure, Galloway prostituted himself, emulating impecunious Scottish earls and flaky alcoholic lawyers who signed the Treaty of Union for thirteen pieces of silver.
He caught our admiration when he took on the might of the United States of Amnesia’s Senate Committee, daring to grill and flambé him over his association with the once US supported and subsidised dictator of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, the psychopath he called “indefatigable” to his face, all you dare say to a murderer to avoid getting garroted later.
What a fierce, doughty defence he put up to mighty US p;ower. It was formidable. He went the full twelve rounds winning every one until he got that knockout in the last, greeted by a roar of cheers from dissenters treated as enemies of the state by the policeman of the planet.
A day on international glory
Who can forget his tirade against a nameless senator who thought ‘Galloway’ a tame milking cow of black and white hue? Galloway – get it? It was a classic of its genre – attack the best form of defence, a relentless tirade – leaving the stunned senator folded, hanging on the ropes, black and blue, bluebirds flying around his head.
These days Galloway thinks Scotland doesn’t deserve more democracy than it has, which in reality is very little. Behind the bluster and the boorish behaviour, if you listen closely enough, you’ll hear the sneer of disgust aimed at the Scottish National Party because it has power given to it by the will of the people, and is intent on returning power to them.
Galloway plans to take power away from the people of Scotland.
Galloway is loud in advocating independence for countries he admires, and just as loud in denouncing independence for the one he wants subjugated – Scotland.
Mugging up to Muggeridge
Galloway reminds me of a journalist of my student days, Malcolm Muggeridge, one-time socialist rebel, British spy, rabid anti-communist and inveterate womaniser.
Muggeridge was very fond of tarring and feathering anybody he disliked. He took over popular causes to rail against them, volubly. This got him lots of attention, notoriety, interviews, press coverage, and of course, fat fees. It also made him a babe magnate. He despised what he saw as a lamentable lapse in sexual morals … and all the while he was a serial cheater on his wife. However, Muggeridge made a living as an editor of Punch magazine and a columnist. Galloway is a full-time carpetbagger and freeloader.
Aye, those against anything remotely progressive usually have a skeleton languishing in the cupboard, or as Galloway is sure to pronounce it, ‘A. Skel-ington. Inna. Cummoard.’
So, where are we now?
We used to call Galloway, ‘Gorgeous George’. Today he’s overweight, slow, tired, and flat-footed. He talks about his past fights, reliving old spats. “I was thrown out of the Labour party because I defied the vote on the Iraq war!”
He’s insulted women refusing to retract his ill-advised comment on allegations against Julian Assange – “They do not constitute rape … not as we understand it.” For George, ‘no’ can mean ‘yes’.
He insulted colleagues to the point of resigning from the political party he founded, ‘Respect’, irony lost on him. He insulted the memory of Saddam Hussein whom he once thought tireless and dynamic. He hugged Jimmy Savile but didn’t get groped, the lucky man. He insulted Jeremy Paxman, a phlegmatic Englishman not easily offended.
He insulted the disabled by using the term ‘window-licker’; he called Senator John McCain senile; he insulted the late Christopher Hitchens. “Look at you, man. Yer drunk! You can hardly stand up. Get a grip of yourself!” He went on to insult … you get the drift.
And now he insults the intelligence of people of Scotland. He places ‘Nazi collaborators’ together with ‘the SNP.’ His jabs are a sucker’s punch.
The saddest part of all
Galloway is despised by the British Establishment, an outsider, banished, rejected by the Labour party, seen as a pariah, driven to look like a prat on a low brow television show, the one and the same Galloway who asks the people of Scotland for their respect.
He wants us to accept the brutality of the invader, to remain a colony, to live a half-life with a low threshold of civil and constitutional rights, something his Irish republican mother would never have accepted.
Ah, well, maybe we should just sit back and enjoy George’s comic shadow boxing.
NOTE: In July 2020, Galloway warned he was planning to earn a seat at Holyrood, presumably because no English constituency would have him. Have Union, will travel.