He used to be somebody
Nothing is more pitiful than a politician who has lost power except perhaps a newspaper mogul; which brings me to the subject of this essay, frazzled George Galloway.
Galloway, defender of the down-trodden and the working class, who, like the poor, enjoys a good Havana cigar, who is as often risibly contradictory as he is dogmatic on everything, is squandering the autumn of his life telling Scotland ‘like it is’. In a nutshell his entire political outlook is encapsulated in the declaration he wants Britain to be a sovereign state but not Scotland.
Firebrands either burn themselves out early, or end a career covered in ermine, a career spent decrying the establishment, ended pocketing £300 a day for signing on to snooze in a comfy, warm corner of leathered House of Lords. (See ‘Lord’ Alistair Darling.)
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.
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. Those slimy television producers sure know how to humiliate a man before fifteen million viewers. Still, the fee was lucrative.
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.
What a fierce, doughty defence he put up. 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? It was a classic of its genre – attack the best form of defence – leaving the stunned senator folded, hanging on the ropes, black and blue.
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 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 and then British spy and rabid anti-communist.
Muggeridge was very fond of tarring and feathering anybody he disliked. He took over popular causes to rail against them, voluably. This got him lots of attention, notoriety, interviews, press coverage, and of course, fat fees. It also made him a babe magnate. Setting himself up as Devil’s Advocate of First Choice in the media’s Rolodex he dominated public debates. He despised what he saw as a lamentable lapse in sexual morals … and all the while he was a serial cheater on his wife.
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,’ but 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 ‘indefatigable.’ He even hugged Jimmy Savile but didn’t get groped. He insulted Jeremy Paxman, an Englishman not easily offended; unwittingly, he claims. 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 insulted … well, 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 British Establishment, to remain a colony, something his Irish republican mother would never have approved.
Ah, well, maybe we should just enjoy George’s comic shadow boxing.