I spoke to the MP George Galloway yesterday. I asked him if he would be able to help out with something in the community, for primary school children. Without hesitation, George replied “Sure, it would be a pleasure.” Before departing he told me he was swotting up for his appearance on Question Time. I asked what the subjects for debate were going to be, and he replied “Well, you never know”.
It turned out that a large part of the programme was given up to a seemingly coordinated attack on George Galloway, when an audience member abandoned the format of sticking to pre-agreed questions and accused Galloway of being responsible for a spike in anti-Semitic attacks in Britain,
What followed was lots of shouting from the audience and Galloway managing to make a number of prescient points despite the hostility.
This sort of scene is nothing new to Question Time, a programme whose agenda and parameters are set by mainstream political debate, rather than by the needs and concerns of the population.
If you take a look at George Galloway’s stances on a host of important issues, you will find that his opinions are moderate and, on the whole, common sense.
Looking back, he has been consistently right on matters of foreign policy. Most famously, Galloway campaigned against the war in Iraq, which nobody can any longer claim to have been anything other than a war for oil. He opposed the genocidal sanctions on Iraq which killed hundreds of thousands of children. Labour MPs Jack Straw and Peter Hain respectively played crucial roles in these two murderous policies, but can regularly appear on Question Time without even being questioned on these facts. They are allowed to carry on with the air of dignified statesmen.
Contrast this with George Galloway, a peace campaigner who lives under constant attack, revealing on the programme that he has been physically assaulted three times in the space of four months, falsely accused of supporting Arab dictators by the Prime Minister, and in a perpetual state of embattlement.
During Question Time, despite the audience attack, Galloway criticised Jewish community leaders for not condemning the physical attacks on him; he described the “dangerous conflation” between Judaism and Zionism; he called Israel’s attack on Gaza a “mass murder of 2,136 Palestinians”; he called Anti-Semitism “a foul and virulent form of racism”; he called the holocaust “the greatest crime in human history”; he condemned attacks on Muslims and Muslim property; he asked “why can’t we all opposed Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia?”; and he raised alarm about UKIP’s policy of banning Halal food.
What do you disagree with?
As usual, the substance of what the truth-teller says is deliberately ignored and they are personally attacked instead. The problem the British establishment has with Galloway is precisely that: his views are moderate, common sense and generally call for the upholding of the law, equal rights and democracy. The fact that he can present his arguments with charisma and eloquence, and gives the impression of a man unwilling to be cowed, means that he provokes hysteria from those who wish to uphold the status quo, in the Middle East and here in Britain.