Saturday, 27 October 2012
I enjoyed Rod Liddle's article in last week's Sunday Times - in which he had lots of fun at George Galloway's expense.
I agree with Rod up to a point - George does liven up politics, he's a master of self-promotion, if nothing else - and a headline writer's dream.
But at the end of the day I think people believe that George is too much in it for himself - too much of a political carpetbagger.
Which is presumably why the voters of Glasgow gave George short shrift when he stood in last year's elections to the Scottish Parliament.
Maybe Holyrood's loss is Westminster's gain - though I doubt it somehow.
"Let Galloway’s show go on – even when all Respect is gone"
by Rod Liddle
What on earth would we do without George Galloway?
You have to say that the Respect MP for Bradford West gives of himself relentlessly for our amusement; scarcely a week goes by without him delivering thoroughly entertaining and deranged behaviour.
This is a chap for whom crawling around on all fours pretending to be a pussycat on Celebrity Big Brother was, actually, one of his more sensible moments.
The cat thing, compared with the rest of his life, was rather humdrum.
He’s in the news right now for a particularly vivid concoction of hyperbole, paranoia and epic self-importance. He claims that he has been subjected to a dirty tricks campaign by the Metropolitan police counterterrorism unit, saying it has nefariously infiltrated his office and aims to blacken his name. Quite how you could blacken the man’s name any further escapes me, but still.
“I have incontrovertible evidence!” he howled at the home secretary in a letter, demanding investigations and sackings. He discovered that his former aide, a woman called Aisha Ali-Khan, is a sort of secret agent. She has been having a clandestine affair with a Met officer, Afiz Khan, he alleges. The two of them had nights of passion at Galloway’s house in Streatham, south London, while he was abroad, and the two were spying on him.
This came to light after a burglary at the house and Khan had to ’fess up that he was there in case there was an issue with fingerprints. The MP has now sacked Ali-Khan, who is both bemused and angry. She does not deny a relationship with Khan — indeed, as evidence that their relationship was not entirely secret, she cites their, er, marriage certificate. They tied the knot in 2009 — and she insists Galloway knew because he saw the marriage certificate himself when he had to sign some papers for his aide.
Ali-Khan says she’s been “thrown to the wolves” and is being portrayed as a “slag” and a “tart sleeping with random police officers”. Galloway will get away with this, she argues, because most of the Respect party bosses are misogynistic Muslim men. Who should we believe? Who cares? Just rejoice! I hope the police are indeed keeping tabs on Galloway, if only to keep us all informed for public merriment.
He’s certainly had an interesting few months since being unexpectedly elected to his seat in Karachi — sorry, Bradford West — a victory he modestly described as the “Bradford Spring”. According to The Guardian, he ruffled one or two feathers locally by snogging or pawing at his new wife, Putri Gayatri Pertiwi, while attending a meeting of a singularly unimpressed Muslim women’s council. They’re not big on that sort of stuff, Muslim women’s councils.
His previous wife insists that she is still married to Galloway under Islamic law and her dad, Haschem Husseini, says Galloway is therefore a bigamist. Nobody knows if Galloway is a Muslim or not, so that may or may not be relevant.
Then there are allegations that the local party is rife with misogynistic bullying (surely not, with all those devout Muslims in charge), and there was fury when Galloway took a somewhat Islamist line on rape when defending the WikiLeaks nutjob, Julian Assange. That wasn’t rape, he said of the allegations against Assange, it was just bad sexual etiquette. This puts him several shades to the right of Ken Clarke, who just said some rapes were more serious than others. He didn’t say some weren’t rape at all.
In his spare moments, Galloway launched a libel suit against the National Union of Students. I know that’s not very funny; maybe it was just a quiet weekend.
Anyway, now Ali-Khan is counter-alleging that Galloway must have hacked into her email account, or got some Respect party lackey to do it. Galloway has said he feels “violated”.
It is all wonderful, hysterical, stuff. You just hope that as Respect implodes — which it is showing every sign of doing — Galloway will remain in public life. You thought it was hilarious when he snivelled around Saddam Hussein all those years ago? That was only the start. It just gets better and better with Galloway.