Monday, 16 January 2017

What's New Pussycat?

The Times reports that the police are conducting an inquiry into the parliamentary expenses of George Galloway, the former MP and leader of the Respect party, at the request of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA)

Now I'm blocked from following George on Twitter these days, so I can't share any more detail than the following link to The Times which is behind the newspaper's paywall.

Never a dull moment, as they say, but watch this space for further news.

Galloway faces police inquiry over expenses
Buy Dominic Kennedy - The Times
The former Respect leader said that the investigation was a waste of time - CHRIS RATCLIFFE/GETTY IMAGES

The parliamentary expenses of George Galloway, the former leader of the Respect Party, are being examined by Scotland Yard after the standards watchdog called the police.

Mr Galloway had been reimbursed £12,500 for the cost of renting a constituency office in Bradford.

It is the second time that his expenses have been referred to the police. His former personal assistant claimed that she was required to do his chores while being paid a parliamentary salary from public funds. Police took no further action.

The new accusation was made by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) and the special inquiry team at the Metropolitan police’s homicide and major crime command has started looking into the office costs.

Not So Gorgeous Now (24/11/15)

Image result for half-eaten chocolate + images

I've written about George Galloway's chequered political career on and off over the years and on one occasion I said that if George were "made of chocolate, he would eat himself". 

Now I suspect that's widely held view, but in this hilarious interview for The Sunday Times  the once 'Gorgeous George' seems to have made a terrible impression on Camilla Long who as well as being a journalist appears regularly on the BBC's Have I Got News For You.

With friends like these…

George Galloway charmed Castro and became hugger-mugger with Saddam. Now he wants all of London to embrace him as he runs for mayor. Camilla Long finds out what’s really going on beneath his trademark fedora

By Camilla Long
Galloway at home in west London (Andrew Whitton)

Now that I am home and collapsed and no longer panting, I can safely say that nothing, not even a whole week’s spooning with Tom Cruise, could have prepared me for exactly how small George Galloway is. He is not just small, but Hollywood tiny, possessing a defiant sub-Amis weaselishness that radiates from every inch of his proud, obstinate little body. 

What's New Pussycats? (17/10/15)

Image result for Dick Whittington + cat images

Regular readers will be unsurprised to learn that the country's best known political 'carpetbagger', George Galloway, has thrown his hat in the ring to become London Mayor. 

Not literally, of course, because George keeps his hat on just about everywhere these days including indoors or inside TV studios when being interviewed about his latest plans.

A peculiar affectation, don't you think, especially for a man of George's age?

In any event, I doubt it will do him much good as I suspect that the citizens of London will follow the example of the good people of Glasgow who shunned Galloway in 2011 when he stood for election to the Scottish Parliament.

Now Glasgow's loss became Bradford's gain for a few years after a spectacular by-election success in a formerly safe Labour seat in 2012, but the voters of Bradford West deserted George at the 2015 general election.

Hence George's interest in standing for election in London which, of course, had a mayor named Dick Whittington who according to English fokelore was famously associated with a pussycat.

Just like George from his days on Big Brother.

Snake Oil Salesman (14/09/14)

The Independent newspaper has given George Galloway a platform to share his views about Scottish independence, but because he has so little of substance to say the little man with a giant ego falls back on his trademark - the 'purple prose' which marks him out as the Ray Harryhausen of UK politics.

In this case George conjures up an image of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany in support of his argument four a No vote in the referendum, as if the politics of fascism have any relevance to the debate about whether Scotland should become an independent country.

But in his inimitable way George goes on to talk nonsense, for example his assertion that Scotland has 'decisively fallen out of love with New Labour' when the truth is that north of the border New Labour never gained much traction in the first place.

The reality is that Scottish Labour has fallen between two stools, never quite standing up for its Old Labour values or embracing the 'modernising' New Labour programme of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown which came to the fore after 18 consecutive years of Conservative rule at Westminster. 

The SNP has exploited Scottish Labour's ambivalence to New Labour ruthlessly and very effectively, stealing the party's clothes and moving to the political left, so much so that Scottish Labour is now regarded as neither fish nor fowl.

And that has been the case for years as Scottish Labour has bones through an amazing number of leaders: Donald Dewar, Henry McLeish, Jack McConnell, Wendy Alexander, Iain Gray and now Johann Lamont - the latter having voted against Scottish devolution in 1979 before going on to become an MSP in the Scottish Parliament in 1999.

The other point George gets badly wrong is to blame the Tory bogeyman for the decision not to have a second 'Devo Max' question on the independence ballot paper because this ridiculous position was supported by all of the Westminster based UK parties at the time - including Labour and the Lib Dems.    

So if you ask me, George, a politician who supports self-determination around the world yet not in Scotland, doesn't know what he's talking about which is why he failed to be elected to the Scottish Parliament in 2011 having been roundly rejected by the voters of Glasgow who can see through his 'snake oil salesman' political pitch.

Fishes and Bicycles (6 May 2011)

So George Galloway has failed to win a seat in the Scottish Parliament elections.

Now this comes as no great surprise here's what I said about the relevance of his campaign for a list seat in the Glasgow region.

Seems like the voters in Glasgow agreed with me that the former Respect MP had little to offer Holyrood.

Which chimes with my own views because I didn't vote for him either.

Fishes and Bicycles (2 December 2010)

George Galloway is to politics what Jose Mourinho is to football though without the evident talent and smouldering good looks.

'Gorgeous' George is a tired old pussycat these days, both vain and vainglorious in equal measure whose current claim to fame is that he writes a regular column - wait for it - for the Daily Record.

The other day George was rude and condescending about Christopher Hitchens  saying that he would 'pray' for the avowed atheist who is terminally ill with throat cancer.

George also boasted, as is his won't  about his public debates with Hitchens in 2005  suggesting that these had been a great success and that he had come out on top.

So I watched these recordings and other interviews on You Tube and it seemed to me that, as on many other issues, the former MP is simply deluding himself.

The two men clearly detest each other which makes for great theatre and sparky TV.

Yet for me Hitchens had the measure of his opponent whom he would probably characterise as a populist demagogue.

Apparently George is interested in standing for the Scottish Parliament in next year's elections and his penchant for flowery words and phrases would certainly bring some colour to its debates.

But as his political interests have always been dominated by foreign affairs Holyrood needs George about as much as a fish needs a bicycle.