Galloway lets his people down (again)

I’ve long lost any respect for George Galloway, but the contempt with which he apparently regards his followers was displayed in his behaviour during the Commons vote on the Government’s terrorist legislation this week. The Guardian reports that he was, in fact, in the Irish city of Cork, on a “lucrative” speaking engagement at the Everyman Palace Theatre on his tour titled An Audience With George Galloway: The Mother of All One Man Shows. On one part of the bill, the Government prevailed by just one vote!

This is in part worse than it sounds and in part not as bad. It’s worse because during the speeches he gave in 2004, he talked (in a speech I personally attended at Kingston University) about the war on minorities, particularly Muslims, at home through such measures as anti-terrorist legislation. So at a time when this war is being fought in the commons, he’s away in Ireland. His defence is really no defence at all:

“If I had known in advance that the government would get through an amendment by just one vote and if there were not a contract which would have meant losing thousands, I would have been there, although it would still have been a difficult amendment for me to vote for. I may be prosecuted under this bill. The amendment would only have made it less bad. I have to balance my time between parliament, the constituency and the duties I have as a national figure in Respect, as an international figure and as a fundraiser.”

I guess that the party really cannot stand on its own two feet; it can’t do its job as a Parliamentary party and keep itself afloat. It shows the extent of its support!

It’s not as bad because, even if Galloway had been there, the vote would have been a tie, calling on the Speaker to give a casting vote, and the Speaker traditionally casts his or her vote with the government. Still, everyone knew that this would be a close call and that it was a matter of the government versus the opposition and in-party rebels. On such an issue as this, someone who had made his name campaigning for minority, and particularly Muslim, issues has no excuse to be away. People cancel gigs all the time. Some people do it because they’re ill, some because they have other engagements.

Really, we need a way of recalling MPs the way some elected officials can be recalled in the USA and other countries. This guy is a joke. He has participated in only 13% of Parliamentary votes. In this country waging war is Royal Prerogative and is the decision of the Prime Minister, but on issues where Galloway can make a difference, he chooses not to. Pathetic.

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