George Galloway should not be readmitted to the Labour party
A longer post on the new ‘independent group’ formed by breakaway Labour and Tory MPs is in the works but I heard something today which has disturbed a lot of people that I know which is that George Galloway, who was expelled from the Labour party in 2003 and then formed the Respect Coalition in collaboration with the Socialist Workers’ Party, has applied to be readmitted to the party. I disagreed with his expulsion at the time — one of the charges was that he encouraged British soldiers to disobey orders, which in the context of that particular (illegal, racist, ill-motivated) war was not unreasonable — but in subsequent years he has proved himself a quite disreputable character, having served two terms as an MP for the Respect party and in both of them being more interested in publicity stunts than in doing his job. The most egregious of these was appearing in Celebrity Big Brother, which goes on for several weeks in January (which is parliamentary time) if one is not voted off the show.
He was always notorious for cosying up to any dictator who wasn’t a US client, most famously Saddam Hussein, but he finally burned his bridges with anyone who had continued to defend him by calling someone a “window-licker” (a derogatory term for someone with a learning disability) on Twitter and then making a video in which he defended Julian Assange, the Wikileaks founder credibly accused of rape in Sweden, by saying that it could not have been rape because the woman was “in the sex game”. I know a few women who are very upset at the prospect of his readmission and such a move will lose them a lot of goodwill among people who hang on because they still have hopes about Corbyn as a progressive leader with a strong anti-austerity stance even if, say, they disagree with his stance on Brexit. Frankly, the hashtag used by some fringe feminists “#LabourLosingWomen” might become a reality.
At the moment, he has only reapplied; however, this week the party briefly readmitted the Liverpool council leader Derek Hatton whose antics plunged the city into huge debt in the mid-1980s as he made a vain attempt to defy Thatcher; the debt was not paid off until 2001 while he personally swanned around in expensive cars while running his Cyprus-based property empire. In the event he was suspended again after two days (for tweets from 2012 calling for Jews to “start speaking out publicly against the ruthless murdering being carried out by Israel”, a demand that will be familiar to any Muslim reading this), but it makes a lot of people worried about the reaction of the same committee to any readmission application from someone like Galloway. It must be resisted. The party’s name will be mud otherwise.
Possibly Related Posts:
- “Fake news” and the lay-offs at the Canary
- Anti-Semitism in context
- It’s in the Times.
- My Jewish friend, your Asian friend
- Is Greater London really London?