Stupidity knows no bounds, especially when fuelled by narcissism and a tongue laced with demagogy. There is no other way to describe George Galloway’s absurd and offensive suggestion that Bradford should impose a total ban on Israeli tourists. Statistically it would be interesting to see how many tourists from any country visit Bradford (even after Galloway’s election as the Respect MP, an election that some of us welcomed at the time).
'I like heckling, polite heckling,’ George Galloway told me over a cup of tea in an Edinburgh hotel yesterday afternoon. A couple of hours later, the MP for Bradford West prowled onto the stage at the Assembly Rooms dressed like a white soul singer – black fedora, black jacket, white shirt pinned with portcullis cufflinks – to the sound of Stealers Wheel's ‘Stuckin the Middle with You’. Outside, a dozen or so members of the far-right Scottish Defence League shouted ‘George Galloway betrays his own country’ and waved Union flags. When I tried to take a photograph one rushed towards me bawling ‘Next time there’ll be violence.’ A larger counterdemonstration chanted ‘Master race, you’re having a laugh.’
It's a big week for rape. And it's only Monday. In a mid-August special, the Republican candidate for the Senate Todd Akin and balcony diva Julian Assange's best friend George Galloway have come together to bring you the truth about rape. What it is and what it isn't. Akin, who sits on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, has explained that there is no need to consider abortion for rape victims since 'from what I understand from doctors’, women rarely get pregnant from 'legitimate' rape as 'the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.' If, by some chance, this mechanism fails, 'I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist, and not attacking the child.' In that last sentence you will notice that there is no reference to the raped woman, only the 'child' – that is, foetus – and rapist. Did I mention that Akin is on the House committee on Science, Space and Technology?
A first reaction to the Bradford by-election is one of anger: that a self-promoting blowhard like George Galloway, who was ejected by his Bethnal Green constituents after only one term, should be so acceptable to the electors of Bradford West; and anger at a political system that allowed this to happen. Whether anger at the system, however, is wholly justified is another matter. Bradford West is not a typical northern working-class constituency. That it is nearly 40 per cent Muslim matters. Galloway’s last victory, in Bethnal Green and Bow in 2005, which also has a large Muslim electorate, occurred when Labour still won a comparatively easy victory nationwide. Furthermore, Labour has done well in all previous by-elections in this parliament, which suggests that Bradford is to some extent exceptional. Labour would, therefore, probably be right not to take it too tragically.