January 12, 2006

Respect for George Galloway

Here's a letter in today's Independent defending George Galloway from the latest round of attacks on him.
Galloway's proud record as an MP

Sir: Your article "Respect? You're having a laugh" (11 January) contains several distortions. George Galloway has established a proud record of campaigning for his constituents. He has held more public meetings in Bethnal Green and Bow in the first eight months of his incumbency than Oona King did in her eight years.

The "major Parliamentary debate" on the cross-London rail link in the House of Commons on Thursday is on technical motions. George Galloway spoke out against the bill and voted against it on the second reading. He has presented his own petition against the bill and is supporting those of other constituents. These will not be discussed in the select committee until Big Brother is a distant memory.

George's surgery proceeded as normal last Friday as it will this Friday. Local protesters did not parade up and down outside it.

George has travelled the country speaking to thousands of people about the policies that his constituents voted him in on - opposition to war and the continued bloody occupation of Iraq, privatisation, cuts in the NHS and so on. And this has meant he has not attended votes in the House of Commons when the outcome has already been decided by the whips' offices of the two major parties (which is most of them). His decision to go on Big Brother was motivated by the same sentiment - the need to reach a very large and young audience with the political message the majority of his constituents support.


I was actually surprised that the Independent ran with the two articles that it did yesterday since both were low on politics and were the kind of hatchet jobs on Galloway that you'd expect in every paper bar the Independent but of the two that appeared the second, by Denis Macshane, was by far the worst. Take this:
Galloway's fate will be decided by the sensible voters of east London who must be asking themselves why they lost the services and hard-working brilliance of the Jewish-African-American, Oona King, for someone who has been denounced in the Commons as Saddam Hussein's "Lord Haw-Haw".
Perhaps it was, regardless of her ethno-religious background, the fact that she supported the war on Iraq, tuition fees and made a grotesquely sycophantic speech about the Queen Mum in the run up to the war in Afghanistan.

Mind you I must say that appearing on Big Brother was a stupid move for someone who gets bad media coverage anyway.

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