It’s been a funny old week in British politics what with a fuel crisis that never was and a row over taxing greasy hot food from down market take-aways. Still it all perked up no end with the shock re-election in Bradford West of Gorgeous George Galloway the scourge of the United States Senate.
George Galloway might best be described as a bit of a one off. Born in an attic in a slum tenement in Dundee he is hardly your silver spoon politician, but God can the silver tongued old lothario talk. One of the last great orators in British politics he has fallen out with just about everyone (except the voters) and now with his own party called Respect, the ol’ demagogue and rabble-rouser is back in the House of Commons.
So what has that to do with a blog about American power, politics and political families? Actually quite a bit.
George Galloway appeals because he says awkward things, because he voices the distrust that ordinary people today have for all sections of established politics in Britain. He connects with the people in a way most established parties in Britain and the USA are not. This week saw the Conservative/Liberal coalition falter over taxing the peasants for their hot pies, as well as manufacturing a fuel shortage scare which had queues at every filling station in the country, which ordinarily would have delivered Thursday’s by-election straight to the Labour party. But no one trusts them either, and to make bad worse they are led at present by Ed Moribund a small boy whose charisma has all the stage presence of a fart in a trance.
George is simply another example, if one is needed, of the disillusion felt by the electorates of Western liberal democracies all across Europe and America. We can see it in the rise of extremist politics and parties in northern Europe, riots in Greece and Spain, the rise of anti-governmental protest groups in America with the Tea Party and Occupy being two sides of the same coin. The old palliatives are failing to engage the people as the Republican party is finding to its cost.
As to being that scourge of the Senate? Well, the USA hated Gorgeous George so much for his anti American stand over the Iraq war that they accused him of profiting from the sales of Iraqi oil, hoping that accusation alone would damn him. They used as their vehicle the Senate subcommittee on Investigation, chaired then by Senator Norm Coleman a strong supporter of Israel and the Iraq War. As foreigners are unable to be subpoenaed to appear, and foreign politicians never would, they thought they could safely use this committee to grandstand their position.
They had forgotten that George was a pugnacious little Scot brought up in a slum and educated in the back stabbing fraternity that is Scottish Labour party politics. George wasted no time to fly over and appear. He wished to speak for all those people damaged and killed by American lies and greed.
Now most persons hauled before a Sub Committee of Investigation are frightened if not terrified, they stumble in their speech, hands shaking whilst holding the prepared statement they brought along. For the panel it should be a cinch, they are usually two goals up before the thing even starts. Not with George though.
The clip is a bit long and a bit grainy and quiet, but roll with it as it’s worth it. Coleman clearly was unprepared for what hits him. He is shown obviously nervous, biting his lower lip several times. My favourite bit however is when Galloway is challenged by a stunned Coleman, who is losing the grip and clearly out of his depth, being reduced to shuffling papers (whilst Galloway works without notes throughout), Galloway comes back with the following putdown.
“I know that standards have slipped over the last few years in Washington but for a lawyer you are remarkably cavalier of any idea of justice”.
Copyright David Macadam 2012