Among the generally terrible news for Britain that comes with a Cameron majority, a Tory government unrestrained even by the nominal resistance that the Liberal Democrat coalition brought to the most sickly and contemptuous of their policies, there was one good piece of news.
George Galloway finally lost his seat. He’s no longer George Galloway, MP, but George Galloway, just another angry screaming racist bastard. When Galloway represented a district in Glasgow, he was actually the MP for a friend of mine from the Doctor Who community.
|I doubt we've seen the last of him.
I the Scientist informs me that Galloway “was always a cunt.” As well, he earned the greasily ironic nickname Gorgeous George when he represented Glasgow because of his hilarious personal vanity and his taste for women.
But I remember George Galloway for having done one decent thing: opposing the 2003 invasion of Iraq. I had never heard of Galloway before this moment, when he seemed to be the only MP – hell, the only person in the UK with any kind of public profile and something to lose – clearly opposing George W. Bush’s plan to invade the country into democracy. I admired the advocacy against the invasion that he did with the Stop the War Coalition.
At the time, I thought George Galloway was an admirable man speaking truth to power at personal risk to his career. Being kicked out of the Labour Party and nationally shamed by a warmongering, boot-licking media establishment (esp. the significant parts of the British media that Rupert Murdoch controls) would be an intense hit to someone’s career. All for speaking truth to power against the determination of his Prime Minister to join Bush's ridiculous, disastrous war. I remember how impressive he was as one of the few politicians who refused to be bought by fear.
This is how, in the contexts and conflicts of those terrible times, Galloway seemed heroic and admirable.
Times have changed.
I had an easy ride when it came to the Iraq War in a certain context. I definitely had it a lot easier than the Iraqis did, and they continue to suffer the most from the dunderheaded military thinking of North American and European individual leaders and party-political classes.
I’m Canadian, and my Prime Minister at the time always opposed the invasion of Iraq. Jean Chrétien knew from the start that the Iraq invasion and occupation was going to be a shit show in which the Canadian military simply didn’t have the physical capacity to take part.
If my current Prime Minister, Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party had been in charge then, he would have embroiled the country in a purposeless war where hundreds of billions would be spent fruitlessly bombing and killing a civilian population, and where our involvement would only make a horrifying political situation even worse. And he would have justified it through facile statements of unconditional loyalty to the United States and a public relations campaign continually encouraging a nation-wide climate of fear and paranoia.
Oh, wait a second.
The material history of Galloway’s involvement with Iraq seems to betray absolutely horrible reasons for his opposition. Tom Dalyell, a fellow Labour MP, spoke admirably of Galloway’s speeches in the 1980s about Iraq. Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister, and Britain was a major arms supplier to Hussein’s regime during Iraq’s conflict with Iran. Galloway frequently was the lone voice denouncing the horrifying human rights abuses of the Iraqi army and state.
Yet in 1994, he was welcomed on a visit to Iraq, and made a public speech praising Saddam Hussein. He backpedaled his words, but they betray the real reason for his opposition to the 2003 invasion. Galloway was no devoted friend of Hussein himself or his violent, authoritarian regime. Galloway is and always was a devoted enemy of the West’s imperialism. At all costs.
This is the solution to the Galloway paradox, that he’s simply one of the most individually prominent useful idiots among the Western dissident left. But there’s more going on with Galloway than this simple explanation. He doesn’t express it himself, but he makes a wonderful symbol, a signification of all in left-wing politics that the Utopias project will critique. . . . To be continued.