George Galloway
May 6, 2005 6:18 AM   Subscribe

Highlight of the election coverage: George Galloway is the leader of Respect and won a historic and unexpected victory against the Blairite Oona King, on an anti-war ticket. He was then interviewed by Jeremy Paxman, an increasingly controversial interviewer well known for asking questions absurd numbers of times until they get answered - a technique which arguably backfires here. You might want to watch Galloway's acceptance speech first. [Windows Media. My two cents: Paxman is an egregious cock, more interested in getting his eternally righteous indignation across than any issues.]
posted by Pretty_Generic (75 comments total)
Note: the commentator at the end of the clip is also a Blair loyalist.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 6:19 AM on May 6, 2005

The election fraud allegations aren't necessarily paranoia.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 6:23 AM on May 6, 2005

Before we start a George Galloway fan club on MeFi, let's just look at the chap's record. He steers very close to the wind, it seems. (Agreed that Paxman is a conceited twit).
posted by TimothyMason at 6:35 AM on May 6, 2005

I think one could reasonably claim that Galloway is an "egregious cock" too... check out his Wikipedia entry.
This was a rare moment when Paxman interviewed someone even more bullying and annoying than himself. I actually felt kind of sorry for him (Jeremy) after the interview.
posted by snoktruix at 6:40 AM on May 6, 2005

Yeah, but note the key line:

In December 2004, George Galloway won his libel case against the Daily Telegraph over their claims published in April 2003 that he received money from Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq.

Nobody disputes that the allegations were fabricated, using fake documents. Faked by someone...
posted by Pretty_Generic at 6:40 AM on May 6, 2005

I like Paxman a lot, and the question he asked was a fair one. I don't like the way Galloway conducted this campaign. The issue he stands on is fine, and targeting a seat he thinks he can win is smart, but I do think he crossed some lines in terms of decency. Observers should be aware of Galloway's history with Saddam Hussein -- some say bridge-builder, others say apologist. I couldn't possibly comment. Again, I hate to sound like a Blairite myself (I'm really not), but using the term doesn't necessarily equate to being a bad politician. Oona King was dedicated to her constitueny, moreso, in my opinion, than arsehead Brownite Diane Abbott next door. Galloway managed to win by drumming up racist and sexist feeling, as well as anti-war feeling, to defeat a black Jewish female politician in a seat with a large Muslim vote.

No need to feel sorry for Paxman, he came out better in that encounter, in my opinion.
posted by nthdegx at 6:42 AM on May 6, 2005

let's just look at the chap's record.

It says he supports both Celtic and Dundee United.

What's he gonna do for the cup final?
posted by the cuban at 6:43 AM on May 6, 2005

How did he drum up racist and sexist feeling? No doubt there was some, but how did he drum it up? By being a white male? The guy stood in the constituency because he thought he could win on an anti war ticket. Muslims didn't like the war. Shock.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 6:44 AM on May 6, 2005

And watch the concession speech to see how conciliatory he is to Oona personally.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 6:45 AM on May 6, 2005

Is there a transcript anywhere? I don't have a soundcard at work...

I'm facinated by the britsh election... wish there were more coverage here in the US.
posted by delmoi at 6:53 AM on May 6, 2005

“Gorgeous” George Galloway, former Labour MP for the Scottish seat of Glasgow Kelvin, was expelled from the Labour Party after allegedly urging Iraqi insurgents to target coalition troops. In 1994 Galloway gushed over Saddam Hussein: “Sir, I salute your courage, strength and indefatigability.” In December 2004, Galloway won a libel action against the Daily Telegraph which had accused him of being in the pay of Saddam.

"Candidates must keep a grip on their campaigners," King said today. "They should use words carefully for the rest of this campaign to avoid stirring up yob behaviour amongst impressionable people."

From a combination of knowing a little about the history of both candidates, plus a liberal sprinkling of reading between the lines, I'm fairly sure my assessment above is accurate. Out of all the people to single out for praise in this election, Galloway seems like an odd choice. I'm glad Labour took a bit of a caning over the war. I'm sorry it happened this way, though.
posted by nthdegx at 6:56 AM on May 6, 2005

I'm torn. Paxman seems to be a raging asshole but I wish more American reporters had the guts to badger politicians until they gave a straight answer.
posted by bshort at 6:58 AM on May 6, 2005

And watch the concession speech to see how conciliatory he is to Oona personally.

Thought that was pretty decent myself. As for Galloway - wanker is the most appropriate term I can think of right now. If anyone has ever seen that video of him with Saddam they'd know what I mean. He stops just short of getting down onto his knees and sucking Saddams cock. I'm anti-war in outlook but still wouldn't have voted for him.

bshort - Paxman is another wanker, but it is brilliant watching politicians squirm in front of him. So, yes, I'd love to see you yanks get a tough ass presenter too.
posted by twistedonion at 7:03 AM on May 6, 2005

Here are the comments that got him thrown out of Labour.

With Saddam, he says he was trying to support the Iraqi people through supporting their leader, but obviously he went way too far. It didn't win him any friends, and I'm sure he deeply regrets it. Like Rumsfeld and Bush and all the rest do.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 7:08 AM on May 6, 2005

Here is the quintessential Paxman moment, from 1997, interviewing the man who now leads the Conservatives.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 7:13 AM on May 6, 2005

you might want to skip to 4 minutes in
posted by Pretty_Generic at 7:17 AM on May 6, 2005

I liked it when Paxman told Galloway "don't threaten me!" (from memory -- not checking the line on dial-up), gave him a hard time, then turned to the Labour MP in the studio and, turning on a sixpence, says "but he does have a point, doesn't he?" Paxman went much easier on brand new MPs but Galloway, frankly, deserves a hard time.

Paxman really knows his stuff, and asks the hard questions. He may be arrogant in the extreme but since someone in his line of work has to be to get the job done, this is no bad thing. He isn't alone in this respect. Jon Snow springs to mind.

King will be back, and in parliament 5, 10, 15 years from now. Galloway? Less likely.
posted by nthdegx at 7:17 AM on May 6, 2005

the highlight of the election coverage was reg key's speech in sedgefield, with the shot of an ashen faced blair and wife behind him. blair looked completely shaken. this is most of the short speech:

"I would like to thank my wife and my son, who have supported me tirelessly through this campaign. A remarkable campaign."

"I do not claim to be a professional politician, fighting this campaign has not been an easy task for me but I had to do it for my son, Thomas Keys, royal military policeman, killed in Iraq four days short of his 21st birthday. Sent to war under extremely controversial circumstances."

"If this war had been justified by international law I would have grieved but not campaigned."

If weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq, again I would have grieved but not campaigned."

"I hope in my heart that one day the prime minister will be able to say sorry, he will say sorry to the families of the bereaved and one day the prime minister will feel able to visit wounded soldiers in hospital."

galloway isn't fit to lick reg key's boots
posted by quarsan at 7:23 AM on May 6, 2005

Yeah, that probably was the highlight. He didn't get many votes though, sadly.

Paxman didn't have that offensive voice back in 1997, and he didn't talk over his guest all the time.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 7:25 AM on May 6, 2005

He is Cornholio. Are you threatening him?
posted by Pretty_Generic at 7:26 AM on May 6, 2005

Pretty_Generic writes " Yeah, that probably was the highlight. He didn't get many votes though, sadly."

He got over 4000 votes, in a constituency that had at least 10 candidates... I think that's pretty good for a one-issue independent, and it's definitely been seen as a strong protest vote on Blair's very doorstep.
posted by clevershark at 7:34 AM on May 6, 2005

Wasn't Galloway threatened with death by some Muslim hardline group? I think according to their belief democracy is an affront to the supreme law of the Koran and by targeting Muslim voters he was causing them to sin?

(On googling: Galloway 'threatened with death')
posted by PenDevil at 7:34 AM on May 6, 2005

Agreed, quarsan.
posted by nthdegx at 7:35 AM on May 6, 2005

I haven't heard Paxman in a few years. Is it my imagination or is he sounding more and more like Chris Morris?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:40 AM on May 6, 2005

nthdegx: I like Paxman a lot, and the question he asked was most definitely not a fair one. What it was, as I pointed out on the other thread where this interview was linked, was a horrendous example of the "poisoning the well" fallacy. By referring to characteristics of Oona King which were entirely irrelevant to George Galloway's stand against her, his question was wholly unfair and Galloway should have replied something along the lines of:

"Jeremy, I am extremely proud to have defeated Oona King but the reasons for that pride have absolutely nothing to do with either her sex or her race, and shame on you for attempting to suggest that they might. I am proud to have defeated her because she was representing a party which took Britain into an illegal war."

I really, really get frustrated when people don't spot the most elementary fallacies being used so shamelessly. There is a depressing lack of critical thinking around today.
posted by Decani at 8:55 AM on May 6, 2005

i like Galloway--he has balls--bigger ones than Jeremy.

did he whip up racial tensions in the campaign tho?
posted by amberglow at 8:57 AM on May 6, 2005

and how could he have won if he did? he pitted Muslims against Blacks?
posted by amberglow at 8:58 AM on May 6, 2005

Overall, if American so-called journalists had some sort of backbone, political candidates in this country wouldn't be able to pull the shite they do as frequently.

The problem is not only the number of media outlets a candidate has to get their message across, but also how sympathetic those outlets are to the candidate's position/party/platform.

Europeans, and Brits in general, know BS when they see it. We, on the other hand, simply yawn and wish Pat O'Brien does well in rehab.

A nation of idiots, my friends, we live in a nation of rich, spoiled idiots.
posted by jsavimbi at 9:01 AM on May 6, 2005

He specifically proclaimed killing Iraqis and British troops as being a bad idea. His failure to mention Eskimos is clear incitement to racial hatred.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 9:02 AM on May 6, 2005

amberglow - the logic goes:
1) he defeated a black female candidate
2) everyone knows Muslims hate black women and are too uneducated to care about issues like war in their spiritual homeland
3) ...
posted by Pretty_Generic at 9:03 AM on May 6, 2005

i didn't think it was a fair question ... it was much like "have you stopped beating your wife?"
posted by pyramid termite at 9:09 AM on May 6, 2005

He specifically proclaimed killing Iraqis and British troops as being a bad idea.

And he's absolutely right. Why does Jeremy hate AmericaBritain?
posted by amberglow at 9:11 AM on May 6, 2005

While it might be popular perception that Paxman is "well known for asking questions absurd numbers of times", this is largely founded upon the single "Did you threaten to overrule him?" incident with Howard.

Point is, this repetition was not a personal decision taken by Paxman, nor an editorial decision made by the Newsnight team. A cock-up in running a piece of VT delayed the end of the interview, and forced Paxman to extend his "ask the question four/five times, and let the interviewee's silence speak for itself" interview wrap-up technique, into something far more hilarious.

Another point. George Galloway is an unprincipled apologist for a vicious regime, justified simply on the basis of its anti-Americanism. His campaign has exploited complex aspects of racial and sexual politics in an impoverished and volatile area. "Respect" is an opportunist front for certain no-hope aspects of Britain's Leninist left.

Final point. Yeah, Paxman's still a big-nosed cock.
posted by howfar at 9:26 AM on May 6, 2005

Two things about that 1997 video:

Is it just me or has Paxman moved away from a genuinely grilling politicians harshly but fairly towards a more macho, juvenile interview style?

Where the hell are Michael Howards's hands?!
posted by Jongo at 9:27 AM on May 6, 2005

Hey, at least we can all agree: Daisy Donovan would have given a much better interview. (Because she is the best interviewer in the world ever!)

Seriously though, i watched the whole thing, and it was like a battle of the raging dickheads. Like the car crash you can't seem to tear your eyes away from... [clichéfilter]
posted by indiebass at 9:29 AM on May 6, 2005

Could someone actually make a specific allegation rather than just saying "his campaign has exploited complex aspects of racial and sexual politics"? What did he do, other than be a white man? Seriously.

The VT thing is amazing.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 9:29 AM on May 6, 2005

Is it that he's a carpetbagger, or did he specifically target this woman because she was black (which i doubt--i bet many Labour MPs were vulnerable this time, no?)
posted by amberglow at 9:42 AM on May 6, 2005

Oona King, by the way, is actually mixed-race, and more to the point, Jewish. Galloway knew full well what he was doing when he stood here - he may personally have done nothing to incite the racial tensions which have been boiling over here over the past month (he's far too canny for that), but he sure as hell did nothing to prevent it, and he quite deliberately capitalised on it. He chose this seat because it has one of the highest percentages of Muslim voters in the country, if not the highest.

King's voting record may be one of extreme loyalty to the Labour whip (although Galloway was actually quite an infrequent rebel before he was kicked out, after which he barely ever turned up to vote), but she was hardly one of the most rabid cheerleaders for the war.

What Galloway says about the corruption in the Labout controlled Tower Hamlets council is largely accurate; however, it's not clear that the corruption went only one way. It's too early to say for sure, but there are some indications that the number of people who were unable to vote because of "irregularities" in this election may have been greater than the margin by which Galloway won.
posted by flashboy at 10:29 AM on May 6, 2005

But picking a place where there are more sympathetic voters is not the same as targeting this specific Black female MP.

I watched Gordon Brown getting elected in a wholly madeup district (created just for him?) How can people knock Galloway for doing less that that?
posted by amberglow at 10:33 AM on May 6, 2005

My sense of the general argument, which I feel is quite persuasive, is this. Respect made Oona King and the Bethnal Green and Bow constituency a target because of a number of factors. The most important of these was the large Bangladeshi Muslim population. The central reason for this factor's importance was the reaction of that population to the Iraq war. There were subsidiary factors associated with the perception of Oona King within this population.

No-one is reasonably trying to suggest that this perception comes down to the simple racist statement "Bangladeshi Muslims don't like blacks/women/people of mixed race", although it would be equally racist to discount factor's of this type out of hand, the "non-whites don't suffer from racial prejudice" line simply won't wash.

Rather, Oona King's racial background made her an ideal person to target for being a Blair loyalist. Public perception of her as part of "the minority groups", potentially inculcates the idea that in being loyal to her party, she has betrayed the broader interests of a (potentially fictional, certainly simplistic) group of underdogs call "the minorities". I would suggest that this potential perception of betrayal is one of the factors that made BG & B an appealing seat to Respect.

Beyond this, there don't seem to have been specific allegations made in the national media.

At this point I would suggest that there is a degree of personal judgement involved in one's interpretation of such a political decision. Is Respect's tactic obviously immoral? I'd argue no. It's easy to find plenty of things that go on in constituency campaigning that are much more obviously in breach of most people's stated moral codes.

Does it leave a bad taste in my mouth? Yes. Part of this is to do with my personal distaste for Gorgeous George, certainly. However, I think that there is also a sense of disparity between the professionally cynical manner in which Oona King was been targeted, along with the dirtiness of the election fighting (certainly on both sides), and the somewhat sanctimonious moral high ground that Respect have adopted.

Sorry, this has run on a bit, and it's not exactly conclusive. Just trying to outline what I feel is the basis of this general feeling.
posted by howfar at 10:40 AM on May 6, 2005

But isn't it true that interviewers and those upset at this victory are also operating under a "potentially fictional" assumption that Oona is an underdog and should have been protected solely for that reason, as Jeremy's question clearly stated?
posted by amberglow at 10:45 AM on May 6, 2005

Surely rather that it would be distasteful to target someone in order to take advantage of their ethnic background while calling yourself "Respect".

Of course, the larger background to this, what makes people so receptive to this kind of accusation, is that they, quite sensibly I would argue, think that Galloway is scum. That sort of thing doesn't contribute to the argument, sure, but it does have an impact.

Consider this: If someone accused the Bush administration of doing something like this, would you be more or less inclined to believe it?

I tend to consider Bush and Galloway to be on pretty much the same level.
posted by howfar at 10:59 AM on May 6, 2005

After the concerted attack on Galloway, ranging from the forged documents about his Iraq/Saddam Oil payments and the dismissal from New Labour, it's should be of no surprise he would go for a weak candidate. He's old skool.

I suppose if he had any balls he would have stood against Tony Blair, but then he wouldn't have been elected. Now, at least, he has a chance to stand in Parliament and continue his fight.

I guess the lesson learned should be, "make sure you take him out completely, because the Gorgeous Bastard will always come back to shit on his own doorstep."

And Oona King is a New Labour clone, all style and very little substance -- groomed for something special, no doubt. Just look at her voting record. So her career is set back four years. She will be back, maybe in some other constituency, and probably win.

Oh, and I agree. Paxman was a prick in this instance, I guess he was tired.
posted by gsb at 11:02 AM on May 6, 2005

That's quite a serious charge against Galloway--how many is he responsible for killing thru lies?
posted by amberglow at 11:03 AM on May 6, 2005

My point was one of personal distaste, not practical position. I do not believe that Galloway has any more respect for democracy or freedom than Bush. The fact that Bush is powerful and Galloway is not is merely an accident of circumstance.
posted by howfar at 11:07 AM on May 6, 2005

"What else haven't you heard of?"

What a cock.
posted by bshort at 11:14 AM on May 6, 2005

>I tend to consider Bush and Galloway to be on pretty much the same level.


What's your metric for this?

>I do not believe that Galloway has any more respect for democracy or freedom than Bush.

There's no argument from me when it comes to the vanity of George. But I do think he has some respect for Democracy because he just won a seat with a greater than 20% swing in the vote.

You know, even though he *may* have ran an unprincipled campaign, maybe there were a few folks in that >20% who thought he was more principled than Oona.
posted by gsb at 11:20 AM on May 6, 2005

But, to be honest, either Galloway was lying about not having heard of Nick Raynsford, or he is a terrifying disgrace as a parliamentarian. I suspect the former, but I'm not sure.
posted by howfar at 11:24 AM on May 6, 2005

gsb, I'm not sure how popular acclaim equates to respect for democracy. Hitler was elected on a popular ticket.

DING! I managed to get a Hitler comparison in! What is my special prize?

But in all seriousness, I don't quite grasp how you can draw a necessary connection between what the majority think of someone, and what is actually the case about them. The Hitler line, while frivolous, demonstrates that, if nothing else. Anyway, off to work I go.
posted by howfar at 11:30 AM on May 6, 2005

The Respect Coalition rocks, and is a prime example of Innovation On The Left. It's a socialist-muslim alliance, and an imperfect one, but it's one of the best of its kind. We can learn from the errors of this campaign and do better.
posted by By The Grace of God at 11:36 AM on May 6, 2005

howfar, you Win a God.


The majority connection is just a case of how far the swing went against Oona. Not all of those votes came from Labour supporters -- that's my point.
posted by gsb at 11:42 AM on May 6, 2005

> I like Paxman a lot, and the question he asked was a fair one.

Galloway has just won a historic victory and he's asked this question? Come on. Paxman was just trying to be a smart-arse but Galloway had the measure of him.
posted by bobbyelliott at 11:46 AM on May 6, 2005

i didn't think it was a fair question ... it was much like "have you stopped beating your wife?

Pre-cisely. And that very question is the usual one quoted to illustrate the "poisoning the well" fallacy. It presents a Yes/No question in such a way as to make the questioned look bad no matter which answer he or she gives.

"Have you stopped beating your wife?"
"Ummm.... no.."
"Oh, so you're a wife beater, eh?"


"Oh, so you used to beat your wife, eh?"

compare with:

"Are you proud to have defeated a black female candidate?"
"Ummm... yes..."
"Oh, so defeating black women makes you proud, does it?"


"Ummm... no..."
"You're not proud of winning? Why on earth did you stand against her, then?"

Unbelievable that someone as smart as Paxman would stoop to such a pathetic tactic.
posted by Decani at 12:12 PM on May 6, 2005

I watched Gordon Brown getting elected in a wholly madeup district (created just for him?) How can people knock Galloway for doing less that that?

nowhere in Fife votes anything but massively for Labour except a tiny tip in the rich North east and a tiny bit in the North West. There were a number of boundary changes this time in Scotland to reflect the drop in number of MPs from Scotland - post devolution. It's just nonsense to suggest that re-drawing the boundaries round Kirkcaldy would make any difference to Brown's result. I come from there, believe me, you could get a blindfolded 5 year old to redraw the constituency boundaries and it wouldn't make the slightest difference - it's solid Labour territory - all ex-mining districts. Also Gordon Brown grew up there in Kirkcaldy, he's not some opportunist parachuting in.
posted by Flitcraft at 12:37 PM on May 6, 2005

galloway wasn't lying about raynsford, but just being suitably dismissive
posted by quarsan at 12:48 PM on May 6, 2005

Flitcraft, thanks--BBC spun it differently last night, i thought.
posted by amberglow at 12:50 PM on May 6, 2005

Paxo is my hero. He badgers the politicians for me, and long may he continue. Galloway and "Respect" can kiss my arse. Actually, no, they can't, my arse is too good for them.
posted by ralphyk at 4:39 PM on May 6, 2005

I'm glad someone took my "hey, interesting" comment on that other thread and made it into a proper FPP with real background info. This has been educational.

Paxman was, to me, right on that line between 'egregious cock' and 'good hard questioner'. It's totally not like anything I normally see in my American and Canadian news-watching, and it leaped out at me from all the other election coverage, so I had to mention it somewhere.

I liked it when Paxman told Galloway "don't threaten me!" (from memory -- not checking the line on dial-up), gave him a hard time, then turned to the Labour MP in the studio and, turning on a sixpence, says "but he does have a point, doesn't he?" Paxman went much easier on brand new MPs but Galloway, frankly, deserves a hard time.

I agree, although I am nowhere near informed on the whole thing. I think the fact that Paxman said that afterward shows that he isn't just a cock for the fun of being a cock, he wants to get answers to questions, and give people a hard time when he thinks they truly deserve it. I would probably watch his show, if I were in the UK.
posted by blacklite at 5:42 PM on May 6, 2005

Amberglow: Brown basically ran in the same approximate (post-redistricting) constituency he has always represented.

Galloway could (obviously) choose only one constituency in the country. He chose one with racial and religious divisions he could easily exploit, and one that happened to have black, Jewish, female MP. Is this a coincidence?

Oona King's tires were slashed and she had eggs thrown at her car during the campaign. The campaign was ugly and personal.
The majority of Brits were (and are) against the war, but I don't think Galloway accurately represents their views. He has been very opportunist throughout.
posted by cushie at 5:05 AM on May 7, 2005

"Have you stopped beating your wife yet?" is a perfectly reasonable question to someone who's been beating their wife.

With the Galloway issue, no, I can't and nor do I want to make specific claims against him. I withdraw "drumming up racism/sexism" statements and shall stick firmly to the view that has subsequently been stated that he is simply aware of, did nothing to prevent, and capitalised from such issues in his constituency. From my point of view, that makes him highly questionable. From his track record it seems to me that he is making a career from being difficult rather than from any moral standpoint. King's quote above to me speaks volumes, though. I am absoutely sure that a lot of shit has gone down in the Bethnal Green constituency.

Paxman's record, on the other hand, is astounding. His job is not to present logically sound reasoning -- his job is to get stuff out of the politicians. If logical fallacies allow him to do that then, for once, I am all for them. Critical thinking is great to discover the holes in an argument, but if a logical fallacy kicks off a conversation by putting a politician on his toes then it can only be a good thing. Arguably, he failed to extract much information in this case, but at least he produced some thoroughly gripping TV in the process. Clearly, more work needs to be done to convince people Galloway isn't necessarily the sort of anti-war voice we want in parliament.
posted by nthdegx at 6:09 AM on May 7, 2005

If the population of Bethnal Green and Bow hate mixed-race jewish females so much, why did they elect one? Galloway went to that constituency because it had a large Muslim population who were against the war.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 9:03 AM on May 7, 2005

I think maybe people should be questioning why Labour has so few minorities in its MP ranks that Oona gets all this attention. What's up with that?
posted by amberglow at 9:08 AM on May 7, 2005

While I'm delighted to see Labour lose a seat over the war, and I won't be crying any tears for Oona King I'm not going to be quite so quick to celebrate a Galloway victory. I don't trust the guy. Why was he so friendly with the Saddam regime? Why is he asking for the release Tariq Aziz? I'm not suggesting that he was taking money from them, just that I don't understand his motivations and he's certainly not explaining. I also don't like litigious politicians.

As for the Paxman interview, he always gives politicians an extra hard time during election night and it's become a bit of a tradition. Most politicians expect it and are often especially rude in response (see earlier interviews especially the one with that odious prick David Blunkett). If Galloway can't deal with a dumb question like that and flounces off then maybe he should consider retirement. And how can he not know who Nick Raynsford is - even I've heard of him and I've never been in the same room as him. I did think that Paxman had momentarily turned into Chris Morris when he incredulously barked "What else haven't you heard of?"
posted by dodgygeezer at 10:40 AM on May 7, 2005

amberglow, I make it 15 out of 645. I think that works out as a pitiful 2.3% when it should be around 7.9%. I would also guess women are nowhere near 50%. Business as usual.

Quite a few openly gay MPs though, which I think is a bit different to your side?
posted by ninebelow at 11:38 AM on May 7, 2005

Quite a few openly gay MPs though, which I think is a bit different to your side?
Well, with all the closeted GOP mayors and other people being outed, the number's growing. ; >

We have minority representation problems nationally too (but we're not too bad on local levels)--i did think it was odd that Jeremy focused on that as his question.
posted by amberglow at 11:42 AM on May 7, 2005

I suppose if he had any balls he would have stood against Tony Blair, but then he wouldn't have been elected. Now, at least, he has a chance to stand in Parliament and continue his fight.

Don't buy into the myth that Galloway is a good politician for his constituents. The people lost a good person in King. She worked for the community. Galloway is one of the poorest politicians at working for his constituents.
From TheyWorkForYou
Performance data

* Spoke in 0 debates in the last year — 645th out of 659 MPs.
* Asked 0 written questions in the last year — 540th out of 659 MPs.
* Replied within 14 days to 50% of messages sent via during 2004 — 398th out of 590 MPs. (Sample size: 68 faxes. Important Caveat.)
* Has attended 3% of votes in parliament — 649th out of 658 MPs. (From Public Whip)

Also I think people are missing the point. It was Galloway who made the whole thing a racial issue. He's the one who said Blair had killed many people with 'blacker faces than you' when referring to King.
posted by daveirl at 1:46 PM on May 7, 2005

That was in response to being called a racist.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 7:59 PM on May 7, 2005

To describe Galloway as standing on an 'anti-war ticket' is not quite the whole story.

Respect is, effectively, a front for the far-left Socialist Workers Party. They have skilfully disguised their political extremism and repackaged themselves as an anti-war party in order to attract the support of disaffected Labour voters who would never dream of voting for the SWP. But don't be deceived. A vote for Respect is a vote for the SWP, and if you don't believe in revolutionary socialism then you shouldn't be voting Respect.

The coalition between British Muslims and the extreme left is a very loose and provisional one, and I can't see it lasting very long. Some tensions have already started to appear. For example, Galloway has courted Muslim support by stressing his religious faith and his opposition to abortion, much to the disgust of some of his comrades on the left.

Decani: so nasty Mr Paxman was horrid and unfair to poor defenceless Mr Galloway? Ah diddums. Let me remind you of your own remarks, not very long ago: It is an extremely healthy and sensible thing to show politicians absolutely NO deference and to never give them the benefit of the doubt. A politician is a creature who should always, always, always be approached with mistrust and the assumption of ulterior motives. Funny you don't think that should apply to Galloway.
posted by verstegan at 2:55 AM on May 8, 2005

Well, we *need* a far left party to balance all the right wing and centralist parties (i.e. all of the main parties). It is part of our European heritage and has a place on the political landscape, despite the work that some of the very powerful have done to try to equate communism with evil over the past 40 years.
The Respect coalition represents the changing society of the UK and hints at what a proportionally representitive British political system might produce. They remind me of the Green/Right Wing coalitions in Germany.
posted by asok at 4:32 AM on May 8, 2005

I think maybe people should be questioning why Labour has so few minorities in its MP ranks that Oona gets all this attention. What's up with that?

Yeah, but Labour are ahead on this score compared to other parties, and actually use positive discrimination to select candidates. An ex-Labour rebel went up against a female candidate after he was deselected for being the wrong gender and promtly won -- this is a difficult issue but it is tougher than you might think to do something about it.
posted by nthdegx at 5:04 AM on May 8, 2005

That travesty of an article by James Wolcott is so one-sided I could vomit. It makes no mention of Galloway's Iraq-related indiscretions. Attempting to reduce this to good guys versus bad guys is ridiculous; but to do so and conclude Galloway is the good guy is bordering on the hilarious. I can't help note the irony of Pretty Generic applauding a Galloway victory when he is to some extent the closest thing parliament now has to a religious extremist; using the pro-life issue to be elected in a way that has never been seen in British politics.
posted by nthdegx at 5:13 AM on May 8, 2005

posted by nthdegx at 5:15 AM on May 8, 2005

verstegan: thank you for reminding me of my own words, which I absolutely stand by 100%. Now, perhaps you'd be so good as to explain to me how they in any way pertain to my criticism of Paxman's poor technique in attacking this particular politician?

Also, I would appreciate it if you would show me where I said - or even suggested - that my words should not be applied to Galloway. Certainly Galloway should neither be treated with deference or assumed to be honest. My criticisms of Paxman's fallacious line of questioning in no way alter that.

I've noticed two things about you, verstegan. Firstly, you seem to have some sort of "problem" with me. Secondly, you're an extremely poor thinker. The first thing interests me. The second is becoming tiresome.
posted by Decani at 6:45 AM on May 8, 2005

Don't buy into the myth that Galloway is a good politician for his constituents.

Too bloody right - he was my MP and I think I wrote to him four or five times over the years and never once received a reply, not even a cursory form letter from a researcher. (Which is rare - I've always been one of those annoying letter-writing types, and everyone from local councillors to MEPs has always replied, eventually.) I'll bet that once he's in parliament blustering away and failing completely to engage with, let alone deal with consitituency problems, BG & B voters will begin to regret ditching King (vile Blairite horror that she is).

Attempting to reduce this to good guys versus bad guys is ridiculous; but to do so and conclude Galloway is the good guy is bordering on the hilarious

Quite. Galloway is a joke - he'll adopt any position if it might give him a future platform from which to spout his incoherent anti-whatever rhetoric. He's an embarrasment to the thinking (rather than reactionary) left, and does more to harm than good to the anti-war movement too. And his fawning over Saddam Hussein is just the most ridiculous extension of that habit of old lefties to go misty eyed over bloody Stalin; juvenile romantic pap.
posted by jack_mo at 3:29 AM on May 9, 2005

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