Monday, 1 September 2014

Galloway, street crimes, war crimes and the referendum

The attack on George Galloway in a London street is a despicable act of violence.

The 'word on the street', coupled with Galloway's own account of his alarming experience, suggests pretty clearly that this brutal assault was carried out by a far-right Zionist, aggrieved at Galloway's ever-admirable defence of Palestinian rights and condemnation of Israel's crimes.

Of course, had this been a Muslim beating up David Cameron or any other senior politician on the street we would be reading relentless headlines about an 'appalling terrorist attack'.

Indeed the very absence of mainstream political and media condemnation of the attack on Galloway should be making us more street-wise to such establishment bias.

As Seumas Milne tweeted:
Lack of mainstream condemnation of assault on @georgegalloway shameful - who doubts a Muslim assailant would be charged with terrorism?
I wish George well in his recovery, and hope this never inhibits him from speaking his mind on this or any other issue.
However, in that same, open vein, something else requires to be said about George's own claims about 'violence and intimidation' with regard to the Scottish referendum.
Just hours before being attacked in London, he tweeted this:
I'm warning Alex Salmond now; I will hold him responsible for any attempt to wreck my #JustSayNaw meetings and any physical attack upon me
Even allowing for a certain heat and hubris in the debate, it was a ludicrous statement for Galloway to make. Is he really saying that Salmond should be held to account for anything that may physically happen to him? 
There's no denying the animosity being expressed by some over the referendum, evidenced by some nasty tweet exchanges. But this is of minority proportions and negligible significance to the real, civilised and inspiring debate going on just now all across the homes, halls and streets of Scotland - and particularly on social media.
Galloway also defended No campaigner Jim Murphy after the Labour MP complained about being heckled and subjected to egg throwing. Alas, this kind of activity only assists the No side, as we saw with a gleeful Murphy - never short of aggressive language himself - and a service media hyping the incident as some kind of 'Yes-orchestrated' act. In contrast, a man has just been convicted of threatening to kill Salmond in a menacing tweet, with barely a word from the BBC.

Like Galloway, Murphy has a right to express his views on the streets. But so do those opposing him - all the better by resisting counter-productive abuse.

They and others also have a right to amplify more important aspects of Murphy's political CV: that he eagerly supported the invasion of Iraq, and that, as past chair of Labour Friends of Israel, he remains deeply complicit through his visits and associations with the Israeli state. With that warmongering record and over two thousand souls slaughtered in Gaza, these are things Galloway might be mentioning when he's defending Murphy's street rights.

Brian Wilson, who shares George Galloway's Just Say Naw stage, was also a trusted Blairite and dedicated supporter of the war in Iraq. That's another valid issue for public airing.
In a tweet following the second Salmond-Darling debate, Galloway also said this:
Urgent: to the leaders of No Campaign: better put me, Gordon Brown Jim Murphy Helen Liddle and John Reid at the head of this campaign. Quick
Truly amazing that you would mix with so many warmongers - including @BrianWilson1967 Very sad to see, George #indyref 
Galloway didn't respond. But readers can confirm for themselves the warmongering record of every one of those named here, Murphy and Wilson included. 

George Galloway cites his political differences with such people. Fair enough. But his ready endorsement of them is still remarkable. Galloway has rightly indicted Tony Blair and Alastair Campbell as Iraq war criminals. Are Brown, Reid, Murphy and others any less culpable or exempt from that indictment?  With such an appalling stain on their political characters, are such figures, like my own MP Tom Harris, even fit for public office?  

Having respectfully noted my differences with George Galloway over the referendum, I wish him good healing and continued, safe presence on every street.

This great independence debate and the wonderful, radical possibilities it's generating, is far too important to have it maligned or relegated to cheap abuse.    

In these exciting days and approach to September 18, there's a much more hopeful word on the street: Yes. Here's to the making of a better, more tolerant and compassionate society. 
George Galloway gives a first interview account of the violent attack upon him by an "absolutely fanatical Zionist" and poses these questions:
"If a Muslim fanatic supporter of Hamas had attacked, say, a pro-Israel MP on the streets of London, would this story now be rather bigger than the story about the attack on me? Would the charge have involved terrorism? And I think any fair-minded person would conclude that the answer to both of those questions is yes." 
Further update
George Galloway tweets about his return to Westminster:
Labour leader Miliband just passed me, struggling on the stairs with my walking stick, looked straight at me and walked on without a word...

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