Wednesday was a mixed day for George Galloway, the darling of the US anti-neocons for his scoriating testimony in Congress. On the up side the Daily Telegraphy lost an appeal against a decision that they had libelled him by accusing him of accepting money from Saddam Hussein. That was somewhat dulled by an announcement that further supposed documents were being investigated by the UK authorities which had come to light during the US investigation of “oil for food”.
On the down side he has been attacked by his political opponents in a fairly sustained manner for the last three weeks. Various embarassing videos and photographs have been released and printed with wide coverage in the tabloid press. It culminated today with him being booed by a large crowd as he was thrown out of the House.
I should first put you out of your misery by explaining that it was not the House of Commons but the British “celebrity” version of the Big Brother house. The series started three weeks ago. Immediately the Labour Party machine went into action in his constituency in a rather obvious case of bad losers out for their pound of flesh.
It has to be said that much of the criticism does have an element of truth. He has the worst voting record in the current Parliament apart from Blair, who is usually “paired” to free up time for Governmnet business, and another Labour MP who is dead. As the sole “Respect” party MP, he does have a heavy speaking schedule to justify his non-attendance. Certainly he left a constitutency office staffed to deal with the day-to-day problems of his constituents as do many MPs with ministerial or Opposition responsiblities.
While his expressed hope had been to have a platform for his political opinions, much of it had to be cut from even the delayed “live” feed by dropping the sound. This was because of the rather complicated “equal time” regulations governing TV in the UK.
The tasks set the “housemates” provided some rich fodder for those he had offended. Pictures of him in a rather too small red leotard during a dance task have already appeared on US discussion boards. Obviously the Republican dirty tricks commanders had distrtibuted it to their “troops”. Another rather unedifying task was an improvisation session in which they had to play animals. Him pretending to be a cat, purring and being stroked by his task partner, a rather overripe actress, have been widely used against him.
The show has also revealed a rather unpleasant side of his verbal eloqence. He has been seen attacking other contestants using bullying rhetoric. Like most European countries, the UK versions use SMS text messge voting to select the evictee after the Housemates nominate. The public vote gave over 64% for George to be evicted. Further details from the (UK) Channel 4 minisite