I’m not the only one

According to this Belfast Telegraph report, George Galloway is maximising his time, and fees, while in Northern Ireland this week by doubling up his speech-making. As well as the Belfast Festival event on the 3rd, he is due in Derry on the 4th, a delayed Gasyard Feile booking – originally scheduled for 4th August[PDF file]. Now, I’m no fan of the Bethnal Green and Bow MP and I won’t be contributing to his attendance fees.. but if you do decide to attend, do yourself a favour and familiarise yourself with the details of at least some of the criticisms.. There’s the most recent UN report – Harry has links, as well as the US Congress report [PDF file] Harry has more again, on the Oil for Food Scam. Also this Crooked Timber post, and this Guardian article by Andrew Anthony. But, foremost among his critics, see the many posts at Harry’s Place, like this one.. and a wonderful satirical touch in this photo

And a corrective to the PR text at the Belfast Festival site, which claims that Galloway was

“A central organising force and mobilising figurehead for the Stop The War Coalition opposed to the war in Iraq- which lead to him being expelled from the Labour Party.”

As this BBC report, and this Guardian report point out.. Galloway was actually expelled from the Labour Party for slightly different reasons, as the BBC report put it –

He faced five charges relating to a television interview during the war in which he accused Mr Blair and George Bush of acting “like wolves” in invading Iraq.

The charges faced by Mr Galloway were understood to be that:

he incited Arabs to fight British troops
he incited British troops to defy orders
he incited Plymouth voters to reject Labour MPs
he threatened to stand against Labour
he backed an anti-war candidate in Preston

He was found guilty of all but the third charge.

The accusations were judged to break a rule which bans “bringing the Labour Party into disrepute by behaviour that is prejudicial or grossly detrimental to the party”.

While the Guardian noted –

But he did tell Guardian Unlimited in an online interview back in April: “If I am sacked, what message will they [the British people] take about the nature of Mr Blair’s regime from that? If necessary I will defend the new Glasgow Central constituency on a platform of real Labour values, and I believe I shall win.”

As we now know.. he decided Bethnal Green and Bow might provide a more convenient platform…