George Galloway on BBCQT and his own support for the Soviet Union


5:31 pm - April 20th 2012

by Carl Packman    


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Question Time was a real treat last night. Yvette Cooper kicking Theresa May when she was down, as Baroness (portfolio of nothing) Warsi tried and failed to defend her honour, while Tim Farron was a hoot, trying to hold the inharmonious position as comic and reluctant defender of the coalition government.

Of course the main event was George Galloway and David Aaronovitch, head to head.

Watch the video clips

Instead of answering questions Galloway instead made reference to Aaronovitch’s previously held Communist convictions.

On Question Time, Galloway made mention of the fact that in the way he believes in God, Aaronovitch believes in Stalin.

These “blows” were used instead of engaging with the point raised that Galloway has done nothing by way of condemning the behaviour of Assad – in fact, going so far as to “flatter” him.

But is this projection of Galloway’s?

Did he not protest-too-much in the 2002 interview with Simon Hattenstone:

What is that position? “I am on the anti-imperialist left.” The Stalinist left? “I wouldn’t define it that way because of the pejoratives loaded around it; that would be making a rod for your own back. If you are asking did I support the Soviet Union, yes I did. Yes, I did support the Soviet Union, and I think the disappearance of the Soviet Union is the biggest catastrophe of my life. If there was a Soviet Union today, we would not be having this conversation about plunging into a new war in the Middle East, and the US would not be rampaging around the globe.”

Not convinced?

What about when George Galloway described his old chum John Reid:

“John’s a very good political operator – remorseless, unremitting and practical. Just like Stalin.”

Clearly complimentary there.

But lastly, to throw one final log on the fire, what about Galloway’s criticisms of anti-Stalinist George Orwell, and the comments that he was traitorous (via Paul Anderson):

“But for a bullet in the brain on the Ebro […] Rupert John Cornford [English poet who fought in the Spanish Civil War] might have loomed as large as George Orwell in the British left-wing lexicon […] Orwell would probably have informed on him to his bosses in British Intelligence. For Cornford was a Communist […] their memory has been sullied by Orwell’s slanders, unfortunately reinforced by Ken Loach’s film Land and Freedom.”

Indeed as Anderson in his commentary about this writes:

“Orwell did nothing to sully the memory of the International Brigade volunteers. He did expose the vile role of the Stalinists in suppressing the Spanish revolution in 1937″

Why would Galloway, here, be doing Stalin’s work for him? You don’t think, maybe, perhaps…

Galloway dishes it out, but it looks, on deeper inspection, like projection.

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Carl is a regular contributor. He is a policy and research analyst and he blogs at Though Cowards Flinch.
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Reader comments


What is this blog for? We have a corporate media for smearing leftists.

I predict that this thread will be dominated by civil, productive discussion. (I also predicted that According to Pete would win the Grand National.)

@1

George Galloway is no friend of the liberal left. Even if he was, we shouldn’t give a pass to people’s actions because of their politics.

But Galloway does give the Westminster village a good kicking. And boy they need a good kicking from time to time. He drives them bat shit insane, with their focus group pre censored answers, and their corporate boot licking.

As for David Aaronovitch, he jumped the shark long ago, when he signed up for the Iraq fiasco, and took the Murdoch shilling. If you take the Murdoch shilling, you must sing the Murdoch tune. Blairite twat.

Galloway: “their memory has been sullied by Orwell’s slanders, unfortunately reinforced by Ken Loach’s film Land and Freedom.”

While you are right that this is unfair to Orwell, there may be an element of truth in it with respect to Loach’s film (much as I am a fan of his film). At http://www.whatnextjournal.co.uk/Pages/History/Loach.html , Bob Pitt quotes Jeff Sawtel, “Loach depicts the brigaders as part of the force sent in against the anarchists. This was not true. The International Brigade played no part at all in suppressing the Barcelona putsch.”

Pitt doesn’t dispute the truth of this statement, although he claims it doesn’t matter because the IBs had Stalinist politics anyway, and also mentions that Communist-led German members of IBs assassinated Andreu Nin, the POUM leader.

Give me George Galloway anyday over Blair. Thingi s we in Scotland actually prefer George’s straightforward talking…..at least he doesn’t lie, cheat and pretend to be something he isn’t. Guess the English folk are used to politicians that con folk, thats why so much corruption follows them. Thats the way you like it though. As long as they pretend and say what you all like to hear you prefer that from truth. You presume that its George thats the liar, the sucking up to dictators etc because our governments have always told us the truth.is that not right, if they say its this, that or next thing then it must be the truth that comes out of their mouths yet you attack a man who hasn’t hid from anything…….you just presume its him thats the scumbag. I think the fact he is a Scot as well is what gets the baying, nasty crowds against him.

7. Churm Rincewind

I’m uncertain what to make of this post. Both Galloway and Aaronovitch have previously made remarks of which they should be thoroughly ashamed. In the meantime I’m rather with Sally in support of anyone who gives the Westminster village a kicking. Which Galloway does, as opposed to Aaronovitch who merely sneers from the sidelines.

I’m not a great of either. But on balance I hate Aaranovitch more.

9. flyingrodent

Dave has some infuriating, insane opinions and can almost always be relied upon to carry water for the government, regardless of how idiotic their plans are. On the other hand, he seems like a reasonable, affable human being on a personal level.

Galloway is at least aware that bombing the universe in pursuit of some vaguely defined goal is a lunatic idea, so he wins points over Aaro there. That said, he appears to be a horrific twunt on both the personal and the political level.

Their arguments in these clips were entirely unilluminating, although you have to applaud the savvy shown by George for getting the red-baiting in first. That’s fifty percent of Aaro’s schtick countered immediately. Otherwise, pointless, tedious.

10. Just Visiting

Am I out of touch with LC, in finding it impossible to treat Galloway as anything but a loony, after he said, as above

> I think the disappearance of the Soviet Union is the biggest catastrophe of my life.

He said it in 2002 ! When for so long we had known the nightmare that was the Soviet Union

Pretty desperate attempt to demonise Galloway here. There’s certainly projection going on, but it sounds more like the centre-left’s panic at being faced by a genuinely leftist politician. The gross over-simplification of the labels is a dead giveaway.

His performance on Capital Hill when he handed those smug wankers their arses on a plate was something to see.

13. Edward Carlsson Browne

@6 – If it’s true Scotland prefers Galloway, why exactly did he chicken-run down to Bethnal Green in 2005?

The worst part is that he isn’t even very left – hence the fact he never belonged to the Campaign Group, or even the Tribune Group. He’s just a slightly smarter and more adaptable Scottish Labour machine dinosaur.

14. flyingrodent

The worst part is that he isn’t even very left

His position on abortion should be a show-stopper for anyone who gives a damn about reality, never mind everything else.

Galloway is a scoundrel, like Wilkes. But in the same way he could shake up the establishment and change things for the better despite entireley selfish motivations.

@13

“@6 – If it’s true Scotland prefers Galloway, why exactly did he chicken-run down to Bethnal Green in 2005?”

I’m from Inverness in the north of Scotland and consider myself to be on the liberal left. I only pay attention to Galloway because he’s quite amusing, in fact I find him hilarious. The man’s a character and brings some excitement to the table but nothing more. What people aren’t bringing up though is that he didn’t even come close to winning a seat in 2010 in the Holyrood elections, I’m quite disappointed nobody mentions this when talking about the Bradford Spring..

*2011

I could go the George Galloway route and say that someone hacked my account to post that comment. “Nice try. Password now changed”…

*2011

Given this new line on Lenin, I take it that rapprochement between Galloway and the SWP won’t be forthcoming then. Otherwise, more sound and fury…

20. organic cheeseboard

you have to applaud the savvy shown by George for getting the red-baiting in first. That’s fifty percent of Aaro’s schtick countered immediately

yup, this. i dislike galloway intensely, but it’s clever of him to red-bait before aaro can do so.

it’s kind of depressing how aaro and his ilk seem to think that reciting things people said years ago counts as proper debate, especially given their own dodgy backgrounds. it’s why this ending is a bit silly:

Galloway dishes it out, but it looks, on deeper inspection, like projection.

it’s projection on the part of aaro as well.

also:

“John’s a very good political operator – remorseless, unremitting and practical. Just like Stalin.”

is that REALLY intended as a 100% complimentary thing? witness:

“John’s a very good political operator – remorseless, unremitting and practical. Just like Stalin.” The comparison to the Soviet dictator is intended as a compliment. “John knows how to make the leftwing case for a rightwing argument,” adds Galloway. “He’s not ideological. He weighs votes and decides who to eliminate. He made himself indispensable in the 1970s and it’s the same now.”

Reid and Galloway were NOT chums when he said that either iirc.

Carl: you seem to have a thing about Geoge. I have had to deal with him at closer quarters than most people, but I wouldn’t waste my time writing about his “debate” with Aaro. Galloway v Hitchens or Galloway v Aaro produce more heat than light and are only interesting in a political environment where some basic truths are taboo.

22. organic cheeseboard

guano has a point here – i really don’t understand why people get so massively upset by galloway. from the coverage he gets from certain quarters you’d think he was literally the reincarnation of Hitler. Ditto Ken Livingstone really.

23. flyingrodent

from the coverage he gets from certain quarters you’d think he was literally the reincarnation of Hitler.

Faux naivety here, surely. A country with no functional anti-war movement needs traitorous socialist villains to shove in the public’s faces, to keep them in line behind whatever bullshit military hijinks are in the pipeline. Galloway, the pendulous ballsack of a man that he is, fills that role brilliantly.

24. Thomas Coles

The only difference between Aaronovitch and Galloway is that Aaronovitch has enough lackeys to wash the slime off.

Galloway any day – why doesn’t anyone see it as a GOOD thing that he isn’t banal and has a contradictory aspect? (Though his stance on abortion means I could never support or vote for him).

He was on Radio 4 this morning agreeing with Caroline Lucas that major social breakdown is acoming. He will be seen as prescient.

I’m guessing that when you say “give the Westminster village a good kicking” you mean “provide the Westminster village with a convenient bogeyman”.

How to counter the anti-war movement? Elevate someone to its head who has been caught on tape praising Saddam Hussein. It may seem ridiculous to claim that if you’re anti-war you’re pro a murderous dictator, except there’s George proving the ridiculous argument correct.

26. bradfordandy

well, we care less if he’s a commie or not

we gave him our 18,000 votes

27. vildechaye

RE: If you take the Murdoch shilling blah blah blah.

As opposed to Galloway, who took the PressTV shilling. I’m no Murdoch fan, but compared to PressTV, that wholly owned subsidiary of the Iranian govt, even Murdoch’s rags look pretty good.

28. vildechaye

And someone should tell George that “god knows who is the dictators’ ass-licker and who isn’t.”

Galloway reminds me of Boris Johnson in some ways. He’s fantastic entertainment until you realise that he actually has to do a job of importance which I’m not convinced he is either capable of or committed to doing.

Maybe he’ll prove me wrong by getting down to Parliament more often and even by getting off the train in the right town on his way back. Or maybe he’ll take any opportunity to get some attention while neglecting the post his constituents elected him to.

30. Charlieman

@23. flyingrodent: “A country with no functional anti-war movement needs traitorous socialist villains to shove in the public’s faces, to keep them in line behind whatever bullshit military hijinks are in the pipeline. Galloway, the pendulous ballsack of a man that he is, fills that role brilliantly.”

Starting from the proposition that: “…[this] country with no functional anti-war movement…” The UK does have a disfunctional anti-war movement. I disagree with them, and on different grounds from me you (presumably) find it impossible to associate with them.

But this does not follow: “needs traitorous socialist villains to shove in the public’s faces…” I am sure that UK government will do whatever it decides irrespective of the presence of Galloway.

BTW, in England the expression “pendulous ballsack” is regarded as tautology. The experience of ascending testicles during cold weather is oft called “feeling like a Scots man”.

RP: “At http://www.whatnextjournal.co.uk/Pages/History/Loach.html, Bob Pitt quotes Jeff Sawtel, “Loach depicts the brigaders as part of the force sent in against the anarchists. This was not true. The International Brigade played no part at all in suppressing the Barcelona putsch.” Pitt doesn’t dispute the truth of this statement.”

But I do dispute the truth of Jeff Sawtell’s statement. I quote the evidence of Manuel Casanova, who says that international volunteers were directly involved:

“Several of the Assault Guards who came from Valencia to Barcelona on 7 May 1937 in order to make ‘order’ prevail there against the CNT and POUM workers, and several of the tank men, spoke Bulgarian, German, Polish or Serbian. I met some good militants in these detachments, who were already known to me from abroad, helping the bourgeoisie and reaction.”

I also dispute that the “Barcelona putsch” was a putsch.

It’s not appropriate to take selected quotes out of context and use them to smear someone. Unfortunately this is what you are doing with Galloway. There is much to criticise and debate him for. Stick to substance.

Who cares if he supported the Soviet Union? Who cares what he thinks about Syria? People think we all have to live up to some ridiculous standard of ideological purity, but guess what? It doesn’t matter!


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    George Galloway on BBCQT and his own praise for the Soviet Union http://t.co/A9We7eJE

  2. Richard

    George Galloway on BBCQT and his own praise for the Soviet Union http://t.co/A9We7eJE

  3. Jason Brickley

    George Galloway on BBCQT and his own praise for the Soviet Union http://t.co/wNZFl70n

  4. Jamie

    George Galloway on BBCQT and his own praise for the Soviet Union http://t.co/5ESp48Vx

  5. Richard

    George Galloway on BBCQT and his own support for the Soviet Union | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/axzql9fA via @libcon

  6. leftlinks

    Liberal Conspiracy – George Galloway on BBCQT and his own praise for the Soviet Union http://t.co/fQAQieQL

  7. representingthemambo

    George Galloway on BBCQT and his own support for the Soviet Union | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/lHroVeaI via @libcon

  8. People Needn’t Equal Shit… « Back Towards The Locus

    […] reputation as indefatigable dude.) Why, then, do so many – and I’ve done it too – expend such energy debating his supposed merits and faults? Why did people do the same over Sarah Palin? Why, indeed, […]

  9. Arun Mehta

    Carl Packman: "George Galloway on #bbcqt and his own support for the Soviet Union." http://t.co/Zwxz6e55





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