George, show us some RESPECT

George gets defensive about how many people want him to stand

After lots of threatening to do it over the past 5 years, George Galloway looks set to finally stage a comeback attempt to Glasgow.

This weekend, his party, RESPECT, are discussing the possibility of setting up in Scotland. But before they’ve even had a chance to vote on it, George has as good as said he’s going to do it anyway, if not as RESPECT then as ‘George 4 Glasgow.’

When asked why he’s thinking of doing this, his justification has had two major points: “I am awesome” and that he’s against “separatism.” So we can expect him to run an inspired campaign about how much we need him waffling away in the Scottish Parliament, and against independence. Just check out his recent performance on Newsnight Scotland, where he managed to not mention a single socialist policy, talked about how he was a celebrity and the only piece of politics he did advocate was British unionism:

Scotland needs another egotistical former Big Brother contestant politician like it needs a violent dose of the runs. His intervention couldn’t come at a worse time, and will be pretty much universally unwelcome by socialists who have actually been trying to do stuff in Glasgow, while he was off on his adventures elsewhere.

When the Scottish Parliament was set up, the SSP was formed as an attempt to unify the left and make sure all socialists were working together to try and get someone elected. Of course, back then, George was still a Labour MP, and not interested in anything else going on. Until he was kicked out of the Labour party, and decided to go looking for glory in London, where he managed to get elected as a RESPECT MP in Bethnal Green and Bow.

However, in the last election he didn’t manage to get back in when he stood in a different area, and he’s now casting around looking for something else to do. Hence the brainwave he’s had now – “I can get in up there!”

The problem is, he’s took the decision without actually consulting the existing Scottish left. In the amendment going to RESPECT’s conference, it says:

“Respect has not organized in or contested elections in Scotland in the past because of the hegemony of other parties to the left of Labour. This hegemony no longer exists.”

So speak a bunch of people based in England, who have no idea about the left in Scotland. All the signatories are English based people, because RESPECT doesn’t exist in Scotland. But yet again, English socialists think they know best what will work up here.

People from down south just don’t seem able to get their heads round the idea that Scotland is a different country, with a different political situation. Pretty much all the organised left in Scotland, at least on paper, is in favour of independence. They realise what a farce it would be if there was an independence referendum and socialists were arguing for keeping the imperialist, war mongering British state. If George is aspiring to be the voice of the left in the Scottish Parliament, he needs to realise that he’s totally out of step with Scottish socialists on this issue. But then, we shouldn’t be surprised if a London based organisation, that thinks it’s ok to turn up and plant their flag like modern day colonialists, don’t get it.

You would think though that people in RESPECT would have at least the common courtesy to talk to people before they announced they were coming to enlighten the northern barbarians. The arrogance of just declaring this is the way things are going to be without consultation is amazing.

Socialists in Scotland were able to get elected when they were united. But in 2006, Tommy Sheridan and his supporters decided to leave the SSP and set up another celebrity ego project, Solidarity. Since then we’ve had the even more obscure Scottish Trade Union and Socialist Coalition set up by those same folk. The result is that there’s likely to be at least 2 organisations battling it out for left wing votes in Glasgow next year (SSP and Solidarity/No2EU/STUSC). What this situation calls for is – MOAR PEOPLE STANDING!!!

George and Tommy: best pals, but for how much longer?

In the past, George vehemently supported Tommy (with such bizarre statements as “Let the monkeys shriek in their trees, the lion walks on by. The Lion is Tommy Sheridan.”) Apparently now though he thinks that’s not a runner any more, and thinks what Scotland needs is . . . HIM. He’s even gone as far as saying he thinks there haven’t been any big hitters in the Scottish Parliament, conveniently forgetting his former bromance with Tommy.

What this will actually mean is an incredibly divisive move at a time when the left in general needs to be thinking about the ways we can work together. There’s no existing organisation that will support him, given that his antics down south have alienated most of the other socialist groups away, and there’s no way the SSP will be able to support him. He claims he’s under “intense pressure” from “football fans” and “the city’s Asian community.” We don’t buy it. We think the only pressure he’s under is the pressure to find a new elected position and continue his political career. It’s as if when the SSP was at its height, we’d decided we were going to take England in hand and set up the ‘Scottish Socialist Party – England.’

So consider this a plea to members of RESPECT to live up to their party’s name, and not blunder into a difficult situation and make it much much worse. Three lists standing for parliament almost certainly guarantees that no socialists will be elected, and there’s no way RESPECT can be a unifying force for socialists up here. Yet another “socialist” group getting set up would be a disaster for Scotland.

But it doesn’t look like George is going to listen to reason on this one, he seems determined to plough on anyway. So, for when the day comes that he announces he’s standing, here’s a few of the reasons that SSY won’t be flocking to his banner, in advance:

1. Like we said, he’s against independence. He’s described Scotland as “the country with the highest number of junkies, alcoholics and religious bigots in Europe.” As opposed to the majority of the Scottish left, George thinks the best idea for Scotland is to stay part of Britain. He justifies it with sophisticated arguments:

“The seas are rough out there. Getting out of a liner and into a Para Handy puffer on the storm-tossed seas just for the pleasure of shouting ‘och aye the noo’ as loud as we like doesn’t strike me as all that smart. How about you?”

Independence is pretty fundamental to how we see social progress for Scotland. There’s currently half-a-state in Scotland, and we need to make it a fully independent democratic republic with the power to really tackle Scotland’s social problems. We also need Scotland to be withdrawn from a state that was set up specifically to be a stronger imperial power, and continues to be one today, with Scottish soldiers dying in Afghanistan. There’s just no way we can support electing yet another unionist MSP.

2. He insists on taking the full salary as an MP/MSP. When the SSP had people elected, we made sure they only took the average wage of a skilled worker, so that they could really represent the people who elected them, rather than becoming a well off part of the establishment. This is a well established socialist principle that goes back to the Paris Commune. Not for George though – he says he “couldn’t live on three worker’s wages,” and that he spends his money on “the things I need to function properly as a leading figure in a part of the British political system.”

George lets "page 3 trollopes" know where he stands

3. He’s against a woman’s right to choose. This is another pretty basic political fundamental for us: women have the right to control their own bodies, and restricting abortion would cost untold lives in Scotland – we know this because around the world 200 women die every day due to not being able to access safe and legal abortion services.

To be fair to the RESPECT party it prominently states that its position is pro-choice. It’s just not one shared by their most prominent member, who in the past hassn’t turn up at any time it’s voted on to get out of voting against. But if GG ends up running some kind of independent campaign (‘George 4 Glasgow’), will he even have that restriction placed on him? For us, it would be pretty much impossible to support an anti-abortionist for the Scottish Parliament.

(In addition, he’s not above spouting some really cringeworthy Swiss Tony style remarks about women. Check out some of the belters from his book:

“Air-headed blow-dried telly-dollies”

“fragrant rose”

“all folded arms, chins and bosoms”

“wives of the elite” wouldn’t “get a spot in Sex and the City”

or indeed these two particular offerings from his Record coloumn on key issues of the day: ‘Check out the hot M&S underwear ads‘ and ‘Pirates of the Caribbean boobs‘.  Or the way he ganged up on Jodie Marsh in the Big Brother house using language like “page 3 trollope”. The point about this stuff is its really embarassing and reflective of a lack of engagement with feminism which is essential for socialists. Which leads us on to our next point . . .)

4. We just don’t need another cheesy, Big Brother “lefty” celebrity in Scotland, we’ve had quite enough of the main one (who George used to love)!

No article like this would be complete without talking about the cat thing. I’d actually forgotten he’d done that, until I was reading about him again the other night and burst out laughing. See if you can actually bear to watch it all the way to the end:

Leave all politics aside, that is just 1 and a half minutes of wrongness.

There’s lots of other reasons people on the left have criticised Galloway, such as the fact that he’s a bit too friendly with certain Middle East governments who do lots of nasty stuff. However, I’m trying at this stage to steer clear of things Galloway fans would argue about, and stick straight to some of the reasons we could never support his candidacy for Glasgow. Things that Galloway himself accepts are his views that are fundamentally different from ours. Three of the above four points are things that George himself accepts, and that we feel are pretty much matters that we couldn’t compromise on, and the 4th is just an undisputable fact: CBB was an embarassing mistake, and it would make us cringe to go out and tell people to vote for that guy.

However, the main point here isn’t to bash George Galloway, but to appeal to members of RESPECT to get some common sense. You have no organisation in Scotland. Trying to impose it up here will cause further alienation and division in a country that’s had quite enough of that on the left. We quite like some of the folk in RESPECT. Please don’t be so arrogant as to support this move, as it will do ZERO good for anybody.

34 Comments

  1. David W says:

    Absolutely spot on Jack!

  2. Muzza says:

    Somehow i’ve never seen the pussy-cat clip before, and was watching it through gaps in my fingers by the end.

    This is just an Ego trip for Galloway, having been rejected in the capital he is quite obviously trying to seduce the people of glasgow with labourite nostalgia so that he can get paid for his own brand of ‘showmanship’ (that doesn not equate to hard work) for the next four years. What an embarrasing waste of blood and guts. Dispite the glaring lights on him throughout the election he will get laughed out of town.

  3. Squeak says:

    Still never watched the cat thing all the way through. I can’t handle the vicarious riddie.

    But aye I’m just going to steal a good quote here that I think sums up EVERYONE’S (not just us politicos) feelings about Galloway sticking his nose in up here. “The pressure on George Galloway to stand can’t be any greater than the pressure for him to just FUCK OFF.”

  4. Plot tracer says:

    totally agree with this article. Scotland doesn’t need saving by another Hero – especially one who believes in keeping us as a colony – and certainly not one who has such stupid views on Scottish society or the Scottish Left.

    spot on Jack.

  5. Andy Bowden says:

    Looking at the you tube comments for that video of George arguing against independence is indicative – they’re all from folk mystified at why someone who argues for Irish an Palestinian independence is so much in favour of the British State. I don’t think any appeals to Galloway on a political basis will work – it’s nakedly about getting a career and a paycheck. The SSP should differentiate itself from Galloway on the basis of independence and the workers wage policy. Galloway’s stated position is that MP’s aren’t paid enough – that’s nonsense and it’s something which differentiates us from him that is clearly not sectarian.

  6. Neil B says:

    One of the pics is broken btw. Otherwise, great stuff – GG can get tae fuck

  7. Pablo says:

    I don’t know about you guys but I think this is petty jealousy you obviously believe that this will affect your own vote hence you are angry.
    The popint on staying in the union from a socialist point of few is simple. The nation is not important and it is about the people not the state, scotland has been a great advocater of the free market especially under the protection of the british state. It was scots that made tons of money out of the Empire so can you stop talking like we have something in common with Ireland or anyother oppressed nation.

    To unite is the purpose of socialism you only advocate independence beacuase you think it might make it easier for scotland to become a socialist state so you do not actually care whether it is indepentent or not. It is nationalism simple as that and nationalism is facism.

  8. Jack says:

    Well we do think it will affect the total socialist vote, and negatively. What the result will be is further disunity and embarassing results for the left something we really really don’t need.

    What’s petty is a man who thinks he can just turn up in Scotland after 5 years and without any consultation declare himself the voice of the left. The only good reason he’s given for this is his own “heavy hitter” “celebrity” status, no good actual political reasons. You’re forced to the conclusion that the man just wants another elected job (on full pay) and sees Glasgow as the way to get it.

    Since we’re talking about history: Scotland was carried into the union by the Scots elite, against the express will of the Scottish people at the time. The same elites did do very well out of the empire, does that mean that the benefits were shared with working people? Of course not. What we have in common with Ireland is a radical republican tradition that seeks to overthrow the British state, something I’m glad the SSP is part of, as opposed to the Brit nationalism of Galloway and co.

    If we don’t care if Scotland is independent or not I don’t understand how in your next sentence you can say we’re nationalists? I do think independence would help advance a socialist state, but the point is even more basic than that: democratic control over the Scottish state. Currently Scotland is half-a-state, with many key powers over what happens here controlled by the undemocratic Westminster parliament (currently run by a government that lost the election in Scotland.) The point of independence is to transform the current submerged Scottish state into a fully democratic independent republic.

    Btw, Neil, all the pics work for me, which one is broke and I’ll try and fix it?

  9. Sarah says:

    I suggest Pablo looks up the definition of civic nationalism.

    Defending the ‘British state’, which is what unionists do, IS laden with fascist, imperialist, racist sentiments!

    Advocating the breakup of the British state and the rights of the people who live in the country of Scotland to self determination, conversely is not.

  10. Neil B says:

    It was the George and Tommy one, is working now though.

  11. Dustyfan says:

    How will Georges MSP bid affect his plan to direct a musical about Dusty Springfield?!?! Fucks sake man get your priorities straight.

  12. James N says:

    We’re for an indepedent Scotland, so we’re fascists.

    Good one.

    I’ll be honest, I have doubts over whether you’ll convince many of us to get involved in Gorgeous’ campaign

  13. Frank says:

    Who would be willing to campaign for him?

    Last I heard he and the SWP are on dodgy ground, he’s slapped the SSP in the face a couple of times, and the Socialist Labour Party don’t seem keen on him.

  14. Crazy Foo' says:

    I get the impression that one or two of the chumps that split the SSP to join Mr Sheridan in Squalidarity but subsequently left that organisation (is it still an organisation?) might be looking for another ‘celeb’ to follow blindly, but I doubt there are enough of those to do much on the ground.

  15. Derek Wall says:

    I would like to see more cooperation between Greens and Reds in Scotland, this decision splits the left once again and is wrong.

    Socialist Resistance have resigned from Respect over this http://another-green-world.blogspot.com/2010/11/galloway-election-decision-splits.html

  16. Liam T says:

    crazy foo’, shurely shome mishtake, i have it on good authority that every asian person and every celtic fan in glasgow, oh and all the “west end university circles”, are queuing up to campaign for galloway.

  17. Sarah says:

    Me too, Derek. I think SSY and a lot of the SSP are more than up for working with greens. We had a red green conference 2 years ago, and made contacts with (mostly unaligned but anti-capitalist) greens at climate camp. Hope to see this develop in a positive direction

  18. James N says:

    I have 100% respect (pun not intended) for the Socialist Resistance comrades, for recognising the principles of socialist unity and Scottish self-determination.

    Any real useful aspects of Respect seem to have faded out long ago.

    Who wants to be involved in a vehicle to maintain the bourgeois lifestyle of that git Galloway? No ta.

  19. Kenallos the riot dog says:

    “Other, less significant, dogs bark that no matter their miserable state, division and cataclysmic electoral decline, no one else is entitled to throw their hat into the ring.”- G. Galloway, 15 November 2010

    kenallos the riot dog refutes these allegations of being in a miserable state, and as anarcho-doggy, DOES NOT STAND IN ELECTIONS. does not own hat either.

  20. Jack says:

    When you read his latest comments I think it’s pretty clear he’s read our piece – his arguments are responding to ones we’ve raised, about abortion and independence. I’m touched to have a Record column at least in part dedicated to telling me I’m wrong.

    http://blogs.dailyrecord.co.uk/georgegalloway/2010/11/small-minds-think-im-too-big-for-holyrood.html

    and

    http://blogs.dailyrecord.co.uk/georgegalloway/2010/11/put-my-name-on-list.html

    HI GEORGE.

  21. Liam T says:

    GALLOWAY IN SHOCK “I AM NOT A TROTSKYIST” ADMISSION.

  22. Liam says:

    Can’t think of any better way for you to finish off your SSY blogging career with coverage in a national newspaper, well done!

  23. Davida says:

    Your article pinpoints the factors here. This is GG attempting to get his fix re another seat. It is not about genuine politics. That Respect, bayfully supported this move says a lot about the nature of that organisation. In reality GG will do damage before he fades away, Respect will die a lingering death of isolation and localism.

  24. Rae Merrill says:

    Brilliant piece. Just what I was thinking myself in every RESPECT.

  25. Pablo says:

    On the issue of scottish elites voting us into the union you are of course right but likewise english elites voted the english into a union many of its people never wanted either. in republican nature I see no evidence of this all revolutions in Britain and Scotland have been parliasmentary ones were the parliamentary fights the monarch to gain more powers for itself.The Jacobites were monarchists trying to get Prince Charlies father to be King. In this Ireland is complelty different. At this moment the main advocator of independence the SNP have made it perfectly clear that the monarchy shall remain head of state meaning we will be independent from England in only but name as the Union of the crowns continue.

    On Galloway I feel that he is a muppet but in the end your article is merely stating that you are annoyed that hes back up here and going to take votes from you.

    Also to respond to your point on not being fascist it is a simple point the reason for indepence can only come from nationalism you believe this country should be free of England as it is a better country and will be runned better by Scots this is nationalist.

  26. frankie says:

    The reason you can argue for Irish and Palestinian independence and not Scottish independence is really straightforward:

    Scotland is not an oppressed nation

  27. Restless Native says:

    OK, so unless we have tanks on our streets and family in internment we have no right to discuss whether upgrading the powers of the Scottish semi-state is a good political idea or not? Nah, self determination is only for the most brutalised, everyone else should stop complaining.

    Soldiers and bombs are not the only forms of oppression.

    On the main point of the article, Galloway’s attempts to backpeddle on his previous “I’ll defend a fellow misogynist to the death” position on Sheridan has been a sight to see.

  28. cullens91 says:

    “Scotland is not an oppressed nation” Have you seen the propaganda our so-called national broadcaster (the beeb) passes off as news?

  29. Auld Yin says:

    It always makes me laff this ‘Scotland is not an oppressed nation’ refrain.
    The Westminster government is bankrolled by the revenues from North Sea oil, money stolen from the peoples of Scotland.

  30. Sandino says:

    Scotland is not oppressed except for being in a capilist state which oppressess the majority for the enrichment of the few. Scotland gained a lot as a nation through the union nor has any war been solely fought for scottish independence of the British state. When soldiers were fighting they often were scots themselves and were usually acting out some clan fued i.e. the Glencoe massacre.
    Scotland is not oppressed although it is the smaller partner and most likely gets over used by the British state without any credit given the BBC is run mopstly by English I don’t see them saying that the summer holidays begin when English schools get off as oppression. Also Scotland is part of Britain regardless of parliament due to the Union of Crown and technically all waters around the british isles are crown estate so the land is the Queens and has never been in the peoples hands. And if it wasn’t would you see the betterment of Glasgow through Aberdonian oil. What right would we have as Glasgow to gain from that money. I am a socialist I know the state is important but that is only threough realism in reality the state is nothing more than a collection of ideas to keep a populace in order. The orange order is the perfect design in maintaining a stalwart support of the union. It has turned protestants against catholics in Northern Ireland and if westminister wanted to keep scotland they would play the orange card in desperation just like in Ireland.

  31. Sarah says:

    Apart from Nigeria, Scotland is probably the only country to have discovered oil and subsequently gotten poorer. That includes Iraq.

    Scotland is the poorest country in western Europe. Certain parts of Glasgow have a life expectancy of 54. Scotland’s known as the ‘sick man of Europe’. Add to that the Scottish cringe and lack of aspiration in working class areas (ie most populated parts of Scotland) and you’ve got fuck all but the endless cycle of poverty, illness, depression and addiction in a huge number of people’s lives. It’s not some wild coincidence. When you consider how resource rich Scotland is, especially compared to England which won’t be able to be self-sufficient should climate change cause extreme damage to capitalism’s ability to operate in the near future, it’s pretty odd don’t you think that there should be so much poverty.

    “I don’t see them saying that the summer holidays begin when English schools get off as oppression” – no, that particular example is what’s known as “cultural imperialism”

    Not oppressed my hole. Scotland gains fuck all from the union, except patronising unionist lefties talking to us like we’re stupid and can’t see the real arguments for self-determination. I’ll decide for myself ta, it’s not your right to tell me I’m not oppressed – I can judge that for myself based on the facts

  32. John Savage says:

    I used to work in Tollcross. The lunch breaks of my first week there were spent trying to find a shop which sold fresh fruit. It was – excuse pun – a fruitless exercise. Tollcross was once – don’t know if still – rated as the fourth poorest area of Europe. The place was run down to a pitiful degree, filled with beggars and, street corner alocholics and drug addicts. The stench of defeat was everywhere. Housing conditions were deplorable, the levels of unemployment were heartbreaking.
    This is not unusual for working class areas in this country.
    As already stated: oppression is not always about prescence. Sometimes just making people feel their worthless is enough to bring them to their knees.
    I am not naive enough to believe independence will solve these problems outright but, Jesus Christ, we’ve been trying the Unionist way for hundreds of years and the above is what we have.
    Scotland has the resources to do better. The Unionists know this. They don’t want to let those resources go.
    It is time Scotland took control of its bank book and its people and gave them all a chance to, at least, try and make something better of this rapidly sinking nation.

  33. Don Juan says:

    John Savage I live in shettleston and have also been in Tollcross many times. You are false to say that you can’t purchase fresh fruit I don’t know when you worked their but there are shops which sell produce and now there is a tesco nearby not to mention the Asda. I think middle class people tend to be negative of working class and paint a depressioning picture to get over their point. Shettleston may be poor and so too tollcross but the people are not automatons that are depressed they should be repsected not pitied like many modern socialists would have it.

    the term Unionist leftie is irrelvant I don’t believe in disunity but I do not regard myself as British nor as a matter of fact do I believe myself Scottish.
    I believe we are oppressed by capitalism and our landed aristocracy many of the oppresie things attributed to England were done by our own clan chiefs or Lords. The main reason I hate the nationalist rhetoric is that it blames everything on England but Capitilisms main arguments were constructed by Scots and are currently the most vehement supporters.

    If you take everything done to a base level the nly place in Britain that gains from the union is London and the south east but if Scotland gained independence most likely the central belt would take most of the benefits.

  34. beneficiation machine…

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