George Galloway, king of the stooges?

When Naz Shah, a Labour Party politician who represents Bradford West in Parliament, stood up last year to make her first speech to her fellow MPs, she broke with the custom of praising her immediate predecessor. And with good reason.

That predecessor was George Galloway – a man only a creep would eulogize. To be sure, because of his outsized personality, colorful language, rich Scottish brogue, and constant bluster, it’s tempting to dismiss him as a cartoon version of a useful stooge, someone who’s simply too far out there to take seriously.

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Nick Cohen

As columnist Nick Cohen wrote recently, too many Brits have viewed Galloway indulgently as “a character,” a lovable clown who, whatever his foibles, is at least “passionate about his beliefs,” instead of being one of those “poll-driven, focus-group–tested on-message politicians, who speak in soundbites.” For years, complained Cohen, “Galloway was treated with an indulgence that, like a cardiogram, revealed the sicknesses at the heart of the liberal-left.” Sickness? Yes, because any man who’s enjoyed as much power and support as Galloway has, and who’s been such a faithful lapdog for the very worst of totalitarian tyrants, should be taken very seriously indeed. Galloway makes most other useful stooges look like half-hearted amateurs; he could give courses in licking the boots of international bullies, and in demonizing the virtuous and free. 

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George Galloway

Now sixty-one years old, Galloway was first elected to Parliament from Glasgow in 1987. In 2003, he was kicked out of Labour for supporting jihad against his own country’s troops and for championing the Baath Party “resistance” against the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. He then joined Respect – the Unity Coalition (later simply called the Respect Party) – described by Cohen as an “alliance… between the Trotskyist far left and the Islamic far right” and by Christopher Hitchens as an example of “[t]he servants of the one god finally meet[ing] the votaries of the one-party state” – and was sent back to Westminster as MP for the London neighborhood of Bethnal Green (which is 50% Muslim) and, later, beginning in 2012, for West Bradford (also heavily Muslim) in Lancashire.

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Imran Hussain

In 2012, the Islamic Forum of Europe and Muslim Public Affairs Committee both took part in Galloway’s re-election campaign. Galloway publicly questioned the orthodoxy of the Muslim Labour candidate, Imran Hussain, telling “all the Muslim brothers and sisters” in his district that he himself was a teetotaler and wondering aloud whether that was true of Hussain. “I’m a better Pakistani than he will ever be,” Galloway told one audience. “God knows who’s a Muslim and who is not. And a man that’s never out of the pub shouldn’t be going around telling people you should vote for him because he’s a Muslim.” In 2015, Galloway went even lower, despicably accusing his Labour opponent, Naz Shah, of lying about having been subjected to a forced marriage when she was a girl in Pakistan.

More tomorrow.

Jan Guillou, Swedish literary idol…and KGB agent

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Jan Guillou

Yesterday we met a few Swedish enemies of capitalism who struck it rich with crime fiction. Here’s another. Jan Guillou (b. 1944) is one of Sweden’s most famous writers. “He is the Grand Old Man of Swedish journalism,” wrote Ilya Meyer in 2010, “and has for decades set the tone for journalism in this country.”

Jan_Guillou,_2011Meaning what? Meaning that Guillou made it the norm in Sweden for supposedly objective reporters to view everything through a red prism, and to twist, suppress, or invent facts to serve ideology. In the 1960s and 70s Guillou was a Maoist, belonged to the Swedish Communist Party, and accepted money from the USSR for providing the KGB with clandestine reports on his country’s politics. You might have expected that when the newspaper Expressen exposed this decades-old secret in 2009, the government would have arrested Guillou for treason. No: what happened was that the government’s press ombudsman accused the newspaper’s editors of behaving irresponsibly and damaging Guillou’s reputation.

guillou3There’s more. Against mountains of evidence to the contrary, he maintains that Western anti-Semitism is a thing of the past and that anyone who draws attention to the rise of Jew-hatred in Sweden is carrying water for Israel – a nation of which he’s a consistent and zealous critic, often to the point of being plainly anti-Semitic himself. According to Guillou, Western prejudice against Islam is the real problem. He’s a supporter of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a Marxist group, and in 1977 he co-wrote a book praising Iraq’s Baath Party regime and predicting that by the year 2000 Iraqis would be richer than Western Europeans.

guill858jeanettel_1189060145He’s even defended Al Qaeda. In 2001, he made headlines by walking out of a book fair during a three-minute silence for the victims of 9/11; shortly afterwards, he published an explanatory op-ed calling the U.S. “the great mass murderer of our time.” Widespread claims to the contrary, he insisted that the 9/11 attacks had not been aimed at the West generally but only at evil capitalist America, which had done a great deal to deserve them. (Later terrorist attacks in Madrid, London, Paris, Istanbul, etc., etc., haven’t led him to admit his error.)

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Max Manus

A couple of days ago, we mentioned Max Manus, the Norwegian Resistance hero who repeatedly risked his life carrying out acts of sabotage against the Nazis. Last year, Guillou published a World War II spy novel, Blue Star, on the last page of which he says that “no Norwegian has caused the deaths of as many of his countrymen as Max Manus.” Guillou also accuses Manus of having killed Karl Alfred Marthinsen, head of the Norwegian state police. In December, Manus’s daughter, Mette Manus, went public with her rage over this abuse of her father’s name, calling the murder accusation a “direct lie.” Of course, from Guillou’s own point of view, his slur on Manus makes perfect sense. The very idea of Norwegian war heroes – of men risking their lives for freedom – is offensive to him, as is freedom itself. There can be no idols other than Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and company; the rest, especially those, like Manus, who risked their lives to overcome everything that totalitarian monsters like these stood for, must, in the view of a Jan Guillou, be torn down without remorse.