By Alan Clarke
About 80 students attended a meeting organised by University College London's Stop the War group last week - only to be confronted by the sight of Labour MP George Galloway in full Stalinist rant.
After three of the four platform speakers - Galloway, the SWP's Lindsey German and journalist Yvonne Ridley - delivered heavily anti-American, anti-Israeli speeches, the last - Solidarity supporter and NUS executive officer Faz Velmi - provoked Galloway's outrage by suggesting that, like the Palestinians, the Kurds and, yes, the Israelis should have a right to self-determination.
This, combined with similar comments from the floor, led Galloway to demand to know why the chair was "picking all the Zionists". Having called Faz an idiot (an "eejit" actually), he proceeded to explain to the audience that "Trotskyist sects have always apologised for Zionism". Despite this attack on revolutionary socialism, he was warmly applauded by Lindsey German, who declared that those in disagreement with her views on Israel-Palestine were "not welcome here".
What is depressing is not the events of this particular meeting, which was characterised by some fairly healthy debate, but the fact that the politics of Galloway and German represent the mainstream of the Stop the War Coalition.