• Spoke in 0 debates in the last year — 646th out of 659 MPs.
• Asked 0 written questions in the last year — 545th out of 659 MPs.
• This MP never rebels against their party — 630th out of 649 MPs.
Which MP does this verdict, from www.theyworkforyou.com, describe? Some Blairite hack, no doubt? In fact it is the self-proclaimed arch-rebel, George Galloway.
In the 1997–2001 parliament Galloway rebelled against Blair in just five votes out of 665, 0.8%. (For comparison: Jeremy Corbyn rebelled 77 times, and John McDonnell 72.)
Galloway has only attended 19 parliamentary votes since April 2003. Too busy taking time out in his villa in Portugal, writing his autobiography, fixing up his next book (on Fidel Castro), or swanning around the Middle East? Maybe. But why should anyone want to vote for him to be an MP?
And when he did rebel in Parliament on Iraq, it was in favour of what? He was not “anti-war” in general. At demonstrations he applauded successful attacks on the US/UK forces by Saddam Hussein’s military. He was anti-Bush and anti-Blair — but pro-Saddam.
He says he was on close personal terms with Saddam Hussein’s deputy Tariq Aziz. He visited Iraq almost once a month from 1994 until the 2003 war, to meet with top officials there. He says that he offered the British government that he would be an intermediary between it and Saddam’s regime.
On 17 February 2004 the Guardian reported: “Fawwaz Zureikat, a Jordanian entrepreneur… gave money to the Mariam Appeal, run by Mr Galloway…
“[Zureikat and other] businessmen are alleged to have received money from Saddam via oil allocations. They sold the oil rights on at a profit of more than $1m (about £530,000), in an exploitation by Saddam of loopholes in the UN’s then oil-for-food programme.
“Mr Zureikat confirmed to Agence France Presse in Jordan last week that he had made the oil deals.”
Galloway replied only that: “It is hard to see what is dishonourable, let alone ‘illicit’, about Arab nationalist businessmen donating some of the profits they made from legitimate UN-controlled business with Iraq to anti-sanctions campaigns.”
On Galloway’s own account, he got in over £800,000 for his various ventures connected with Iraq between 1998 and 2002 from Saudi Arabia, the Emirates and Zureikat. Galloway said: “If newspaper critics had focussed on the incongruity of a left-wing campaigner obtaining support for his campaigning organisations from semi-feudal monarchies and businessmen such as Mr Zureikat, who represented some of the world’s biggest companies in Iraq, that would have been a legitimate line of attack — though my defence would have been that needs must” (Independent, 25/04/03).
When Saddam Hussein met his lawyer Khalil Duleimi last December, he asked to have his regards sent to just three people worldwide: former US Attorney-General Ramsey Clark; former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohammed, and George Galloway*.
Clark has joined Saddam’s legal defence team. Mahathir made a speech in October 2003 in which he called on Muslims to unite against Jews who, he said, “rule the world by proxy”. “They [Jews] invented socialism, communism, human rights and democracy, so that persecuting them would appear to be wrong.” What Galloway has done to deserve Saddam’s greetings, readers must guess.
In the 2004 Euro-elections, Galloway had his Respect coalition present him to the electorate as “a fighter for Muslims” — “recognised by the Muslim world… married to a Palestinian doctor… deep religious principles… teetotal.”
During the election campaign, he was at pains to tell the press that he opposed abortion rights. In the Morning Star on 12 February 2005, he not only denounced the idea of open borders but endorsed a “points system” for immigration.
And what does he think about lesbian and gay rights? You can best guess from an interview with the Saudi Arab News, 17 June 2003**, where, a propos of nothing, he claimed that his enemies said he supported Arab causes because he was a homosexual, and retorted: “In fact I am not a homosexual, never have been and actually have never met an Arab homosexual”.
* At www.lebanonwire.com/0501/050201DKA.asp, and cited by David Aaronovitch in the Guardian, 29 March.
** At www.arabnews.com, and also cited by Aaronovitch.