#IsGeorgeGallowayStillAThing – A Look into the Strange World of the Respect Leader

It started small. Then, over time it gained momentum, until first the majority of Bradford – then the majority of the human race – were sucked in. What is it? If you say a single word of dissidence – anything against the party line – it happens. Some compared it to gulag, others to Room 101. But it’s far, far worse.

You guessed it. We just got blocked by George Galloway.

So first, some background for those of you who aren’t clued up on the subject – George Galloway, (or the “Twat in the Hat” as he was once dubbed) who was MP for Bradford West before parliament was dissolved, and head of Respect, a socialist party known for its pacifist activism, is a little bit over zealous with blocking people on Twitter. Over time, this has spawned a hashtag – #BlockedByGalloway – and now there’s a whole group of people on Twitter rallying under that banner, glorying in the ridiculous nature of it all. Essentially, Galloway blocks anyone who dares say a word that contradicts his divine wisdom. For instance, here’s what got us blocked:

Galloway JPEG

I think it says a lot that Galloway feels he has to block anyone who dares to say anything against him – especially a (polite) criticism by some random teenager. If he feels threatened by this, one must wonder how he would deal with criticism from other politicians – looking down Respect’s website, it turns out he wanted to be in the seven way debate on ITV – just imagine it!

Other candidate: Well George, I strongly disagree because –

Galloway: What did you say?

Other candidate: I said I strongly disagree with what you’re –

[Galloway screams with rage and curls up into the foetal position, blocking out all noise for the rest of the debate].

Most notoriously, Galloway blocked the Bradford Brewery (see the conversation here) and has been on a blocking spree across his constituency (and indeed the country), not distinguishing between actual trolling, joking around and fairly neutral criticism. Here’s a classic example of something that got someone blocked:

galloway 2 jpeg real

This isn’t new though. Galloway has a habit of deliberately blocking his ears to anything his opponents might say in real life as well. Back in 2013, he was invited to debate the motion “Israel should withdraw immediately from the West Bank” at Christ Church College, Oxford. However, once the debate had started, Galloway’s opponent, a student from Brasenose, gave away he was an Israeli. Galloway then left the debate stating “I don’t recognise Israel and I don’t debate with Israelis.”

Opposition to the state of Israel’s actions, sovereignty or the concept of Zionism are all perfectly legitimate positions which I’m neither supporting or condemning here, but his hatred stretches beyond that to active repulsion at any Israeli citizen (though one must wonder what he would make of an ethnic Palestinian with Israeli citizenship) – “We don’t even want Israeli tourists to come to Bradford”, the man himself once stated. Either Galloway honestly thinks that Israeli tourists being banned from Bradford is some sort of heroic, symbolic act that will liberate the Palestinian people, or he imagines that all Israelis are vile, demonic, baby eating, genocidal Likud voters. Either way, he’s a delusional man, wrapped up in his own little world.

This is the type of obnoxious behaviour that typifies Galloway, both on Twitter, and as it seems in the flesh.

Ironically, perhaps the best comparison on social media is with far right groups and parties, who are obsessed with censoring their pages, purging any left wing views, criticism and jokes at their expense with as much enthusiasm as Galloway. Britain First is infamous for doing this, and so is UKIP (though they go a step further, and attempt to censor things beyond their own social media outlets – have a look at this). There’s some irony then that the closest comparison to Galloway – when it comes to the issue of censorship – is the right wing, racist hate group Britain First. To me, this shows him for what he really is – not a credible politician leading a credible party, but a self important maniac obsessed with maintaining a closed ideology echo chamber.

With his increasingly unpleasant and smear based election campaign reaching its final straight, I might write another article on Respect, but to answer the question posed in the title, yes, George Galloway is still ‘a thing’ – but voters in Bradford West can change that.

– Seb

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