Saturday, July 19, 2008

Galloway does not need Hands

I've never made a secret of the fact that I rather admire George Galloway, despite the fact that on certain issues we radically disagree - that's fine. I like differences, even irritating ones.

So it was with great pleasure that I saw Galloway getting back to his old form and giving the shortest of shrifts to one of Her Majesty's Opposition. The Telegraph's Jonathan Isaby tells that;

"News of an unseemly spat between Respect MP, George Galloway, and Greg Hands, the Tory MP for Hammersmith and Fulham. Galloway stands accused of failing to follow parliamentary protocol for not informing Hands that he was speaking at the recent Islam Expo at Olympia in his constituency.

"Hands wrote to the Bethnal Green and Bow MP seeking an explanation for the apparent "breach of the conventions and courtesies of the House". Galloway's reply was cavalier to say the least.

"Dear Mr. Hands (whoever you are)," it began. "I speak in one part or another of Britain almost every day of the week. I have neither the time nor the inclination to check whose constituency I'm speaking in."

"I do hope you are not claiming any parliamentary allowances for writing such a preposterous letter," he concluded.

Who is this bloke? Does he think every time an MP speaks at a rally in Traffalgar Square they write to Tory MP Mark Field? I should cocoa. Galloway was speaking at a national event - keep your beak out Mr Hands!

All this wig wearing, gentlemen's club, proceduralist rubbish should be scrapped asap. Hands is acting like he owns his constituency and Galloway is just the guy to pull him up short. God knows what Hands was thinking of trying to have a pop in the first place.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad some within the Party admire Galloway. Whilst he is very clearly wrong on some issues (such as abortion rights and the Mehdi Kazemi deportation), he is as fierce and consistent a critic of our government's monstrous foreign policy as you will find in the Commons. Whilst he would never fit into the Greens (he really is too much of a character to subscribe to any one party), we could learn a thing or two from his brilliantly entertaining and punchy rhetorical style. I'm sure we've all cheered at the way he demolished that idiot presenter on Sky News when Israel was bombing Lebanon (see YouTube).

Aaron said...

I suggest you also listen to some 'Galloway Crackers' on Youtube of clips from his Talksport show - they are quite entertaining and some give very good criticism of the policies of Blair/Brown/Bush.

Anonymous said...

If he wasn't corrupt he could've been a contender

Adrian Windisch said...

Its a tradition that an MP should inform other MPs when they campaign in their patch, it doesnt imply ownership. Galloway would probably love to cry 'fowl' if another MP were to speak in his constituency. Trafalgar Sq I think would have to be an exception to this.

As to his being more famous than Hands, that doesnt necessarily make him a better MP, but a desperate media 'tart'. If Galloway spend more time in Parliament or working for his constituents he would be more respected.

'Voted moderately against Labour's anti-terrorism laws.
Voted moderately for an investigation into the Iraq war.'

'# Has spoken in 3 debates in the last year — well below average amongst MPs.
# Replied within 2 or 3 weeks to a low number of messages sent via during 2007, according to constituents.
# Has voted in 10% of votes in parliament — well below average amongst MPs.'

Jim Jay said...

Things is - it's one thing saying a constituent who needs help (like an asylum seeker say) should go to their own MP first, that's fine, or even campaigning to keep a school open or what-ever. Although if the local MP refuses to help then the Mp should have a right to go over their head.

But the idea that an MP speaking at a national event should be constrained by whoever happens to be the MP in the area of the venue - that's just arcane surely?

A couple of other examples I can think of:

Party conferences - do the local MPs get notified of every MP to speak?

Anti-war conferences/Hands of Iran/ Hands off Venezuela etc.: MPs like John McDonnell speak at these things all the time - I don't see what the relevance of having to contact the MP for the area under these circumstances.

This was a national conference, not a local event.

On the other stuff thankfully I don't have to defend his (poor) record at turning up to Parliament or his own constituency.

Jim Jay said...

As an update the Tory in question has come back on Galloway (according to the Telegraph

"Hands has now hit back, saying he is not surprised Galloway doesn't recognise him.

"In the last year you have participated in only two debates in the Commons Chamber... and attended only 10 votes [now 12] in the House so far in 2008,"

Quite a good comeback - wit wise - but still don't agree on the point of having to let him know...

Aaron said...

Sod tradition?

Adrian Windisch said...

Its not about constraint, but informing them. I doubt any MP could or would ban another, but if one is speaking, the other has the right to know. The rules are old fashioned, but they exist. Galloway isnt much interested in any sort of rules, and his approach has one him media attention.

Fair point about party conf though, but they should be informed about that anyway.

In Reading one MP is always turning up in the others constituency, indeed he is rarely seen in his own. It makes him look foolish to locals, presumably he is doing it for a wider stage.

See salt nav for example.