Whatever one thinks of George Galloway he is one of the most independent-minded members of the Westminster parliament, something of a rarity these days. It is for his campaign against the imperialist invasion and occupation of Iraq that he is most famous internationally, and today it was this that was behind his expulsion from the House of Commons for 18 days.
On the basis of his links to the former Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein – his political campaign against sanctions indirectly received funds from the Iraqi government – he has been “evicted” from the British parliament.
No cat impressions today, he was deadly serious, defending his reputation from the jury of enemies that had punished him for robustly defending himself. And for this second defence of his reputation, and criticism of his critics, he was turfed out of today’s debate by the Speaker Michael Martin.
The Standards and Privileges Committee – no standards, plenty of privileges – that tried him had no problems with the Mariam Appeal (which was made a charity by Lord Goldsmith after it had been wound up so that its books could be investigated) accepting donations from other Middle East rulers who have not rebelled against their Western masters.
There has never been any proof that Galloway personally benefited from the Appeal, and these allegations keep returning because they are the best way to smear Galloway, and by extension, the anti-war movement.
All of this is in contrast to the failed and half-hearted police investigation into the cash for honours affair – despite the obvious guilt of the New Labour elite – and the farewell that the House of Commons gave to Tony Blair – a war criminal – on his departure. Blair got a standing ovation from all of the political parties; Galloway got an 18 day suspension…
You can view Galloway’s speech here, if you haven’t already. It is a remarkable debunking of the allegations of the Committee, which had accused, without proof, the Respect MP and his former wife of conspiracy to defraud.