I wrote some moths ago, just before the last General Election, about George Galloway, my prospective and then elected MP for Bradford West. I asked, ‘Is he gorgeous, gregarious or ghastly?’ In that piece, I concluded with the following:
So, what do I want from George Galloway, Member of Parliament for Bradford West? I want him to care more about Heaton, Manningham and Frizinghall than he does for Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan; I want him to do more for the Odeon than he does for Syria; I want him to serve Bradford every bit as much as he serves himself; I want him to make a maiden speech on the troubles in our city centre rather than those in the West Bank. I want George Galloway to be my MP.
I started with a question: ‘Is George Galloway gorgeous, gregarious or ghastly?’ and the truth is he’s all those things. The ghastly things I dislike, the media-hungry, self-serving, self-politicising desperation to be seen and heard, are exactly why Bradford could find him gorgeous. We need someone with a big mouth, and there are few mouths that can compare to Gorgeous George’s.
George Galloway has had a couple of great, crowd pleasing moments as he spoke up against injustices in Asia, with the Viva Palestinia Convoy and before a large crowd at City Park against the injustices suffered by Burmese. Even, if Viva Palestinia could be removed from Charity Commision’s register for not submitting accounts, I believe that both these causes are just and, if he believes in them and many of his constiuents believe in them (and they do), he is right to speak up and do what he can.
However, has he been so vocal, so proactive, so loud about Bradford? Have his successes in foreign situations come at the expense of Bradford and Bradfordians? He was in the news and on Question Time, discussing Bradford, the city, the City (football), the Bulls, and, of course, himself. But, since then, he’s not been in the limelight quite so much. Understandable, of course, as his honeymoon period ended and the shock Bradford West victory became yesterday’s news. In my first post, I said the reason I was voting for him was for his mouth and what it can shout about for Bradford. Mr Galloway was in the paper over the success and large turnout for his Burmese demonstration, and I wondered when I’d last seen his name writ large shouting about Bradford, other than to comment on a story, rather than being proactive and leading a Bradford cause, as he has for Burma. When it was tweeted that Mr Galloway would be in Manchester rallying support for Burmese, I tweeted to him, as a constituent and Bradfordian:
@georgegalloway I’d prefer you to be in #Bradford talking about @WestfieldBradfo & the city centre than in Manc talking about Burma, pls.
He answered really quickly – about an hour later, with:
@AtkiTeach really John? I mean, really? In that case I actually feel sorry for you.
George Galloway MP
I was a bit upset about this – at first. I found it rude and condescending. Here was I, a constituent, telling him my priorities, and I was shocked that he’d been so abrupt, obtuse and sarcastic. I felt patronised and that I’d been rebuked for suggesting that my MP could spend more time on local issues rather than those which affect people 1000s of miles away on another continent.
However, the guy cares – he really cares – about the situation in Burma. And you can’t hate someone for railing against such injustice and illtreatment. And many, a great many, of his consituents feel the same, so it’s right for him to speak out.
But I go back to Bradford needing him as much as he needs us, and Bradford using him as much as he uses us – a symbiotic, not parasitic, relationship. So, I wonder if George Galloway is doing all he can to improve Bradford’s lot, or is he pushing a particulr foreign agenda, or is he doing both and doing them well?
This is why I’d like to give Mr Galloway a bit of a report, just as he goes back to Parliament after his summer holidays. I’ve emailed him and requested information on his work in Parliament, about his speeches and the questions he’s officially asked, to see if he’s working for Bradford, for foreign nationals, or for both. I’ll be looking at his appearances in the local & national press and on social media to see what he’s doing, what he’s fighting for and what he cares about, just to make sure he’s doing as much for Bradford West as he is for the West Bank, as much for our city as Gaza City, and as much for Bradford as Burma.
I’ve also added a poll below to see what you think about his performance. Please vote.