George Galloway feels sorry for me – but has he done enough to make me happy?

I upset George Galloway the other day. So much so, in fact, he “feels sorry” for me. But how did I get Gorgeous George’s sympathy, and is it well-placed?

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.


About jatkinson1977

I'm in my 30s and married to Sharon, the beautiful woman who keeps me in check. We live in Shipley, just outside Bradford, with our black lab, Nipper. I'm an English teacher in secondary school and, after working as a Teaching & Learning Consultant with the local authority, have returned to the classroom to become a Lead Professional in English at a large comp in Bradford. I'm also trying to become a little more cultured, especially by seeing what culture's right here on my doorstep in Bradford and West Yorkshire (please see my blog, 'Am I Kulchad Yet?'). I've got a third and final blog which is filled with things that, essentially, don't fit into the other two but are interesting enough to share (please see my blog, 'Things That Occur To Me').
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10 Responses to George Galloway feels sorry for me – but has he done enough to make me happy?

  1. Keef says:

    You say you live in Shipley. I believe the M.P. for Shipley is Philip Davies. Have you tested Mr Davies to the same standard as you test Mr Galloway? Have you tested all local M.P.s to this standard? Or is Mr Galloway the one you chose to test as see he is actually doing something rather than nothing?


    • Thanks for the comment.

      Yes, I live in Shipley and Mr Davies was our MP until boundary changes when we moved to Marsha Singh’s Bradford West.

      I thought Davies spoke a lot on local issues and we were reduced to writing to him for help with a local issue when Singh ignored us. Also, Davies and Marsha Singh weren’t in the same league politically, nationally or media-wise as Mr G.

      As for doing things, I believe Galloway can be great for Bradford – and other places – but I voted for him to speak about Bradford, improve Bradford and put Bradford in the spotlight. So, I’m trying to make sure he’s working for me and for the needs of Bradford rather than using his Bradford West seat as a platform-come-soapbox for solely foreign affairs. I think my other post – Is he gorgeous, ghastly or gregarious – might explain my position better.

      Hope this clears it up.


  2. Keef says:

    Sorry, doesn’t clear it up at all for me. How many people does Mr Galloway represents? How many issues do you think those people might feel are of importance? You say you want him to put Bradford in the spotlight, how many of the City’s MPs do you see the national media talk to? He has clearly drawn attention to the City. The thousands that voted for him might have interests that you don’t?
    I did see the BBC flew Mr Davies to the USA to talk to him about the death penalty they have in Florida. Did you think that helped local issues here in Bradford? Or was it ok for the BBC & Davies to talk about those foreign affairs?


  3. Sorry I wasn’t clear before.

    Mr Galloway has about 65k constituents so, obviously, there is a myriad of opinions and needs within the area. Due to the ethnic makeup of Bradford West (about 35% being of South-East Asian descent and probably Muslim) the interest in foreign policy may be of much more importance than rural, mainly white constituencies, as it will affect people with whom Western Bradfordians closely associate themselves through religion, culture and ancestry. Therefore, it is completely right for Mr Galloway to focus a proportion of his time on foreign policy as it relates to Asian and Muslim lands. He should do it because it affects or is important to a good number of his constituents.

    Having said that, it can be assumed that this is why Mr Galloway chose Bradford West. His politics would have chimed with a great number of Bradford Wests constituents; not only as he was a fervent anti-war campaigner (a position which transcends ethnicity), anti-Islamaphobia (another transcending position but one which will have a greater number of committed supporters in areas with a higher proportion of Muslims), and Socialism (and Bradford has a rich history of socialist ideology). This means that he probably chose Bradford West as somewhere where his politics, on a national, international and ideological level, would be well received.

    What is missing here, though, is Mr Galloway’s politics on local scale. Irrespective of the ethnicity, social class, or political belief or not of his constituents, the one binding and universal factor is a desire to see a halt to the decline and resurgence of Bradford. Mr Galloway was the only candidate (I think) not from Bradford & District, and was chosen over two candidates from Bradford West itself. He had the weakest ties to the area and the greatest lack of intimate knowledge of its people (despite his previously owning a home here). What I was concerned about was how committed he would be to improving Bradford rather than focussing on his national and, especially, international causes.

    With regards to Mr Davies and his BBC trek, I wasn’t aware of that. I am not against MPs having nothing to do with the other countries – foreign policy and interacting with other nations is a vital part of a Parliamentarians role. However, I believe that an MP must be working for their constituents first and foremost, which Mr Davies always did to the best of his ability, in my opinion, even if I disagreed with a good number of his party’s and his personal position.

    All this being said, I think, Keef, you are saying I may be being unfair to Mr Galloway and holding him up to a higher standard. I think, Keef, you’re right. If you read my other piece on Mr G, you’ll see that I think he is of a higher standard that the other MPs in Bradford, insofar as he has the ability to put Bradford on the map. He can court national media and get the glare of national politics on Bradford. He could be the best thing that’s to happen to Bradford in a long time because he can shame the national government into doing something about this city which, as was shown in previous weeks, has suffered a huge fall from grace over the last century and is in a terrible state compared to its near neighbours. Mr Davies could never do this, not could any of the others, even when we had a Labour Minister.

    I hold Mr Galloway to a higher standard because he is in a unique position amongst Bradford’s MPs as he can do something dramatic, important and hugely beneficial for the people of Bradford. My reasoning for asking him or challenging about his work directly for the people of Bradford is that I believe he should be doing all he can to make Bradford better; that’s why I voted for him and that’s the only reason I’m doing this.

    I very much hope that reply’s more helpful. Thank you again for commenting – it’s really helped me crystallise and explain my thinking. And I’m very sorry for the typing here – can’t get used to this iPad keyboard.


  4. Jay says:

    I voted for George galloway for all of the reasons you mention, yes he has a big voice and has already brought with him a lot of attention for Bradford West. I have enquired about his written parliamentary questions and they are above avarage for any MP. I would also like to point out that the previous MP held the seat for about 15 years and effectively did nothing, were you creating blogs and polls about him…no of course you didn’t. Respect need to be given at least 2 terms to see if they are working out…as some of Georges plans for Bradford west may take a while to reach fruition. The real business of an constituency MP is about creating a good working constiuency team to help with the day to day running of Bradford west. Even Georges most ardent critcs recognise he is a great constituency MP. Long term its probably advisable to get behind him with support as opposed to bitter blogs looking for excuses and poor performance, George deserves support as labour and the condem coalition will give the lpeople of BW nothing.


    • Thanks for commenting.

      Marsha Singh had a good reputation amongst many, but not me (in my personal experience of trying to work with him on one issue, he was beyond poor and his conduct was a factor in my not voting Labour and voting a Respect). No, I didn’t write blogs, bitter or otherwise, about him. The reason I’m picking on Mr Galloway – and, it has to be said, I probably am – is because he has so much more potential for this city than Mr Singh or any of the other Bradford MPs. I don’t know how long Mr Galloway will be in Bradford – 1, 2, 3 terms or more? What I do know is that unless he is replaced by a Labour heavyweight, we are unlikely to have a candidate or MP with as much potential as him for doing great good for this city and it’s people. So, I want to make sure he’s working for the one thing all his constituents want and need: a better Bradford.

      I didn’t intend to come across as bitter – but I’m sure that I have suggested or implied that I am less than happy with his local activity, though I really don’t know; hence the request for details of speeches and questions. I am trying to find out what he’s done and will blog about that – and if I find he’s been busting a gut for Bradford, that’s what I’ll write; if he hasn’t, I’ll write that. If Mr Galloway is coming across as a victim of my bullying, it’s because he’s a victim of his own potential to succeed – I expect him to do a lot for Bradford and his election has the potential to be one of Bradford’s greatest assets and drivers of improvement and change. He can be excellent for Bradford – I want to try and make sure he is.

      What were your thoughts on the information requested? Is Mr Galloway doing a lot for this city and it’s inhabitants? (This isn’t a rhetorical question, nor is it a challenge)

      Thanks again for commenting.


  5. Bluebill says:

    “At the other end of the table George Galloway, the only MP for the far-left Respect party, is rated the worst-value MP. He turned up for only one in twenty votes, far fewer than any other MP, yet claimed £136,000 in expenses. ” The above is a factual report on gorgeous Georges Westminster attendance – as you can see your Bradford West MP doesnt do a lot for his brass but claims plenty in return. He claims he would rather spend his time “evangelising” in his constituency but seems to spend more time evangelising George himself and the Syrians, Burmese and Palestinians (none of which I believe live in great numbers in Bradford West. The good people of Bradford deserve better and certainly better than Georgie boy. Come the time he feels he can no longer further his own causes and his own agenda – George will be on the lookout for his next “crusade” leaving the good people of Bradford West no further forward and certainly no better of than when he first arrived in town (3 and a half hours late for his first meeting due to “traffic” holdups – driving from London for his first gathering) – everyone smells a rat after George storms into town. The only item on Georges agenda is George.


    • Thanks for commenting.

      I’ve written a further post on Mr Galloway and the media. I’ve found he does get into the media but doesn’t take Bradford with him, unfortunately. I’m going to try to highlight this and, I hope, it will be the tiniest of nudges to get him talking about Bradford nationally.


      • Bluebill says:

        Good for you and best of luck – being an ex – Bradfordian ( Bradford Moor then Tong village) it is of interest to me as I have family still in Bradford / Shipley. I somehow think Bradford West is only a stepping stone on his way to bigger things and Bradford deserves soooo much more.
        Kind regards


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