Gallowatch: My local MP is in the news again, this time over the testimony he gave to a US Senate subcommittee back in May. You probably remember George Galloway's barnstormingperformance on Capitol Hill, decrying the American administration's intervention in Iraq with damning and powerful rhetoric. Whilst this was undeniably impressive stuff, George had actually been summoned to discuss his part (or otherwise) in the oil-for-food scandal, a topic which he skirted around with masterly aplomb. I bet you didn't see him weaselling out of answering one particular question for a full seven minutes, for example, before the chairman gave up and moved on in despair. And now the brow-beaten committee want their assailant back to answer further charges, citing what they claim is additional concrete evidence. George has been quick to shout back, insisting that he didn't lie under oath (which is quite possible given how little of substance he actually said) and that he's obviously innocent and that the real crime is the invasion of Iraq etc etc. Never a man to shrink from the spotlight, our George.
So, nearly six months after the General Election, I thought I'd see how George was doing elsewhere... Parliament: During the last six months there have been 64 votes in the House of Commons. George has bothered to vote in just 10 of them. This ranks him 633rd out of 645 MPs, according to theyworkforyou.com, which is as utterly feeble an attempt at constituency representation as I expected when he got elected. There again, six of those votes were against the Identity Card Bill, which I suspect my previous MP would have accepted without question, so at least he's got his priorities right. Constituency: Assuming he's in the country, George is a model constituency MP holding a three hour surgery every Friday evening. It would, however, be interesting to test out whether he allows constituents to discuss their own problems or merely lectures them about life's injustices and his own marvellousness. All credit to him for tackling populist local issues, like trying to stop Morrisons' planned closure of the Safeway supermarket in Roman Road (from next week elderly residents face at least a 1½ mile journey to the nearest Tesco or Sainsbury megastore, which is indeed a disgrace). But his hectoring attempts to get the local council to twin with a Palestinian settlement on the occupied West Bank feel somehow less than relevant here in Bethnal Green and Bow. Media: I watched George being interviewed on the TV last night. I squirmed, not because of what he had to say but because of how he said it. George was right and the rest of the world was wrong, no argument, and how shocking that anybody else might think otherwise (condescending sneer). I was, as ever, appalled by the unbending infallibility of his ego. Alas it seems that thousands of devoted acolytes have no such qualms. World Tour: It appears that George's half-hour Senate Committee performance has set him up for life. From South Shields to Boston, he's been out and about preaching to the converted on his sell-out "An Audience With..." tour. I guess there'll always be a market for charismatic polemic, but this is almost more showbiz than politics. It's like having Jeffrey Archer as one's MP, only with a better tan. World Domination: So far George's Respect Party plans only to wrest control of Tower Hamlets council in the local elections next May, but that's world domination for those of us who live here. For the first time, democracy scares the life out of me.
What's on this weekend? Spring Into Summer Saturday 30 & Sunday 31 May
40 free guided London walks. Purley Festival Friday 29 - Sunday 5 June
Bunting week, below Croydon. E17 Art Trail Sat 30th May - Sun 14th June
250 arty Walthamstow things.