The latest edition of BBC Question Time from Finchley in north London was a low point for the flagship show. The treatment meted out to Respect MP George Galloway was a disgrace, made more so by the fact his car was attacked as he was leaving the venue, despite a police presence outside.
The ugly events witnessed by millions began in the weeks leading up, as soon as his appearance on the panel in Finchley was announced. An orchestrated campaign of intimidation and provocation was waged through the media, designed to intimidate both him and the BBC. But as George said, the idea that someone who has been an MP on a near uninterrupted basis since 1987 should be prevented from speaking or appearing in any constituency in the country is an attack on democracy. The Conservative MP for Finchley and Golders Green, Mike Freer, played a key part in instigating this media campaign, which given that the Respect MP was physically assaulted in the street just a few months ago by a fanatic wearing an IDF t-shirt, is surely grounds for Mr Freer to be held to account.
During the show, the question directed at Galloway re the rise of antisemitism in the UK should have been censored. It straddled the line of defamation, not to mention taste, and brought the BBC into disrepute. It was an organised attack, involving an audience in which an array of hate mongers were given free rein. Even the gentleman who reminded the audience of Galloway’s past record in correcting antisemitism when it arised on his Press TV show Comment, went on to assert that antisemitism was directly related to the number of Muslims living in Europe.
Jonathan Freedland of the Guardian’s statement, “the resumption of violence in Gaza”, during his attack on George was a studied and cowardly attempt to minimise one of the most barbaric military operations against a civilian population the world has witnessed. That he could not bring himself to acknowledge this, when we consider the 500 Palestinian children who were slaughtered during this massacre, was suggestive of a man who has had his humanity surgically removed.
The free speech ‘merchants’, those who were so up in arms over matters related to the massacre at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, who use free speech as a sword rather than a shield, would like nothing more than to silence one of the only voices in the country’s national life who dares challenge the demonisation of Muslims and the Muslim community, establishment support for the apartheid state of Israel, and a political status of quo of military intervention overseas and social and economic injustice at home.
That George is a polarising figure is beyond doubt. But the reason they hate him because he knows them, knows what they are and consistently and tirelessly exposes their hypocrisy and double standards. Consequently, it would be a huge reverse if he fails to get re-elected as the MP for Bradford West in May. Fortunately, though, given the disgraceful lynch-mob-audience on Question Time, and the orchestrated campaign of incitement we have seen rolled out against him, his re-election is now more likely than ever.
Someone tweeted last night after the show ‘Je Suis George Galloway’. It is hard to argue with that sentiment after the attempted political and public lynching of the Respect MP on Question Time.