If anyone is the man to deliver the blows to finish off the defenders of dictators on the left then it is Johann Hari of the Independent. As so often he hits the target more accurately than a gobful of Wayne Rooney’s flem. “I’d rather it was money than belief that made George Galloway support Saddam,” he says.

There are two possible motives for this behaviour: admiration for Saddam, or gratitude for his cash. Both options stink: either he was paid by Saddam, or Saddam didn’t need to offer him cash. I for one will think better of Galloway if he is a crook. If he was just doing this for the old, foul motive of an extra £375,000 a year, he is a bit less immoral than if he backs Saddam’s atrocities sincerely. As the French left said when Chirac faced Le Pen in the presidential elections last year: “Better a crook than a fascist.”

And what about those on the left who have followed Galloway as the de facto leader of the anti-war movement?

It is a sign of how deranged the far left has become that one of their most prominent spokesmen can be seriously accused of being a paid agent of an appalling totalitarian regime, and it doesn’t surprise anyone. Whether or not Galloway is actually Saddam’s client (he says he’ll sue the Telegraph), it should shake all decent people who followed Galloway’s call to realise that he has only spoken in ways that would comfort Saddam and his gang of torturers. For this, he was applauded time and again at anti-war rallies by the very people who should be most repulsed by tyranny.

If you are one of the mostly decent people who cheered Galloway at the anti-war rally, now is the time to pause and ask yourself: “What did I do?” I am drawn to the left; it is my political home; but something has gone horribly wrong for us when Saddam-saluting Galloway can be seen as one of our leaders. The day when the left might not even have to be paid by a tyrant – when it might be offering him comfort for free – is a day from hell. We are living in that long, suplhur-scented day.

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