Questions for the Fellow Travellers

Johann Hari has produced 15 questions to “a supporter of George Galloway”.

I am going to take two liberties here. First I shall break the unwritten rule between bloggers of not posting the whole of a post. Simply so that we may have a full and frank discussion here.

Secondly, I shall be even more cheeky and broaden out the target audience of the questions – not only to supporters of George Galloway, because the ranks of the Muslim Brotherhood UK and the ex-leftist group formerly known as the Socialist Workers Party are not exactly noted for reflection and self-criticism.

Instead, I shall redirect the question towards that much wider mass of contradictory and confused opinion that thinks Galloway is to be at least tolerated as a ‘colourful maverick’ or that he deserves credit for “sticking up to the Yanks” or that as the leader of the British ‘anti-war ‘ movement he deserves to be defended on the grounds of comradely solidarity.

Here are Johann’s questions. You can leave your answers or other observations in the comments boxes if you so please.

(1) Do you believe Saddam Hussein’s genocidal assaults on the Kurds, democrats and Marsh Arabs in 1991 were “a civil war with massive violence on both sides”?

(2) Would you go on holiday with the foreign minister of a fascist state?

(3) Would you go disco dancing with the foreign minister of a fascist state?

(4) Would you call for the release of the former foreign minister of a fascist state on the grounds that he is “an eminent diplomatic and intellectual person”?

(5) Do you believe Iraqi trade unionists today are “quislings”? Would you dismiss their tearful recollections of torture at the hands of Ba’athists by calling it “a party trick”?

(6) When told about Saddam Hussein’s seven palaces in a country where people are “dropping like flies”, would you respond by saying, “Our own head of state has a fair bit of real estate herself”?

(7) Do you believe Saddam Hussein is “likely to have been the leader in history who came closest to creating a truly Iraqi national identity, and he developed Iraq and the living, health, social and education standards of his own people”?

(8) Do you believe Fidel Castro is “not a dictator, not at all”?

(9) Do you believe the Charity Commission leads “politically inspired witch-hunts”? Do you think it is reasonable that the Mariam Appeal documents have never been handed over for investigation, and are somewhere in an undisclosed location in Jordan where they cannot be viewed?

(10) Do you believe Tony Blair is “waging war on Muslims both at home and abroad”, that he is ” a crusader”, and “he will burn in the hellfires for all eternity”? If so, would you say so in areas of extreme racial tension to audiences of young and angry Muslim men?

(11) Do you believe the Shi’ites Saddam murdered in the 1980s were often “a fifth column” who “actively undermined the Iraqi war effort in the interests of their country’s enemy”?

(12) Do you think it is “unreasonable” to ask a member of parliament to live on less than £150,000 a year?

(13) Would you describe yourself as “a Stalinist” if it didn’t “make a rod for my own back”?

(14) Was the day the Soviet Union fell “the worst day of your life”?

(15) When you found out there had been a coup in Pakistan, was your response to declare, “In poor third world countries like Pakistan, politics is too important to be left to petty squabbling politicians. Pakistan is always on the brink of breaking apart into its widely disparate components. Only the armed forces can really be counted on to hold such a country together … Democracy is a means, not an end in itself”?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, why don’t you oppose George Galloway?