Andrew Anthony has an excellent review of the Hitchens v Galloway debate in today’s Observer:
To get a clearer picture of this fracture, I wanted to speak to Hitchens and Galloway before their clash. I wanted to visit their respective training camps and discuss at length their opposing outlooks away from the heated atmosphere of the ring – excuse me, stage. First I planned to travel to Portugal to see Galloway in his infamous holiday home. Then I would go to Washington, where Hitchens now makes a comfortable living as one of the most prolific and gifted political writers in the business.
Everything seemed set until I made a cardinal error. Just a week before the interview with Galloway, I wrote a column that questioned his views on the relationship between free speech and religion. At the Edinburgh festival, he had warned in a discussion on a television adaptation of The Satanic Verses that anyone who offended religious beliefs should be aware that they would suffer ‘blowback’. ‘You should do it very carefully,’ he cautioned. As the comment was addressed to a panel that included Salman Rushdie, who knew all about ‘blowback’, it might have been construed as indelicate or even threatening. I wondered in print how Galloway could appear to be so sensitive to the issue of faith while at the same time lamenting the collapse of the Soviet Union (what he called the ‘biggest catastrophe of my life’), an atheist state in which many people had been imprisoned for 25 years in slave labour camps for the crime of praying.
Meanwhile, the truely indefatigable Greg Palast is still snapping at the tail of the Gorgeous One:
During his debate with Salman Rushdie at the recent Edinburgh TV Festival, someone asked George Galloway if television should broadcast an adaptation of Rushdie’s novel, “Satanic Verses.” According to Rushdie, Galloway replied, “If you don’t respect religion, you have to suffer the consequences.”
Holy Jesus! This was, unmistakably, an endorsement of the death-sentence fatwa issued against Rushdie by Ayatollah Khomeini.
Add this endorsement of killing for God to Galloway’s notorious opposition in Parliament to a woman’s right to choose abortion, and you get yourself a British Pat Robertson. What next? Will he be “saluting the courage, strength and indefatigability” of abortion clinic bombers, as he saluted Saddam?