George Galloway is fed up with being attacked because of his wealth:
I [was] born in a slum brought up in a council house, went to work in a factory in my teens when others went to fancy universities, inherited nothing, have never been given anything by anyone. I’ve earned every penny I have with my own wit and effort, such as it’s been.
More bizarre is the idea that I should do what I do, but more cheaply. In other words, the private owners of the media in which I work should be left better off and I should take less for my labours.
You tell ’em George! There’s a difference between being a socialist and being a hermit. So what if George lives the life of a plutocrat? We would all live like George if we could and, come the revolution, perhaps we all will.
Actually, though, what George is attacked for is not his personal fortune. What gets him into trouble is the following:
First, Galloway gallavants around the world, or appears on Celebrity Big Brother, making money for himself, when he should be in the House of Commons.
Secondly, there’s somewhat less than the optimum level of transparency, when it comes to the sources of George’s income.
It turns out that many of my colleagues – how many we may never find out – have been hiding their earnings, in some cases in the millions, from the public and the Parliamentary register. And not breaking the parliamentary rules by doing so.
According to the Parliamentary watchdog last weekend, “the register is silent on the question of dividends”.
This is not the Co-op “divie” he’s talking about, it’s the likes of Tory MP Philip Hammond, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, who it has been revealed took £1.75million last year in dividends from his own companies, and told no one.
I, who declare every penny I earn – even where it is dividends – turn out to be a model of transparency while other MPs, who, unlike me, rake in a fortune in second homes and travel expenses to boot, are hiding their loot in accounting long grass which must, on reflection, have been deliberately allowed to grow.
Shocking, no doubt. The rules should be changed.
Still, is Galloway really the “model of transparency” he claims? Where, for example, is the declaration on the Register of Members Interests relating to Miranda Media? And isn’t he getting paid for his “Real Deal” show on PressTV?
And, while we’re on the subject, what happened to the cash from Benazir Bhutto, poured into the Asian Voice newspaper, which then went under without filing any accounts?