George Galloway (born 1954) is a British left-wing politician, formerly a Labour MP for Glasgow Hillhead, and subsequently an MP for the Respect Party in Bethnal Green and Bow (2005-2010) and Bradford West (since 2012). Galloway is widely known for his strong anti-war views. He is also a published author and radio commentator on talkSPORT and participated in Celebrity Big Brother in 2006.
His Dundee family is socialist. At age 13 he joined the British Labour Party, and within five years he became Secretary of the Scottish constituency of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. He was later appointed Vice Chairman of the Labour Party of his home city of Dundee.
In the mid-1970s, he visited a Palestinian refugee camp, and when he returned home he began flying the Palestinian flag over the Dundee town hall.
From 1983 to 1987, Galloway served as the General Secretary of War On Want, a Human rights NGO that works closely with the Union of Palestine Medical Relief Committees. At the time, the British newspaper Daily Mirror accused him of “living the high life at the charity's expense". Although an independent auditor cleared him of any misdoing, in 1988 Galloway admitted to having had a number of sexual liaisons while attending to overseas business for the NGO.
He told Saddam Hussein "I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability." More specifically, he praised Saddam for giving financial rewards to the families of deceased Palestinian suicide bombers who had carried out missions in Israel.
Drawing a parallel to the day the Soviet Union fell as the worst day of his life, he said: "Just as Stalin industrialized the Soviet Union, so on a different scale Saddam plotted Iraq's Great Leap Forward." When Britain joined the United States in the military mission to overthrow Saddam, Galloway called for a jihad against British and American troops; he exhorted the troops themselves to disobey the "illegal" orders they had been given to fight an "illegal" war.
He is a vice-president and leading supporter of the Stop the War Coalition.
In 2005, he testified to the United States Senate's Senate Permanent Committee on Investigations, where he voiced strong opposition to American foreign policy. Subsequently, the committee's Republican chairman said that Galloway had given "false and misleading testimony", and, through intermediaries, Mr Galloway and the Mariam Appeal were granted eight allocations of Iraqi crude oil totalling 23 million barrels from 1999 to 2003. Senator Norm Coleman raised questions about Mr Galloway’s financial disclosure and the payment of illegal kickbacks to Iraq: "We have what we would call the smoking gun".In March 2009, he was barred from Canada on "national security" grounds, specifically his attitudes about the Afghanistan War (2001-) where Canadian troops were in combat. Jason Kenney, Canada's immigration minister, declined to waive Immigration Act provisions. Alykhan Velshi, Kenney's spokesman, said
We're going to uphold the law, not give special treatment to this infamous street-corner Cromwell who actually brags about giving 'financial support' to Hamas, a terrorist organisation banned in Canada. I'm sure Galloway has a large Rolodex of friends in regimes elsewhere in the world willing to roll out the red carpet for him. Canada, however, won't be one of them."His proposed visit prompted the Jewish Defence League of Canada to write an open letter to the country's government urging it to do "everything possible to keep this hater away".
In 2006, Galloway was refused entry to Egypt on the grounds of national security after he travelled to the country to give evidence at a "mock trial" of Tony Blair and George Bush.
- George Galloway, DiscoverTheNetworks
- James Bone and David Charter (October 25, 2005), "US Senate 'finds Iraq oil cash in Galloway's wife's bank account'", Times (UK)
- Deborah Summers (20 March 2009), "George Galloway banned from Canada", The Guardian