Comment, Comics and the Contrary.
In his efforts to smash George Galloway, Johan Hari has overbalanced and it is only a matter of time before he falls from the ledge of deligitimation. He writes; “he was rejected at the ballot box by 64 percent of the people who live here [Bethnal Green and Bow] in May – but nonetheless became our MP because of our ridiculous electoral system
.” Fine. Would is be churlish to point out that Saint Oona was rejected by 66 percent of the people of Bethnal Green and Bow, despite sophisticatedly dishonest campaigning
Johan Hari puts himself on pretty shaky ground from which to defend the actions of the current government as being democratic, never mind the mandate of any particular MP. Even MPs with a majority in their constituencies are the beneficiaries of our ‘ridiculous electoral system’, as evidence by Labour campaign message; vote for us or you will get a Tory. This keeps left-wing voters within the Labour fold, despite differences on the Iraq War, on civil liberties, on the idolisation of the market and the adoration of capital. When even such left-wingers as Billy Bragg turn up to campaign for Oona King on a ‘keep the Tories out’ justification, the fact that Galloway, a representative of a party outside the two (three?) main parties won the seat at all tells the story of a tremendous political triumph. If he wants to delegitimate Galloway’s mandate, then, in doing so, he delegitimates all MPs and this current government. This is dangerous ground to tread, and the fact that Hari makes no comment on the territory that he has entered speaks volumes of his honesty. This charge is being levelled against Galloway because he is Galloway (or, more importantly, because he is anti-war); it is not a real indictment of the democratic legitimacy of all our elected representatives.
Incidentally, Hari’s column is absolute pap. Comparison with my own writing is not a valid rebuttal, as I am not being paid thousands to produce drivel. It pours forth freely.
*By the way trolls, not even Saint Oona runs with the claim that Galloway won by appealing to racism. And you certainly do not want to even put a tiptoe onto this ledge of deligitimation given that Labour, the Tories and the Lib Dems all made opportunistic use of anti-immigrant sentiment.
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