This one’s easy: George Galloway has been asking to be slapped for ages (I have a feeling he would enjoy it too). How do you become a figure of fun when you’re an MP? There are lots of ways - most of them involve sex, but George has done it in a different way, although he’s about as funny as a tinpot tyrant from a banana republic. You know the type. I don’t want to compare him to more scary bogeymen like Hitler or Mussolini, but if they sometimes looked preposterous so does he.
The way he’s done it is by taking part in Celebrity Big Brother (I slapped my beloved Germaine Greer for doing the same thing last year; what is it with those people?) and he's regaled viewers with his antics for the past week or so. It would be pathetic and rather funny if it didn’t cost money to the taxpayer: he’s being paid to do a job, but he’s not at his post and has already missed several important votes in Parliament. His long-suffering constituents and fellow MPs have now circulated a petition demanding for him to leave the House (the Big Brother House, that is, not the House of Commons, although….). It’s sad and it’s somehow typical of a certain kind of British politician. Who can take them seriously these days?
I don’t suppose his name will ring a bell with my US readers: George doesn’t export well. Saddam has heard of him, though. They used to be pals. They met at least twice in the past and George made a point of telling us that there was nothing wrong with Saddam; he was a good guy. Now, who am I to criticize someone’s choice of friends and think what you will about the war, but no one can seriously deny that Saddam was a despot, who ordered the deaths of thousands of his fellow countrymen. That’s when George stops being funny and joins the ranks of ‘dangerous’ apologists.
As Joyce Grenfell might have said, “George, don’t do that!”
Update: It's hilarious. The winner of the Slap of the Year award has commented on the performance of the current Tête à claques in Celebrity Big Brother. Ken Livingstone said, “I have occasionally got involved in media events that were not as ennobling as I would have hoped, but I have never done anything as spectacularly stupid as this.”
The words ‘kettle’ and ‘pot’ come to mind. And we live in hope, Ken.