Surely Danny is jesting with us – isn’t he?

So, as you know, the southern election has been called (and not before time) for 11 March. This also means that Gerry, having decamped to the fresh pastures of Louth and East Meath, will have to vacate his position as West Belfast’s abstentionist rep at Westminster, having already stood down from Stormont.

This poses a few tricky questions, as noted by the Beeb’s indefatigable Mark Devenport. One is the technical issue that, whilst Gerry has written to Commons Speaker John Bercow saying he’s resigning his seat, he isn’t going to apply for the Stewardship of the Chiltern Hundreds. Doubtless the Commons can deploy some procedural device to unseat the Dear Leader, but Mr Bercow is going to have to put his thinking cap on to figure out what that may be.

More to the point, though, is exactly who SF will pick as the party’s by-election candidate for one of the safest seats in the Commons. Amongst the Belfast Shinners, Alex Maskey seems to me to be the obvious choice – he has decades of hard constituency work behind him, is extremely popular with the party membership and has become quite an adept politician compared to the wee hard man he was in the 1980s. On the other hand, the “movement” may have someone else in mind. It’s certainly a plum position for whoever gets the candidacy.

But one name that didn’t come to my mind was that of this blog’s old mucker George Galloway. Yes, Danny Morrison is holding forth in next Monday’s Andytown News as to the desirability of running Gallows as a candidate, despite Gallows being otherwise engaged in Glasgow at the moment. There’s also the slight complication of George not being a member of Sinn Féin, which should theoretically disbar him from being the SF candidate.

We must also ask ourselves whether Gallows would be the representative West Belfast really needs. Regular readers will know that I’m far from being a paid-up member of the Gerry Adams Fan Club, but I’ll acknowledge that the guy does have a certain gravitas. Are the broad masses of the Falls Road really prepared for an MP who could, at a moment’s notice, vanish from his constituency only to rematerialise in some exotic setting, perhaps sucking up to a Middle Eastern dictator, perhaps impersonating a household pet on national television, or perhaps doing some even weirder shit that nobody could predict?

I’ll admit, George would be fantastic copy, and part of me sort of hopes that Danny is on one of his occasional kite-flying exercises. Sadly, I suspect Danny is just extracting the urine. And maybe it’s just the case that our staid political culture over here couldn’t cope with the Gracchus of Dundee.


  1. Simon said,

    January 21, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    West Belfast’s loss would be Glasgow’s gain.

  2. Carl Packman said,

    January 21, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    Not such a sensible move for the Gallows, after all being representative of the people he seeks to serve has always been important to him – indeed many inhabitants of Bethnal Green and Bow pay lip service to Messr Khomeini at the ELM, as Gorge George does in the pay of PressTV.

    • andy newman said,

      January 22, 2011 at 6:49 pm

      a nasty mixture of racism and ultra-leftist sectarianism there from Carl Packham

      • Duncan said,

        January 24, 2011 at 2:00 pm

        I believe you once made some comments abou the importance of friendly, fraternal debate. Oh well.

      • GEORGIER said,

        February 3, 2011 at 1:57 pm

        Carl PACKMAN not PACKHAM

  3. John Meehan said,

    January 21, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    Tommy Sheridan for Louth / Meath East?

  4. Richard T said,

    January 22, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    I hope not as we’re all looking forward to the scrap between Gorgeous George and La Pasionara of Pollok for Holyrood.

  5. Ciarán said,

    January 24, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    Given some of the things written in the piece, such as “I would have no problem in voting for George and with him taking his seat, berating the Brits over Pat Finucane, collusion, the bloodshed they have caused, their war crimes … It would be us ‘invading’ them, a major reversal of colonialism, a statement of our internationalism” it seems that the piece may have been an early kite-flying exercise on the benefits of non-abstentionism, and Galloway himself just a red herring. I guess we’ll see as time goes on if they start laying any more groundwork on this issue.

  6. andy newman said,

    January 26, 2011 at 1:04 am

    Back at Duncan above.

    Surely friendly and fraternal debate cannot be sustained when someone is dragging their coat with frankly racist inferences about the attendees of the East Lonon Mosque.

    Baroness Warsi was more truthful than she thought when she referred to Islamophobia passing the dinner party test, when it even goes without comment on the left blogs.

    • Mark said,

      January 26, 2011 at 8:19 am

      Quite right, Andy. It’s no more than the old ‘foreigner as fifth columnist’ line. I’m not sure why worshippers at the (Sunni) East London Mosque would be particularly devoted to Khomeini, anyway.

    • BenSix said,

      January 26, 2011 at 1:20 pm

      Nick Cohen tells me dinner parties are hotbeds of anti-semitism. Warsi claims they’re awash with Islamophobia. Don’t any fuckers eat at these things?

  7. Phil said,

    January 26, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    I would have no problem in voting for George and with him taking his seat

    Yes, that is interesting.

  8. January 28, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    At dinner parties chez Andy Newman and chez Splinty they talk of nothing but how awful secularists are, and how have such bad table manners.

    I prefer Abigail’s Party myself.

    • Lobby Ludd said,

      January 31, 2011 at 8:33 pm

      The last dinner party I went to (well, I think it was a dinner party given that there was food and not that many people) we eat food at a table, drunk booze and talked nonsense. I don’t remember any anti-Semitism, Islamophobia or anti-secularism. I’m fairly sure there was a consensus that the coalition is shit though – perhaps it wasn’t a dinner party after all.

      I obviously don’t mix in the right circles, where you discover that people in your wide social group are in fact reactionary bastards. Perhaps that’s why I don’t get to go to many ‘dinner parties’ – I can’t be relied upon to slag off Gypsies, or something.

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