I awoke yesterday to year that George Galloway MP had been beaten up. I am not a fan of Mr Galloway and my first thoughts were "Ha Ha Ha, he deserved it". Then I thought about what actually happened a little bit more deeply and I realised that my gut reaction was completely wrong. We live in a democracy. That means we sort out political issues via the ballot box. The report I heard indicated that Mr Galloways assailant shouted something about the holocaust before the attack. The implication was that the assailant was enraged by Mr Galloways opposition to Israel and perceived anti semitism. Many of my Jewish friends were rather chuffed in their responses on Facebook and Twitter. I think they should step back and think about it. Sure Mr Galloway is offensive. He actually strikes me as a bully. On several occasions on TV I've seen him actuallyask "invite" opponents out side to settle things "man to man". He revels in his image as a tough, Glaswegan ex boxer. Usually the people he's picked on are slightly built academic types, who are not exactly likely to take up the offer. As such it is extremely hard not snigger at him getting duffed up. However we must. No matter how good it may feel to see an obnoxious bully get put in his place, it demeans us all to sink to his level and use the violence to settle arguments. Every tweeter and facebooker who has revelled in Galloways misfortune is in effect condoning violence.
If it's OK for Galloway to get a smack because he disagrees with the policy of the Israeli govt, then no one can complain if someone gets a smack for the opposite point of view. The logical conclusion for such behaviour is ISIS and Hamas. The biggest bully wins. In the UK we have always rejected violence as a legitimate way to settle such disputes. There is an interesting piece in the Sunday Times today that says armed police in the Met have only shot dead one person in the last three years. for such a large city that is extraordinary. We don't condone violence and we dont believe in thuggery.
That is why, however tempting it may seem at the time, we should condemn anyone whoe beats someone up for their political views, even if that person is George Galloway