There are a number of things that make me uncomfortable about George Galloway. His relationship with dictators in the Middle East. His soft spot for the Soviet Union and Stalinism. His attitude to personal wealth. His huge ego. And his commitment to socialism always seems just a little less strident than his commitment to himself.
I’ve also always wondered about his attitude to women. After all, he has had his fair share and of late they all do seem to be a lot younger than him. You’ll have to excuse my prudishness, but there is something that makes me just a little bit uncomfortable about a middle-aged man chasing after a succession of women half his age. Men who do that invariably have fairly dodgy views on sexual politics. There’s a degree to which he appears to be taking advantage of his status (such as it is) to get involved with a string of women who would to my eyes at least seem to be, quite simply, far too young for him.
And so I can’t say I’m surprised that to read his comments about the Julian Assange case:
“I mean not everybody needs to be asked prior to each insertion. Some people believe that when you go to bed with somebody, take off your clothes, and have sex with them and then fall asleep, you’re already in the sex game with them.
It might be really bad manners not to have tapped her on the shoulder and said, “do you mind if I do it again?” It might be really sordid and bad sexual etiquette, but whatever else it is, it is not rape or you bankrupt the term rape of all meaning. . .”
Let’s assume for a moment that the allegations against Assange are true. The women tried to stop him, that is to say they withheld consent and made it abundantly clear that they were doing so. Assange carried on regardless. Galloway clearly doesn’t understand the legal and moral issues he is pontificating on and his very dubious arguments are taken apart in short order over at Shiraz Socialist and the New Statesman. He has exposed himself as an uninformed, sexist Neanderthal.
It bothers me greatly that defenders of Assange are resorting to this reactionary nonsense.
I have stated here previously that I’m concerned that there is something a little bit dodgy about the whole extradition situation. I, like quite a few others, am not convinced that there is nothing else going on here and that this is simply about Assange being a possible rapist. And I don’t believe that makes me and others “objectively soft on rape” as some people have been unfairly suggesting on Twitter in the last few days.
But there is no doubt that the accusations against Assange are extremely serious and to try and trivialise them is repugnant. I expect better from people on the left. Galloway’s arguments are the kind of thing one would expect from a pissed, grunting misogynist at closing time down his local boozer. The “sex game” is “well she asked for it” in slightly more sophisticated garb.