George Galloway announced to the world this morning he was on his way to an East London police station to demand the release of the director making his crowd-sourced film, The Killing of Tony Blair. Woodward and Bernstein eat your hearts out. George has become a journalist.
Galloway and his acolytes have been using twitter to tell anyone who can bother to be interested that his little helper – or ‘respected film-maker’ of his ‘much-anticipated film’ (such modesty) as he puts it – was arrested whilst trying to film me at a Labour fundraiser in Walthamstow. Galloway, never one to underestimate his own significance in the scheme of things, has also tweeted Ed Miliband condemning him for having me raise funds for Labour, and the Met Police to claim he intends to sue for wrongful arrest. The Queen should stand by for a green ink missive.
A few points if I may.
I do many speaking events and it is rare that the police attend. There was a police presence at this one because Galloway and some of his fellow travellers had for two weeks been trying to crank up local and social media to get a demonstration outside, and urge people not to attend the dinner. Enough people to fill a couple of minibuses duly turned up and gently abused Labour supporters, who filled the venue, as they arrived.
So this is the first thing to know – the police were there not to protect me but to police a protest being organised by Galloway for his film. The evening went off perfectly well, and at the end there was a book signing. Funds to the Party before you ask, George – hope the accounts of your crowd-sourcing venture will be published soon.
As a queue formed a man appeared with a film camera, and one of the organisers asked him who he was with. He appeared not to engage, and then a second man – George’s ‘respected film-maker’ – who had been waiting patiently filming me on his mobile while I signed some books, put his arm towards me and and said he was making a citizen’s arrest. He spoke so softly I couldn’t quite hear what the offence was, but from them on, his appeared to be the offence of ‘seeking arrest to publicise George’s straight to DVD latest attempt at reinvention.’ I smiled nicely, as is my wont at book signings, and asked for the next book to sign. There ensued rather a lot of pushing and shoving, none of it involving me, at which point Galloway’s little helper started lashing out at the police, and his other little helper filmed away happily, as one would expect.
I am sure that Galloway would not want to be accused of sexing up his movie, so I do hope he will provide this context in what doubtless will be a fair and unbiased account of Tony Blair’s life and times, namely that the cops were there for his protest, and only had to arrest his man because he started laying into them. Media as spin doctors, creating their own ‘news,'(sic). I would suggest from Galloway’s excited tweets, and his heroic march to the police station for his latest freedom-fighting pose, that he will be very happy with his team’s day’s work. The film just got spicier, he told his excited band of followers. Oh George, how exciting for you. Sounds like this turned you on almost as much as the first class flights and the red carpet Saddam used to roll out for your tongue on your visits to Baghdad.
I was happy too, to help Stella Creasy raise funds for her campaign to remain a Labour MP, hopefully as part of a Labour government.
Meanwhile, when the film-maker is released I suggest he makes a film either on Galloway’s tenure at the once great charity, War on Want, whose demise led to my first ever meeting with the not so Gorgeous George; or a profile of the late Saddam Hussein, analysing the courage, strength and indefatigability that so inspired his new best friend and puppet master.