RESPECT MP George Galloway last week made a catastrophic political mistake in taking part in the Celebrity Big Brother programme on Channel Four. His declared aim was “to bring political debate to wider audience” of young people who are out of touch with political issues. But the programme makers have gagged him. Every political word he utters is edited or bleeped out.
It has to be so. Broadcasting standards authorities do not allow the expression of political opinions in programmes unless they are “completely balanced” with a right of reply for all mainstream viewpoints. Programme makers cannot achieve this except in designated discussion programmes, documentaries and well-signposted satires.
This is why in dramas and soap operas no character ever expresses an opinion on any current major news topic or takes part in any political activity. This has led to a generation of young people who have grown up thinking that getting involved in politics is not quite normal.
George Galloway is experienced enough to know that no aspect of the bourgeois state can be used against the system. He has made a fool of himself and played into the hands of those who want to discredit his campaign against the war on Iraq.
Just a few months ago his political stature was miles high after he publicly berated the US Senate Committee over the war on Iraq. Now he has undermined his own credibility by mistaking a programme chiefly about sleaze and voyeurism for a political platform.