But no one expected to see Galloway purring for cream from the hands of ageing glamour puss actress, Rula Lenska on the Big Brother Tv show. This was the scene in January, which, along with him doing a 'robot' dance in a red leotard, caused most damage to his reputation. If this 51-year-old Respect MP was looking for a bit more adoration from his voters - many of whom are quite conservative Muslims who backed him over his anti-war stance - he went about it in a bizarre way. White powdered face and crouched over on all fours, the unlikely pussycat only needed a song from a Lloyd Webber score and it could have been a scene from the musical, Cats. The only mystery about this House of Commons Macavity is why on earth he did Celebrity Big Brother in the first place.
Galloway ill-advisedly walked into a media zoo in pursuit of self-promotion and was seriously mauled. His take on it was that the primetime Tv show would give mass exposure to his anti-war views among a youth audience normally switched off by politics. It was a terrible miscalculation. Not only did Channel 4 edit out Galloway's political statements but his hectoring of other, younger housemates made him look like a bully. So, he became a national hate figure, especially for the very young people he said he was out to win over. More than 90 per cent of listeners polled by the pop station BBC Radio One said they did not like Galloway and wanted him evicted from the show.
Galloway should have understood that Big Brother is designed by its crafty producers to be a ritual humiliation of the terminally vain. In Victorian Britain, the public were similarly entertained by cruel freak shows featuring midgets, an Elephant Man the Bearded Lady and other unfortunates who were paraded around the streets in cages. Today we have Celebrity Big Brother — a heady mix of fading 'Z' list celebrities locked in a claustrophobic house for several weeks, manipulated by BB producers and scrutinised 24-7 by the public.
The 21st century exhibits have their own affliction — an unfettered sense of self-importance and a feisty reluctance to see their short-lived moment of fame flushed down the media plughole. They desperately pursue celebrity and votes from the viewing public in every which way even if it is up the very unglamorous catwalk to the Big Brother House and the televised 'tasks' set by the producers devised to make them look ridiculous. When the cigar chomping MP for Bethnal Green and Bow flounced up the yellow brick road to public humiliation he gave a victory sign to what he mistakenly thought was an 'adoring' public. Then he crashed back down to earth to the grimy roads of his impoverished east London constituency where the reception was not quite so warm. No wonder he quickly packed his bags and jetted out to Egypt, expecting to get a much warmer welcome. Another Galloway error of judgement.
The inhabitants of one of the capital's most deprived boroughs might feel their MP sold them short. They might be right. In Galloway's absence, a high-profile campaign inspired by the MP's sworn enemies in Prime Minister Tony Blair's New Labour, was waged to get him 'back to work'. Galloway's ill-fated gamble certainly shows that he isn't at the back of the queue when self-interest, no matter how misguided, is concerned.
But then politics has never been a game for those short on ego and self-destructive hubris. So, maybe Galloway is being a little more honest than most. 'Gorgeous George' may have felt that he had done Bethnal Green and Bow; had the tee-shirt and starred in the movie. Now he was on to the next stage - bright lights, chat shows and reality Tv. Written off as an MP by the chattering class, perhaps the normally savvy Galloway has calculated that a new media career beckons. Will he or his catty crititics have the last laugh? Meow.