By Peter Oborne
Last Friday evening a British MP suffered a vicious assault on a London street. George Galloway, a 61-year-old, six-times-elected politician was beaten up for three minutes by a brutal and determined assailant in broad daylight, and was admitted to hospital as a result.
There are grounds for assuming that the motive was political, and the assault occurred due to Galloway’s criticism of Israeli actions in the Middle East. The assailant was reportedly shouting comparing Galloway to Hitler, and shouting about the Holocaust.
There is something very disturbing about the response to this event by the mainstream British political establishment. Mr Galloway has received no public message of sympathy from a single MP from any party – nothing from Speaker Bercow, from the Prime Minister, or from any of the other elected political leader.
I know that Mr Galloway is a very controversial figure and that many people, for honourable reasons, disagree very strongly with his views. Yet that is irrelevant. The attack on Mr Galloway is beyond doubt an attack on British democracy itself.
It is a basic principle of our political culture that men and women must be able to speak up for the causes they believe in without threats or violent reappraisal. This attack on Mr Galloway comes just days after the Labour MP Jim Murphy was forced to abandon campaigning in Scotland for the No campaign. He cited intimidation and was advised by police to end his campaign.
Had an MP been attacked by some pro-Palestinian fanatic for his support of Israel, I guess there would have been a national outcry and rightly so. Why then the silence from the mainstream establishment following this latest outrageous assault on a British politician?