Great god almighty – a new low for George Galloway. You wouldn’t think that possible, would you, but it is. Helen Pidd reports in the Guardian:
George Galloway has admitted ordering an intermediary in Pakistan to dig out the marriage certificate of his Labour rival in order to try to prove she had been 16, not 15, when she claims to have been forced into marriage.
Officials from his Respect party dispute that Naz Shah, Labour’s candidate in Bradford West, was forced into marriage, on the grounds that her mother was at the ceremony.
Who do they think does the forcing in forced marriage? The military? Strangers wearing masks? It’s the family that does the forcing. The fact that Mummy was at the wedding does not demonstrate the absence of force.
Shah and Galloway were at a campaign event Wednesday evening.
Galloway produced what he claimed was her nikah, her Islamic marriage certificate. Telling her she had “only a passing acquaintance with the truth”, Galloway said: “You claimed – and gullible journalists believed you – that you were subject to a forced marriage at the age of 15. But you were not 15, you were 16 and a half. I have your nikah in my pocket.”
Is being forced into marriage at 16 and a half so dramatically less awful than being it at 15 that it’s worth digging up and gloating at? Being forced into marriage at any age is awful, and what kind of piece of shit do you have to be to try to minimize it?
The age difference mattered, he suggested, because it “slandered” the Pakistani community and played into “every stereotype”. He was cheered by a large contingent of the Bradford crowd and heckled by others.
Oh, right, that’s what counts, the reputation of “the Pakistani community” as opposed to the well-being of its individual members, even women. Yeah. By the same token, the reputation of “Thought Leaders” in the atheist movement is what counts, as opposed to the well-being of rape victims within that movement.
Asked whether Galloway disputed Shah’s claim to have been forced into a violent marriage as a teenager – be that at 15 or 16 and a half – and was repeatedly raped in that marriage, [Galloway’s spokesman Ron] McKay said: “In what sense was it a forced marriage? Her mother attended the marriage in 1990 as well as other family members and many witnesses did also, signing and giving fingerprints, so if it was forced presumably her mother and the others were part of that coercion?”
The mind boggles. It freezes into a lump of useless oatmeal. What does he mean “In what sense was it a forced marriage?” In every sense! Does he think it’s not a forced marriage unless there are strangers with machine guns present? Does he think he can successfully pretend to think it’s not a forced marriage unless there are strangers with machine guns present? Above all, why is Galloway hoping to win an election by belittling a woman’s forced marriage?
McKay said that if Shah’s first husband had been violent to her, “then as a British citizen in Pakistan she could have jumped on a plane and left him behind, although I do appreciate that is often extremely difficult. If he was violent to her here – I’m not aware when they came back to Britain – then she could have gone to the police, social services, an imam or whatever. I am not aware, are you, of any such report by her to anyone, here or there?”
But he said Respect was in contact with Shah’s first husband, who has “strongly denied any earlier nikah” or doing her “absolutely any harm”.
Oh well then – say no more. Case closed.
I look forward to thousands of blog posts complaining that I’ve smeared and defamed Ron McKay and George Galloway and Naz Shah’s first husband.