The Guardian blog pointed me over to a transcript of the Jeremy Paxman / George Galloway interview last night. If, like me, you don’t know what ‘demagogue’ means, it’s: “A politician who seeks to win and hold office by appeals to mass prejudice” according to answers.com. Admittedly Jeremy asked a weird question to start with (not shown below), but what came afterwards is to be treasured:
JP: I put it to you Mr Galloway that Nick Raynsford had you to a T when he said you were a “demagogue”.
JP: Nick Raynsford. You know who I mean? Nick Raynsford. Labour MP?
GG: No, I don’t know who you mean.
JP: Never heard of him.
GG: I’ve never heard of Nick Raynsford, no.
JP: What else haven’t you heard of?
GG: Well, I’ve been in Parliament a long time…
JP: He was a Parliamentary colleague of yours until very recently.
GG: Well, most of them just blend one into the other, Jeremy, they’re largely a spineless, a supine bunch.
JP: Have you ever heard of Tony Banks?
GG: Yes I have, yes.
JP: Right, Tony Banks was sitting here five minutes ago, and he said that you were behaving inexcusably, that you had deliberately chosen to go to that part of London and to exploit the latent racial tensions there.
GG: You are actually conducting one of the most – even by your standards – one of the most absurd interviews I have ever participated in. I have just won an election. Can you find it within yourself to recognise that fact? To recognise the fact that the people of Bethnal Green and Bow chose me this evening. Why are you insulting them?
JP: I’m not insulting them, I’m not insulting you
GG: You are insulting them, they chose me just a few minutes ago. Can’t you find it within yourself even to congratulate me on this victory?
JP: Congratulations, Mr Galloway.
GG: Thank you very much indeed. [Waves, removes microphone]