George Galloway shows Farage who’s Britain’s answer to Trump

George Galloway arrives ahead of his party's manifesto launch at the Voco hotel on June 19, 2024 in Manchester, England.
George Galloway arrives ahead of his party's manifesto launch, in Manchester on Wednesday - Anthony Devlin/Getty

Diva that he is, Galloway arrived late for his own manifesto launch. “Stuck in traffic” was the official explanation, inviting us to imagine the hordes of beeping jeeps which used to greet his erstwhile pals Gaddafi and Saddam. I suspect he was actually putting on his makeup.

‘‘We’re the name no one likes to mention” the fluffer in charge of buying time for Gorgeous George told assembled journalists when referencing the party’s lack of a polling breakthrough, “but we are making waves on the ground.” Maybe he’s right; there’s one thing that really terrifies us journos and that’s a mixed metaphor.

Finally the star of the show arrived: dressed in his trademark vanity-reducing hat and a tie that someone had to adjust for him. He looked, ironically, a little like a rabbi. He stood in front of a banner that said “Workers”, a PowerPoint which had been formatted by someone who couldn’t read or at least didn’t want anyone else to read the information on it, and what looked like a broken radiator.

Those who say that Nigel Farage is the British Donald Trump are wrong. Likelihood of winning aside, it’s actually George Galloway. Certainly, there is exquisite Trumpian absurdism in choosing the ninth floor of a swanky hotel in the middle of Manchester’s gay district to launch a manifesto deliberately designed to appeal to disaffected socially-conservative Muslim voters.

Of that manifesto, he said that it was “A very beautiful document, a very meaningful document” – Trumpian syntax delivered in a Scottish drawl. He then launched into an extended rant about the narcissism of small differences, about Winston Churchill, about Jim Callaghan, about spirits, about, for some reason, Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte. About, it seemed, literally anything that came into his head.

Even Mr Galloway’s private life is somewhat Trumpian; involving six children and four marriages (compared to the Donald’s five and three). His uber-glam, much younger wife sat nearby, trying to look stateswoman-like and not at all bored by her husband’s Messianic monologues. Shades of Melania at the inauguration.

Putri Gayatri Pertiwi, George Galloway's wife, looks on as he launches his manifesto in Manchester, on Wednesday
Putri Gayatri Pertiwi, George Galloway's wife, looks on as he launches his manifesto in Manchester, on Wednesday - Anthony Devlin/Getty

If the style was Trumpian, the substance of Gorgeous’s beliefs was harder to pin down, veering as it did between Novara Media and the Telegraph leader page. He wanted a referendum on net zero, recognition for families in the tax system, but also nuclear disarmament and a referendum on the monarchy. Of Tony Blair’s recent “Pope/Catholic” intervention in the trans debate, he scoffed. Only women can have a vagina, “who knew that we would need such reassurance from our political leaders!”

A supporter hands out placards at the Workers Party of Britain manifesto launch, in Manchester on Wednesday
A supporter hands out placards at the Workers Party of Britain manifesto launch, in Manchester on Wednesday - Anthony Devlin/Getty

By far his biggest beef was with Reform UK, who are evidently cannibalising Workers’ Party support. Farage, he described (mixing metaphors again) as “the third cheek of the uniparty”. Mr Galloway was particularly incensed by his non-inclusion in the TV debates between deputy leaders – “the seven dwarves” as he called them. The Workers’ Party had more elected politicians within its ranks, he bellowed, “so why didn’t I even make the dwarf speech?!”

George Galloway speaks during his party's manifesto launch
George Galloway speaks during his party's manifesto launch - Anthony Devlin/Getty

In the media Q&A, Mr Galloway channelled Jeremy Corbyn by taking the first question from the Morning Star. A Sky News reporter wondered why it was that Nigel Farage was cutting through where the Workers’ Party wasn’t. Galloway glowered at her. “Well, he gets endless publicity from you, for a start!” This drew the biggest cheer of the day.

MAGA George was on a roll; Joe Biden was “a senile dementia patient who can’t control his bodily functions”. Unlike Donald Trump though, Galloway is unlikely to be anywhere near power in the early hours of the morning after our election. Expect a Scottish-accented round of “stop the steal” at a leisure centre near you.