GEORGE GALLOWAY may be 50 this year, but Rodger Evans finds him in no mood for softening. Bush, Blair and Brown can look away now.
he words ‘colourl'ul‘ and 'politician‘ may come
together less today. but in the case of the (ieorge
we call (iorgeous they are as eyer the cute couple. A tabloid one story eyen. Showtrialled out ol‘ the Labour Party. branded a traitor (and worse) by T/It’ Sun. described as ‘the lel't‘s Lawrence of’ Arabia by The Guardian. here is someone neyer to be billed as unprepossessing. Defiant and oycr-thc-top. though. certainly: he once tangled in the courts with Robert Maxwell and purchased a Rolls Royce from the Victory. The colour red. naturally.
Now inspired by his line ol’ the Middle iiast and antipathy for the hayoc wrought by ‘the coalition of the killing’ in the first (iull' War and its sequel and certainly not forgetting the hall million-plus lraqi children who died as a result of [N sanctions enl'orced between these conflicts (iailoway has penned. in his own description. ‘a British Michael Moot'c’. [itth is. the book says little of' the cruelty. mendacity or plain stupidity of American foreign policy not already furnished by the likes of Moore. l’ilger or liisk. The literary style is hardly (iore Vidal either and there is ineyitably an element ol‘ sell.-
justil‘ication. Yet the human angle on the suffering of
those in Palestine. Iraq and elsewhere is an eloquent rebuke for the complacent and the complicit alike. Passionate. informed. amusing and. indeed. a little yain. I'm .\'ni I/I(’ Only One contains some epic inyectiye. plenty of political bitching and a bout of Herculean
namedropping. ‘.\lr (ieorgef Saddam told him at their second and linal meeting. ‘we do not haye weapons ol‘
mass destruction’. l-‘unnily enough. Donald Rumsl‘eld also met lltlssein twice. as (ialloway points out. though no points for guessing who was attempting to sell the
Iraqi dictator weapons lol’ mass destruction or
otherwise) at the time.
104 THE LIST. We! ' 2 l."i;:.
‘IF CHE GUEVARA HAD LOOKED LIKE KHRUSHCHEV, PEOPLE WOULDN'T HAVE HIS POSTER ON THEIR WALL'
Another chapter begins: ‘\\'ho would hayc thought the small Dundee boy who pulled the coyers oy er his head to amid the consequences of the (‘uhan missile crisis would end tip firm friends with l-‘idel'.’ It leads into a priceless anecdote relayed to (iaiioway about (’he and (‘astro yisiting New York in l‘loll. hanging otit in Harlem. and picnicking in ('entral Park with Malcolm X. Fighting the power a little closer to home. one wonders what (iallow'ay’s lake is on Tommy the Tan and his SSP comrades. ‘Sheridan is by far and away the most interesting person practising politics on the Scottish leyel and that’s because he has strong Views and ideas. It helps that he’s handsome. I used to say if' (‘he (iueyara had looked like Kltrushchey. people wouldn‘t hayc his poster on their wall.‘
(ialloway himself. is it) this year. Not that mellow ing appears to be on the agenda as he plans to lake on New Labour in the forthcoming liuropean elections \‘ia the coalition launched from the anti- war moyement and christened Respect. Aretha i‘ranklin inspired. he says. l‘or Blair. he gil'ts none of that commodity. but does he retain any for the man next door: The Broon Who Would Be King‘.’ ‘He doesn’t haye any iron in his soul. ()l‘ course. he's not as insubstantial or as reprehensible a figure as Blair. 1 say that a contest between them would be like one between Bertrand Rtissell and Bob \lonkhouse.’ Talk about a (iolden Shot.
‘1 think they [New l.abour| are in sotil limbo but heading for perdition: here and across the .-\tlantic w e‘re goyerned by liars. idiots. Tools and knay es. And it would appear that just as our Tools and knay es haye come together so the people who see them that way are also coming together.‘ Stupid white men. beware.
I’m Not the Only One is published by Allen Lane, Thu 29 Apr, £10.
Debut authors under the microscope This issue David Levinson.
Who he? Originally from San Antonio. Levinson lived in New York for 15 years before returning to his native state for a teaching stint at the University of Texas. His short stories have appeared in gay men's literary magazine The James White Revrew and The New Penguin Book of Gay Short Stories.
His debut Most of Us Are Here Against Our Will exposes the worries of a clutch of narrators on the brink of misery. happiness or discovery. Mostly set in the author‘s home town of Austin. the book proclaims itself 'a collection of stories about families, lovers. loss. sex and survival.
Cast list Share in the pain of 59- year-old Ruth. a grief-stricken mother who develops a taste for burning her dead son's belongings or Jed. a struggling screenwriter on the edge of success. but with a plagiarised script. Alternatively. there‘s alopecia-suffenng Oralee. AKA Little Bo Peep. who works at an amusement park while searching for the brother who disappeared to reinvent himself as a notorious drag Queen.
Setting The lone star state. backdrOp for much of the action. has been the breeding ground for such legends as musiCian Buddy Holly. outlaws Bonnie and Clyde. president Lyndon B Johnson and the fantastically named actor Spanky McFarland.
What the critics said Writer David Leavitt said of the stories: 'They are elegant. swift. sometimes l'ieartbreaking. always »- in the best sense of the word ~~ surprising.‘ First paragraph test “After Don leaves her at the door with a kiss. Regina makes the bed and tells herself that this is the last time. Though she appreciates his attention the flowers. candy. trinkets —~ enough is enough: she knows how things like this end.‘ (Katy MCAuiayl
I Most of Us Are Here Against Our l/V/l/ ls published by Viking, Thu 29 Apr. E 72.99.