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Thursday, 21 February 2013

What did he expect?!

Never having taken part in a formal debate in any university - although I have enjoyed many an informal one! - I may not be the best person to comment on the structure of such events.  However, I would have thought that, for any debate to take place, it would be a basic premis that there be 'sides' with opposing ideas!  Little point in Richard Dawkins being on one side of the debating chamber supporting the motion that "God does not exist", if the person on the other side is A.C.Grayling!   As two of the country's foremost secular humanists, these two gentlemen are in full agreement on the subject.

This is why I am unable to find any excuse for MP George Galloway's behaviour - walking out of a meeting at Oxford University when he discovered he was debating with an Israeli. Mr Galloway, who is the Respect (makes that something of an oxymoron!) Party MP for Bradford West, had been speaking in the debate organised by Christ Church College in favour of the motion: "Israel should withdraw immediately from the West Bank".  Around three minutes into the speech given by his opponent, Eylon Aslan-Levy, Mr.Galloway interrupted, asking: "You said we. Are you an Israeli?"  Third-year student Aslan-Levy answered "I am, yes."  Mr.Galloway then stood up and replied: "I don't debate with Israelis, I've been misled, sorry."  He then left the lecture theatre.

I am certainly no fan of "Gorgeous" George (as he used to be known).  However, surely even his most devoted followers must be confused.  Did he honestly expect that the University College would have provided a Palestinian to oppose him?  Does it not seem reasonable that his debating opponent should be someone who opposed the motion?  Who better to do so than an Israeli?

In terms of the actual debate, I suppose that one may conclude that the motion fell!  With regard to Mr Galloway, he merely showed his inability to enter into an intelligent discussion of the motion - simply because his opponent was well-qualified to be so - and his total lack of 'Respect' for others!


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