To say that George Galloway has attracted his fair share of criticism over the years would be an understatement.
He has been called a traitor, an apologist for dictatorship and even an anti-Semite. Every time, he has swung back with his razor-sharp tongue and a hair-trigger proclivity for libel suits.
Much of that opprobrium is gradually fading from public memory now, as the former British MP enters the twilight of his very public career.
But anyone who thinks Mr Galloway is one to concede an inch to his critics is mistaken.
“If I were to write an autobiography it would be titled ‘I was right about everything’,” he tells Times Talk with a grin. “If you can tell me anything about which I was wrong, I’ll take my hat off, literally.”
A good number of locals would argue he ought to ditch the fedora for his assessment of Malta in the 1980s.
“In the days of Mintoff, and [Mifsud] Bonnici, Malta was spoken of in the world as really something special,” he says.
Time has, however, proven him right in arguing so vehemently against military intervention in the Middle East, which continues to soak up as many bombs and bullets as the west sends its way.
And time would have proven Malta right, he argues, had the country taken a stronger stance against military intervention in Libya.
As it were, Malta took a backseat during that confrontation, forbidding any military bases while allowing international forces to cross its airspace.
“You’re not neutral if you accept that NATO has the right to pulverise, balkanise, destroy Libya. Not only was that wrong – it was insane,” Mr Galloway says.
That conflict, he notes, “blew the door open” for the central Mediterranean people smuggling route which is now causing so much intra-EU strife.
Mr Galloway has sympathy for the Italian government’s decision to refuse entry to NGO migrant rescue vessels.
“Why should it take in all these refugees? It wasn’t Italy which created this wave of refugees,” he says. “Britain is involved up to its neck in every conflict which has created this mass movement of people, and yet Britain takes in virtually no refugees at all.”
Describing the Italian government as ‘populist’ elicits a wry smile from Mr Galloway.
“Populism is like electricity,” he argues. “It can keep a baby alive in an incubator or kill a man in an electric chair. It depends on who is using it, and for what.”
Watch the full Times Talk interview with George Galloway in the video above.
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