George Galloway vs Piers Morgan on Israel-Hamas, Putin & More | Transcript

British politician George Galloway — who is renowned for his staunch support of Palestine and scathing criticism of Western foreign policies — joins Piers Morgan Uncensored for a deep dive into current events during a fascinating feature-length interview.
George Galloway vs Piers Morgan on Israel-Hamas, Putin & More

Piers Morgan Uncensored
Published on June 26, 2024 (YouTube)

British politician George Galloway — who is renowned for his staunch support of Palestine and scathing criticism of Western foreign policies — joins Piers Morgan Uncensored for a deep dive into current events during a fascinating feature-length interview.

On the ongoing conflict in Gaza, Piers presses Galloway to denounce the killings of innocents by Hamas in Israel on Oct 7th. Galloway responds by saying that while killing children and the elderly is terrorism, “if you keep 2.3 million people in a cage, they’re going to try and break out”. The pair also discuss Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with Galloway declaring that he actually trusts Putin “more than Keir Starmer, Joe Biden or Donald Trump”. Piers doesn’t let up, and George doesn’t back down…

Plus, in a surprise turn, Galloway reveals that he has fallen victim to Fiona Harvey of Baby Reindeer notoriety’s stalking.

00:00 – Introduction
02:05 – Is any debate more divisive than Israel-Palestine?
04:06 – Piers asks if Galloway condemns the actions of Hamas on Oct 7
11:44 – Terrorist organisations and freedom resistance fighters
18:14 – Israel’s creation of “a boogie man of an Islamist Regime”
23:19 – “The fact cannot be changed, there once was a Palestine, now there is not”
24:14 – The Balfour Declaration: “My country caused it, that is why I’m so exercised by it”
26:14 – Failure of the Accords to create a Palestine state
37:14 – Brexit and losing control of UK borders
40:33 – Russia, Ukraine and the expansion of NATO
41:14 – George Galloway on Zelensky – “the greatest showman on Earth”
49:14 – “I trust Putin more than I trust Keir Starmer, Joe Biden and Donald Trump”
51:14 – Battle of Bucha
59:14 – “Why do you trust Putin?”
01:03:14 – On Julian Assange’s release
01:14:14 – On being stalked by Fiona Harvey

* * *

Piers Morgan: George Galloway has had more comebacks than Frank Sinatra, even has the hat to match. He’s a gifted orator, a firebrand populist, and one of the most controversial politicians of our time. Many millions have seen his blistering rebuke of the US Senate over the Iraq War, clips of which still often go viral today. I was one of the people who cheered him on. But his strident support for the Palestinian cause led many of our viewers on both sides of that debate to call for him to appear on Uncensored, and he joins me in the studio now. George, Good to see you.

George Galloway: Pleasure.

Piers: It’s been a while.

George: Glad we’re both still here.

Piers: The old survivors.

George: Yes.

Piers: Look, you and I have locked horns many times about many different things… In all the time that you’ve debated issues, have you ever come across one more divisive than Israel-Palestine, particularly in the last eight months?

George: Probably not. I mean, there have been others. I was plastered on the front page of The Sun in 1990 for meeting Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness under the 42-point bold headline “TRAITOR.” That was hot at the time, but who now would say that it was not right to have met and talked and brought in from the cold the leaders of what was an armed struggle within our own country? There are others. Russia, for example, is a divisive, controversial one. But yeah, you’re right, as your show has proved. Now, a lot of people, a lot of friends of mine, think you’ve been awful on this issue. I see in mitigation at least you have brought on hundreds, I think—well, certainly dozens, scores maybe—of voices that wouldn’t have made it elsewhere, onto the media. And although I’m now appearing on you, you have been asking me for quite some time to come on. So I’m one of those that acquits you of that. But it is an issue that separates the sheep from the goats, the wheat from the chaff. I personally believe that when history comes to be written, just as it was written over the Holocaust in the late ’30s and ’40s, those that turned their faces away from mass slaughter, even though they must have known that it was going on, have not emerged well from history. And I think the same will be true over this.

Piers: I have used the phrase from the start of this that I have felt a genuine moral quandary, and I’ll explain to you why and get your response. From October the 7th, I felt it was on a scale completely unprecedented for one day of slaughter that we have seen in that entire conflict, that it was so barbaric, so medieval, so inhuman in the way it was executed against so many, in the main young innocent people at festivals, in kibbutz, and so on, that I felt you had to start this debate about what’s going on with a clear denunciation of what happened that day. Then the question for me became twofold: the scale of Israel’s response and what was proportionate. I didn’t have that answer. I said I would see how it played out and make an assessment. And secondly, what was the endgame and what would happen the day after the war ends. And on those second and third points, I have grown increasingly critical of what Israel’s been doing, particularly since they began attacking a refugee camp in Rafah where they’ve been sending everybody. And I thought that excuse of “We’re trying to be targeted to Hamas” when it’s clear that you can’t be targeted when you attack a refugee camp, I thought crossed the line for me. But also cognizant of two things: one, Israel’s right to defend itself and a duty to defend itself after the scale of what happened and because the Hamas spokesman said, “We’re going to keep doing it.” So they had that. But secondly, that uniquely in Gaza, half of the population of two million are under 18. This is a place that is jam-packed with children. And when Hamas embeds themselves among civilians as they do—

George: Where else could they embed themselves? It’s a prison camp.

Piers: Well, I accept that. And I’ll come to that part of it, I’m sure there will be many parts of this debate where you and I will agree, there will be some where we don’t agree. And I still have no evidence that there’s any endgame plan by Israel, and I think you’re now seeing the Israeli government fracturing with people recognizing there is no after-the-war plan and it could be complete utter chaos. And there are certainly people on that cabinet, I think Smotrich and Ben-Gvir and others who have been talking in a genocidal way about this. So that’s where I am with this. But I’ve started a lot of interviews with pro-Palestinian guests, and I’ll do it with you. And it’s been sort of controversial, people have sort of mocked me for it, but I kind of think it’s a good starting point to go back to October the 7th. When you realize the scale of what had happened that day, do you condemn what happened that day?

George: Well, I have to first correct you on something. It was by no means the single biggest slaughter in the Israel-Palestine chapter.

Piers: In one day?

George: In one day. In fact, in five hours, with Sharon on the roof shining a searchlight into the Sabra and Shatila camps in Beirut, 3,850 Palestinian women and children—only women and children because the men had all agreed to sail away to Tunisia as part of an American-brokered deal—were killed. Now, younger viewers will not remember Sabra and Shatila, but those two names are burned in the minds of those older and who care about it. So that’s triple the actual death toll on October the 7th.

Piers: Well, nearly 7,000 more were wounded on October the 7th.

George: Yeah, but the fact that you thought, I mean this respectfully, that this was the biggest single day of slaughter is part of the problem. The lives, the blood of Palestinians is oftentimes by commentators and politicians regarded as less valuable than the blood of Israelis. All the blood is a disgrace, all of it. And insofar as terrorist acts are committed by Palestinian organizations—by terrorist, I mean the harming, killing of innocent civilians—of course, I condemn that.

Piers: So do you accept on that then? Do you accept, because the number you gave for the other atrocity, which is what it was, is disputed. You know it’s disputed. So the—

George: Yeah, the actual death toll on October 7th is—

Piers: I know you dispute it, but there’s no ambiguity about the numbers on that.

George: No, there isn’t, because the Israeli media reports have not been reflected in Western reports. But the Israeli media all the time reports that significant casualties were inflicted by Israeli forces themselves and deliberately under Netanyahu’s Hannibal Directive, which states that no one should be allowed to be taken hostage—kill them rather than allow them to be taken hostage.

Piers: But over 230 were taken hostage.

George: Yeah.

Piers: And taken women—

George: The latest figures are that 1,143 people were killed in the initial series of terror attacks, 373 of whom were linked to security forces, 766 of whom were civilians. Now, you’ve questioned those before. Do you question those now?

George: No, I question who killed whom, but I don’t eschew condemnation of the killing of innocent civilians. If you show me an old woman who was killed by a Palestinian fighter—

Piers: Well, they showed it themselves. They broadcast many of their—

George: I absolutely condemn that. I also condemn the taking of women and children as hostages, whether they’re taken by the Israeli government—and there are 9,000 hostages in Israeli dungeons that are untried, not even charged, they’re just held there as hostages—and I condemn the holding of civilian hostages.

Piers: Do you think what Hamas did that day was a terrorist attack?

George: Well, the parts that I’m talking about were undoubtedly a terrorist attack.

Piers: See, look, I wasn’t expecting you to say that. And the reason I think it’s significant, George, is a lot of people have sat in that chair on the Palestinian side of this debate, including Jeremy Corbyn, who have resolutely refused to condemn what Hamas did that day. And I find that very difficult to get past. You know, I’ve often ended up with 20-minute debates, as I did with Corbyn, about it because I don’t see how any human being can not tell that what it is—

George: Killing innocent civilians, whether on London Bridge or on the London Underground or at a music festival—are terrorist acts because they are punishing innocent people for the crimes of guilty people. Now, I was underground as an agent of the ANC in apartheid South Africa. I was working for Nelson Mandela’s ANC. I gave my blood on the floor of the Gugulethu police station in Cape Town. Was the ANC a terrorist organization? The answer to that is no, even though they had people who carried out terrorist attacks. You have to understand the whole picture and not just a tiny corner of a single snapshot. The ANC, like the Palestinians, are fighting against an apartheid state. In the case of Palestine, the millions of Palestinians scattered around the world with no one speaking up for them and from time to time–

Piers: When people categorize what Hamas did on October 7th as resistance. Do you think that’s an acceptable choice of word for what happened that day?

Piers: If you are fighting against occupation forces, undoubtedly it is.

George: So if you cross the wire, break out of the wire of the concentration camp—it was David Cameron, I remind you, who called it the largest open-air prison camp in the world—if you break through and you start taking a toll on your guards, the people who’ve kept you in this absolute misery and penury with regular death being dealt to you, then that’s a legitimate act of resistance.

Piers: It’s not legitimate to attack kids and grandmothers, though, is it?

George: I have already said that.

Piers: That’s what I mean. Some people try to describe what Hamas did that day as resistance.

George: No, killing grandmothers and kids is terrorism.

Piers: It’s not resistance.

George: It’s not resistance. It’s terrorism.

Piers: That’s my point.

George: But killing soldiers and security officers of the Israeli state is enshrined in international law. When you used the phrase earlier about Israel having the right to defend itself, it literally does not have the right. It’s excluded in international law that any country has the right to defend itself from territories that it illegally occupies. So the occupied have that right.

Piers: Hang on. As you’ve just said, many acts of terrorism were committed that day, and every country has a fundamental right to defend its people from terrorism. You would agree with that?

George: Yes, from terrorism, but the—

Piers: So Israel does have a right to, because the Hamas spokesman, I think critically for this debate, the Hamas spokesman within several weeks on camera said, “We will keep trying to do this again and again.”

George: Well, I’m not a supporter of Hamas.

Piers: I’m not saying that. I’m just saying, in terms of Israel’s right to defend itself—Indeed. I would say a moral duty. Now, the scale of it, we’re going to come to, and there we might meet some common ground. But on the principle of if you suffer a terror attack of that nature in the way that it was perpetrated, Israel has a fundamental right and a duty to its people if the perpetrators say, “We’re going to keep trying to do this,” to defend itself. You would agree with that?

George: But to defend yourself by killing and mutilating 150,000 people and climbing—Save the Children have just said there are 21,000 missing children on top of the 15,000–

Piers: We don’t have these figures. These figures have not been confirmed.

George: Well, you can believe Save the Children or not. I think they’re a pretty reputable organization. I believe Princess Anne is—

Piers: I think it is widely accepted that up to about 40,000 people so far have died. We don’t know how many of those are Hamas. Israel would have you believe it’s 15,000.

George: I’ve seen a lot of pictures of people who are manifestly not Hamas.

Piers: I agree.

George: So have you.

Piers: I agree, and I think the slaughter of the children has been horrific. Horrific.

George: And inevitable.

Piers: Inevitable.

George: It is inevitable. If you defend yourself by raining down bombs on tents, it is inevitable that you are going to kill and mutilate children and women who cannot possibly be Hamas.

Piers: But Hamas would have known that Israel would respond in that way.

George: Yes, but Israel would have known that if you keep 2.3 million people in a cage, they’re going to try and break out. So there’s all kinds of “should have known” in this story. They should have known when they occupied Palestinian land, drove hundreds of thousands of them out never to return, that those people would have children, and they would have children, and enmity, bitterness, and a desire for revenge would exist forever. And so it has. Now, the Gaza people maybe were unlucky. They were driven out only to Gaza, not to the neighboring countries, and they had a fence put around them. And by the way, this is something I think you should acknowledge: it suited Israel that Hamas was there. They begged Qatar to keep on funding Hamas.

Piers Agreed.

George: Because they didn’t want Arafat, my friend. They wanted an Islamist enemy.

Piers: Netanyahu liked the idea of the Palestinian governments being split between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. It suited him that they were divided, that there wasn’t a unity governing the Palestinian people. That is why he helped authorize these billions being sent through to Hamas, and Hamas then, in my opinion, abused that money and used it to build the tunnels where they went down. But they didn’t let the civilians go down, to arm themselves to the teeth and plan attacks. Right? So I don’t remotely excuse Netanyahu from this. I actually think it goes much further back.

George: I was there. I saw it with my own eyes. The birth of Hamas.

Piers: They’ve been given power in 2005.

George: Sure. But I’ve been involved for 50 years, so I can tell you that I saw with my own eyes the deliberate bringing into being of an Islamist resistance set of organizations to stymie Yasser Arafat. They didn’t want Arafat. They didn’t want the likes of my friend, the next legitimate president, the Nelson Mandela of Palestine, Marwan Barghouti. Many of his family members have been on your show. Marwan Barghouti—they don’t want him. They want to keep him in a dungeon because he represents an ideal that unites people of all religions and none. He has an ability to attract people around the world to the nobility of his cause. So kill and jail all the people like that. Make a bogeyman of an Islamist enemy. Make sure he continues to be funded by Arab regimes that you are able to order around. And that’s what happened. That’s not to say that the resistance fighters who are now taking a heavy toll on Netanyahu’s invaders—Very heavy. It’s now nine months. They still haven’t quashed the resistance in these camps.

Piers: Well, they’re not going to. They’re not going to defeat Hamas in its entirety.

George: No.

Piers: And that’s certainly, in my opinion, the massive flaw with this strategy. I think they are fueling, not ending, the ideology. I can’t imagine that the amount of bloodshed of civilians we’ve seen is not going to inspire a lot more people to embrace the revenge ideology that Hamas have represented.

George: Didn’t we discover that ourselves in our own country when we interned, without trial, thousands of Roman Catholics in the north of Ireland? We guaranteed the struggle of the Irish Republican Army for decades afterwards. We made a university for them behind the wire. This kind of failure to address legitimate grievances of people can only generate future hatred.

Piers: See, I believe fundamentally every Palestinian should have exactly the same human rights and freedoms as every Israeli.

George: Me too.

Piers: Right. On that, we agree. The question is—

George: And within one state. It will have to be because the two-state solution, which I supported as an Arafatist, I look foolish now having supported the Oslo Agreement. I look like an idiot. Arafat looks like an idiot because we believed that there would be a two-state solution. And almost 40 years after the agreement, there’s not one centimeter of Palestine free. Gaza is in complete ruins. The West Bank is on fire. Settlers are running amok. The attempt to ethnically cleanse the West Bank and East Jerusalem is running concurrently with the slaughter in Gaza. So where are you going to put two states?

Piers: Well, I would add a massive but to that, which is one of the main reasons for this current mayhem is what Hamas did on October the 7th.

George: I don’t agree at all with that. And the chronology makes it clear that that’s not true. There are 800,000 illegal settlers in the West Bank. They all settled there long before October the 7th.

Piers: Look, again, for the record, the expansion of the settlements, particularly since October the 7th, is completely outrageous. It shouldn’t be happening.

George: 99.9% of them were all built before October the 7th. It’s as foolish to think that this all began on October 7th. I know you don’t, but many commentators feel that way, talk that way, that it all begins when the Sky news comes on.

Piers: One of the best pieces I’ve read on this whole thing, I’ll tell you, was quite early on. Jonathan Freedland is a Jewish columnist for The Guardian, and he wrote a really, I think, amazing column in which he said, “I can present, as a Jewish man, a very clear, coherent argument for why both sides have a right to feel most aggrieved in this 75-year conflict.” It was a really interesting piece where he didn’t take a position; he just explored the arguments on both sides, went back to 1948 and through a series of spiraling circumstances, hundreds of thousands displaced on both sides in those first few years. Ultimately, you end up with a lot of very aggrieved people being pushed and shoved out of their homes. A lot of bloodshed starts, you then have a series of wars, almost entirely started by the Arab side, but then the response from Israel often being massively disproportionate.

George: Started by the Arab side?

Piers: I’m talking about the specific flare-ups of war.

George: Well, the 1973 war was an attempt to get back the territories of 1967. The resistance from 1948 onwards was because the country called Palestine was wiped off the map and its people scattered to the four winds. They were never going to accept that. Neither would you. We wouldn’t accept it in our own country. Can you put yourself in—if someone came from New York and took over your house, Piers, you would never accept it.

Piers: I understand that. What I’m saying is, can you accept that if Jonathan Freedland, as a Jewish man, can find it in his heart to see that the Palestinians have had real cause for grievance, can you, as somebody who supports the Palestinian side, can you understand why Jewish people, why Israelis, also feel a burning sense of grievance and injustice for what they’ve endured at the same time?

George: Well, they endured it at the hands of Christian Europeans, not at the hands of Palestinians. But I know that they feel it. It’s my job to empathize, to understand, to walk in the other fellow’s shoes. But the facts cannot be changed. There once was a Palestine; now there is not. The people came from New York, from Paris, and London, and all over Europe, and took their homes and took their land. No one’s ever going to accept that. There will always be resistance to that as long as there are two Palestinians left alive, male and female, there will be a Palestinian resistance. It’s a failure to grasp that which has led to this.

I said 1948. I could go back further. I was in a building in Manchester in Cheetham Hill last Saturday night where the Balfour Declaration was received and co-signed by these Zionist organizations. I was literally in the building. It’s a big Manchester story. Balfour himself was an MP in Manchester. The document was signed in Manchester. The reality is, when we promised on behalf of one people to give to a second people the land that belonged to a third people, we set off, as Churchill put it, down a descending staircase soaked in blood. That’s why British people, when some people say, “Why are you so exercised by this?”—because my country caused it and my country is still involved in it. That’s why I’m so exercised by it.

Piers: We are where we are now. How does this get resolved, and how long will it take?

George: I don’t think it’s going to be resolved, and therefore cannot give a timescale. There’s never going to be a two-state solution until—you know, a surgeon can’t operate on his own foot. Until outside surgeons operate on this, it’s not going to be resolved. As long as we keep giving Israel—

Piers: When you see the Abraham Accords, you see normalization of relations with Arab countries and Israel. You see that Saudi clearly wants to pursue the same path. Is that not ultimately the way it has to go?

George: How will that help resolve the Palestinian question?

Piers: Then who will help rebuild and govern the people in Gaza after this? And that is a question which is open for a lot of debate. There’s no easy answer. What do you think?

George: You call it normalization, but there’s nothing normal about these regimes that concluded under Trump’s browbeating and bribery and the judicious deployment of his son-in-law. There’s nothing normal about these countries. Their populations, 99.99% of them, are with the Palestinians and against this normalization. This is a Potemkin village. And even Trump, I think, will not seek to resurrect the Abraham Accords. The Oslo Accords are dead. The Abraham Accords never got off the ground because none of them have solved the fundamental problem of Palestinian statehood, of the return of the Palestinian refugees to their own land, their own homes, for which they have the title deeds written in English and countersigned and sealed with a stamp by British judicial authorities. I say again, you nor I would ever accept anyone stealing our house, and no matter how long they live there, it will never be theirs. It will always be mine.

Piers: It is also a fact in the history of planet Earth in the last thousand years that where there is warfare, there is a change in territorial ownership that goes with warfare. And there have been, what, how many? Five wars now in this conflict in 75 years? So when that happens, you are going to get changes in geography, aren’t you?

George: It goes with warfare, as long as the victims disappear into the museum. But insofar as they don’t—and Arafat always used to say, “We are not the Red Indians. We will not go into the museum. Let people come and see our gowns and our cooking utensils in an exhibition case.” As long as the Palestinians remain alive and insist on their rights, there will be resistance. The rest of us have to make up our mind: why are we so enthralled to a very small country of seven or eight million Israelis that we are prepared to risk what might become World War III over defending it? If, as we are speaking, Israel invades Lebanon, Hezbollah and Lebanon will be a donnybrook, a battle royal, which may very well immediately draw in the Americans.

Piers: Well, the last time this happened, it actually didn’t turn out to be that at all because…

George: It didn’t, because Hezbollah gave them a bloody good hiding.

Piers: Well, they didn’t.

George: As I said on Sky News, on my biggest-ever clip.

Piers: That’s not what happened.

George: They did. Israel ran away.

George: Hezbollah—

Piers: That’s a shocking mischaracterization of what happened.

George: What happened then?

Piers: Hezbollah did not see off Israel the last time they clashed.

George: Well, I think we need to go back and check the news clippings of that.

Piers: Israel gave Hezbollah a pretty big bloody nose.

George: Well, you’re the only person I’ve ever heard say that, but—

Piers: Really? I’m the only person who thinks so?

George: The only person I have ever heard say that. Everybody else believes Hezbollah gave Israel a bloody good hiding. But the most important—

Piers: Why did they stop there, then, if they were winning? Why did they stop?

George: The most important thing is, Hezbollah is now 10, 20, 50 times more powerful than it was in 2006. There are hundreds of thousands of men under arms. They have the best arms. They have Russian anti-aircraft missiles. They have Iranian ballistic missiles. They could turn Israel into a giant firestorm. So if Netanyahu does this, we’re going to have to make up our minds whether we want to risk an international conflagration to save Netanyahu and his gang.

Piers: I don’t think there’s any incentive for Netanyahu to bring an end to any warfare at the moment, because the moment it is, all the polls suggest the Israeli people will kick him out of office. And then the next phase of his life will be in a court facing corruption charges. So I don’t see any future after this war ends for Netanyahu or half or more of that cabinet. But I don’t see any future for Hamas either in having any form of governing over the people of Gaza.

George: They don’t care. I don’t think they care about governing.

Piers: Do you think they should have any governing responsibility at any level?

George: Unless the Palestinians pick them. The point is though, they have no interest in governing. They’re a liberation organization, a resistance organization with an Islamist ideology, which will continue and will, in fact, become stronger by the failure of the West to be that surgeon operating on Israel’s foot.

Piers: Is an Islamist ideology terrorism?

George: No, not all of it, of course. The Muslim Brotherhood are Islamists, but they’re not terrorists. The ANC had a terrorist wing, as was described. There are all kinds of parts of these organizations, but their ideology, which I don’t support, don’t share, is strengthened by what’s happened over the last nine months.

Piers: I think that may well be the case.

George: I’m sure of it.

Piers: And that’s what worries me.

George: I lived through it. I lived through Arafat’s support going down and down and down because of his failure to deliver what he said the Oslo Agreement was going to bring. He said, “I’ll be there, I’ll be praying in the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, we’ll have a state in the West Bank and Gaza.” And as the years went by and people saw no such thing, they began to turn to other political forces. And it suited the West, it suited Israel, not just in this theater. For your very much older viewers, they did the same in Egypt. They built up the Muslim Brotherhood because they hated Nasser. They hated Nasser because he nationalized the Suez Canal and began to spark the idea of Arab national unity and so on across the region. So they built up these Islamist forces.

Piers: But if you don’t have a two-state solution, George, how does this ever lead to peace?

George: The way you described it, that’s why I instantly agreed with you. Let’s call it the Holy Land, if you like. We can call it Israel-Palestine, one country between that famous river and that famous sea where every Jew, Muslim, and Christian lives as an equal. That’s what we did at the end of apartheid in South Africa.

Piers: How do they live as peaceful equals given what’s happened?

George: Well, it’ll never be perfect anymore than it is in Northern Ireland or in South Africa now. But any alternative proposal has the disbenefit of having obviously been debunked. The two-state solution is debunked. Nobody believes in it, least of all Israel, that would have to clear the 800,000 settlers off the land that’s supposed to be the Palestinian state. That’s not going to work. Now, you may say this will never happen. I tell you, it will not happen in my lifetime, but my youngest child is three years old. I believe it can happen in hers if we stop endlessly bankrolling, arming, diplomatically covering for, culturally fluffing the state of Israel and begin to be at least evenhanded in the way that you are now being. Be evenhanded. Recognize that the Palestinians have rights too and that Palestinian lives matter too. In 100 years, maybe we’ll get to…

Piers: I have said that about equal rights from the start of this. The moral quandary I’ve had, which I’ve articulated throughout, is simply the scale of what Hamas did on that day was so horrific that it was inevitable Israel would respond with huge force. I have massive concerns about the scale of what they’ve been doing, particularly in the last few weeks and months. But when you have a group that is publicly wedded to your annihilation—

George: Actually, they’re public—far be it from me to defend Hamas, but they are publicly wedded to the two-state solution. They made a historic climbdown at least 20 years ago in accepting Arafat’s Oslo Agreement. So it isn’t true that they are wedded to…

Piers: Their founding charter literally spells out they want the elimination—

George: Have you seen Likud’s founding charter?

Piers: Sure.

George: It is the mirror image of that. Forget founding charters. Hamas is wedded to the two-state solution, the very failed two-state solution that we are discussing here.

Piers: The Hamas official spokesman literally two weeks after October the 7th said on camera what they’re really wedded to is repeating this again and again and again.

George: But that’s what—They’re resisting the occupation–

Piers: That’s not resistance. It’s terrorism. You’ve already agreed with me it’s terrorism.

George: Part of it was terrorism…

Piers: A massive part of it.

George: Well, we could argue about the numbers. We’d have to know the Hannibal Directive. But it is the desperate act of occupied people trapped in a concentration camp, 2.3 million of them, with no exit and no entrance. What do you expect from an open-air prison camp but a prisoner’s revolt? And now the guards are raining down widespread death and destruction on them. That’s only going to make the matter worse. I think we agree on that.

Piers: I think that’s probably, sadly, exactly what’s going to happen. Let me ask you, you were very critical of Keir Starmer, likely to be the new British Prime Minister in several weeks’ time. You warned that he would pay a high price for his stance on this war. What did you mean by that?

George: Well, I think that millions of people who almost certainly would have trooped out to vote Labour very loyally or even holding their nose will not now do so. Millions of those are Muslims, but millions of them are not. If you look at any protest, demonstration, manifestation of any kind, it’s mainly non-Muslims that are there. It’s mainly young people, students. It’s mainly people that Jeremy Corbyn would once have had in his coalition. And by the way, Corbyn will get more votes—got more votes in 2017 than Starmer’s going to get in 2024, mark my card on that. The coalition that Labour could have had is not the coalition that they will have on the 4th of July. And the reason will largely be down to Gaza. There are other reasons, but that’s the biggest one. No self-respecting supporter of the Palestinians is going to vote Labour, whoever the candidate is. And now there are plenty of alternatives.

Piers: What will be the heavy price he pays given he’s going to win with a massive majority?

George: Well, we’ve yet to see how big the majority will be. I haven’t given up hope of a hung parliament, which would be the best parliament—

Piers: Really?

George: No, I haven’t because I think the rise and rise of Farage is not finished yet. And I think that Farage is taking a significant number of Labour voters in the blue wall, formerly the red wall. I can tell you that anecdotally.

Piers: Do you feel an affinity with Mr. Farage?

George: No. We are pretty much diametric opposites.

Piers: I mean, on Russia, you can barely put a cigarette paper between you.

George: On Brexit, too. So, a stopped clock is right twice a day. And Farage was right twice on those two days.

Piers: Was he right on Brexit, given it appears to have been a spectacular act of self-harm?

George: He was definitely right on Brexit. We fought for Brexit, people like me, because it was necessary but not sufficient–

Piers: To take back control of our borders, for example.

George: Well, we certainly haven’t done that.

Piers: Since the referendum eight years ago. Literally, we’re now in a position from tens of thousands of people in a net migration situation to 700,000, and we have tens of thousands coming over illegally. I mean, that’s not taking back control. That’s completely losing control.

George: We have lost control of our borders, and we haven’t taken control of our economy in a way that we could have done.

Piers: So how has it worked? I mean, look, I voted—let me be clear, I voted Remain, but I wasn’t sure. I felt both sides were misleading me. I wasn’t sure. And when it was over, I actually voted for Boris Johnson in 2019 for one reason: he was the only candidate in that election who was prepared to honor the result of the referendum. And I felt, for a democratic society like Britain, that actually incredibly important, that we’d be seen to honor the results, right? Whether it’s a general election, local election, or a referendum. That was the only reason I voted for him.

George: Well, that’s perfectly logical, and I think many people did that, especially in what became the blue wall.

Piers: Should we not have another referendum now if Starmer was to win?

George: No.

Piers: Most polls suggest the vast majority would now vote to go back in.

George: Yeah, my stance is that we never actually Brexit-ed. We never regained our sovereignty. We continued to tail-end the European Union on almost all important matters, and worse, we became a vassal, an even greater state of vassalage, of the United States. And if Trump gets back in, that’s going to continue. So we never actually became an independent country. We never became an independent country. We believe that being an independent country is necessary but not sufficient.

Piers: I think we seeded so much of our authority on the global stage that actually being a leading member of the EU gave us so much more clout than being a little island with a little island mentality. Had it worked, had we got the border controlled, had we got the economy purring, had any of the things we’ve been promised worked, if we got our 350 million per week for the NHS and the NHS was transformed, if any of these things—

George: If my auntie had a beard, she’d be my uncle, right?

Piers: We were promised all this and nothing’s happened.

George: Yeah, and the people that promised you it deserve to be held to account for it. But that wasn’t Farage. He’s not in government.

Piers: Well, he was one of the main reasons we went through with it.

George: But the government that has been in power since we Brexit-ed is the people you should blame.

Piers: Let me ask you about Russia. I mean, you’re perceived to be somebody very sympathetic to Russia, to the extent that in the Ukraine war—and correct me if I’m wrong here—but with the Ukraine war, you feel that this was not necessarily justified but an inevitable response.

George: Provoked. I’ll go with provoked

Piers: Which is what Farage said.

George: Yeah, and not just Farage, but Macron today, who said he’s going to continue his dialogue with Putin.

Piers: You have to try. You have to try. In terms of provocation, I’m very curious about this because here’s my thing about the provocation. Ukraine voted by a massive majority, 90-something percent of the people, in the 90s, to become an independent, democratic, sovereign country in Europe. And they were then persuaded by the international community to give up their nuclear deterrent defense.

George: Well, it wasn’t theirs. It was the Soviet—

Piers: Okay, but they were persuaded to give up their weapons.

George: But it was theirs. And part of Russia was the inheritor state.

Piers: But the deal was that if they did that, then they would be guaranteed their independence. What could be more independent than, in Ukraine’s case, for example, wanting to be, off their own volition, a member of NATO?

George: But we had a—

Piers: Which is a defensive alliance.

George: In 2014, there was a government that did not want to do those things, and it was overthrown in a coup d’état, the parliament on fire, the president fleeing for his life. And the first act of the terrorized deputies, literally with a gun at their head, was to outlaw the Russian language. Now, one-third of the Ukrainian people are Russian-speaking people, including Zelensky, the greatest showman on Earth. I could call him something else, but let’s—

Piers: What else would you call him?

George: I’d call him a thief. I’d call him a fraud. I’d say that he fooled the Ukrainian people, that he was going to make peace.

Piers: I’d call him an absolute hero, and I would say back at you, George, that for such a smart guy—and you are a smart guy. I’ve met a lot of politicians. You’re right up there in terms of your intellect. It seems to me that you’re more comfortable just going along with the Putin worldview than you are going along with the view of someone that Putin has barbarically, illegally invaded. I mean, you and I agreed about the illegal invasion of Iraq. We thought it was completely wrong, right, that America and the UK and the other allied forces invaded Iraq as retribution for something they had nothing to do with, and it turned out to be a total disaster that spawned—

George: And we both got sacked.

Piers: And we both got sacked, right? And we agreed about that, which is why I’m really struck by the fact that we disagree so vehemently about what seems to me a very similar situation.

George: No, because you’ve got to know the history, and you should know it.

Piers: I do know the history.

George: Russia has been invaded twice, by Napoleon and then by Hitler, using the runway of Ukraine. The idea that Russia is going to allow American missiles masquerading as NATO missiles on the soil of the place where Russia was twice invaded in the last—

Piers: You know how much of Russia—Russia is one of the biggest countries in the world. Do you know how much of it, percentage-wise, is bordered by NATO countries, including Finland, who’s just come into it?

George: If you put a nuclear—

Piers: Do you know how many?

George: Yeah. If you put a nuclear missile—

Piers: I’m going to ask you a different question. What percentage is actually bordered by NATO countries?

George: Well, you’ve got the Baltic states—And if you had had Ukraine—

Piers: Do you know the answer?

George: No.

Piers: Right.

Piers: Have a guess.

George: 10%, 15%.

Piers: 10%?

George: Yeah.

Piers: 10%. A tiny percentage of Russia’s border.

George: What means a missile takes—

Piers: NATO is not—

George: A missile takes less than 20 minutes to reach—

Piers: NATO is a defensive organization.

George: Tell that to the birds. Tell that to the people of Libya.

Piers: Why do you think so many—

George: Why do you think so many of the former countries in the Soviet Union are racing to want to be part of it? Because they are fearful not of NATO attacking them but of Russia attacking them.

Piers: Like he did in Georgia, like he did in Crimea, like he’s now done in Ukraine. Why do you keep trusting this guy?

George: It’s important to stick to the facts. The facts are these: Russia was promised—Gorbachev was promised by the United States, by James Baker, the Secretary of State to George Bush I, that if the Red Army left Eastern Germany, NATO would not expand one inch to the east of Germany. They have expanded thousands of kilometers to the east of Germany, and they now have nuclear missiles within two minutes of hitting St. Petersburg.

Piers: You’re not answering my question. Why have these former countries part of the old Russian Empire—why have they been so keen to join an alliance which is a defensive alliance? It’s not because they want to be aggressive to Russia; it’s because they want to be defended when Russia almost inevitably attacks them.

George: If they’re defensive, why did they bombard Belgrade for 90 days? If they’re defensive, why are their ships sailing in the South China Sea as far away from the North Atlantic as it’s possible for a NATO warship to be?

Piers: Why are the Russian airplanes flying over Europe?

George: Actually, there are virtually no Russian airplanes.

Piers: Virtually no? That’s comforting. How many are there?

George: But I’ll tell you something—

Piers: How many are there?

George: Well, a lot fewer than there are American—Ringed around Russia and China.

Piers: So why are you so keen to take the Putin worldview?

George: No, I’m keen that Russia should not be broken up into Balkan states.

Piers: Who’s going to do that?

George: That’s the avowed intention.

Piers: No one’s going to do that. No one’s attacking Russia…

George: You say they’re not attacking Russia. Crimea was yesterday shelled by an ATACMS missile programmed by the United States.

Piers: Crimea belongs to Ukraine.

George: It doesn’t belong to Ukraine.

Piers: It was stolen in 2014 by Vladimir Putin.

George: Well, does voting mean anything or not?

Piers: You think the vote after they stole it matters?

George: The referendum that was held in Crimea, as any fool would have known, the result would be—was at least 90% for rejoining Russia. “Rejoining” being the operative word. Crimea was an autonomous part of Ukraine during the Soviet era. The people of Crimea, like the people of eastern Ukraine now, wouldn’t have been if there hadn’t been a war, if there hadn’t been an invasion, if there hadn’t been a coup. Most people were content to live in an independent Ukraine, whether they were Russian people or Ukrainian people. And it’s an important dichotomy that a third of them are Russian. They would have been happy to live under a democratic government in Kiev. But that’s not what we have. First of all, his term has run out. Secondly, the overthrow of the legitimate government in 2014 led to a war of attrition against the people in eastern Ukraine, which turned the people more and more to the point of view that, as Russian-speaking people, they’re better off with Russia. We should have implemented the Accords that France and Germany guaranteed and the Security Council subsequently adopted. That would have guaranteed Ukrainian neutrality. There’s nothing unusual about that. If Mexico or Canada decided to join a Chinese-Russian military bloc, America would never accept it. Neither will Russia accept Ukraine.

Piers: Ukraine is part of Europe, not part of Russia. Not owned by Russia anymore. The truth is, Vladimir Putin wants to take back a lot of the stuff that he believes was wrongly broken up when the Soviet Union was dismantled.

George: I don’t believe that that is true.

Piers: I know you don’t, but this is why you constantly take—He’s even said that.

George: Russia is a European country. Moscow is the biggest city in Europe. It would have been far better for us to have accepted not just Russia but Putin’s own olive branches. He asked for Russia to join NATO.

Piers: Here’s the thing, George. Why do you trust Vladimir Putin?

George: Well, I trust him more than I trust Keir Starmer.

Piers: Really? You trust Vladimir Putin more than Keir Starmer?

George: I trust him more than I trust Joe Biden. I trust him more than I trust Donald Trump. Hold on, let me finish the statement.

Piers: I can’t really get—Starmer? You would trust Vladimir Putin more than Keir Starmer?

George: I wouldn’t trust any of them if they told me what day it was today without checking. I don’t trust automatically any politician. I check the facts. We lived through an era and were sacked because of the result of it, in which we were told certain things by our own leaders that turned out to be blatant lies.

Piers: Right, and here’s my point, George. This is my point. You seem to have bought into Putin’s whole justification, as Farage has, that he was provoked. He had no option.

George: There is no doubt he was provoked—

Piers: To which I say bullshit,  this is a guy who proved it in Grozny, who proved it in Crimea, who proved it in Georgia, and is proving again in Ukraine, he will attack where he smells weakness.

George: I don’t think that that is true. But if it were to be true, then you’d find me on the same side of the argument.

Piers: Do you not think the invasion was an illegal invasion?

George: Yes, of course.

Piers: How can you justify it?

George: Well, for the same reason I justified Vietnam’s invasion of Cambodia to stop the tyranny of Pol Pot.

Piers: And you’re likening Zelensky to Pol Pot?

George: I am, actually.

Piers: You can’t be serious.

George: I am. For the thousands of children and women who were killed by Ukraine’s regime before Zelensky and after Zelensky, I think that the tyranny, the killing fields of the Donbas were as gruesome—

Piers: The killing fields of the Donbas have been perpetrated by Vladimir Putin.

George: No, no. The killing fields of the Donbas were from 2014 to Putin’s invasion.

Piers: And you think he’s just stopped since he invaded?

George: No. I’m old enough to remember Tanzania invading Uganda to bring about the overthrow of Idi Amin. It is not always the case that an intervention by a neighbor is a negative thing. And in the case of—

Piers: It’s not an intervention. You just called it yourself an illegal invasion.

George: It was an illegal invasion.

Piers: How can you justify it?

George: And the justification for it, from the Russian-speaking Ukrainian point of view, was to save them from massacre.

Piers: That’s bullshit.

George: Well, they were being massacred.  You weren’t there. You just didn’t notice it.

Piers: The massacring has been perpetrated by Putin on Ukrainian people and, by the way, on his own people.

George: There’s plenty of killing in Ukraine now.

Piers: Let me pick you up on one thing you said, which I want to clarify. This is what you said about the Bucha massacre. I’ve been to Bucha, so I want to play this clip.

George: So I don’t believe that Bucha was a war crime. I believe it belongs in the long line of false flag operations used to trigger war.

Piers: False flag?

George: Absolutely. It was a massacre carried out by—

George: Have you been there?

Piers: No.

George: So how could I go there? I’d be killed if I went there.

Piers: I have been there.

George: Because you’re his friend. Because you’re chilling for him.

Piers: I’m not his friend.

George: Zelensky would have me killed if I went there. I am absolutely certain that the people who were massacred at Bucha were massacred by the Nazis that are the foundation stone of the existing Ukrainian state, as the Azov Nazis were the people who carried out the Bucha massacre.

Piers: This is complete insanity.

George: How is it?

Piers: I don’t even believe you think that.

George: I absolutely think it.

Piers: Why are you saying something like that?

George: Because I believe it.

Piers: But I’ve been there. I’ve literally interviewed the families of the people who were massacred. they massacred by the Russian forces.

George: You weren’t there when that happened.

Piers: I’ve spoken to people who saw the Russian forces.

George: Well, I’ve also…

Piers: Raping and murdering their families.

George: Well, now we’re back to… You always drag out this rape thing.

Piers: Because it happens a lot.

George: I haven’t seen any reports of rape at Bucha.

Piers: Really? Why don’t you go and check it out?

George: Well, I will…

Piers: Presumably you think it would be the Ukrainian Nazis who did it.

George: Well, they’ve certainly raped people before.

Piers: There are you capable but the Russian forces aren’t.

George: Are you denying that there are Nazis in Ukraine?

George: Yes. I’ve read a whole report about this. There is a tiny, tiny number of people who associate themselves with a Nazi ideology.

Piers: A tiny number?

George: A tiny number.

Piers: They must be very influential.

George: By the way, there are Nazis here.

Piers: There are Nazis in Germany.

George: But we don’t name streets after them. We don’t build monuments to them. We don’t call universities after them.

Piers: There is a cult of Nazism.

George: There’s also a cult of supporting people like Putin when they perpetrate atrocities like Bucha, right? And you seem to think that somehow, in your head, he didn’t do that.

Piers: You said that there are a tiny number of Nazis in Ukraine. Then why is the main street in Kiev called after Bandera? Why is Bandera and his Nazi-collaborating gang proliferating statues, street names, institutions being called after them? Why do they carry Nazi flags and insignia and tattoos?

Piers: There is a tiny percentage of Nazis in Ukraine. Tiny.

George: Because you’ve been there, you can say that?

Piers: Yes. And because I’ve spoken to people who know.

George: And I have spoken to people who know. I read more than one report.

Piers: I saw the massacre with my own eyes. I talked to the people who’d lost their loved ones, who had appalling things done to them. It was done by Russian invading forces.

George: I don’t believe that. I believe that Bucha, in all the circumstances, is a false flag of the kind with which we are really familiar. That you commit an atrocity and you blame it in order to manufacture consent for what comes next. You blame it on the bogeyman.

Piers: So you think Ukraine was behind the Russian forces advancing through to that area, and then they stopped. They blew up the bridge.

George: These people were…

Piers: You think they did all this?

George: These people were murdered because they were Russian collaborators.

Piers: They were murdered by Russia.

George: No, they were not…

Piers: Murdered by Putin’s forces. Hundreds and hundreds of people…

George: In Bucha?

Piers: Yes.

George: How many hundreds were killed?

Piers: I don’t know the exact number.

George: It’s funny, because you’ve been there and you’ve read a report…

Piers: I think it was about 400.

George: I’ve seen pictures of the slaughtered people who were all wearing the armbands which identified them as Russian collaborators, people who had taken the soup from the then-occupying Russian forces. We’re not going to get anywhere batting this one around. My stance is this: the Russian-speaking people in Ukraine decided they wanted out of Ukraine. They have a right to self-determination. The coup and the massacres that ensued after it in 2014, the abolition of their language, the criminalization of their culture, led them to conclude that they no longer wanted to be part of that kind of Ukraine. It would be far better if we now negotiate, as Macron said.

Piers: All right, what would you do?

George: Let’s partition Ukraine.

Piers: How?

George: If you get me a map, I’ll show you. The Dnieper River would be a reasonable place to partition.

Piers: So they invade Crimea, and they get to keep it. They now invade the Donbas region and they get to keep that.

George: You know very well that Crimea for hundreds of years has been Russian. Odessa…

Piers: Actually, it was Ucranian territory.

George: Well, it was…

Piers: Yes it was!

George: It was because Khrushchev gave it to Ukraine, when both were part of the Soviet Union. That doesn’t stop it being Russian. It doesn’t mean that the Russian Navy […] anchored there for hundreds of years…

Piers: To be clear, he invades Crimea and gets to keep it. He now invades the Southeast region, the Donbas and other parts of that area and he gets to keep that too, that’s how you would settle this.

George: We need to negotiate.

Piers: Would you let Putin keep what he’s taken?

George: What I said right at the beginning: jaw-jaw is better than war-war. I’m saying it about Ukraine too. You can have a war if you like. You can send your sons—you’ll never send mine—to go and fight for which side of a line […] should be on.

Piers: Understand, but to be clear, you would let him keep what he’s taken. Your idea of negotiation is to let him keep what he’s taken.

George: I think the people need to vote.

Piers: But is that what you think is a reasonable thing? To partition it?

George: I think a reasonable thing to do would be for the United Nations to conduct a plebiscite amongst the people of eastern Ukraine as to which state they wanted to be in. And I’m pretty sure that overwhelmingly they would choose to be in Russia.

Piers: What part of you—and look, I don’t want to be disrespectful—but what part of you is so naive, George, that you think that Putin, having done it in Crimea and now done it in the Donbas and the east of Ukraine and got what he wanted, got what he took with force, that he’s going to stop there and not want the rest of Ukraine?

George: Well, he’s the one who was ready to negotiate. And at Istanbul, two months—

Piers: No, he wasn’t.

George: Two months into the war…

Piers: Yes, he was.

George: He could negotiate this tomorrow.

Piers: No, look, Boris Johnson was sent specifically to scupper the outcome of the Istanbul negotiations, two months into the war, long before hundreds of thousands of people had died and hundreds of thousands of square kilometers of territory…

Piers: Why would you trust Puti?

George: I don’t trust people I have to negotiate with. I have to negotiate with people or fight them. I don’t want to fight the Russians. I don’t want to fight the Chinese. Apart from anything else, we’re in no position to fight either.

Piers: What happens if he decides he wants a piece of the UK?

George: Well, my goodness, the state of the UK, it would be exceedingly unlikely that he’d want…

Piers: What if he does? What if he sniffs a bit of weakness? What if he hears you and Nigel Farage and thinks, “Wow, British politicians seem really bang up for me at the moment?”

George: It’s fantasy talk, Piers. I’m surprised that you…

Piers: Is it fantasy talk?

George: It is. The truth is, the negotiations could have solved this problem even before it began. The accords, the Minsk agreements could have been implemented, and there would have been no war at all. The reason why they weren’t implemented and the reason the Istanbul agreement was scuppered was because the West wanted the war. That’s what Farage means when he talks about provoked. That’s what increasing numbers of European…

Piers: Why would they want a war somewhere where there’s like 25% of the world’s wheat comes from? That would cause a massive global wheat crisis.

George: They want to weaken and destroy the Russian state. They’ve said so. They think—and the Prime Minister of Latvia said it just yesterday—they want Russia broken up into its ethnic parts so that it becomes a balkanized proliferation of states, the better to be exploited. So I think the best thing to do, and Farage is right, is to negotiate an end to this. The longer we wait to negotiate the more disadvantageous those negotiations will be. Or fight. I mean, that’s the alternative. We could go to war…

Piers: But you understand you sound very like Neville Chamberlain.

George: No, I’m the last man to accuse of being an appeaser of fascism. I’m the person here denouncing the fascism in Ukraine that you are turning a blind eye to.

Piers: You think the only fascists in all this are in Ukraine?

George: Yeah.

Piers: Right. You don’t think Putin’s a fascist?

George: I think people waving swastikas—we should believe them when they…

Piers: A ruthless Russian dictator.

George: When they show you the SS insignia, we should believe…

Piers: And when a Russian dictator invades country after country after country…

George: You’re talking as if there’s only me and Farage who are thinking like this. But that’s not true. Your former pal Donald Trump is going to end this war in a month if it’s still going on.

Piers: How do you think is going to do that?

George: Because he’s going to withdraw support for the man you think is a hero.

Piers: I bet he doesn’t do that.

George: We’ll come back in December.

Piers: As with all…

George:: We’ll come back in February.

Piers: As with all things Trump, actually judge him on what he actually does, not what he says from time to time. It’s my best advice on that. I don’t think he’ll— He’ll look like he wants to give Putin—

Piers: If the war doesn’t end before it, it will end after Trump takes office.

Piers: Who’s going to win the US election?

George: Donald Trump, by a landslide.

Piers: You think so?

George: By a landslide. Unless they rig it. Unless Trump is stopped with extreme prejudice. He’s on a roll that can’t be stopped. A better question is, who will the Democratic opponent be?

Piers: Should they get rid of Biden before it’s too late?

George: Well, if his trousers fall down in the presidential debate—

George: Which they might.

George: And they might. And it might not be a pretty sight. One way or another, they might ditch him. But it’s getting late in the day.

Piers: Two quick things before I let you go. Julian Assange has been released, and he’s off to this little tiny court in the middle of nowhere where they’re going to do a deal apparently, 62 months, which is the time he served in Belmarsh, then he can go back home to Australia. I was quite surprised to wake up to that this morning. I didn’t think this was going to happen. What do you think of Julian Assange? Some people think he’s a hero. Some people think he’s a villain. Some people are a bit more nuanced about him, with a bit of both.

George: Well, I’ve been with him from the beginning. I could show you my scars, blackballed, blacklisted, lost jobs. I was sacked from The Daily Record and from the Holyrood magazine, two of my columns wiped out because of my support for Assange over what turned out to be fake rape allegations against him. I think he’s one of the greatest heroes of the field of letters of the last century and this. I think the quality of his work is almost without peer. I think he’s been treated monstrously by successive British governments. And interestingly, the man that is emerging at the center of some of these things is Keir Starmer. If you needed another reason to dislike Keir Starmer, look at his role in what has happened to Julian Assange.

Piers: To be honest with you, I can’t still quite get over the fact you would trust Putin more than Starmer. I mean, that’s quite a statement.

George: Starmer, Biden, Trump, Sunak. I trust Putin more than any of them because they’re my leaders. They’re the leaders of my part of the world, and they’ve betrayed me and they’ve betrayed their own people time and time and time again. So if I was negotiating with Putin, I would look him straight in the eye. I’d put to him the Piers Morgan question, “Do you intend to take a piece of Britain?” I think I could rely on him when he said, “I certainly do not.”

Piers: Really?

George: Russia is the biggest country in the world. It’s one of the richest countries in the world. Fourth richest economy in the world now. It is indissolubly linked now to China. What an achievement of American statecraft. Nixon and Kissinger spent all that time trying to keep Russia and China apart. We have driven them together to the extent that they are now hip to hip, joined at the hip, and growing numbers of countries, some of whom were once allies, satraps even of ours, are joining the BRICS, joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

Piers: The problem is, George, he’ll be watching this interview, I’m sure, Vladimir Putin, and he’ll have already heard you say that, yeah, if you invade stuff like Crimea and the Donbas, you get to keep it. And he’ll be thinking, “Why can’t I do more?”

George: No, if the people vote for it.

Piers: That’s the problem with appeasing dictators.

George: No, but he’s not a dictator. He’s got a better mandate from the people than Rishi Sunak ever faced.

Piers: Why do you think that is?

George: Rishi Sunak has never been voted by anybody!

Piers: Rishi Sunak doesn’t kill and imprison his political opponents.

George: Well, ask Julian Assange, who nearly died…

Piers: Who was killing him? Rishi Sunak?

George: The British government nearly killed Julian Assange because he was a journalist and a troublemaker for the powerful, for the establishment, because he revealed truths about the conflict that you and I, I think, quite gallantly opposed. He revealed truths that our leaders don’t want us to know. If you think our governments don’t kill anybody, you need to listen to Donald Trump’s interview with Leslie Stahl in which he said, “We’ve killed a lot of people.”

Piers: Of course.

George: Including our own president.

Piers: Of course, the Americans are killers, too.

George: The fact is that Putin was recently re-elected. He was re-elected with a thumping majority. More thumping…

Piers: He imprisons or kills his political opponents.

George: No, I don’t accept that.

Piers: Don’t accept that?

George: No, I don’t accept that.

Piers: George, you can’t even look at me when you don’t accept it.

George: Did you see Donald Trump in the court the other day?

Piers: Where was Navalny when he died?

George: Do you know? Where is Donald Trump going to become president?

Piers: I’m asking you about one particular leader.

George: Navalny died, as it turns out.

Piers: Why was he in prison?

George: He was in prison for bank fraud.

Piers: No, he wasn’t.

George:He was in prison for…

Piers: He was imprisoned because he was the biggest vocal opponent of Vladimir Putin.

George: He wasn’t very big.

Piers: You can’t be this naive, George.

George: He wasn’t very big, and he died of natural causes.

Piers: He was a very big vocal opponent, and he was imprisoned on trumped-up charges.

George: He represented 1-2% of the Russian electorate. You’re not doing our country or yourself any favors by imagining or pretending to imagine that Putin doesn’t fully represent the Russian people. He does. And the more we are at war with them, the more he will.

Piers: I do not underestimate his ability to terrorize his people into devoted slavishness. And if you go out and protest in the streets of Russia against Putin, what happens to you?

George: That just isn’t true.

Piers: What happens to you?

George: There’s more opposition to the Russian government in Russia than there is opposition to the British and American governments in Britain and America.

Piers: You would go over to Russia.

George: There are TV stations.

Piers: You would walk down the middle of a high street in the middle of Moscow saying Putin must go.

George: No, because I’m a foreigner.

Piers: You know why. They would put you in a prison.

George: I don’t accept that.

Piers: In a gulag for the rest of your life. Poisoned you.

George: We’re just not on the same page. But it doesn’t matter what we think of Putin. All that matters is that he is the president of a nuclear-armed superpower, fourth biggest economy in the world, the largest country in the world. Better to deal with them than to constantly wave swords at him that are in any case woofly insufficient to fight.

Piers: Did you ever get bullied at school. Did you fight?

George: Yes.

Piers: What did you do with the bully?

George: I fought them back.

Piers: Exactly. Punch them in the nose.

George: Yeah. Are you going to punch Russia in the nose?

Piers: I think we should stand very strongly…

George: You and whose army?

Piers: NATO, actually, which is a much bigger army than his.

George: So, are we off to war then?

Piers: Where?

George: Are we off to war in Ukraine?

Piers Well, we’re in war in Ukraine.

George: I’m glad you’ve acknowledged that.

Piers: Well, we are in the…

George: That’s what Russia has been saying, and the West has been denying…

Piers: We are supplying the weaponry they’re using.

George: You’re right. We’re in the war.

Piers: To me… To me, we’re in this war.

George: You’ve acknowledged it. We’re at war with Russia. Let’s see how we get on with that.

Piers: We are supplying the weapons for Ukraine to wage its war.

George: I think you’re going to find when you wind this back that you said, “We’re in the war.” We are. You were telling the truth.

Piers: I think we are.

George: We’re in the war, and let’s see how we get on.

Piers: I believe we are defending a democratic, sovereign country against a dictator.

George: Are you ready to sacrifice…

Piers: A much, much misunderstood guy who actually deserves to take it all.

George: Are you ready to sacrifice us all, including our own children?

Piers: A lot of my family have fought in wars. Yeah.

George: Are you ready to sacrifice them for Ukraine?

Piers: I’m more worried about whether my kids have to end up being conscripted if Russia attacks us, which they might do if they sense that we are weak. And right now, they’re hearing a lot of political leaders like you and Nigel Farage who are sounding remarkably pro-Putin.

George: Well, I’m just pro-peace. I’m against war.

Piers: That’s not pro-peace.

George: I’m against war.

Piers: I’m against war…

George: …especially against nuclear war, because then neither us nor our lineage nor anyone else’s lineage, no cell of our being will exist.

Piers: Why hasn’t he invaded a NATO country?

George: He didn’t invade Ukraine because he wants to take other people’s countries. He invaded Ukraine to stop the massacre of Russians in Ukraine.

Piers: What nonsense, George. Honestly.

George: Well, that’s—

Piers: That’s not why he invaded Ukraine.  He invaded Ukraine like he invaded Crimea so he can take a large swathe of the country and its people.

George: No.

Piers: And you want to give it to him.

George: Well, he’s got it. The question is, do you want to have a war to take it back? And you’ve said, to be fair, you’re ready.

Piers: Yeah. And actually, in answer to that question, I believe there is no point in having a nuclear deterrent if you allow the other guy who’s got a load of nuclear weapons to rattle them and terrify you into being his subordinate.

George: Subordinate? It’s about Kupiansk, not about Tunbridge Wells. So, you have said on your show, you’re ready to send your children to war to decide which side of a line Kupiansk lies, which has been in four countries in 100 years. I’m not. I’m prepared to die to defend Tunbridge Wells. You may be surprised.

Piers: So, you’re prepared to die to defend sovereign democracy?

George: I’m a British…

Piers: Just not if it’s not here?

George: I’m a British politician, and I will die to defend Britain and its legitimate interests.

Piers: What if he invaded France or Germany?

George: I wouldn’t die for Macron or Scholz.

Piers: So only here?

George: Only here.

Piers: You’d only die for here?

George: I think that we have a duty to defend the interests of our own people.

Piers: And no duty to defend democracy?

George: What’s democratic about what we have? This democracy you talk of is a farce. Trump versus Biden—that’s your democracy? You want me to die for that? That democracy is a farce. It’s a farce when people who need a billion and a half dollars even to run against the incumbent president—that is inherently farsical. When it is two octogenarians, one pooing his pants in front of the Pope, the other from behind bars in a cell for paying a hooker money—hush money—out of his company accounts, that’s democracy?

Piers: She wasn’t a prostitute. Stormy Daniels wasn’t a prostitute. She was an adult entertainer.

George: an adult entertainer…

Piers: There’s a difference.

George: Okay…

Piers: Let me end on something completely different. I’ve enjoyed our debate, by the way. Let’s end up with this, which is extraordinarily, you told me something before we came on air that you were watching my interview with Fiona Harvey, who is the real-life Martha from Baby Reindeer. And you suddenly revealed to me that you had a problem with her in your life. Tell me about it.

George: I saw her sitting in this chair. I was riveted by your interview, which, by the way, was a master class—Morgan at his best. And it took me right back to the 1980s when stalking was up close and personal because there were no emails, no texting. You had to either phone someone on their landline or turn up at their door. That’s real stalking, and that’s what she did to me.

Piers: In what way?

George: She was forever on my case. She was a member of the Labour Party, I think you got that out of her. She was a member of the Labour Party in my Hillhead constituency. I had just been elected MP in 1987, defeating Roy Jenkins, and suddenly I find this obsessive woman in my midst. And everywhere I turned, she was there. At first, I thought that she fancied me, but it turned out that she fancied my job. So she was a relentless and physical, up close and personal stalker of mine. And I’m ready to testify.

Piers: How many times did she try and call you, for example?

George: She called me hundreds of times.

Piers: Really?

George: Hundreds of times, and she showed up probably hundreds of times in the most inappropriate places—at my office, wherever she discovered that we were, me and my staff and my inner circle. She’d breeze in, exactly the things that she acknowledged that she had done. I mean, it turns out that Netflix said she had done and been certain places that she hadn’t. So I wish her all the best in her legal action.

Piers: Well, they said she’d been convicted, which wasn’t the case. She had never been to court, by the look of it. But you also knew the Scottish lawyer and her MP husband?

George: Yes, Laura Ray, who was a distinguished lawyer and the wife of a friend of mine, good friend of mine, God rest his soul, Jimmy Ray MP. Jimmy, she quite fancied Jimmy’s job, too. I mean, she was—

Piers: Did you talk to Jimmy about her?

George: Yeah, and I’ve talked to Laura about her since your interview with her. So it was on one level chilling, on another level hilarious to see that face and to hear that voice again.

Piers: Did she ever threaten you?

George: No, but she…

Piers: Did you fear she might harm you?

George: Yeah, I think when someone’s obsessive, you’re always afraid that that obsession might take a sudden twist and a potentially dangerous twist. But she never did harm me or threaten to harm me. She was just in my life when I didn’t want her to be.

Piers: When was the last time you heard from her?

George: The last time I saw her would be around the early 1990s. And I hadn’t seen her again until I saw her on your show. I didn’t, of course, at that point know that she was the person being alleged to be the Baby Reindeer, although I had watched Baby Reindeer. But I had no idea that it was her. And then when I saw her on your show, it took me right back to the salad days of the 1980s.

Piers: Extraordinary. Did it send a chill up your spine?

George: Well, a little bit, and a laugh out my throat. I mean, as I say, simultaneously chilling and hilarious at the same time.

Piers: A little bit like our interview, George.

George: A bit, but good.

Piers: It’s good to catch up with you.

George: And you.

Piers: Thank you very much for your time.

George: Good luck.


2 thoughts on “George Galloway vs Piers Morgan on Israel-Hamas, Putin & More | Transcript”

  1. Very annoying that you couldn’t keep straight which of George and Piers said which line.

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