By Democrat reporter
Controversial politician George Galloway is planning to return to Scottish politics after becoming involved in a social media row over a proposed quarantine for tourists arriving in Scotland from England.
The former Labour MP, who once tried and failed to become Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate in the old Dumbarton constituency, has confirmed he is to move back to Scotland after a weekend of debate on Twitter, sparked by a group of protesters who staged a demonstration at the Scottish border.
The darling of producers of political television programmes for the controversy he brought with him to to debates, he lost out on the Dumbarton ticket to John (now Lord Alcluith) McFall and former high profile Labour councillor, Ian Leitch.
If the always up-for-it, straight-talking Galloway were to set his sights on a Commons or Holyrood seat in Dumbarton, he would face formidable opposition in the shape of Labour’s Jackie Baillie, who represents Dumbarton, Vale of Leven and Helensburgh.
The West Dunbartonshire seat in the House of Commons is held by the SNP’s Martin Docherty Hughes, who would have cause to be worried about the articulate left-winger coming north to throw his hat into the local political ring.
Meanwhile, one video showing a protester swearing at people to stay out of Scotland was shared widely online.
Galloway, who has the reputation of having swallowed a copy of Roget’s Thesaurus, said a bid to secure a seat at Holyrood is ‘not fantastically of interest’ at the moment, however, it is something he would consider ‘if necessary’.
He said: “I had myself crossed the border just the day before.
“I had my children in the car and I wouldn’t have liked them to have witnessed that.
“They would have been wondering why their father, Scottish born and bred, was being screamed at to get the F— out of Scotland.
“Lo and behold, as soon as I highlighted it, I had hundreds of people saying that – and in even worse language – on Twitter and social media.
“That included threats which I’ve had to pass to the police.
“Much worse, it was my wife who opened one in a direct email – and my wife is nine months pregnant. She is due any day.
“She opened an email threatening us with physical violence. It’s just not acceptable.”
The Dundee-born former MP for a number of English constituencies and a number of parties, added: “I don’t intimidate easily and it made my mind up about moving back to Scotland.
“But unfortunately for them, it made it up in a way that they won’t like – it convinced me that I have to move back.
“I’ve been considering it for a while. It’s a big step and they may well have thought they were intimidating me out of doing so but, in fact, they pushed me into doing so.”
He then accused ‘nationalist forces’ of using the debate surrounding the border ‘not for public health reasons but for party political reasons – “for reasons of sharpening the Scotland-England issue”.
The border incident comes after a small group of protesters staged a demonstration at the Scottish border, demanding tourists from England turn back to ‘keep Scotland Covid-free’.
Some were wearing hazmat suits and face masks, while others carried Scotland flags and homemade banners.
They were urging anyone travelling into Scotland from England not to cross the border.
A banner being held by one protester read: “Staycation: Keep Scotland Covid free”.