Mr Galloway, you may recall, is the self-promoting, Scottish hard-leftist and alleged supporter of Hamas, who first achieved notoriety following a 1994 visit to Baghdad, when he addressed murderous dictator Saddam Hussein: "Sir, I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability." Expelled from the Labour Party in 2003, "the member for Baghdad North" went on to set up the Respect Party, which has been roundly snubbed by voters, who know a charlatan when they see one.
The Talksport interview was a masterclass in loud-mouthed arrogance, as Galloway repeatedly interrupted and shouted over Robinson, telling him to "shut up" at least half a dozen times. I (like many other listeners, I'm sure) was curious to hear what Mr Robinson might have to say, but he just wasn't given a chance.
If Galloway showed little Respect to his guest, he did betray an ignorance – shared by many established politicians – of the significance of the phenomenal rise of the EDL since its formation in early 2009. Anyone who still doubts that significance need only look at the faces in the videos of the marches and rallies that have taken place around the country since the League was formed less than two years ago. What is utterly compelling about those faces is not that they are mostly white (they are), nor that they belong mainly to young, working class men (they do), but that they are glowing with pride and self-belief. When was the last time we saw such a thing in England?
For longer than I can recall, the political establishment – whilst applying every trick of social engineering, every financial incentive and crooked educational preference to boost the success and self-esteem of "oppressed" minorities – has simultaneously cursed and kicked the "dole-scrounging", "racist", "knuckle-dragging" working class into a corner, like a mangy, unwanted dog. ("Knuckle-dragger" was just one of the charmless epithets that Galloway spat at Robinson.)
What a delight it is to see that maligned British bulldog finally emerging from the shadows to piss on the feet of his disdainful and controlling masters, and to defiantly bare his teeth at those who would threaten his very survival!
The English Defence League's overriding purpose was succinctly stated by Tommy Robinson in September last year, during the (now legendary) Nazi-flag-burning press conference:
"We're doing it to stand up against Islamic extremists, who have been unchallenged in our country for ten to fifteen years. They're recruiting on our streets, in our universities and our colleges, and the government are doing nothing about it. And to be honest, we don't feel the Islamic community are doing anything about it.... We will stand up against Islamic extremists in the country – that's the message we're sending out.... We will peacefully protest, but we will not be scared into silence."
The point about government inaction was a telling one, for the EDL probably owes its existence to the appeasement policies of successive British governments, which have allowed extremists to spread hate-filled anti-Western bigotry with impunity, and have allowed (by abandonment of immigration controls) the establishment here of intransigent ethnic enclaves and unknown numbers of jihadi terror cells. I believe that most EDL members have a better understanding of the true danger of militant Islam than most elected politicians.
Even if we don't like their methods (and I don't, particularly), we must concede that the EDL is a genuine grass-roots movement (unlike Galloway's Respect Party). And it is bringing forth a new generation of working class leaders of the kind that Labour and the unions used to produce years ago, before they were hijacked by public school Trotskyites. These young men may be raw and inexperienced, but they are learning, and some of them, I have no doubt, will occupy centre stage in years to come.
Tommy Robinson claims that, for his efforts, he and his family have been subjected to a Stasi-style campaign of police intimidation and harassment. Nevertheless the League continues to grow and to improve its organisation, and has recently begun to develop international connections, for example with the American Tea Party movement.
But its weakness as a political organisation (if that's what it is, or wants to be) is its single-issue focus, its lack of broader political objectives, and its lack of a positive philosophy or ideology. Whilst the camaraderie of the crowd and the adrenaline rush of street confrontation with UAF activists may be potent attractions for some disaffected young people, they don't constitute a base for the establishment of an effective political force.
(I'm not sure what to make of the League's vaunted commitment to multi-culturalism, as exemplified by its establishment of a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Division, reputed to be more than one hundred strong. This could be a genuine commitment to diversity and equality, or perhaps a fear of being called "bigots", or maybe just a desire to secure the broadest possible base of support.)
If the rise of the organisation (and its counterparts, the Scottish Defence League and Cymru Defence League) is historically important, as I believe it is, and if the organisation taps into a huge well of righteous energy, as I think it does, then mainstream political parties ought to consider carefully their own relation to it. To dismiss the EDL as a collection of football hooligans would be a mistake, because they are more than that.
Between the Defence Leagues and the British National Party there appears to be much common ground. Whilst the Leagues have been able to mobilise hitherto passive sectors of the population (and are showing encouraging signs of being able to contain violent or lawbreaking tendencies), the BNP has acquired political expertise and maturity over many years, and a level of mainstream appeal (including a more inclusive membership policy) that will be necessary precursors to a major electoral breakthrough.
For these reasons, I hope that the organisations are talking to each other.