Dear Saddam: The Independent's foreign editor brings Iraq's leader up to date on the life and times of his recent guest, George Galloway

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Or do I have to call you 'Sir' now. Long time, no hear. I know this sanctions business means you can't just pick up the phone and dial London, but the odd postcard wouldn't go amiss. It occurred to me the sanctions probably also mean you don't see the British papers, so I thought I'd bring you up to date on all the ruckus there's been since George got back.

Apparently he'd barely got through customs with his duty-free and his complimentary box of 'Gardens of Babylon' dates when he was jumped on by a plain-clothes squad from party HQ and whisked off to Walworth Road for a debriefing. Don't worry. He's all right. In your part of the world, it would be a different matter - hang him from the ceiling, toenails out, quick confession, bang-bang in the back of the head and George dumped at the family home in several binliners by breakfast time.

Never fear. His Central Committee is a bunch of wimps. George is about the only one in the party with a moustache. Need I say more. As it was, they worked him over for about 40 minutes. I haven't heard his side of the story yet as he won't be able to talk until his jaw's unwired.

It's a funny old world, isn't it, as your old sparring partner Baroness Thatcher used to say. You do your bit for world peace and international understanding and this is the thanks you get. A propos, her old faction have been giggling up their sleeves ever since they got the video of George's guest slot on Baghdad Tonight. To think it's less than a week since John Major was in the dock here for allegedly turning a blind eye to all those arms sales to Iraq before the Kuwait business. You remember Major? He's the one who took over after your courageous defence of the inalienable rights of the glorious Iraqi people (sorry, George's rhetoric is catching) knocked Thatcher off her perch. Anyway, the Tories were looking well and truly in the frame until George popped up on prime time and diverted some of the heat.

A friend in need is a friend indeed, as we say in Britain. What a contrast with that fairweather bunch from the Tory party who used to jaunt over to Baghdad in the good old days. Who were they again? There was Tony Marlow, I definitely remember him. You know the portly one with the shifty eyes. No moustache, though (I rest my case). In those days it was: 'Mr President this and Mr President that.' Not any more, I'm afraid, it's more likely to be 'Saddam? Saddam who?'

Before I sign off: a word to the wise. I don't know if George ever told you this, but he's a Scot. For your information, that's a sort of British Kurd and, as you well know, the only good Kurd is a dead Kurd. It's better to be safe than sorry, so you might want to keep the rat poison at the ready if you invite him back.

Love to all the family (or those that have survived, haha])

(Photograph omitted)

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