Phil Parkin of Birmingham's Headline Communications

On my last visit to these pages I wrote about the News of the World's "fake sheikh" and how he should be exposed for his ridiculous stitch-up of England soccer boss Sven Goran Eriksson.

What I said was somewhat tongue in cheek - but hey, truth is stranger than fiction, because someone has actually "outed" the Birmingham "sheikh" for real.

That someone is none other than controversial MP George Galloway, who claims the "sheikh" tried a clumsy sting on him in a bid to trick him into accepting political bribes and making anti-semitic remarks.

This was allegedly done in a manner very similar to the Sven sting, at a late night dinner at a London hotel, and Galloway was obviously not pleased about it.

His response was to report the incident to the police and also to the Speaker of the House of Commons.

He also published two photos of the "sheikh", whose identity is a closely guarded secret, on his website, but was forced to withdraw them when the News of the Screws won a temporary injunction to stop their publication.

The Screws said that the "sheikh" - who is Mazher Mahmood, an undercover reporter from Birmingham - was responsible for the conviction of more than 130 criminals, and as a result was the target of death threats that the police apparently regard as serious and credible.

Death threats are clearly a pretty serious matter.

You might therefore think that this presented Mr Galloway with something of a dilemma - would he continue in his efforts to expose the "sheikh's" identity, or pay heed to the death threats and let the "sheikh's" identity remain a secret?

Well, he obviously didn't need to ponder this for long, because when the temporary injunction was lifted, the pictures reappeared on Galloway's website (including one apparently of Mahmood dressed as the "sheikh").

I can understand why George Galloway has done this - the big problem for the "sheikh" is that his investigations appear to have ceased being serious and now seem to have taken on a "Candid Camera-style" approach, with the apparent aim of achieving nothing more than ridiculing people in the public eye.

I used to hate Candid Camera and its successor, Beadle's About.

I saw nothing remotely interesting or entertaining in the way they humiliated and embarrassed people.

But, in their day, they used to be popular TV shows - and that's what it's all about really.

In the same way that those shows, awful as they were, pulled in a TV audience, then the "sheikh's current antics are no doubt adding a few sales to the "Screws" each Sunday.

However, if this is all that the "sheikh" is about these days, then maybe he's had his day and it's about time he was pensioned off - and now that Galloway has revealed his identity, perhaps that's what will have to happen.