Current Magazine

George Galloway Wins Bradford West; a Blow for Mainstream Politics?

Posted on the 30 March 2012 by Periscope @periscopepost
George Galloway wins Bradford West; a blow for mainstream politics?

George Galloway. Pretended to be a cat on television. Photocredit:

George Galloway, the Respect party candidate who remains in mot people’s memories for pretending to drink milk from an actress’s hands in an edition of Celebrity Big Brother, has won a by election in the North of England. He’s taken Bradford West from Labour, winning by over 10,000 votes. It’s the first time a candidate from an independent party has won a by-election since 1973, and the first time since 2000 that the main opposition party has lost a seat in a by-election.

Galloway had been expelled by Labour in 2003. The Bradford constituency had been held by Labour since 1974. Galloway won 56 per cent of the vote, with a 65 per cent turnout. The Labour candidate, Imran Hussein, came second, with 8,201 votes, reported the BBC; the Conservative Jackie Whiteley had 2,746 votes, and the Lib Dem Jeanette Sunderland gained 1,505. Labour MP Toby Perkins said that Galloway’s success was partly due to his celebrity status. Galloway’s campaign focused mostly on his anti-war stance – which got him thrown out by Labour in the first place.

In slightly overblown terms, Galloway claimed that the result was a “Bradford Spring” and that his “mammoth majority” was a “total rejection” of the three main political parties. Commentators say that whilst he may be a maverick, and his win may have a lot to do with his supposed charisma and celebrity status, what he has done is show that some people are not happy with mainstream Westminster politics. Both Labour and the Tories should take a lesson.

A one off? Nick Robinson on the BBC said that Galloway had the “charisma, the celebrity and the message” that got through to “the young, the disillusioned”, and, most pertinently, the Muslim community. It’s a “setback” for Labour, since the opposition party during a crisis should be winning big. Still, the Tories shouldn’t be happy either, as they only came a “poor third.” This is “[a]n extraordinary result but surely a one-off political coup by a political one-off.”

Don’t read too much into it. David Cowling, the BBC’s resident psephologist, said that Bradford West wasn’t a “typical” seat – during the Labour landslide of 1997, it swung to the Conservatives (though stayed Labour); and in 2010, when there was a major Conservative swing, it went 2.7 per cent to Labour. So one must be “cautious about reading great national trends into this result.”

Good for the Conservatives? The Tories can be happy, though, said Iain Martin in The Daily Telegraph. Galloway’s victory is “a disaster for Ed Milliband.” “Lucky old Cameron.” In the crisis circumstances of the moment, “Labour should be winning comfortably.” The Tories have “some way to go” in winning ethnic minority constituencies. But really Labour are in trouble. The party’s opponents won’t be dismissing this as a “feverish by-election” – they’ll say that Milliband is failing. And Galloway will be in the House of Commons now – he’s a “skilled rhetorician with a gift for needling the Labour leadership.”

Watch out for minority parties. Damian Thompson, also on The Telegraph, said that “identity politics” was “alive and well” and showed that “hatred of Westminster” was behind the result. He added that Muslims – ordinary ones, not extremists – obviously felt “alienated” from politics, and had thus elected a “maverick.” And ultimately it shows that “All three major parties are despised. Watch out for cunning footwork by minority parties. After all, we already have, God help us, a Green MP.”

Shockwaves. Political blogger Guido Fawkes said that Labour bloggers were “not happy” with the party’s management of the by-election: “A defeat after ‘this week’s circus’ and while ten points ahead has sent a mighty shockwave right through the professional party.” Chris Wimpress on The Huffington Post added: “have any of our politicians had a real wake-up call about this lately? No, they’ve collapsed into a fit of blustering over party funding, and then been happily distracted over rows surrounding Cornish pasties. They don’t eat many of those in Bradford West.”

But not a surprise. Peter Hoskins on The Spectator said that Galloway comparing his win to the Arab spring “leaves a nasty, bitter tang in the air.” But that’s to be expected – “Bluster, exaggeration and provocation are, after all, what Galloway does best.” And the result wasn’t even a suprise – Ladbrokes “suspended betting” on the result after “a rush of money was put down” on him.

Bad for Westminster. Galloway pulled off the same trick in Bethan Green and Bow in 2005, said the New Statesman’s Staggers blog. But the seat swung back to Labour after Galloway’s “lustre had faded” – his record of “parliamentary absenteeism and ill-advised media posturing” didn’t help. But what Galloway has done is show that Labour is now seen as an Establishment party: “for many people, Labour, Tory, Lib Dem are all different brands of the same essential product.” And no party knows how to make the kind of big swings into each other’s terrain that will win them more votes. “George Galloway might be a unique character but the circumstances that gifted him victory might be replicated in hundreds of constituencies around the country. The Big Cosy Westminster Party took a beating last night.”

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Happiness Is... Believing in Yourself

    Happiness Is... Believing Yourself

    In the blink of an eye, we've come to the last quarter of 2018. How amazing does time pass us by, right? The year end is always a very busy time for me and... Read more

    The 14 October 2018 by   A Happy Mum
  • Early Autumn in the Front Garden

    Early Autumn Front Garden

    When I posted at the end of September I included a photo of the front garden, which I rarely post pictures of. One of my readers suggested that I post more ofte... Read more

    The 14 October 2018 by   Patientgardener
  • 6 Tips On How To Pass Post UTME

    Since institutions have been given the autonomy to carry out post UTME examination, to be on a safer side you are advised to start preparing for the exam. Read more

    The 14 October 2018 by   Naijapary
  • After 11years Of Dating, Man Takes His Girlfriend to Santorini to Propose, See...

    After 11years Dating, Takes Girlfriend Santorini Propose, Reply Gave (Photos)

    11Years? I Cannot imagine myself dating a lady for so long, I mean what are we gonna be doing all those years. But well, This man doesn’t seem like its a big... Read more

    The 14 October 2018 by   Naijapary
  • NYT Celebrates Our Kansas City Chiefs Today

    Celebrates Kansas City Chiefs Today

    Yes sir, the one and only New York Times has a very prominent, front sports page article on our own Kansas City Chiefs, our Patrick Mahomes and how we naturally... Read more

    The 14 October 2018 by   Morage
  • SEPECAT Jaguar E

    SEPECAT Jaguar

    @Le Bourget, France December 2016 Among the outdoor exhibits of the Musée de l’air et de l’espace is this Jaguar E.  The E variant was a two-seat training... Read more

    The 14 October 2018 by   Htam
  • Businesses Need Employee Engagement More Than Process

    Businesses Need Employee Engagement More Than Process

    The days of leadership without engagement are gone. With interactive social media and video everywhere, everyone needs to feel they have a relationship with... Read more

    The 14 October 2018 by   Martin Zwilling