George Galloway

Is “Gorgeous” George’s by-election win in Bradford West really such a surprise? After all, he must surely be the most recognisable British politician outside the main parties (and to a large extent within them as well.)

Plus he was outspoken against the Iraq War, is widely thought to be pro-Muslim, and Bradford has a large Muslim population.

And it was a by-election, where nowadays you are more or less a free pass to kick against any incumbent political party.

It can be seen as a rejection of them all, the unpopularity of the Tories and Lib-Dems as the coalition makes one wrong decision after another, and (I’m guessing here) the taking for granted by Labour of their vote along with their ineffectiveness at opposition.

Whether it is a portent of anything more significant I doubt, as George’s Respect Party is pretty much a one-man show. He may retain the Bradford West seat at the next General Election but I can’t see many more Respect MPs joining him, if any.

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  1. Craigie

    He may be joined by Selma Yaqoob in Birmingham, but whether he is the only Respect MP at the next election isn’t entirely the point. A protest vote it may have been, and the Muslim community in Bradford may have been backing Gorgeous George, but clearly this is not the full story. Half the population in the constituency is white, 40 per cent is Asian, which of course covers a broad range of religions. It isn’t a left turn but the mainstream parties should be concerned. The Greens are the most likely to gain from a rejection of the main parties.

  2. jackdeighton

    History suggests that voters tend to return to the “main” parties at General Elections but I wouldn’t be much surprised if more MPs outside the usual suspects are elected next time. There have been a few in the recent past, so people may develop a taste for it.

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