“The cat” returns to frontline politics
This has been a humiliating week for all three of the main parties but the mammoth success of George Galloway in Bradford West last night is an especially worrying development for them.
“Laughing stock” George Galloway playing a cat with Rula Lenska, born Countess Roza-Marie Leopoldyna Lubinenska, on 13th January 2006 in Celebrity Big Brother
“Cash for Cameron,” the ignition of “petrol panic” and the “pasty tax” debacle have brought embarrassment to the coalition government, but the “Bradford Spring” that brings the apologist for Saddam Hussein back to the Houses of Parliament can only signal trouble.
Galloway, whom was thrown out of Labour party in 2003 before beating them in Bethnal Green & Bow in 2005, secured 55.9% of the vote and a 10,140 majority in Bradford West. Of his win, Galloway stated:
"By the grace of God, we have won the most sensational victory in British political history… Labour has been hit by a tidal wave in a seat they have held for many decades and dominated for 100 years. I have won a big victory in every part of the constituency, including in areas many people said I should not even compete."
George Galloway beat Labour’s Imran Hussain with a swing of 36.59%
That Galloway, a man who once pretended to be a cat licking milk from the palms of the pantomine actress Rula Lenska in the Celebrity Big Brother reality show, can see off mainstream politicians is especially illustrative of our lack of faith in them. Like the equally tedious former BBC journalist Martin Bell, who beat Neil Hamilton in Tatton as an independent candidate in 1997, before him, Galloway does, to his credit, fight for what he believes in. His election proves that he can connect with voters in a better way than the likes of Cameron, Clegg and Milliband and they should learn from this.
This result is hugely disappointing for Labour but the drop of 22.78% in support for the Conservatives is also telling. The party, since the replacement of Steve Hilton with Craig Oliver as their director of communications, has gone into a public relations meltdown.
With the likes of Francis Maude making foolish remarks about jerry cans and Cornish pasties and David Cameron himself becoming embroiled in “horsegate,” the party has lost it’s focus and become increasingly Titanic-like in how it appears in the media. To get the ship back on course, I’d suggest it might be best if Craig Oliver were forced off the bridge.
The Right Honourable Harriet Harman QC MP
On BBC Radio 4’s Today programe this morning, Harriet Harman, the Shadow Deputy Prime Minister, excused her party’s loss as a:
“Very disappointing result… There is a particular issue in Bradford… We cannot jump to any swift conclusions… We need a proper inquiry into it… The bandwagon took over and we lost the votes. We didn’t neglect a northern constituency.”
Ms Harman, however, failed to answer the inexcusable failure of her boss, Ed Milliband, to profit electorally from what must be one of the worst weeks in office in this parliament for the Conservative Party. It seems, like Neil Kinnock before him, Milliband just cannot get a grip of running an effective opposition.
Sayeeda Warsi, The Right Honourable Baroness Warsi PC, Minister without Portfolio and co-Chairman of the Conservative Party
On the same programme the Conservative’s Baroness Warsi seized upon this when she commented:
“If Ed Milliband, can’t get his act together now, when will he?”
Though I, like many, find the current Con-Lib coalition utterly abhorrent, I have to admit that she has a point.
To view George Galloway’s Bradford West campaign website, go to: http://www.votegeorgegalloway.com
Follow George Galloway on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/georgegalloway