Observations On Bradford West By-elections

Observations On Bradford West By-Elections To Do It Justice I have included the article below:


George Galloway has said his surprise victory in the Bradford West by-election showed the “alienation” of voters from the main political parties.

The Respect Party politician said his win also reflected concerns about jobs and the economy – and was not just based on the support of Muslim voters.

Labour’s Ed Miliband said the loss of the seat was “incredibly disappointing”

He said “local factors” were partly to blame but pledged to “learn lessons” from the defeat.

But the BBC’s chief political correspondent Norman Smith said the poll, coming at the end of a difficult week for the coalition government, should have been a “stroll in the park” and that there were questions whether the Labour leadership could connect with its core supporters.

Mr Galloway, expelled by Labour in 2003, won the by-election by 10,140 votes, in the process of overturning a Labour majority of more than 5,000 at the 2010 general election.

‘Tidal wave’

He told the BBC that his win represented a “peaceful democratic uprising” against the established political parties and their leaders.

“It was a bit of tidal wave and it was one waiting to break all over the country,” he told Radio 4’s World At One.

“There are very large numbers of people completely disenchanted and alienated from the political process and from the mainstream political parties…There is no difference between the Tories, the Lib Dems and New Labour, or at least not a sufficient difference for anyone to notice or care.”

He said he had focused his campaign on tackling Bradford’s economic problems, suggesting the city had “gone backwards” during Labour’s years in government.

“There is a great deal of concern about mass unemployment, poverty, poor educational statistics, poor health and a general sense of abandonment in post-industrial cities like Bradford,” he said.

Other parties have suggested Mr Galloway depended on support from Asian voters in the city, with many Muslim voters attracted to his opposition to the war in Iraq and his call for troops to withdraw from Afghanistan immediately.

Turnout in the by-election was just over 50%, compared with 64.9% in the general election.

Lib Dem MP David Ward, who represents neighbouring Bradford East, has claimed white voters in the constituency “washed their hands” of the campaign.

‘Something big’

He told the BBC the by-election came down to a “straight fight” between Mr Galloway and his Labour opponent for votes in inner-city areas, which have a larger Asian population.

But Mr Galloway said the 50% turnout in the ballot “belied that”.

“We won in virtually every area,” he said. “We got support from all kinds of people.”

He rejected claims that he had focused his message on just one section of the community.

“It was Labour who put up an Asian candidate who campaigned that he was a Pakistani Muslim,” he said. “I don’t think that is a charge that can be laid at us.”

Mr Galloway said Respect, which was formed in 2004 in opposition to the Iraq war, would be campaigning vigorously during the upcoming council and mayoral elections and suggested it was “the start of something big” for the party.

Labour, whose share of the vote fell by more than 20% as it was pushed into second place, have said the result was totally unexpected.

‘Local factors’

Opposition leader Ed Miliband said it was “incredibly disappointing” and he would be visiting the constituency in the next couple of weeks.

“Clearly there were local factors, but I also say only four out of 10 people voted for the three mainstream political parties,” he said.

“We’ve got to understand the reasons why that happened in Bradford.”

He added: “We need to be engaged and rooted in every community of this country. We need to show to people that our politics, that Labour politics, can make a difference to people’s lives.”

The party’s deputy leader Harriet Harman said the result did not reflect a lack of confidence in Mr Miliband’s leadership as the party had performed strongly in other by-elections and council elections over the past year.

The Conservatives, who came third in the by-election with 2,746 votes, also saw their vote fall by more than 20%.

The party’s co-chair, Baroness Warsi, said governments tended not to win by-elections and the result was more damaging for Labour.

“If Labour can’t win one of their safe seats in these tough economic times and in a tough week for the government, how can they win anywhere?

“Not in half a century has an Opposition come back from such an appalling result to win a majority at the next general election.

“This tells you everything you need to know about Ed Miliband’s weak leadership.”

The Lib Dems came fourth and lost their deposit.

Thursday by-election was triggered by the resignation of former Labour MP Marsha Singh, who resigned on health grounds.

Labour had held the West Yorkshire seat since 1974, except for a brief period in the 1980s when the sitting MP defected to the SDP.


Thank you to all my followers who asked me for my observations on Bradford West by-election. The first thing that came to mind was the three main political parties got caught out between their legs. Here we have a situation where a one issue party like Respect that continue to hold what I can only describe as sour grapes over a war in Iraq and Afghanistan from a former Labour Party member of parliament George Galloway.

Most of the main political parties would have known by-elections can change history by their supporters if they don’t deliver what their manifesto states that they will do for the communities. Instead the three main political parties continue with their tribal politics in-house when it comes to their selections of the candidates. This needs to stop as it is damaging the parties and the sad reality of it is that the public sees through this which does not help to clean up politics in the public view.

Until the three main parties get their own house in order public opinion will continue to remain all of the politicians are in it for themselves and nothing will change and us commoners will suffer. Lets not forget it was the three main political parties that suffered a blow from an outsider(Respect Party) which came from nowhere to win a by-election that does speaks volumes.

“It just no good to talk about “We Must learn the lessions from Bradford West”

In the Labour Party there is already of talks that we should replace our leader I say to them get real and stop the infighting start to smell the coffee as we have another battle on our hands like the local elections and referendums on 3 May.

Yes we have a crisis with the wars but lets not forget wars always lead to deaths and there are no winners there will always be losers. Some will say that I’m disrespecting the many soldiers who fought in both wars to bring us the freedom that we all enjoy. Let me be very clear about this my grandfather fought in both wars and I have the almost respect for our arm services and no doubt they would have been judged by their gods if they have done good or bad in their life time.

Voters want to see all the political parties will listen to them and its members that they will listen to all their concerns and not be very selective on what voters are saying.

Let look at George Galloway’s voting record while he was in parliament:

Voting record (from PublicWhip)

How George Galloway voted on key issues since 2001:

  • Voted for a more proportional system for electing MPs. votes
  • Voted moderately against university tuition fees. votes
  • Voted moderately against greater autonomy for schools. votes
  • Voted moderately against a stricter asylum system. votes
  • Voted moderately for equal gay rights. votes
  • Voted moderately for laws to stop climate change. votes
  • Voted very strongly against replacing Trident. votes
  • Voted moderately for removing hereditary peers from the House of Lords. votes
  • Voted strongly for a wholly elected House of Lords. votes
  • Voted a mixture of for and against introducing foundation hospitals. votes
  • Voted a mixture of for and against more EU integration. votes
  • Voted very strongly against the Iraq war. votes
  • Voted moderately for an investigation into the Iraq war. votes
  • Voted moderately against Labour’s anti-terrorism laws. votes
  • Has never voted on automatic enrolment in occupational pensions. votes
  • Has never voted on encouraging occupational pensions. votes
  • Voted a mixture of for and against a smoking ban. votes
  • Voted moderately for a transparent Parliament. votes
  • Has never voted on increasing the rate of VAT. votes
  • Voted strongly against introducing ID cards. votes
  • Has never voted on allowing ministers to intervene in inquests. votes
  • Voted moderately for the hunting ban.

Galloway comfortably topped the poll securing 56 per cent of the vote.

He won 18,341 votes to the 8,201 for Labour candidate Imran Hussain – a 36 per cent swing.

The Tory and Lib Dem candidates were annihilated.

Tory candidate Jackie Whiteley secured only 2,746 votes while Lib Dem candidate Jeanette Sunderland only scraped 1,505 votes and lost her deposit.

Galloway said the win was a “consensual victory” which had nothing to do with race or faith.

“We appealed to people of conscience of all faiths, we appealed to people who opposed the war,” he said. “It was the people of Bradford who voted me in.”

He said he was trying to create a “new Labour Party.

“The Labour Party is the party I’m interested in. I don’t care anything for the Conservatives or Liberal Democrats, I do care about the Labour Party because every country needs a Labour Party,” he said.

Mr Galloway’s assistant Kevin Ovenden said that the victory was the result of national disillusionment with “the old parties who were failing working people across the country.”

He said Labour had stayed on the trajectory set by Tony Blair, war and occupation abroad and failing to tackle inequality at home.

This was particularly relevant in Bradford – “a city which went backwards even during the richest 10 years in the country’s history.

“People have just had enough. What we’ve been hearing from day one is the need for change.

“People were saying ‘You are someone with credibility, someone who has a strong voice’ and what they want said is not in the political lexicon of the Westminster political elite.”

Mr Ovenden pointed out that Bradford had a proud tradition within the Labour movement.

“The independent Labour Party was founded in Bradford in 1893,” he said.

“It was founded by those saying that the people at the top had two parties to speak for them while those at the bottom had none.

“In the first pangs of the Labour movment it was the dispossessed that powered it and the same thing is happening today.

Key priorities would be attracting inward investment and promoting the positive aspects of the city and the campaign to save the historic, and for many Bradfordians iconic, Odeon cinema long threatened with demolition after being left to fall into wrack and ruin.

Labour immediately announced an inquiry into the shock defeat.

Deputy leader Harriet Harman said: “It is a very bad result, there’s no denying it.”

“I think we are going to have to learn lessons. We are going to have to have very, very thorough discussions with all the local Labour people and the local community up in Bradford so we can learn lessons and we have to rebuild from here.”



2 responses to “Observations On Bradford West By-elections

  1. When he was MP for Bethnal Green & Bow his attendance record was 7.6%

    I hope he spends a bit more time representing the views of the people of Bradford West.

  2. When he represented Bethnal Green & Bow his voting record was 7.6%

    I hope he spends more time representing the electorate of Bradford West.

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