Bradford West voters show their respect for Labour’s safe seat and vote in George Galloway as MP

This morning’s news headlines called it a “surprise landslide victory”. That’s shorthand for commentators being caught off guard and not accurately capturing the mood of the “safe Labour” Bradford West electorate who turned out in force (turnout just over 50%) to return George Galloway to Parliament in the by-election. Results via the BBC:

  • Candidate (Party), vote (vote share, change since 2010)
  • George Galloway (Respect) 18,341 (55.89%, +52.83%)
  • Imran Hussain (Lab) 8,201 (24.99%, -20.36%)
  • Jackie Whiteley (C) 2,746 (8.37%, -22.78%)
  • Jeanette Sunderland (LD) 1,505 (4.59%, -7.08%)
  • Sonja McNally (UKIP) 1,085 (3.31%, +1.31%)
  • Dawud Islam (Green) 481 (1.47%, -0.85%)
  • Neil Craig (D Nats) 344 (1.05%)
  • Howling Laud Hope (Loony) 111 (0.34%)

With the London Mayoral election just around the corner – in which the Green Party recently announced they’d recommend their voters transferred to Ken Livingstone as the lesser of two evils – Labour will need to respond quickly to avoid the anti-Labour sentiment spreading any further.

If only Vincent Hanna had been around to report on the by-election build-up and reports! As he once reported on Newsnight Blackadder:

At the Election Polls
(announcer, Vincent Hanna, speaks)

H: Good evening and welcome to the Dunny-on-the-Wold bye-election. The first thing I must tell you is that the turnout has been very good. As a matter of fact, the voter turned out before breakfast. And I can bring you the result of our exculsive exit poll, which produced a 100-percent result for “Mind-Your-Own-Business-You-Nosy-Bastard.”

(a voice shouts out): Mr. Hanna, are you going to talk to any of the candidates?

H: I certainly am, and I can see Prince George, who is leader of what has become known as the `Adder Party’; Prince George, who is described in his party news sheet as a “great moral and spiritual leader of the nation,” but is described by almost everyone else as a “fat, flatulent git.” (to George) Prince George, hello.


  • I make that a 1.41% swing from Conservative to Labour.

    Moreover, (cont.on p.92) …

  • John Anderson

    The most significant consequence of this result is that it may quietly reignite the debate amongst some at the top of Labour that Ed has the aura of an electoral loser. There is every chance that Johnson will defeat Livingstone in London and that the SNP will continue to steamroller Labour in Scotland (even in the battle for Glasgow council). Don’t forget that the party went for David in 2010, and these hypothetical results would certainly not boost the younger sibling’s reputation any further.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Malcolm, I would have voted Labour to keep George out.

    OK, this could be treading on thin ice but Bradford West has nothing to do with Ed Milliband, Labour, the Conservative party or anything normal, the result so far as I can see is a victory for Islamists, and many of the more extreme varieties at that. George has courted their vote for years, palling it up with butchers all over the world, beneath the Big Brother clown is a thougly disgusting apologist from extremism of many varieties. It is further proof that many in the Muslim community have no intention of integration and would rather show contempt for democracy by electing the most useless MP to set foot in Wesminster (check his old voting record).

  • John Anderson

    Drumlins – by-elections anywhere are a hybrid of many issues, but the fact Ed turned up on the hustings and sent other top brass there means he cannot distance himself altogether from the outcome. The coming contests however will reveal much more than this result in an unusual constituency.

  • Harry Flashman

    Can’t stand Galloway, I loathe everything he stands for but I’m delighted at this result, at last issue politics are returning to the UK after the twenty year torpor of the Lib/Lab/Con consensus.

    Hopefully right wing candidates will do the same thing in safe Tory seats and politics can return to normal after the eradication of Blair/Cameronism.

  • john

    Love him or hate him he is great entertainment!

  • The weekend papers will “explain” Bradford West. Whether we are any the wiser is a different matter.

    I certainly wouldn’t try any “explanation”, so … merely an observation.

    Nobody, though, should claim the constituency is “typical” of anywhere. Manningham and Toller (where is much of the Anglo-Pakistani community) remain deplorably deprived areas. Let’s not forget the street disorders of 1995 and 2001: those events — and the accompanying policing strategies — have left a legacy. There is a thriving drug subculture. Stop-and-search is an issue. The EDL have been exploiting the situation. Media interest is largely hostile. It didn’t help that the outgoing MP was a Sikh. All-in-all the Anglo-Pakistanis have been systematically alienated.

    But no way is the “solution” Galloway.

    Anyone prepared to wager how long before he stages his suspension from a Commons sitting?

  • DT123

    Unintegrated Muslims vote for mad Islamist apologist,how on earth is anyone suprised by this?

  • Drumlins Rock

    John, I don’t mind Ed taking flack for it obviously, but the bigger issues this reveals is much more important. Interesting London’s Galloway lite is just about in the Labour Fold, but that hasn’t stopped him courting the same extremist vote, hopefully it is costing him more support than what he is gaining, but it remains as nasty, if not a more nasty development in British Politics than the rise of the BNP or EDL.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Cranmer has a good perspective form before the vote took place, including a letter by Galloway appealing to Muslim voters.

  • derrydave

    Love him or loathe him – he is one of the great orators in politics today. I thoroughly enjoyed all 12 minutes of that video – always good to see the ebb and flow of a highly skilled public speaker who keeps his audience engaged. And before everyone jumps in, yes I am aware that he is a bit of a cretin 🙂

  • HeinzGuderian

    London d….you would have been enthralled by the Fuhrer………….??

  • Greenflag

    As one commentator put it -only 4 out of 10 voters cast their ballot for one of the mainstream parties Tory, Labour or Lib Dems .

    This is a bigger loss for the Labour Party than they could have envisioned . Its a slap in the face for Ed Milliband no question .

    Galloway is stating what an increasing number of people are finally becoming aware of and that is that our ‘elected politicians ‘ be they Labour or Tory or FG or FF or Irish Labour or GOP or Dems in the USA have become ever more remote from the concerns of ordinary people .
    This election will be written off as a one off because of this particular constituency . Given a further deterioration of the British economy under the Cameroonians and a nother couple of weeks like the past one and the too obvious lacklustre and empty Labour Party ‘resistance ‘ then this Respect Party may raise it’s profile come the next election and surprise even more constituencies .

    Vox populi yer man Galloway – a wild Jeremiah at times but then we live in an age when our political representatives not only haven’t got answers but they haven’t even got around to formulating the questions . Well done the Bradford folks !

  • keano10

    The speech that Galloway gave to the US Senate several years ago was one of the finest pieces of oratory I’ve ever seen from any foreign politician on US soil. He even managed to stop most of America’s mainstream TV news networks in their tracks as his superb defence against The Senate Committee was given huge coverage across all the networks. Even dear old Fox News allowed him a personal interview!

    Fair play to him. He tapped into the angst of Muslim Britain and absolutely slaughtered the Labour candidate. Milliband’s stammering, waffly appearance on TV News today bore the hallmarks of a guy with no direction and no answer to Labour’s drift from their core voters. He should be worried alright. Seriously worried…

  • It is ironic that George Galloway is opposed to Scottish independece because I cant think of a poplitician who has served the cause of nationalism more than Galloway thru his victory last night.
    The old image of a homogenous “United Kingdom” based on the Stanley Matthews Cup Final and the 1953 “Coronation” has been discarded in favour of multiculturalism and diversity and all that.
    Yet it is hard to see the folks in Bradford West being overly enthusiastic about the Olympics and having street parties for the Jubilee…….welcome to the “United Kingdom 2012”
    Of course as the campaign began several British soldiers from nearby Huddersfield were being killed in Afghanistan. On the eve of poll an inquest was held into the death (verdict “unlawful killing”) of a young female army bomb disposal expert in Afghanistan. She was also from Yorkshire.
    So Bradford West does not seem a place fit for heroes.

    In 2012, it is clearly no longer enough that Labour MPs in Bradford, Burnley, Blackburn or Bolton keep a calendar in their constituency offices marking out the holy days in Muslim, Hindu or Sikh life……so that they can publish some good wishes in the local weekly newspaper……………before travelling to London to be lobby fodder in a vote on a war in the Indian sub-continent. It doesnt work like that anymore. Nor does it work to head hunt loca Muslims for the Labour Party.

    Of course there is only one George Galloway but there are several places like Bradford………where Respect councillors can be elected. More critically it can take votes from Labour in marginal areas at General Elections. Respect wont go away…..ya know.
    Notwitstanding his occasional buffoonery, questionable relationships with dictators……..tempered by suberb oratry and being right on the money about Iraq and Afghanistan…..from a purely nationalist perspective, the election of Galloway is to be welcomed.
    A bad day for Labour. But a worse day for the “United Kingdom”.
    Of course, the chattering classes in Islington make a big issue out of marginalised young Asians and passive older Asians and indeed the wider question of involving people in the political process. They should have been more careful what they wished for. Islington dinner parties tonight will be interesting. Perhaps they would have preferred if the marginalised and passive had stayed at home.

    In his moment of triumph George Galloway is entitled to ramp up the hyperbole. But surely the 1981 Fermanagh-South Tyrone by election was the most stunning.In a straight fight between a “Terrorist” and a “Democrat”.the “Terrorist” won.

  • tacapall

    The usual voices sing the same tunes – His connections with Islamic’s, courts dictators, apologist for extremism the best being “unintegrated Muslims” or untrained foreigners if we’re gonna be honest. The man doesn’t wear blinkers and he speaks his mind, values that undermine and cause offense to the establishment. Well they are bringing “western democracy” to all those Muslim countries and it seems Muslim’s have decided to play the game and some people don’t like it that they exercised their right to vote for someone who they believe will speak and act in their best interests, three cheers for democracy hip hip ….

  • keano10

    “But surely the 1981 Fermanagh-South Tyrone by election was the most stunning.In a straight fight between a “Terrorist” and a “Democrat”.the “Terrorist” won.”

    That’s a pretty stark analysis FJH.
    “One man’s terrorist is another man’s…” (and all that…).

    Harry West, whom Sands gloriously defeated, admittedly is not known to have borne arms but some of his views were extreme enough at times. It was he who recruited the ex-Tory racist, Enoch powell into the ranks of the UUP and he was bitterly oppsoed to Terence O’Neill’s initial plans to get Catholics into some sort of power-sharing.

    I agree with you though that it certainly was something of a show-stopper when that particular result was announced…

  • Or was it just a betting coup?

    Unlike most commenters here:

    1. Excluding visions of paradise, such the sunset seen from the Steam Packet Inn at Isle of Whithorn, I find little to admire in Galloway.

    2. Nothing that happened last night will reshape the electoral map of Britain.

    I hope Harry Flashman will confide in us the “issue” he sees at Bradford West. If it is the desperation of a close, impoverished community, he might suggest (libertarian) ways of dealing with the “issue”.

  • andnowwhat

    For comedy value, I highly recommend people to listen to George’s interview on Radio 5Live.

    I’ve never been able to make my mind up about Galloway but I hope Labour use te result in a positive way. Getting rid of Ed Milliband ASAP would be a start

  • Keano 10
    I put the words in quotes because that was how it was seen.
    The result sent shock waves thru Fermanagh where traditionally farmers helped their neighbours regardless of religion. I think it was Ken Magennis who made this point.
    The similarity is that most unionists thought the average Catholic was far too “respectable” to vote for a “terrorist”.
    Again I put these words in quotes…….and probably the average “English” person thought that the majority of Bradford Muslims were far too “respectable” to vote for Galloway.
    For the record, I lived in Dungannon from 1979 to 1982 and abstained in that election.

  • I’d have to go some of the way with fitzjameshorse1745 @ 4:04 pm.

    Galloway, never one to sell himself short, claims this to be “the most sensational result in British by-election history bar none”. In his dreams.

    More important and “stunning” than Carmarthen in ’66 (making Plaid real players)? Hamilton in ’67 and Govan in ’73 (milestones of the SNP)? FST in ’81 (as above)? Darlington in ’83 (when the SDP hit the wall)?

  • Well I thought of Hamilton and Orpington.
    Id forgotten Govan.
    But arguably Fermanagh-South Tyrone had the biggest long term effect, in part bolstered by a second by-election after Bobby Sands died.

  • andnowwhat

    You might like this Malcolm

  • wild turkey


    demo crassy speaks. and many, for many reasons, might not like the sound. so be it.

    but Gorgeous George has pulled off another one.

    Heinz, i take your point about enthrallement and fuhrers, the same way i take shakespeares perspective on the mob. personally, i take solace in the choruses of Euripides.

    that said, i doubt if Galloway, like der Fuhrer had the covert backing of many business and banking types. analogies only stretch so far

    finally, for what is worth sluggerites, as of 18:45 30 March, the aljazeera website in its european section was reporting on british petrol shortages…. but nothing on Bradford and Galloway

  • andnowwhat:

    Thanks for that. If not quite a “car-crash interview”, at least a nasty skid-mark.

    I’d have more time for Galloway were he not so self-seeking and arrogant with it.

    My main problem, though, is with his fellow-travellers. He has every reason and right to argue the Palestinian case. The problems come when that trips over into licensed anti-semitism. When he was seeing off Oona King in Tower Hamlets, Respect (though not Galloway himself) went completely off-piste. Now there are noises off about the Bradford campaign (see Carl Packman’s piece at Left Foot Forward).

  • qwerty12345

    Thoroughly enjoying Galloway’s victory. Got a good chuckle out of Drumlins thin ice skating too.

    So, those who reject the main British parties and who don’t support military adventures abroad are Islamists?

    Better get my prayer mat.

  • In passing, I’d recommend catching Fraser Nelson’s take, at the Spectator Coffee House. He segues neatly from Bradford, via the SNP, to antipathy to and apathy over both main parties:

    There won’t be an army of Galloway’s marching on parliament at the next election. It’s like Glasgow East: a classic Labour safe seat-cum-‘rotten borough’ taken for granted (and ignored) for so long that the ruling party’s apparatus had atrophied. Like John Mason in Glasgow East, Galloway won’t last long.

  • Barry the Blender

    There won’t be an army of Galloway’s marching on parliament at the next election. It’s like Glasgow East: a classic Labour safe seat-cum-‘rotten borough’ taken for granted (and ignored) for so long that the ruling party’s apparatus had atrophied. Like John Mason in Glasgow East, Galloway won’t last long.

    I’m not convinced I accept that analysis.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Malcolm, i think Douglas Murry’s take is much more on the ball,

    Qwerty, I didnt say that, what has happened is Islamists have elected Galloway, and I suspect they aren’t all peace loving lefties.

  • I meant to acknowledge those above who prompt us to recall the Hitchens v. Galloway debate.

    Worth hunting out is Alex Massie’s view (“The Grapple in the Big Apple”, in The Scotsman, 16th September, 2005) of that set-to, including Hitch’s put-down:

    Referring to Galloway’s support for Saddam Hussein and the MP’s recent trip to Syria where he shared a platform with that country’s dictator Bashar Assad, Hitchens declared that “The man’s hunt for a tyrannical fatherland never ends. The Soviet Union let him down, Albania’s gone. Saddam’s been overthrown. But on to the next, in Damascus.” This was good and surely indisputable stuff.

    By the way, few have yet cottoned on to the curious campaign the Tory candidate, Jackie Whiteley, ran (or didn’t) — and this was Tory target seat number 76 in 2010, very much one of the seats the Tories need to win to form a government. How long should we give Baroness Warsi (of Dewsbury, just down the A636) in her present job?

  • Blissett

    While, yeah Galloway courted the Muslim vote, that can hardly have been the only factor. The white working class is still comfortably the largest group in Bradford, and I assume Bradford West. Why is the fact that apparently they didnt really vote for Labour not examined? Labour failed miserably, that as much as Galloway winning is the story. Their base has little to no faith in them.

    I dont like Galloway, I think he is an egotist, and not all that terribly principled, as well as a bit of cynical bandwagoner. But I dont think this result means that the Islington set need to worry about Sharia Law in the north. The muslim vote, real and all as it is, is only part of the story.

  • Personally I hope he invokes parliamentary privelege to mention the Rangers Tax Case in his maiden speech.
    Malcolm Redfellow makes a good point about anti-semitism …it is the elephant in the room.
    But arguably George Galloway is more traditionally Labour than anyone in Labour Party HQ.
    He seems more at home in Bradford than Blair was in Sedgefield or Miliband in Doncaster…..or the other Miliband in South Shields.

    Israel (and Drumlins Rock is right about thin ice) is a Bloggers nightmare. Especially but not exclusively in USA.
    There is a case to be made about Labour and Zionism and support for Israel. But there is no case to be made that includes the ethnicity of Ed Miliband. These two facts are often used to make mischief, on both sides of the argument.

  • Zig70

    Bradford votes against war shock, Galloway is a tool. He reminds me of our own Jim Allister. I wouldn’t necessarily say that this demonstrates Ed is too goofy to win the popularity contest but the slur can’t be argued with.

  • Drumlins Rock

    vote against war my arse, vote for “get the infidels out” more like.

  • Harry Flashman

    Galloway safely preempted the “it’s the Muslims wot won it” argument in his interview with Sky held before the result even came out.

    Initially Galloway puts it diplomatically pointing out that he polled well in all areas, then when the Sky interviewer brings up the Labour spinmeisters’ “Muslim vote” trope, he rather more explicitly points out that he got the white vote too. Then he bluntly points out that it was Labour that put the Pakistani Muslim candidate up while he himself is a white Scotsman.

    Point to Galloway I think.

    I too recall Galloway’s testimony before Congress, I sat up to watch looking forward to seeing him skewered, they didn’t land a glove on him, he knocked the balls back all over the court and won hands down.

    Like I say, I loathe the man’s politics, but I respect men of principle and good oratory, he’s one of those great maverick parliamentarians that the House of Commons regularly throws up and which are a credit to that institution, I think of Enoch Powell, Dennis Skinner among others.

  • Dewi

    I didn’t see that coming. Statistics are astonishing.

  • Greenflag

    ‘Point to Galloway I think.; HF

    Game , set and match I’d have thought .

    ‘I did’nt see that coming’ Dewi

    Nobody did . They did’nt want to . The English white ‘working’ class has been skewered these past couple of decades and particularly north of the Watford gap . And now it’s the squeezed middle classes turn . So squeezed have they become that Labour’s ‘southern’ intellegentsia’ already cut off from Scotland and Wales are now seen to be cut off from much of England .

    The soon to be new Labour ‘leader’ explains the loss

    Does not convince me but she avoided/did’nt answer the most important question which just means she’s just another Labour pol on the make .

    Meanwhile Mr Cameron pours some more oil to keep the home fires burning in his Munich speech were he echoed Kanzler Merkel’s comment a few weeks ago that ‘Multi culturalism’ has failed ‘?

    Dear oh dear what will the man come up with next 😉

  • DC

    Greenflag, I’m warming up to blue Labour myself, pro-markets but with the regulation, restricted migration – monitored and managed, and revising new public management in the public sector, enterprise zones but with new regional banks to fund them like germany.

    Would love to see a debate on multiculturalism happen on slugger.

  • Harry Flashman

    “I’m warming up to blue Labour”

    I always understood Blue Labour referred to the new Tories, either way it has now got to the ridiculous situation that the “centre ground” is so crowded you couldn’t get a cigarette paper between the Lib/Lab/Con policies.

    This has been noticed by the electorate who are crying out for real politics again

    The sooner Labour, Tories and LibDems offically merge into the single squishy, focus-group obsessed party they to all intents and purposes already are and real Socialist, Conservative and Liberal parties re-emerge the better.