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What George Galloway’s victory in Bradford does and doesn’t tell us

By Sunny Hundal
March 30th 2012

George Galloway’s return to Parliament last night thanks to the people of Bradford has sparked the usual bun-fights on Twitter with people saying how this reinforces what they’ve always believed anyway.

Here are some thoughts on last night’s win, some I already made on Twitter today.

1. Galloway deserves criticism
There is a fair bit of whataboutery going on today on the left about Galloway being not as bad as others. But we already know that Tony Blair was a lying, hypocritical politician who also supported dictatorships when politically expedient.

That doesn’t excuse George Galloway’s behaviour. Let’s look through the charge sheet briefly:

Galloway supported the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a quasi-dictator who brutally clamped down on democratic activists in Iran and funds terrorist groups across the Middle East.

He keeps defending the oppressive dictatorial regime in Syria, and did so again recently. He has no regard for gay rights (‘Iran doesn’t excute homosexuals, only rapists’) or women’s rights.

I despised the hypocritical neocons, but that’s no reason to start defending George Galloway. He should be judged on his own merit and for that deserves criticism.

2. Sectarian politics?
People keep calling this a return to ‘sectarian politics’ – which is bizarre since almost every party other than Respect lost votes in Bradford last night.

Just because British Muslims vote for a man in Bradford doesn’t make it sectarian: they are British citizens too. After all, many British Muslims rejected George Galloway in Tower Hamlets not long ago.

Galloway may be sectarian but it doesn’t mean people voted for him for sectarian reasons.

3. A blow to Ed Miliband? No.
Memo to Labour people angry it didn’t hold a safe seat: the rot – taking your core vote for granted – started ages ago, not under this leader.

I was briefly on BBC 5 Live this morning, and some small businessmen from Bradford (white and Asian) called in to support Galloway. They didn’t care much for his politics, but they lamented that Labour took them for granted and didn’t do enough for the people there.

Labour’s local politics is very inconsistent: very grassroots and energised in some areas while completely moribund and defunct in others. The party has to get to grips with this and stop taking its traditional voters for granted.

Originally published in Liberal Cosnpiracy

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