What a week it has been for Britain and politics. First panic ensued over petrol, stamps, and pasties, and just after 2am on Friday morning came the result Labour had been quietly dreading. Respect politician George Galloway won the Bradford West by-election by a landslide.
Regardless of whether or not you agree with him, it is clear that George Galloway is far from an ordinary man. At times I wonder if he’s mad (and I’m not just saying this because he appeared on Big Brother — the mother of all appalling ‘reality’ TV shows), but I do have tremendous respect for him for having the balls to express his views even if they may be unpopular with mainstream politics. And if you’ve ever heard him speak, it’d be hard to disagree that he is a captivating and entertaining speaker.
BBC’s Nick Robinson said that “George Galloway has proved that he has the charisma, the celebrity and the message to appeal to the young, the disillusioned and the angry particularly in the Muslim community”. This reaction is expected not just since “opposition parties during government crises are meant to win and win big”, but also because nobody likes to lose. The Tories presumably aren’t feeling that great over this loss either, but I reckon they have plenty of other things to worry about (i.e. a country in decline due to a miserably failing government).
I don’t see George Galloway’s victory as a huge setback for mainstream politics. After all, it’s not like this is occurring all across the country. That said, Galloway’s victory does show that with the right candidate, minority politics still does have a voice. I just hope nothing like this happens with say, the BNP.