Friday, 30 March 2012

A few observations on respect

Understandably the airwaves are full of the news that George Galloway has triumphed in the Bradford West by-election, with accusations full of recrimination coupled with other articles containing supposed enlightened comment flying about left, right and centre. Methinks all need to calm down as one or two matters do not appear to have been considered, namely;

  • What percentage of the votes cast for Galloway were postal votes;
  • What percentage of those postal votes were from the ethnic electorate;
  • What were the percentages of ethnic votes by races and religion;
  • What percentage of those postal votes could be considered 'justifiable';
  • Galloway has in the past shamelessly played the 'Palestine' factor while campaigning; consequentl he brought together his anti-war, pro-Palestine views and aimed his message at the ethnic community;
  • Galloway is a politician and consequently any views he expresses about speaking and caring for the people of Bradford West can only be viewed with suspicion, especially when one bears in mind his parliamentary attendance just before and after the 2005 general election.
In view of the above I would tend to disagree with those who hold that this result was a rejection of the Lib/Lab/Con and all for which those parties stand. Is not the public perception of our political elite as one that comprises white, educational elitists who have never had a real job and consequently invite ridicule when they talk about hard-working families? Was this not a by-election and not are such events renowned for protest votes?

Cranmer has written what can be considered a condemnation of Ukip and Nigel Farage, which brought forth a comment on twitter that Ukip needed to change their strategy in order to win - a comment which, in turn, prompted my response querying how can one change something that does not exist in the first place. To be fair to Ukip, it could be suggested that they were on what may be termed a hiding to nothing in a constituency that contains significant numbers from abroad, a section of our population that Ukip have vowed to repatriate.

It is worth considering other factors following the result of Bradford West. 

  • With Galloway being a 'lone voice' in Westminster, will he now be ostracised by his fellow MPs?
  • Has Galloway 'debased' our electoral system with what may be termed a cynical campaign in which he targeted and exploited ethnicity?
  • Has the policy of multiculturalism not polarised the political views of electorates as a result of ghettoising areas of the country - for example, Bradford, Leicester and Newham?
  • Would Direct Democracy, with that system's inbuilt ability of the electorate to challenge government policy, have allowed multiculturalism and wars to proceed?
  • Had Direct Democracy been the 'norm', would the platform on which Galloway stood have existed; and would politicians such as Galloway exist?
Just asking....................


The Boiling Frog said...

I'm in two minds about the 'rejection of the main parties vote' argument.

I do think that has some traction - and Richard North certainly does - and he lives in the constituency next door. Therefore he knows better than I the feeling 'on the ground'. On the other hand with Richard a suspicions arises that his hatred (rightly) of the political classes may cloud a more neutral analysis.

So one also has to take into account other factors particularly postal fraud. We all know this is a problem especially in more ethnic areas - it's well documented. So it's worth noting that roughly a 3rd of votes cast were by post.

I think this piece by Labour MP John Mann highlights some other worthy points

The Boiling Frog said...

Great piece btw

Woodsy42 said...

"Has Galloway 'debased' our electoral system with .. cynical campaign ... exploited ethnicity?"
Interesting question WfW.
In one sense he has, and I have absolutely no respect for him or his views.
But then isn't this actually democracy in action? In an ethnic seat you appeal to that group, in a rural village or an aspiring suburb I would expect totally different appeals. That's candidates pandering to the local views - yet isn't that what they should do?

TomTom said...

Bradford is corrupt. The Council is corrupt. Two Councillors stood - one for Labour one for LibDems. The UKIP candidate was a Green in January.

Galloway was a good choice. It represents the breakdown of the Bradree Culture and let's younger voters say stuff it to their elders.

Who wants troops in Afghanistan ? Lots of those troops are FROM Bradford.

Stop imposing your Southern English Conservative viewpoints on Northern Voters

BTW John Mann went to BRADFORD Grammar School and lived in Pudsey

I have told you many times before we need a Northern Party and to dump the LibDem/Con/Labour Mafia

James Higham said...

I imagine he's just going to be a loud tin drum, shit out by the establishment at Westminster.

TomTom said...

Yes James Higham, that is why Westminster Democracy is doomed - only Bankers get heard in Westminster - Voters are ignored

TomTom said...

Look at the Guardian Blog:

George Galloway did not win just because of the Moslem vote. Galloway, and Respect, won every council ward covered by the constituency. His supporters included Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, West Indians, the white population and many pensioners like myself who are sick and tired of being kicked in the mouth by the coalition.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

TBF: A thoughtful comment. The campaign Galloway ran was opportunist and cynical in that he targeted the ethnic vote, one which I believe is the majority in that constituency and at the same time ignored the 'issues of the day'.

I accept RN's better knowledge in that he lives 'next door', however as I intimated I do not accept his prognosis.

I read John Mann's piece and feel he too has missed the point. As with the Con and L/D's you cannot appeal to everyone and the fact they did so dismally can be laid at the error of trying to appeal to all in the name of diversity.

Many thanks for the afterthought!

W42: No it is not democracy in action - it is representative democracy in action and that system is not democracy. I repeat my earlier question, namely had we DD would Galloway's platform have existed and would politicians like Galloway exist? Answers on a postcard will do........

TT: Since when have I imposed my conservative (not) views on northern England?

JH: Methinks I will leave you to debate with TT......... :)

TomTom said...


WitteringsfromWitney said...


"George Galloway did not win just because of the Moslem vote. Galloway, and Respect, won every council ward covered by the constituency. His supporters included Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, West Indians, the white population and many pensioners like myself who are sick and tired of being kicked in the mouth by the coalition."

So it was a protest vote and protest votes are well-known to occur mid-term, are they not?

The proof of Galloway's 'standing' will come in 2015, or whenever. Perhaps a repeat of his attempt to retain his seat in 2005?

Just saying........

Woodsy42 said...

"it is representative democracy in action "
OK, point taken, it is our current version of 'democracy' in action, which is what I meant.

TomTom said...

With a 10,000 seat majority on a 50% turnout one has to question whether he would lose that. It would imply a reservoir of faith in LibDem, Labour, Conservative that I do not believe exists.

As Council level it has been NOC for years with a LibDem/Con Coalition replaced in 2010 by a Labour Council and it has a record of municipal waste and destruction of retail space under both administrations.

There is a major hole where the main retail area used to be and leasing of car parks for free parking for Council staff but increased parking charges for mortals. Both administrations paid £500,000 pa in dues for Union Reps but close libraries,

So there must be a yearning for more LibDem/Con policies in a seat containing University Ward - after all students are soooo appreciative of trebled tuition fees.

Since Margaret Thatcher destroyed Bradford in the 1980s, every politician has come to Manningham to genuflect at the god of Metropolitan London PC values but done ZERO for the city.

Ask what use any of Bradford's parties or politicians have been to VOters.

Robert said...

I do not know a great deal about the Bradford area. However, if you compare the by-election with the 2010 election the approx votes lost in the by-election by the main parties were:

Labour -10,200
Cons -10,400
Libdems - 3,500

Total -24,100

Turnout - 7,000

Respect +17,100

It would seem quite a lot of people changed sides from 2010 or stayed at home.

The Conservatives were the biggest losers.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

TT: As I replied to you on another post I believe it has been overlooked that this was a by-election renowned for protest votes and stay at home voters (forgive the contradiction with stay at home voters). As in 2005, I think it reasonable to assume Bradford West will revert to tribal voting once again.

Your 'history' of Bradford only demonstrates that the sooner DD is adopted the better. Those oasis of socialism that want it will be able to have it and can then live by the results.....

R: Nice statistical comment. I think that underlines my reply to TT re stay at home voters and that come 2015 the constituency will revert to its tribal roots.