Galloway victory is rejection of austerity and war


Socialist Resistance strongly welcomes the stunning victory of George Galloway and the Respect Party in the Bradford West by election. His majority of 10,000 is a remarkable achievement (see results below). It was, as George Galloway said in his acceptance speech, the most sensational result in by-election history. Only 4 out of 10 voters voted for the establishment parties. It is a rejection not only of the Con Dems and their policies of cuts and war but of Labour’s timidity in fighting them. It was a rejection, in a highly multi-cultural society, of nearly 10 years of war drive, the occupation of other people’s countries, scapegoating of the poor and Islamophobia.

The result recalls the huge potential and electoral resonance which Respect enjoyed after it was launched in January 2004 following George Galloway’s expulsion from the Labour Party for calling of British troops not to fight in Iraq.

It is also another major opportunity for Respect to build something serious to the left of Labour, something it failed to do after George Galloway defeated Oona King in Bethnal Green and Bow in the general election of June 2005 and despite the mass support Salma Yaqoob won in south Birmingham. The need for such a party to tackle the problem of working class representation is as strong today as it was in 2004 yet every opportunity has come to very little.

Socialist Resistance members were members of Respect for several years. We sought to develop the support it had won in some of the most deprived communities in Britain into a broad-based and democratic party of the left. We argued that it had to function as a party all year round and not just during the run up to elections. We encouraged it to develop a programme that addressed the needs of working people. Our experience convinced us that this cannot be achieved on the basis of loose networks and preemptive top down decision making processes but only on the basis of a fully democratic and broad-based political party. We urge Respect to set a new course in that direction.

George Galloway, Respect: 18,341 (55.9%)
Imran Hussain, Labour: 8,201 (25%)
Jackie Whiteley, Conservative: 2,746 (8.4%)
Jeanette Sunderland, Lib Dem: 1,505 (4.6%)
Other: 2,021 (6.2%)
Turnout: 50.8%
Majority: 10,140


  1. Two comments:
    1) Actually, only 20% of the electorate voted for the establishment parties, as the turnout was 51%.

    2) I think it is incredibly important that this was a break with the establishment to the left. If anything is shown by this result, aside from GG’s populism and rhetorical skill, it is a sign of the volatility of the current political situation. Thankfully, this by-election happened in a constituency where the far right were unable to make any inroads. Hopefully, this result sets a precedent and is a big defeat for the far right too.

  2. This win by George Galloway and Respect is truly amazing and could be a ‘game changer’. We will learn more following the local elections in May, but in my view the left who are serious about building a party to the left of Labour, and not interest in counting angels on the head of a pin, need to rejoin.

    • Respect should now target Blackburn and another(12) seats where New Labour duplicity, lies, and half-truths and general mendacity of career politicians, who will say anything to get elected then turn on their voters- their democratic constituency,selling them out at the very first chance they get. Galloway’s work for Palestinians (Gaza relief) and tireless work on Iraq- makes him an honest candidate in a basically dishonest lying bunch of tow-rags- New labour have become with very few exceptions.

  3. George Galloway’s Bradford victory has lifted the spirits of most lefties in Ireland as well –

    I must add, maybe with mischief, that he was wise not follow the public advice of former Sinn Féin spin-doctor Danny Morrison and run for West Belfast after Gerry Adams stood down – more on this here from the inimitable Splintered Sunrise :

  4. As one labour expulsee proves, their is a voice for the Left, it is even more timely that the Left moves as a collective and puts all its efforts into Livingstones re/election campaign. The Lefts history of factionalism has consistantly destabilised any seriousn growth. Most important now to help each other !

  5. whilst it was a vote against the three main parties and their support for austerity and war, there is no point in ignoring the communalist character of GG’s own campaign ( particularly that dreadful letter in which he seemed to imply that he had a direct line to God and therefore knew the Labour candidate was a bad Muslim who drank alcohol unlike teetotal GG as well as mentioning all the decorations that he ( GG) had got from Pakistani governments). I gather from some comments made by a Bradford member of the Alliance for Green Socialism at the AGS conference on Saturday that there is evidence of quite a high vote for Respect in predominantly white and non-Muslim areas of Bradford too, so I am not suggesting that all the vote was communalist but clearly some of it was and GG has not changed his spots.) If you imagine that any kind of democratic secular multi-tendency class struggle/ ecologist/ feminist organisation can be built around GG, I think you have learnt nothing from the earlier debacle ( I will spare you my comments about Saddam, the Assads father and son, the War on Want scam, the Dundee Labour club scam, Big Brother etc etc). Although I acknowledge Chris Harman’s article on Respect in the ISJ was a very belated acknowledgement of problems that the SWP leaders must have seen months or years earlier, at least it is better than their current uncritical cheerleading for GG.
    So don’t ask me to join Respect now – I would never stomache it at the start ( had too many shibboleths I suppose – and you know very well that neither GG nor the Islamists have changed their views on abortion or gay rights).

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