George Galloway's Bradford election win -Good or bad news for UK politics
When the UK followed the US into war in Afghanistan and Iraq Labour MP George Galloway was a vocal protester . In 2003 he was expelled from the Labour Party. He went on to form his own political party called the Respect Party.
Since that time George has been no stranger to controversy. At times he has spoken sense whilst at other times he has sailed very close to the wind, seeming out of touch and extreme.
On Thursday March 29, 2012, Gorgeous George, as he calls himself, stood in the Bradford West by election. This was a safe long standing Labour seat. Held by Labour since 1973 it was a sure fire win for Ed Miliband's Labour.
Against the odds Mr Galloway won a resounding victory.
Whilst political pundits may claim that this is a one off win for George how will it impact on UK politics?
Put aside your personal feelings regarding George for a moment. Since Thatcher decimated large swathes of the UK little has changed. Tony Blair's New Labour swept to power on a good majority with the promise of change. Perhaps their aspirations suffered at the hand of World events such as 9/11.
In the end Blair proved himself a firm part of the UK establishment bailing out the Royal Family during their darkest days, after the death of Diana. After such hopes and promises the New Labour dream predictably all ended in tears. It so often does. In the end the British people were left with more of the same as far as UK politics went.
The 2010 General Election looked set to change the two party stalemate. Nick Clegg was forecast to be Kingmaker and he ended up just that. The minority Tory government could not stay in office without the support of the Lib Dems. However in throwing their weight behind the Conservatives the Lib Dems shot themselves in the foot. Their credibility is now non existent. Unless there is a dramatic change this is how they will remain. They are now, in many voters eyes, a less right wing faction of the UK Tory Party.
This leaves most voters in the UK looking at a vote for the Tories or for Labour. A two party system with a few lunatic fringe ones thrown in for good measure. Many who feel no affiliation to either have few other choices.
This is a dangerous situation. Extremist groups such as the BNP, British National Party, and English Defence League are the ones who will gain from the impasse. It is one way that George Galloway and the Respect Party secured a win.
Like him or loathe him he has been berated and ignored by the mainstream media. Ed Miliband felt that Bradford was such a safe seat he had planned a victory visit after an election win. An arrogant assumption that has cost Ed and the Labour Party dearly.
If during such austere times Labour cannot win a safe seat do they pose any threat to the Coalition? Whilst this blogger would hope that they did obviously they have a long way to go.
George Galloway's win should teach voters and politicians a great deal. For voters each vote is important, even if you are discouraged with those politicians on offer. Keeping politically aware is vital also. For politicians it must tell them that it is time to end arrogance in politics. It is time to lead by example. It is time to stop being complacent.
George Galloway and the Respect Party will not be many voters ideal politicians. The alternative could however have been much worse. Complacency and gullible, desperate voters can lead to a rise in extremist wins such as ones by fascists. By the time people become aware it is usually already too late.
Galloway won the election in spite of media abuse and being ignored by many journalists. He won it by going to the people. In three weeks he levied a campaign on the streets. For him this paid off. He is back and back in Parliament to be a thorn in the side of mainstream politicians.
Perhaps now they will acknowledge that the British electorate has changed over the years. In order to win votes UK politicians need to get their act in order. If they do not they leave the country open to a wide range of extremists gaining power. That must never happen.
Eileen Kersey manages TEK Staff Blog