Kicked out of the Labour Party in 2003 for urging British soldiers not to fight in Iraq and financing a charity with money from Saddam Hussein, notorious Jew-hater George Galloway who was banned from Canada in 2009 because of his links to Hamas, has now been re-elected to Parliament in the heavily Muslim area of Bradford West in northern England.
Channel4News RESPECT PARTY’S George Galloway sweeps to a shock victory in the Bradford West by-election, and local people say the win was inspired, in part, by young Muslims going against their Labour-supporting elders.
Galloway recorded a 10,000 vote swing to the Respect party in an area Labour has held almost solidly since the early 1970s.
Labour’s deputy leader Harriet Harman told Channel 4 News her party had expected to win the by-election. She said voters she had spoken to on a visit to the constituency a week earlier had said that they were going to vote Labour.
Labour went into the contest – sparked by the resignation due to ill-health of Marsha Singh – the overwhelming favourites with bookmakers. Turnout in the poll was just over 50 per cent – considered high for such a contest, especially in an urban area.
Locals and campaigners in the Yorkshire constituency said that the galvanising of young Muslims who had never gone to the ballot before was decisive in the win, not least because they broke ranks with older generations in doing so.
Clan politics, known as Bradree, has long been a hugely influential force in Bradford, in which Muslims represent 22 per cent of the population at the last count (38 per cent in the Bradford West constituency). The majority of the city’s Pakistani community come from the Mirpur region, and inter-communal politics from Kashmir is influential in Bradford.
Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, who had been on the campaign trail with Galloway for the last 48 hours, said that the win was historical, because it signalled a break from Muslim communities voting for one party, en masse.
“What this win shows is that the time when unelected elders in the community say, ‘we’re all voting for Labour,’ who would dictate to young Muslims how to vote, is over,” he told Channel 4 News. What Galloway did is to stand up to that, and defeated it. I spent hours talking to young Muslims, whatever affiliation they had, they were sick of being told who to vote for.
“I think what has happened in Bradford West is an historical moment, because it shows that individuals in the community will vote for themselves and not as a group. That is a fantastic breakthrough, whatever you think of Galloway.”
The lawmaker was previously awarded an honorary Palestinian passport by Gaza’s Hamas prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, after joining aid convoys to the Gaza Strip.
Galloway also has courted controversy over his links to former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and was suspended from the House of Commons for 18 days in 2007 after he was accused of concealing his financial dealings with Hussein’s government. An investigation found that a charity Galloway set up had been partly funded by the Iraqi dictator.
UK DAILY MAILGalloway’s triumphal open bus tour to celebrate his landslide by-election win in Bradford West was disrupted yesterday after he was attacked with eggs. Thomas Johnson, 26, who lives in the city, yelled out that Mr Galloway was a ‘parasite’ as he pelted the Respect MP as he left his campaign headquarters. Mr Galloway said it was too early for protests as Johnson shouted: ‘He’s a sycophant, he’s a greedy leech, he’s a parasite on this city.’
VIDEO of Muslim thugs attacking Johnson as he eggs Galloway’s bus: