Sunday, April 01, 2012

Why Bradford West means we should...

So, Bradford West. Chris Brooke already made the point that everyone and his dog has written a Why The Bradford West Result Means We Should Support My Politics. Meanwhile the jamiesphere is having some sort of left-of-the-left carnival of the marginally relevant, although to be honest that could be the banner over the entrance to the blogosphere.

Anyway, here's my effort at Why The Bradford West Result Means We Should Support My Politics. My first point is that it makes absolutely no sense to describe this as a rebellion against the "ethnic Labour machine" or whatever. Obviously there'll be a lot of people crying into their beer (or not) who fit that description. But who was it that Galloway recruited to run his campaign?

None other than the departing Labour MP Marsha Singh's election agent and campaign manager, Naweed Hussein, as this really excellent piece points out. And if anyone would know their way around west Bradford Mirpuri committee politics, the guy who repeatedly got his man elected there would.

Further, I don't think it makes much sense to throw a wobbly about people "voting for him because they think he's a Muslim" or whatever. After all, the Tories can tell you just how much this gets you in Bradford politics in and of itself, after they stood Mohammed Riaz against Marsha Singh on the charming platform that you should "vote for your community" (subtext: the other guy is a Sikh). The answer you're looking for, then, is "that and a fiver gets you a kebab", and come to think of it the influential post of "William Hague's race relations adviser".

One thing that certainly will have helped Galloway is the fact that his rival was a councillor while the council was busy creating the Rubble Zone - in case you don't know, Bradford Council demolished a vast chunk of the city centre in the hope that Westfield would build a giant shopping centre, but the shopping centre didn't happen and now there is just the enormous hole. There is a long history of politically-inspired half-completed projects in Bradford - it's a matter of taste whether you prefer the Interchange, of which half was closed and replaced by an Abbey National call centre (leaving the original Abbey National building facing City Hall empty), the M606, a motorway that tears away from the M62 and ends messily in a housing estate, the Millenium Faith experience (closed due to a lack of faith or indeed experience)...and at last someone's got their just desserts over one of them.

This shouldn't be that surprising, as it was literally the second bullet point on his leaflets!

And finally, I would like to point out that Bradford West politics is usually run by a close-knit network of Labour ward heelers and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Nobody seems to even care, for example, that Boris Johnson fixed it for Sarah Sands (for it is she!) to be editor of the Evening Standard. Politics is organisation, lists, and committees in much the same way that rugby is about tackling.

As a result, unless his new campaign manager really pulls something out of the hat over the next year or so (Bradford West in its current form is going to disappear due to boundary changes) and Galloway puts in much more time than you'd expect of him on form, I predict that he's not going to last. In some ways he's a throwback to one of those old-fashioned MPs who only went to their constituency at elections, that Simon Jenkins loves so much, just with the added twist that he doesn't go to the House either.

Meanwhile, the real Bradford news: he walked from Odsal to Keighley's ground to raise funds for Bradford Bulls, who are going bust if they can't raise a million quid. So far they're up to £234,000.

Bonus extra: it's quite odd that literally every opinionating gobshite knows Galloway's position on Palestine but nobody seems to care what it might be on Kashmir, which is considerably more important in context. Fixed that for you, although I disbelieve the accusations by the Indian 'bloids as being far too similar to the Torygraph's 2003 furphy.

1 comment:

Laban said...

It wasn't long after Bangla independence (and war between India and Pakistan) that I moved to Bradford. The central curry houses (Taj and Kash I remember) had notices up to the effect that politics were not to be discussed.

But Kashmir, for good or ill, doesn't impinge much on UK politics the way Palestine does. In Brum's Kashmiri communities, they used to collect (pretty openly) for the fighters just as down the road in Sparkhill they'd collect for the IRA.

IMHO the demography has changed too in Bradford - relatively fewer Indian Hindus who might oppose his Kashmiri policy. Hindu as well as white businesses were attacked in the 2001 riots.

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