Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Trouble for major parties?

When a Labour MP resigned because of poor health, most observers (until recently) thought the seat was safe for Labour. But it wasn't. Is this a sign of future problems for Labour and the other major parties? Or is this just a very special set of circumstances?

George Galloway wins Bradford West by-election
Respect Party candidate George Galloway has taken the Bradford West parliamentary seat from Labour, winning the by-election by 10,140 votes.

Mr Galloway, expelled by Labour in 2003, said it was the "most sensational victory" in by-election history.

Labour leader Ed Miliband said it was "incredibly disappointing" and the party needed to "learn lessons"…

Mr Galloway won 18,341 votes, a 56% share of the total vote. Labour candidate Imran Hussein came second with 8,201 votes as the party's share of the vote was 20% down on its 2010 figure…

Mr Galloway, who co-founded the anti-war Respect Party after being expelled by Labour because of comments he made as part of his opposition to the Iraq war, said the result represented the "Bradford Spring".

He said the "mammoth vote" represented a "total rejection" of the three major parties in the British political system.

He said Labour "must stop imagining that working people and poor people have no option but to support them if they hate the Tory and Liberal Democrat coalition partners.

"They have to stop supporting illegal, bloody, costly foreign wars because one of the reasons why they were so decisively defeated this evening is that the public don't believe that they have atoned for their role in the invasion and occupation of other people's countries and the drowning of those countries in blood."

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