The by-election was precipitated by Labour MP Marsha Singh’s recent decision to step down owing to “serious illness”. The seat looks to be solid Labour, with Singh having retaken the seat with an increased majority in 2010, securing 45.6% of the vote with the Conservatives trailing a distant second with 31.1%. Although the Labour Party would have been the first to be aware of Singh’s intentions, it has yet to select its candidate from amongst a shortlist that includes individuals with no links to Bradford (but then again, that’s the case with many of its electors too these days).
Despite Ed Miliband’s awkwardness, dreadful oratory and inability to devise credible or appealing policies, the running average of polls shows that nationally the Labour Party is slightly ahead of the Conservative Party leading by 39% to 37%. Admittedly, the ConDem Government does not offer us anything palatable, so the contest looks as if it is going to be a mere rubberstamp for the Labour succession, which is the probable reason underpinning the Labour Party’s laggardly attitude towards selection.
Why then bother to even comment upon this lacklustre and dull campaign? Is there really anything of note that could possibly happen? Probably not, but then again, the declaration of one particular media pussy (this title is appropriate I am informed by people who have watched Big Brother, and as I have just discovered by watching the ludicrous video clip below) that he is to stand as a candidate has elicited a little interest in the national media: George Galloway, the fellow who fawned upon Saddam Hussein and who has courted the Islamist vote as a member of Respect since 2005. Indeed, a video showing him addressing a crowd of several thousand Muslims in Tower Hamlets in June 2010 reveals that he is quite happy to play the religion and race cards, which accounts, presumably, for the Glaswegian turning up in Bradford West to once again stand for Respect. ‘Respect’ has always struck me as an odd name for a party, particularly the one of which he is a member, for it would be more appropriate if it were to be named ‘Submit’.
Who else will be entering the electoral fray? Have any of the other candidates ever given such embarrassing televisual performances as Galloway? The junior partner in the ConDem Coalition is fielding Jeanette Sunderland who belongs to Bradford Council and at least possesses local links and roots, whereas the senior partners have chosen Jackie Whiteley from Rotherham. UKIP is forwarding Sonja McNally, a local woman and former Green Party member who has done much work for a homeless charity in the city, whereas the Greens have chosen Dawud Islam, who is as local as his name would suggest, having stood in Brent at the last General Election.
The small amount of interest that will arise from this contest will thus centre upon the performances of Galloway and McNally. Will Galloway manage to lure away a sufficient number of Labour supporters to allow the Tories to take the seat? Will his Muslim magic prove potent, or will Galloway’s mischievous genie remain firmly trapped inside its lamp?
McNally on the other hand might pick up some votes from those who previously threw in their lot with the BNP – who polled better than UKIP in the seat in both 2005 and 2010 – and possibly the Democratic Nationalists in 2010. Neither of the latter two parties have declared any intent of standing on this occasion, but if their supporters know much about some of McNally’s other activities, they might desist from voting for her, as she
Feversham College can be adjudged to be a forcing house for Islamic fanaticism, for it will not allow any male to set foot within the school grounds. Moreover, according to UKIP, “Sonja is also on a Hate Panel - an initiative that sees local residents meeting up regularly to discuss how police deal with reported cases of a hate crime.” I wonder if it bothered to look into the hate directed against white Catholic pupils at St Bede’s by their Muslim classmates and elder relatives from amongst the Muslim ‘community’ last September? It would seem unlikely. If ever proof were needed that UKIP is not a nationalist party, this must be about as compelling as it gets.