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George Galloway Wins Bradford West - What Does It Mean?

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GEORGE GALLOWAY
PA

George Galloway's election to parliament is a shocker - make no mistake. But it's not entirely unforeseeable, really, because it feeds in to a general, disturbing sense that our mainstream politicians completely fail to talk our language.

That a man who went on trash reality TV, pretending to be a cat, has managed to secure election to our supposed venerable mother of parliaments says a lot about the regard we hold with our politicians. It's not very high.

FULL COVERAGE OF GALLOWAY'S BRADFORD WEST WIN

Most of the heat on Friday will be turned on Labour and Ed Milband, and rightly so. They've just lost one of their safe seats - with a notional majority of 8,000, to George Galloway by a massive landslide.

There will be recriminations within Labour, of course. Someone from the party will be pushed before cameras on Friday morning to try to explain what went wrong.

Whatever they say won't work; you don't lose seats on swings like this by accident, particularly not at by-elections while you're in opposition.

What seems to have happened is that George Galloway has managed to not only target working class Muslim areas of Bradford West, he's also spurred other young white people to vote, and in large numbers.

And who can blame them when neither Ed Miliband, or his brother, or any frontline politician have anything meaningful to say to the people of West Yorkshire? They all come across as white, middle class, Oxbridge educated theorists, who crucially have never really worked.

Yes, let's say that again. None of our senior politicians, despite all their constant talk about hard-working families, have ever really worked. Every time they pay tribute to hard-working families, they are constructing a fiction inside their own head.

And have any of our politicians had a real wake-up call about this lately? No, they've collapsed into a fit of blustering over party funding, and then been happily distracted over rows surrounding Cornish pasties. They don't eat many of those in Bradford West.

For all his crazy talk, George Galloway does genuinely carry an air of someone who has lived in the real world, and that's the mark of a veteran politician who - let's not forget - has won more elections than Ed Miliband has had hot dinners. He got the vote out, and fair play to him. Maybe Cameron, Miliband and Clegg could learn from him?

The first thought on this shocking night is a reminder that the general election of 2010 delivered a collective shrug from voters upon a highly oxbridge-educated, disconnected political elite. It shouldn't be so easy as it clearly is for George Galloway to descend from nowhere and captivate voters; but perhaps it's a welcome intervention.

Clearly there is something about George Galloway that resonates on the doorstep, something that all three of the main party leaders can't emulate with voters. They'll dismiss Galloway publicly, but I'll bet they'll remark on his ability to connect with people - because frankly Cameron, Clegg and Miliband can't do this. They've tried; the public were like, whatever.

When Galloway takes his seat in Parliament in a few weeks, he'll be a loner in the Commons, treated with ostracism by the vast majority of the rest of MPs. It's hard to see even fellow-loner Caroline Lucas from the Green Party becoming a best-buddy.

But for all his faults, and his inevitable capicity to be annoying to ministers, at least he can claim to have a massive majority. It's larger than those claimed by around 250 of his new friends in the House of Commons.

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