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A ‘Bradford Spring’

Prominent anti-war activist George Galloway won a sensational byelection victory in Bradford West on 29 March, receiving 56% of the vote on a Respect ticket.

Describing the result as ‘a Bradford Spring’ moment, ‘a kind of uprising, a peaceful democratic uprising of especially young people’, Galloway pointed out that: ‘No party to the left of Labour has ever taken a Labour seat in a period when Labour has been in opposition.’

Guardian political editor Patrick Wintour cited Galloway’s allegedly ‘fundamentalist’ call for an immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan and his anti-cuts position as the explanation (the online article was later edited to hide the slur).

The Guardian’s Helen Pidd provided a more plausible explanation.

According to Pidd, Galloway won not just because of his anti-war and anti-cuts views but because – in a campaign that lasted barely a month - he ‘spoke to Muslim women directly, told local men to respect their wives’ opinions and mobilised his female supporters to hit the doorsteps’. While almost all of his female campaigners were Asian, ‘they made a point of going out and talking to all women, regardless of skin colour.’