Labour lost the Bradford West by-election no-one except maybe George Galloway and his supporters saw it coming. As a Labour supporter I am disappointed, although, like Galloway I don’t agree with everything the party has ever done, I do believe that they have socialist values that I share and I could never support any other party. Labour can put a positive spin on events in Bradford, the Tory vote collapsed and the Lib Dems did even worse. Parties on the Left of politics got around 82% of the vote. To dwell on these positives is to miss the point.People talk of a natural swing to Labour, which should occur when the Tories and Lib Dems are doing such a woeful job: The millionaires budget was old nasty party stuff that is ideologically rather than economically driven. The NHS reforms have been pushed through and will benefit shareholders in private healthcare providers but are derided by medical professionals1 and feared by the public.I could go on at great length about how bad the government are and I do, here are some recent tweets of mine that proved popular enough to be ‘re-tweeted’ by like minded people.
I really hate Tory policies that are in the interests of the few rather than the many and I am of the opinion that this coalition government are shambolic. There are lot of people, and not just political geeks on twitter, who also agree with me; down the pub, on the doorstep, people hate what the government are doing, but hating the government is not the same as going to a polling station and putting an X in box for Labour or sending off a postal vote. Galloway has succeeded in getting his supporters mobilised and getting them to get others to vote. The ineptitude of the Coalition means that apathy with politics in general increases, making it more difficult to motivate people to vote. This makes Galloway’s dramatic victory even more surprising.
There are specific local circumstances that have led to Galloway’s success in Bradford but if we dismiss this shock by-election loss as a blip then the loss will be for nothing. Lessons must be learned. It is not enough to point out the failings of the path the Tories are taking, you have to offer a new way forward. I will still comment the failings of this ‘Tory lead Lib Dem follow’ government on twitter, on the doorstep and down the pub but more than that, the Labour party must be better at being the valid alternative.