Harriet Walker: Wanna be an MP? Pretend to be a cat

Tales from the water cooler: That Galloway triumphed is a strange and unsettling thing, seeing as he is completely bonkers

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George Galloway's surprise win in the Bradford by-election on Thursday night points depressingly to our tendency to screen every important occasion past our in-head celebrity radar before deciding whether it's worth our flickering attentions.

It's not enough, clearly, to have our politicians and their wives photographed, scrutinised and manually smoothed for their every public appearance; now we need the electable ones to have been on the telly properly, on Big Brother, say, pretending to be a cat.

Anyone who has watched this footage will know its incredible capacity to inflict excruciating pain of the curling-toe, screech-inducing variety. Anyone who has not would be advised to don hobnail boots and a hazard suit before pressing play.

But, by that token, it's clear enough that a vote for George Galloway is not so much a vote in favour of his policies (which include being opposed to unemployment) as a great big pair of un-privatised fingers up to the malevolents and incompetents currently in charge of our futures.

This is the sort of politics that makes you sigh and smile in equal measure. That Galloway triumphed is a strange and unsettling thing, seeing as he is completely bonkers. But that the electorate succeeded in a communal mooning of the political system? Well, that's worth taking a few minutes out to enjoy.

Because those voters didn't jettison the incumbent Labour party in favour of any of more realistic rival. They dumped them for George Galloway. George Galloway! The man who shook hands with Saddam Hussain and drank from an invisible bowl of milk while Rula Lenska patted his head. And the only thing more embarrassing than that would be to be the one who had purred on live TV.

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