Mark Steel: Galloway and Aung San Suu Kyi – so alike

His win has proved that people, including the young, can be reconnected with politics

Related Topics

Britain is different now, since George Galloway was elected in Bradford. Partly this is because he's splendidly unpredictable, so it's possible he'll resign to compete in the Olympics at weightlifting, or discover he's fourth in line to the throne. He's also baffled the politicians and commentators who think they know how politics works. So the suggestion is made that the outcome was a result of Galloway unfairly courting the Muslim vote. Because as anyone knows, if you want to trick a Muslim to vote for you, it's best to be a Scottish Catholic standing against a Labour Muslim. That's why the entire Pakistani parliament is made up of Celtic fans, and the current Prime Minister of Bangladesh is Andy McDowell, from Falkirk.

One example of this logic was an interview with Galloway on Radio 5 Live the day after the election. The interviewer kept asking: "Why did you choose Bradford West?" Galloway stomped off, but I wonder whether the answer might be because that's where the election was. So if he'd gone to Exeter instead, when he asked, "Are you voting for me today", he'd have been told, "Well, much as I like some of your policies, I'm afraid I'm not going to vote for you as there's no election. They're having one in Bradford, why don't you try there?"

Then we heard a "political analyst" downplay the result by saying: "It's hard to see he could have achieved this outcome in Plymouth or Norwich." Presumably then, if a Tory wins an election in the Cotswolds he says, "Yes he won, but he wouldn't have if the election had been in Sunderland so it doesn't really count." Today he'll tell us, "Aung San Suu Kyi claims the results are a success, but it's hard to see she could have achieved this outcome in Belgium, where Burma is only of minor interest."

So then they sneer that he won votes by opposing the war in Afghanistan, as if this is cheating. Because the rules are you have to agree with cuts and wars, so on every issue the Tories have to say, "We've cut this", the Liberal Democrats say, "We helped, and it's a good job we were there or the Tories wouldn't have spelt the thing they're cutting properly", then Labour say, "We WOULD have cut it, but we'd have waited until the afternoon".

But the main issue was the cuts, and one ward in which Galloway won a large majority was the student area, probably because he opposes the tuition fees. And the campaign didn't just win votes; one meeting attracted 1,200 people.

So maybe the main thing that's changed is it's proved that people, including the young, can be reconnected with politics. But it helps to be against pointless wars, and making the poor poorer, and to go about it like Galloway, quietly and with humility and never making yourself the centre of attention.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Account Executive/Sales Consultant – Permanent – Hertfordshire - £16-£20k

£16500 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

KS2 PPA Teacher needed (Mat Cover)- Worthing!

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: KS2 PPA Teacher currently nee...

IT Systems Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal  

What is 4Chan? And why does it threaten women like Emma Watson?

Memphis Barker
Chuka Umunna was elected MP for Streatham in 2010  

Could flirty Chuka Umunna be worth a punt for Labour’s top job?

Matthew Norman
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits