YouGov’s daily poll last night showed the Labour lead holding steady at ten points, as it has all this week. Full topline figures are CON 34%, LAB 44%, LDEM 8%.

Last night we also had the Bradford West by-election, which produced a startling result. George Galloway won relatively easily with a huge swing from the other parties (Labour’s vote collapsed, but so did the Conservative and Lib Dem vote). I’m always wary of writing too much about by-elections here – afterwards people already try to work out what they say about the national picture when the answer is nearly always “not much”. By-elections are strange beasts, volatile elections fought with absurdly high levels of party activity yet which elect only a single MP with no immediate impact on who runs the country.

This one is so obviously a unusual case we can at least be spared people trying to extrapolate something about the national picture from it. That doesn’t mean, of course, that it won’t have any impact. There may be Labour ructions about losing a solid Labour seat (albeit, in very unusual circumstances). The government will hope that it takes pasties and petrol off the front pages for a bit.

Another thought is that while Bradford West in an highly unusual seat in many ways, and the result here is not likely to be reproduced in many other seats, one seat that does have a similarly high level of Muslim voters is Birmingham Hodge Hill, the seat of Liam Byrne who may be resigning to stand as Birmingham mayor if he wins the Labour nomination. Obviously George Galloway himself couldn’t stand there, but a by-election in Hodge Hill may still be looking somewhat less attractive to Labour.

UPDATE: Just because various people have asked me: no, I’m not aware of any polling of Bradford West before the by-election.


371 Responses to “Bradford West by-election”

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  1. Allan Christie

    I think you are counting the libdems twice there?

  2. SoCalLiberal

    Like you, I don’t know how the courts deal with defamation (like most countries whose legal system is based on the civil law tradition, Scotland doesn’t have separate categories of libel and slander) on the internet.

    Anthony is based in England (though his site may be based elsewhere). You post from California. I, Amber and several others post from Scotland. Others post from Cyprus and elsewhere.

    How is it determined which legal code should apply, and in which jurisdiction a claim of defamation would be tested?

  3. Anthony

    ” British libel laws!”

    No such animal exists!

  4. Oldnat ” British libel laws!” No such animal exists!”

    Not yet right? Maybe Anthony was signalling his support for Scottish independence.

  5. Alan

    Allan Christie

    I think you are counting the libdems twice there?
    _______

    No no…. was referring to UKIP as one of the “main parties” ;)

  6. Max

    You are so unambitious!

    After we leave, surely the remnants will be called “The Fantastic county of Kent (with a few other bits added on)”. :-)

  7. If Scotland left, I’d probably head back to Australia. Given I’m British/Australian (British rather than Welsh/Irish/English/Scots), if the Union collapsed I’d feel just Australian.

  8. Talking of nationalism related stuff, what I don’t get is why people want Land of Hope and Glory as the national anthem. It’s a bit too… eh. Overblown? I think a much better anthem would be I Vow To Thee, My Country. It has that more mature understanding of what it means to truly love your nation. Also, it’s better musically.

  9. It’s the “other bits added on” that’s still the problem.

    I really wish there was a Liverpool Independence movement. Maybe after you win your referendum, David Cameron can hand Scotland some northern territory as a gesture of good will.

  10. Top Hat

    I’m one of those people that wants Land of Hope and Glory. Love the Queen bless her, but we need an anthem with a bit more oomph in it, something uplifting and with power.

    The thing I don’t understand is the people who want Jerusalem as our anthem, why would we have an anthem about another countries capital city???

  11. Amber Star

    “Several contributors here aver that the SNP are to the left of Labour but loads of Tories vote[d] for them based on ABL.”

    Loads of right of centre voters voted for them, but these were never true believers in the Church of Adam Smith. Rather they were non-socialists best described as Protestant Christian Democrats. Formerly they voted for the only electable alternative to atheist left or Irish Catholic Labour.

    Half a century ago it may have been reasonable to refer to them as “Tory” in a purely Scottish context but these people are hardly looney left http://www.scana.org.uk/ nor have they moved from right to left. They were affronted by the unlooked for benefit of the poll tax and the inference that their vote could be bought, and repelled by the Sermon on the Mount.

    It’s the Conservative and Tory-lite NewLabour parties that have changed and moved or coalesced on the free-market consensus, leaving the Christian Democrats behind, just as NewLabour has left the far left behind not all of whom were Marxist tribal unionists.

    Labour’s “Tartan Tory” tag, clever and effective though it was, has misled them into thinking that the SNP were just a mutation of the traditional opponent whereas Labour in Scotland, if Bavarianised could have claimed them.

    Just as the Conservatives lost Scotland by looking towards America, London-led NewLabour’s triangulation missed an opportunity to take advantage of Scottish churn, and both the SNP and LibDems benefited.

  12. @tingedfringe – “… he dispels the myth that the only way to win elections is to be a centrist Blair/Cameron/etc clone”

    The difference is Blair convinced the electorate that he had transformed the Labour party, whereas Cameron aped New Labour to give the eurosceptic Thatcher party a makeover.

    It doesn’t ‘t take a political mind (like Mandelson) long to realise that demographic groups on the “far left” are relatively small fry. The big pool of of “certain to vote” centre-right/centre/centre-left floaters (as opposed to the “might vote” Eng Nat? BNP? UKIP? Respect? SWP? RCP? type voter) is where elections are won.

    I’m not saying that Labour is not due a major recalibration of strategy, but they won’t abandon the centre any time soon.

  13. Yeah, I’m not fond of Jerusalem, but Land of Hope and Glory just seems a bit… It’s what the USSR would have picked if they were England, if that makes sense. All brash and gung-ho and “hey, we’re so awesome”. I Vow To Thee has always seemed to me to be subtler, wiser, older, stronger.

  14. But your national anthem is meant to be about how awesome you are. The one thing I hate about England, is we still have this old fashioned sense that its not polite to boast how great you are, and while that may be true, we take it to the extent that we have to put ourselves down all the time, and even when theres something good and to celebrate, instead of really going for it, we mute it down.

    I think we should have an anthem that shouts how great we are, all the other countries do it.

    Land of hope and glory, not too disimilar to the line, land of brave and home of free used in US anthem etc

  15. I meant to say we tone it down.

  16. Squeezed

    “…. there were really 2 Labour choices. George Galloway & Labour polled 80.88% of the votes.”

    That is a MASSIVE swing to the left.

    Maybe it is not.

    It could be a reaction against “heirs to Blair”, PR, Murdoch, buying influence, incompetence and the media – politics – celebrity tribe who are not “all in it together” with the pasty eating classes.

  17. Dont get me wrong, I vow to thee my country is a good one too.

  18. Why have an English national anthem that’s fundamentally not very English then? Understatement is a part of English nature, don’t try to copy American nature. :P

  19. Perhaps you would prefer this:

    Lord grant that Marshal Wade
    May by thy mighty aid
    Victory bring.
    May he sedition hush,
    And like a torrent rush,
    Rebellious Scots to crush.
    God save the Queen!

  20. @SoCalLiberal

    AW would be in the frame as the publisher, and as he is based in England he wouldn’t have much wriggle room. In practice he doesn’t even need to lose the case to be bankrupted by it.

    You could also be sued (I think) as this is clearly a UK site. I suspect the name would be considered a give away. Of course it would be harder to get any money out of you.

    In comparison US courts have a habit of claiming exceptionally long reach if there is the slightest link with their jurisdiction. But then I have an extremely low opinion of the US judiciary… (Unlike my opinion of Gorgeous George, who I believe is without peer).

  21. I would recommend “Rule Britannia” for a brash post-Scotland UK anthem, but you’d need a population who can actually sing well to do that.

    Why not some contemporary lyrics from a multi-million selling English band?

    Iron Maiden- Quest for Fire

    “In a time when dinosaurs walked the earth
    When the land was swamp and caves were home
    In an age when prize possession was fire
    To search for landscapes men would roam.

    Then the tribes they came to steal their fire
    And the wolves they howled into the night
    As they fought a vicious angry battle
    to save the power of warmth and light.

    Drawn by Quest for fire
    They searched all through the land
    Drawn by Quest for fire
    Discovery of man.

    And they thought that when the embers died away
    That the flame of life had burnt and died
    Didn’t know the sparks that made the fire
    Were made by rubbing stick and stone.

    So they ploughed through forest and swamps of danger
    And they fought the cannibal tribes and beasts
    In the search to find another fire
    To regain the power of life and heat.

    Drawn by Quest for fire
    They searched across the land
    Drawn by Quest for fire
    Discovery of man.”

    It sums up England, really.

  22. And was Jerusalem builded here,
    Among these dark Satanic Mills?

    This by a band called Yothu Yindi, it has a universal feel:

    I feel the spirit
    Of the great sisters
    Calling on me to sing
    This is the learning
    Of the great story
    I’ll tell you about this place
    From the edge of the mountains
    Fly down the valley
    Down where the Snowy River flows
    Follow the water
    Down to the ocean
    Bring back the memory
    This is a timeless land
    This is our land…

    Just like the wise man
    Who taught me the beauty
    Of the creation times
    The point where the mountain
    Meets with the sky
    Sparks a fire within my soul
    Watching Mother Nature around me
    Woman, creators, history
    Finding these people
    Up in the mountain
    Sharing the same old song
    This is a timeless land
    This is our land…

  23. “God Save the Queen/King” isn’t exactly a storming tune, but its a little unfair to condemn it for a temporary extra verse that was sewn in for a battle that never happened (Wade was removed from command) in a conflict with Scotsmen on both sides.

    Even if it were really part of the song proper, which I don’t think it is, the reference to “rebellious Scots” is surely a reference to the Jacobite Scots, not the whole nation. It would be a bit like claiming that fighting against “Evil Men” meant you hated men.

  24. We have a perfectly good National Anthem called God Save the Queen although, I have to say, I much prefer the Sex Pistols version. It goes like this: –

    God save the queen
    The fascist regime
    They made you a moron
    Potential H-bomb

    God save the queen
    She ain’t no human being
    There is no future
    In England’s dreaming

    Don’t be told what you want
    Don’t be told what you need
    There’s no future, no future,
    No future for you

    God save the queen
    We mean it man
    We love our queen
    God saves

    God save the queen
    ‘Cause tourists are money
    And our figurehead
    Is not what she seems

    Oh God save history
    God save your mad parade
    Oh Lord God have mercy
    All crimes are paid

    When there’s no future
    How can there be sin
    We’re the flowers in the dustbin
    We’re the poison in your human machine
    We’re the future, your future

    God save the queen
    We mean it man
    We love our queen
    God saves

    God save the queen
    We mean it man
    And there is no future
    In England’s dreaming

    No future, no future,
    No future for you
    No future, no future,
    No future for me

    No future, no future,
    No future for you
    No future, no future
    For you

    Beats “I vow to thee my country” any day and, as for Iron Maiden, well…………………………………………aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaggggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! lol

  25. @crossbat11

    You’re out of your box.

  26. Neil A

    “God Save the Queen/King” isn’t exactly a storming tune, but its a little unfair to condemn it for a temporary extra verse that was sewn in for a battle that never happened (Wade was removed from command) in a conflict with Scotsmen on both sides.

    Even if it were really part of the song proper, which I don’t think it is, the reference to “rebellious Scots” is surely a reference to the Jacobite Scots, not the whole nation. ”

    You are entirely right on all points. I offered it as a suggestion for r-UK.

  27. @Anthony Wells

    You said “…The new MP for Bradford West is quite a litigious chap, so please do avoid saying things that might be construed as libellous about him…”

    Fair enough, Anthony. Rest assured I shall cease elucidating specifics and instead restrict myself to referring to him as a “total ******* **** not fit to **** the ******* ***** off my ******”. Which, as your lawyer will cheerfully confirm, is not actionable. Or, indeed, comprehensible.

    @Max King OTFCOK

    You said “…The thing I don’t understand is the people who want Jerusalem as our anthem, why would we have an anthem about another countries capital city???…”

    Oh Lord, what do they teach people nowadays? OK, “Jerusalem” is about a putative visit of Christ to England whilst he was learning a trade under St Joseph of Aramathea. It unites four very English characteristics: English Christianity (personified God in Glastonbury), the English relationship to nature (“green and pleasant land”), English industrialisation (“dark satanic mills”) and a very English concept of “good works” (that life is perfectible and the point of politics is to perfect it: the “New Jerusalem”). Via Joseph of Aramathea we can also infer a link to the Holy Grail and the Arthurian legend: again, specifically English (as opposed to British) concepts.

    So if you were writing a theme for England as it was, say, under Alfred the Great, you’d be hard-pressed to beat it. I don’t think it’d work for now: after Norman occupation, Tudor dominance, Cromwell, the Restoration, the Willemite takeover, Victoria, Union with Scotland, then Ireland, then losing (most of) Ireland, and today’s hodgepodge spatchcocked together, “England” is a very different country. But I understand the arguments put forward for it.

    Regards, Martyn

  28. Factoid: the closest thing to a poll in Bradford West this year was a poll in Shipley during the 2005 general election.

  29. Roly.

    Look at teh facts. There WAS a muslim candidate who came nowhere. I think that holes your argument below the waterline don’t you?

  30. Martyn

    If you are going back to the wee bit of territory that Alfred actually controlled, then “The Fantastic County of Kent (and a few other bits added on)” seems not a bad description of it. Is there a Kentish anthem?

  31. Isn’t it about time the ‘Voting Intentions’ list was updated? Not to mention the Labour Majority figure?

    I suspect a 10 point lead is more than 60 seats.

    Or would you rather wait until the lead diminishes?

  32. has there been a yougov sun poll tonight?

  33. well if we do get Independence you might want to consider a new anthem, something that sums up contemporary Britain….

    Have any of you considered Agadoo…by Black Lace.

  34. (NB to all: “Martyn” and “Martin” are two different people, as no doubt Anthony can confirm)

    @Oldnat.

    I have no idea: I still don’t understand the difference between a “Man of Kent” and a “Kentish Man”… :-)

    Regards, Martyn

  35. @ Martyn

    Via Joseph of Aramathea we can also infer a link to the Holy Grail and the Arthurian legend: again, specifically English (as opposed to British) concepts.
    ————————–
    You’re kidding, right? Because Aurthur’s seat can be seen from my window & it is the mythical King Aurthur who is being referred to. The entire point of the Aurthur myth/ legend is that he was the ‘King of all Britain’ – which included Scotland.
    8-)

  36. @ Crossbat

    I think the Pistols version will chart again during the jubilee. Somebody will tweet up a campaign like Killing in the Name of…
    I’d do it myself – but I loathe twitter & facebook! :twisted:

  37. Unfortunately Oldnat the Kentish Anthem is probably White Cliffs of Dover by Vera Lynn.

  38. Martyn,

    As a Man of Kent I can confirm that we are from south of the Medway, whilst the other lot are from the north (might as well be in Essex).

  39. Sergio I’ve never heard of Kent being split North and South. It’s more East and West isn’t it? I’m West kent, ie Sevenoaks. Does that make me a Man of Kent or a Kentish Man?

  40. @Amber,

    Well said. I was about to point out that Arthur was (supposedly) a Briton who fought the “English” (Anglo-Saxons) and Martyn had it exactly arse-about!

    He might have added, though, that Jerusalem does at least capture the English penchant for surreal and imaginative comedy…

  41. @Martyn: that was obvious.

    @Paul: Sunday Times for Friday – meaning we won’t see it until then, I’m afraid.

  42. Isn’t Kent (like Essex, Herts, Surrey et al) divided between “Still Kent” and “Basically in London now”?

  43. The vast majority of kent is still kent. But we have a few wards that have moved into Bexley and Bromley. I wouldn’t call it a divide. We lost very little actual territory.

  44. ok craig thanks. interesting to see sunday times as there have been rumours of more donorgate stuff in it also.

  45. @Amber

    I wasn’t referring to “King Arthur” the person (whether fictional or real). I was talking about the *mythology* of the character: specifically, the mythology as propounded by the English (as opposed to that propounded by the Scots): the whole weight of literature and references by the English and what the character means to the English.

    I was talking about the stories we tell and the structures we overlay on a chaotic, senseless past in order to make it feel narrative, coherent and meaningful. The fact that those stories differ from nation to nation is arguably that which differentiates nation from nation.

    Whether Arthur existed, the extent of his kingdom, and the facts of his death, are interesting but not relevant to the stories. And it was the stories I was referring to.

    Regards, Martyn

  46. Max from the….

    Because of the shape of kent it is basically a north west/south east divide. I’m afraid 7oaks is firmly NW which makes you a Kentishman…..I’m afraid what distinguishes us yet further is that you surrendered immediately to William the Conqueror (probably busy watching the x factor!)

  47. Neil A,

    Too true. I believe Kent even lost the [unofficial] ‘Garden of England’ title to North Yorks.
    Kent can be the ‘Allotment of London’ as a consolation…

  48. @ Neil A

    Exactly. I adore all the Aurthur legends; it’s partly the fact that the forming of Britain as one nation is rooted in this amazingly pervasive story of magic & battles, society & politics which makes me feel very British.
    8-)

  49. No Hoodedman that is factualy in accurate, we still are the official Garden of England, we were in danger of losing it, but kept it in the end.

    Also Sergio, you are perfectly right, there could be an invasion and I wouldn’t notice if I was watching X factor. As soon as they threaten to pull the plug on the tv, yeah I’d surrender.

  50. @ Martyn

    Whether Arthur existed, the extent of his kingdom, and the facts of his death, are interesting but not relevant to the stories. And it was the stories I was referring to.
    ————————
    The stories are about the forming of Britain as one nation – as I just mentioned in my comment to Neil. Just accept that you’re wrong & Aurthur is a British – not English – story. He is also hugely important in Welsh legends & ‘folk tales’ too. Don’t get me started or we’ll be here all night….
    8-)

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