Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Bradford spring becomes a murky autumn


I nicked the headline (from the Techie Fairy) because it sums up George Galloway's problems in Bradford and the doubtful legacy it brings. The Guardian reports on George's troubles:

Ten days after giving her name publicly as spokeswoman for the campaign, Smith's car windscreen was smashed. Banners from the demo were on the back seat. Concerned that she may have been targeted by Galloway supporters as a result of the campaign, she called the police, who confirmed last week that they were investigating the incident as an alleged hate crime, as well as "a complaint relating to comments made on a social networking site". Smith says officers have told her they are contacting Facebook and the IP addresses behind the profiles responsible for the worst abuse.

It may, of course, turn out to be nothing to do with Respect but there's a sense of worry among those who have criticised what this party is up to in Bradford. On the social media sites there's a feeling - just that so far - that people acting for Respect or George Galloway are trying to take down accounts that are critical of Galloway's record since becoming Bradford West's MP.

Of course it's easy for Galloway to fend these criticisms off - after all he's not in Bradford most of the time (and before anyone gets too shirty, this is true of all the City's MPs) and isn't lord and master of all his supporters. However, there are plenty of reports that Bradford West constituents - unable or unwilling to see George - are trying to see other MPs from the City for there to be some substance in the criticisms of Galloway's efforts on behalf of Bradford West.

At the time of the by-election there was a sense that this was the breaking of Labour's stranglehold on politics among the City's Asian community and especially in the Pakistani muslim community. Rather than an endless game of positioning within clans, families and friendship groups, we were to get real debate about the concerns and worries of Bradford's young asian population. It seems that George isn't interested now he has his place in parliament - we return to grandstanding about the middle east.

However, what is most striking about the situation is the reaction of the useful idiots who George used to cover up his divisive campaign. The handful of white socialists who thought that George was campaigning on their issues rather than running an unpleasant, sectarian campaign amongst Bradford's muslim community:

"The only way the party can recover is to elect a strong and principled leader who can work to build an effective party, one who can build party structures, develop support, win elections and draw a clear distinction between the policy of the party and the words of its MP. Whether that's what the party wants remains to be seen," 

These are the words of a wishful thinker scrabbling around to justify the point or purpose of Respect as a party rather than its real position as a vehicle for George Galloway's ego.

The worst thing about all this is that the hope that Galloway raised in a lot of people has been dashed. I'm not surprised for the man was always more mouth than trousers but I am saddened for those enthusiastic youngsters who took to his cause. Not to liberate Palestine or get a free Kashmir (for all that they wanted those things) but because they were told that Galloway's megaphone would shout loud and long about Bradford. It hasn't - all we've had is the occasional 'parp' amongst George's screeching defence of Assad's Syria and the theocratic regime in Iran.

In truth, by playing the politics of race and religion, Respect has set Bradford back. Our journey towards a Bradford identity - to being, yet again, a place to be proud of - hasn't ended but Respect has taken us on a turn away from the more direct path. We have to make the case again for cohesion rather than multiculturalism, for fair-dealing rather than special treatment and for all communities in the City to be equal.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Never mind.

City 3 Aston Villa 1.

Something to be happy about.