Bradford, which is host to a large Asian community, has been a Labour Party stronghold for 100 years. However, in the Bradford West by-election George Galloway, the outspoken British politician, gained a landslide victory against Labour’s Pakistani Muslim candidate Imran Hussain, thanks to the unwavering support of the Asian Muslim community.
The results were received as a blow to labour leader Ed Miliband who had been expected to capitalize on the double dip resection that hit hard on the UK economy. The results were also bad news for Tories as their vote went significantly down. Thus, it was considered to be a sign of dissatisfaction with the mainstream parties and, by some Islamphobic media, considered a source concern since they understood it as ‘Islamic extremism’ inauguration in British politics.
Galloway built his election strategy upon two issues: Occupation of Afghanistan, Palestine and the austerity policies, and called his victory a “Bradford Spring,” thus making a comparison to the popular uprisings taking place in Arab countries. He might seem to be going too far by comparing a Liberal democratic Britain to the oppressive dictatorial regimes of the Middle East, yet there might be some similarities between the two. Increasing unemployment, cost of living and discrimination have indeed frustrated the large working class Asian community of Bradford, especially the youth who have had to face uncertainty and alienation.
The following articles show how the British public and political parties who were appalled by the results try to understand what was behind the support of Galloway by the Muslim Asian community.