Saturday, 25 August 2012

Respect's Greatest Asset, Respect's Greatest Liability

George Galloway made himself a ridiculous figure on Celebrity Big Brother. In so doing, he cost Respect the chance of a small number of MPs holding the balance of power in the present hung Parliament.

And now, he has probably cost Kate Hudson, not a win, but a very strong showing at Manchester Central. That constituency is less than one fifth ethnic minority, and those minorities are very diverse by any standards outside London. Respect had been on course to do well, giving the lie to the usual claims about it even more than did Galloway's win at Bradford West. In what had been a Conservative target seat in 2010, he topped the poll in every ward, including the 90 per cent white ones.

There really is no Respect without Galloway. But the Labour Leadership is now in the hands of the candidate whom that non-Campaign Group and non-Tribune Group Eurosceptic, Scottish Unionist and pro-life Catholic would have nominated if he had still been a Labour MP. Galloway himself is now irreparably damaged goods. And Respect is riven between supporters and opponents of the Islamist insurrection in Syria, with that division forming the background to the split between Galloway and Salma Yaqoob.

It really is time to call it a day.

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