The following is a longer version of a letter submitted to Bradford Telegraph and Argus today after hearing of the local election results.
I don’t know how many “George Galloway individuals” constitute a “phalanx” by Bryan Russell’s reckoning (T&A, May 4), but five Respect councillors will be hopefully cause for some serious thought in Bradford’s political establishment. While not exactly holding the balance of power, certainly if Labour decides to bow to political practicality and seek Respect support to maintain control, there will need to be some changes in Labour’s acceptance of the Pickles cuts imposed on the city by the Tory/LibDem coalition, since opposition to the cuts was a basic plank in the Respect agenda.
It was a pity the No vote in the mayoral referendum just scraped through to deny us a chance to change structures at City Hall, but it needs to be remembered that 44.9 per cent of the electorate were sufficiently dissatisfied with the status quo to vote for change.
And if one totals up the Respect votes in all the 12 wards the party contested (including those where they didn’t win) that means that 18,475 people voted for a party which had virtually no local organization a month ago. That is remarkably similar to the 18,341 votes George Galloway got in March, showing that was not just a flash in the pan.
Nor is the charismatic Mr Galloway Respect’s only serious contender in the political stakes.
And the fact that Ishtiaq Ahmed’s 3265 votes in Manningham were the second highest in the city shows that Ian Greenwood’s sneers at those who campaigned to keep our local baths open have not been forgotten. One doesn’t like to speak ill of the dead, but I don’t expect I’m the only one who’s glad he’s out of City Hall.