Galloway is back

The very strange career of George Galloway has taken a new turn with his thumping victory in a by-election in Bradford West consituency.

The guy is a complete arse (yes, we editorialize around here from time to time), but he most certainly is interesting. His claim to “have won the most sensational victory in British by-election history” is arguably more self-congratulating than accurate. But it is certainly a big deal.

Previously on Galloway and his “Respect” party at F&V: analyzing his loss in 2010. I am pretty sure I was by no means alone in assuming we wouldn’t have Respect to kick around anymore. Wrong.

8 thoughts on “Galloway is back

  1. Can’t say I am and I don’t think MSS is… I’d rather see a resurgent Liberal-Democrats, for that matter.

  2. Margaret Thatcher has just passed away.

    Of the media commentary and obituaries, about 40% seem to detest her intensely, 35% to praise her strongly, and the other 25% to be “yes, but on the other hand…”.

    In other words, a landslide majority of the Internet pundits detest Mrs Thatcher intensely.

  3. The commentator at Marginal Revolution said it best when he noted that Baroness Thatcher was 87, plus had been out of public life due to poor health for at least a decade. And there will be people voting in the next general election who were not alive when she was Prime Minister.

    So this seems like a particularly bad time for all the tributes/ denunciations. We are not far enough from the 1980s to really put her career into perspective, but we are far enough away for it not to be topical.

    This is increasingly a problem as modern medical technology is able to keep older wealthy people alive for much longer in the past, but not active, sort of a modern curse of Tithonus. There used to be a much shorter time between when someone left public life due to old age and when they finally died. Incidentally, because of this development I think Benedict XIV showed alot of good sense when he resigned after turning 87, zombie old age was not a problem he predecessors had to deal with.

    Maybe all the commentary should have happened around the time of her earlier stroke.

  4. The last couple of years of John-Paul II passed the governance of the church into the hands of the immediate members of his household who came to play a role very like Mrs Wilson’s during the last months of Woodrow Wilson’s presidency. There is also a fairly obvious analogy to the US supreme court which is, I am almost certain, the only top court whose judges have neither a fixed term nor a retirement age.

  5. Here is something that is both interesting, supported by evidence, and not much noticed about the electoral effects of “Thatcherism”.

    Some people have noticed that the Tories under Thatcher won three consecutive electoral victories with about 43% of the vote (and a fourth after they removed her as leader), a lower percentage than past Conservative governments received, though to be fair the Labour Party has not done much better electorally.

    The in 1997 the bottom fell out of the Tory vote, and they struggled to get back up to 36% when they got back into office, with the help of the Liberal Democrats, in 2010.

    Where did the Tories lose their support? A clue may be the 23% the Liberal Democrats pulled in 2010, a 4% increase over the 19% they got in 1974, the election right before Thatcher took over as party leader (in 1979 the Liberal vote was depressed due to having spent much of the parliament propping up an unpopular government when the economy was doing poorly).

    As it happens, if you look at the constituencies where most of the Liberals got elected, they tend to be places that elected Tories until the 1990s. Once they flipped to yellow, it was hard for the Tories to flip them back. The Liberal ministers in the current government hold views that wouldn’t have been out of line amongst the liberal Tory (or “wet”) ministers in Thatcher’s and earlier cabinets, representing the same sorts of seats.

    Thatcher imported an American right-wing sensibility into British conservatism, which didn’t sit well with a sizable minority of the Tory electorate, and caused permanent damage to the brand. The reaction was delayed, and there were factors during her government, such as the unsuitability of Labour at the time as an alternative government, the North Sea oil, and the sale of council houses, that kept the Tory vote up, but these all proved transitory.

  6. Interesting, Ed, and entirely plausible. Viewing the LibDems as a UK analogue of Jeffords, Specter, Jay Rockefeller and Goldwater’s granddaughter would help explain why they supported Cameron over Brown. I would imagine the Snowe/Collins Republicans would reluctantly side with a Romney-led GOP if the Dems were led by a Henry Wallace.
    And re the Baroness – if Margaret Thatcher were alive, the sight of various purple-haired leftists dancing and toasting her demise would have hurt her feelings deeply.

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