The lazy analysis that has concluded the Bradford result ‘was about the immigrants’ is exactly the kind of patronising attitude that led to the result in the first place.
The Bradford West disastrous result for major UK parties was not due to radicalised Muslims driving a wedge into British politics. More likely it was major parties constantly wooing the racist and xenophobic elements of the UK for their minority votes that backfired.
At best the parties do not defend immigrant families from repeated “immigrant bashing” of petty politicians and media and the general public notice and probably worry about who is next like kids watching the bully in a playground and too afraid to stand up against it. Yes UK does have radical extremists of all political and religious persuasions, and their activities if illegal need to be monitored and curbed legally when appropriate; that is a given. But blaming Muslims for major party failures to represent voter cares and concerns has to be one of the most racist and offensive pieces of immigrant bashing we have seen recently. Even after the massive Bradford West swing against all the major parties they still have not got the message.
Immigrant bashing by successive UK Politicians, Ministers and Media will be found as a major reason the major parties lost Bradford West. It also plays into the hands of any extremists being touted as a danger to our society. The salient point missed is that most current immigrants or would-be immigrants cannot vote in UK government elections, but, all have family friends and associates with similar cultural backgrounds who are British voters and a goodly number of those have been such for generations. They are British and they vote, and rightly so.
UK ministers, lesser politicians and political pundits from both sides have been kicking immigrants to hell and back whenever they wanted to increase their public profile or whenever the government got into trouble about anything. Government scandal, drag out some poor immigrant and give a kicking to create a distraction about religion or jobs or illegal entry etc. It is a cheap trick most immigrants cannot vote in UK government elections so cannot fight back personally. Fantastic for the politician’s media profile and gets everyone’s attention off the immediate scandal. The theory was, immigrants do not vote so it is easy media image spin. A recent example had Asian student immigration targeted to distract from the Tea-and-Policy-changes with the PM for mega cash scandal.
But our all too clever politicians and media forgot about the family and friends and associates of immigrants in general. They vote and detest the way their family, friends and associates are being treated and how anyone living here from anywhere other than historically ‘British Isles’ are being constantly demonised by politicians, extremists and the media. What’s more, many voters from historically British Isles backgrounds do not like it either. They also all have friends, family and associates from the current or long past ‘immigrant’ ranks.
So if an electorate has any mix of British Isles background or other country background voters, both with immigrant family, friends, associates or immigrant roots, who do you think they will vote for? An immigrant-bashing or immigrant-ignoring party or someone who supports immigrants?
That is a no brainer to answer. That is more likely how George Galloway got his majority swing. It was not by supporting radical anything it was just by opportunistic common sense savvy – something the elites of our major parties just do not seem to have.
Immigration into Britain over past centuries is how we arrived at the population mix we have today. That historical vibrant population mix from immigration is a major part of British success in the world. Now we have petty short term possibly xenophobic politicians playing to a crowd for short term gain. It backfired and lost a major party a seat by a monumental landslide and played right into the hands of the very extremists and opportunists of all persuasions that the same petty unimaginative politicians were talking up. Not very clever really from people who would have us believe that they were born to rule.