Bradford – As the dust settles after one of the most fierce election battles witnessed in Bradford West, Bradford born Naz Shah is today the newly elected Member of Parliament for Bradford West.
Defeating maverick politician George Galloway of the Respect Party by a colossal majority of 11,000 votes, Naz Shah’s victory was celebrated by the masses who followed the election campaign intensely ever since she was selected by the Labour Party hierarchy to battle Galloway a few months ago.
Galloway’s dramatic downfall from winning only three years ago with a majority just as impressive as Shah’s, when he defeated Imran Hussain, is indeed a huge setback for his avid supporters who are still licking their wounds after the embarrassment of Friday morning. But where did it go so wrong for Galloway?
Many claim, who were once Galloway supporters, the personal attacks on Shah by Galloway and his activists worked against him. Creating countless fake Twitter profiles of Shah to discredit her and her family attracted criticism from national and international commentators who joined the social media campaign backing Shah. The campaign took a nastier turn when a website was set up by the Respect Party supporters dedicated to Naz Shah’s life targeting her mother and immediate family. If that wasn’t bad enough, a letter was posted through resident’s letter boxes a week before the elections, again discrediting Shah and her family.
Shah’s own chapter started when she penned the letter about her life in Urban Echo. Titled ‘Exclusive to Urban Echo: Naz Shah reveals all’, little did we know at Urban Echo that the article would go rival. The article was read over 70,000 times and shared via social media platforms over 15,000 times. Prior to the letter, Shah was a regular columnist for our paper and was Urban Echo’s ‘star columnist.’ Her own political journey started at the same time when Urban Echo was set up last year in September to promote positivity and integration within the region. Promoting positivity and integration was one of Shah’s many passions and she agreed to write her views and opinions via Urban Echo. Little did we know, including Shah, what the next few months would hold as allegations, libel threats, defamation allegations and police reports would become the ingredients of the ‘Battle for Bradford West’.
Now that Galloway is no longer in Bradford, it is more likely that the Respect Party and its last few councillors will gradually disintegrate. The people of Bradford have decisively and unanimously rejected Galloway and his party. In saying that, the people of Bradford West have also chosen Shah to represent them in Parliament as 19,000 residents came out to the polling stations to put an X next to her name. Shah’s victory is also a victory for women, especially Muslim women. Shah has proven that regardless of race, religion, gender and background, if you have a dream and you want to chase that dream, nothing can stop you. Shah’s victory is a victory for the voiceless, a victory for the abused and a victory for the oppressed.
Galloway’s speech at the count was carefully thought out. He indicated that he will be launching another campaign imminently [one can assume it may be for the London Mayor contest] and he referred to ‘lions’ and ‘hyenas’.
It has been an eventful three years in Bradford. The Galloway chapter is finished and the ‘lioness’ has roared her way into the history books and created her own political earthquake in Bradford West.