George Galloway wins landslide in Rochdale mock front page

George Galloway will be the overwhelming victor in Thursday’s Rochdale by-election. If our poll is correct. According to readers of Critical Mass he will take 75% of the vote, with no other candidate anywhere close. Independent Reverend Mark Chapman, the Just Stop Oil campaigner, was the closest challenger on 6%. Though 13% would not have voted for anybody on the list.

Azhar Ali, Labour’s renounced candidate endorsed by Critical Mass, received just 1 vote.

It is clear that Critical Mass readers do not share our reluctance to support George Galloway. Asked to say why they chose Galloway, readers comments included: “He is the anti-genocide candidate with the best chance of winning”; “His indefatigable support for Palestine and his orator skill which will make Parliament more interesting”; “Socialism and Gaza under one hat”; “Because of his unwavering support of Palestine”; “The only candidate (with a chance of being elected) who will voice opposition to and condemnation of the genocide in Gaza and who opposes the chaos and decay proposed by the 2 main parties on other issues’’; “Galloway is a socialist and a loyal friend of Palestine” and “because he is an experienced politician who would raise the issue of Gaza and the rights of the people of Palestine in Parliament. He is erudite and principled and a socialist. Qualities not very apparent in the Labour party which is why we need independent socialists in parliament.” 

Not all his supporters were overwhelmingly enthusiastic about him though. One noting: “Negative reasons – I wouldn’t support Labour with or without Starmer’s backing. I would never vote Conservative, Reform or Liberal.  The Independent candidates all seem parochial, better suited to local council issues rather than national and international matters” and another stating: “The best of a bad bunch. Palestine is a key issue for me at this election and he has been supportive of the Palestinian cause for many years.”

Those who did not feel that any candidate was worthy of their support made the following comments: “They are all in it for the money, the gravy train and the greasy pole” and “A ragtag collection with no appeal. A bunch of hypocrites and miscreants. Nearly chose the Rev because he’s a climate campaigner but he’s also a Rev. Most look pretty uninspiring. Galloway is the only one with some punch but too much about him that makes him unsuitable.”

So, whilst Galloway has the overwhelming support of the left, there is a significant minority among CM readers who, despite his support for Palestine, would not vote for him. 

Will this result be repeated on Thursday? That is highly unlikely. Our readers do not share the demographics of the Rochdale electorate. Unfortunately, there are no polls in Rochdale that provide a clue, but bookies (who are often but not always right) have Galloway at 5/4 favourite with Azhar Ali, still listed as the Labour candidate on the ballot paper, at 13/10. In other words, they expect it to be close.

As for Critical Mass, did we get it wrong last week when we called for a vote for Azhar Ali? Possibly. But wrong or right we appear to be out of sync with the majority of our readers. But in our scepticism about Galloway, if not our conclusion, we represented the views of a sizeable minority. 

This by-election was caused by the death of Labour MP Sir Tony Lloyd, who sat on a 9,000 majority. Whilst a loss for Labour would hardly be a disaster, given that they have won the previous 6 by-elections in this parliament, the shambles caused by their chaotic handling of the situation has damaged them in the national polls.

We will have a full report on the by-election result on Friday morning. 

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