This is for Gaza, says Galloway on Rochdale by-election win


I’ve never covered a by-election like it.

Bizarre, noisy, angry, colourful.

11 candidates, all men.

Oh, and wildly unpredictable.

Candidates disowned.

And the local and the international jostling alongside each other for attention.

The big characters: the two former Labour MPs, George Galloway and Simon Danczuk.

The candidates abandoned, not least Azhar Ali, who won the contest to be on the ticket for Labour and, indeed, appeared as their man on the ballot paper.

But Labour suspended and ran a mile from him over remarks widely alleged to be antisemitic.

He said sorry for what he said.

Enter next, George Galloway in a patch with a substantial Muslim population and a war raging in the Middle East.

With a rhetorical dexterity even his biggest critics admire, he says he will stand up for Gaza like no one else if he wins.

He, and others, also talk up their commitment to talking up Rochdale.

Hauling a town with entrenched poverty towards answers and a better future.

So who is going to win?

“Who knows?” is the most polite version of the answer I’ve been getting when I have asked that question over the last few weeks.

Galloway is a very effective campaigner.

But how many will have voted for Ali anyway, perhaps by post before they found out what he had said?

And what of the other nine wannabes?

Tonight, Team Galloway are sounding confident.

It’s going to be quite a night.

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