George Galloway, the British politician remanded to all but oblivion after being expelled from the Labour Party in 2003 and losing office in 2010, made an unexpected comeback Friday when he upset Britain’s major political party candidates to win a parliamentary by-election.
The question is whether 2012 will mark a comeback by a left invigorated by a growing unhappiness with rising economic inequalities and a backlash against austerity policies aimed at saving Europe’s common currency. (Pictured, British Labour Party leader Ed Miliband.)
Britain produced an electoral earthquake all right, but not the one so many expected. The real lessons have less to do with two-party systems than with how economic change has challenged old strategies on both the right and the left.
Gordon Brown has announced that the U.K. will hold elections May 6. A few weeks ago it was a near certainty that Conservatives would win the day, but a few polls show Labour surprisingly close to holding on to power. For the first time, the three major party leaders will debate each other live on telly. (continued)
To say it was a politically interesting week would be a case of British understatement: London gained a new mayor—Boris Johnson, who beat incumbent Ken Livingstone to become the first Conservative to win the office—and Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s Labour Party took a drubbing in local elections across the U.K. on May Day.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s announcement that he’s stepping down won’t quell the anger felt on so much of the antiwar left. But my own reaction is a deep sadness that he tarnished a formidable legacy.