George Galloway. Photo: Getty
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George Galloway argues with Bradford pub that asked him if he was "still a thing" on Twitter

Bradford West candidate George Galloway suggested he would have Bradford Brewery investigated after its Twitter account asked him if he was "still a thing"

George Galloway reacted angrily today after the Twitter account of a Bradford brewery and venue asked him if he was "still a thing".

The notoriously good-tempered Respect politician, who recently threatened to sue Guardian writer Hadley Freeman for comments she made on Twitter, responded"what does that mean? And should you as a licensed premises in my constituency really be writing that?" He added that the tweet was "most unwise" and that "you'll be hearing from me after the election". 

At this point, @BradfordBrewery noted that as parliament is now dissolved, Galloway is now a candidate and Bradford wasn't "his" constituency. The account invited him in for a coffee, but Galloway replied: "no. Your premises are a constant source of complaints to me. I will be in touch about those in due course".

The conversation did not get better from there.

Eventually, Galloway blocked the Brewery - much to their delight, as the manager explained to Buzzfeed that being "#blockedbyGalloway" is seen by some people in Bradford as a badge of honour. “In Bradford there’s a running joke of the hashtag #blockedbygalloway," said Matt Halliday. "If he loses an argument on Twitter he blocks you, so half of Bradford has been blocked by him. People have been coming in to the pub and saying ‘if you’re not blocked by Galloway, you’re not in the inner circle’. We’re now in the inner circle!”

Halliday added that it was unlikely the brewery was a "constant source" of complaints to Galloway, as it had only been open six weeks. Still, Louise Mensch was there to pour oil on to troubled waters.

 

 

I'm a mole, innit.

Photo: Getty
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Who will win in Manchester Gorton?

Will Labour lose in Manchester Gorton?

The death of Gerald Kaufman will trigger a by-election in his Manchester Gorton seat, which has been Labour-held since 1935.

Coming so soon after the disappointing results in Copeland – where the seat was lost to the Tories – and Stoke – where the party lost vote share – some overly excitable commentators are talking up the possibility of an upset in the Manchester seat.

But Gorton is very different to Stoke-on-Trent and to Copeland. The Labour lead is 56 points, compared to 16.5 points in Stoke-on-Trent and 6.5 points in Copeland. (As I’ve written before and will doubtless write again, it’s much more instructive to talk about vote share rather than vote numbers in British elections. Most of the country tends to vote in the same way even if they vote at different volumes.)

That 47 per cent of the seat's residents come from a non-white background and that the Labour party holds every council seat in the constituency only adds to the party's strong position here. 

But that doesn’t mean that there is no interest to be had in the contest at all. That the seat voted heavily to remain in the European Union – around 65 per cent according to Chris Hanretty’s estimates – will provide a glimmer of hope to the Liberal Democrats that they can finish a strong second, as they did consistently from 1992 to 2010, before slumping to fifth in 2015.

How they do in second place will inform how jittery Labour MPs with smaller majorities and a history of Liberal Democrat activity are about Labour’s embrace of Brexit.

They also have a narrow chance of becoming competitive should Labour’s selection turn acrimonious. The seat has been in special measures since 2004, which means the selection will be run by the party’s national executive committee, though several local candidates are tipped to run, with Afzal Khan,  a local MEP, and Julie Reid, a local councillor, both expected to run for the vacant seats.

It’s highly unlikely but if the selection occurs in a way that irritates the local party or provokes serious local in-fighting, you can just about see how the Liberal Democrats give everyone a surprise. But it’s about as likely as the United States men landing on Mars any time soon – plausible, but far-fetched. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to British politics.