Labour have finally picked their candidate for the Manchester Gorton by election, probably set to take place on May 4th alongside the local elections, but who the hell knows. Given they now have a candidate in place, I don’t see why Labour wouldn’t one, want it over with as soon as possible; two, on that same note, give Galloway as little time as possible to campaign in the constituency, and three, in a worst-case scenario, at least having the by election on the same day as the locals means that Labour losing an ultra-safe seat gets buried in the larger national story (which will be Labour losing a massive amount of seats across the country, but hey, you might as well bury all the bad news at once).
Can George Galloway do what he did in Bradford West five years ago and create a massive swing away from Labour towards himself? I don’t think so. Unless Labour really, really, really screw this up (which is obviously not out of the question), I don’t know if Galloway has time, and further whether the seat is really right for him. He was a visible figure in the Leave campaign, and that can be used against him. This begs the question, could the Lib Dems take the seat, given it was over 60% Remain? I don’t think so either. Perhaps if Galloway polls reasonably well, splitting the Labour vote one way while the Lib Dems split it another, the LDs could come through the middle. But I’d rate the chances of this happening as remote.
I think the most likely scenario is that Labour holds the seat, and probably holds it comfortably. And even in the most apocalyptic scenario I can imagine come the next general election, this will be one of the thirty-odd seats the Labour Party retains. In northern seats in which the Tories have no hope, I don’t think Labour needs to worry. At least, not just yet.