Respect: George Galloway is the irresistible force in UK politics
Labour today pledged to learn from their stunning humiliation at the hands of George Galloway who scored a dramatic victory in the Bradford West by-election, securing a 10,000-plus majority in what he called a "massive rejection" of mainstream parties.
Political pundits will be stroking their beards today and trying to analyse what went wrong as they pore over the wreckage of Labour's Bradford West by-election campaign.
The Labour press team tweeted: "Extraordinary result for Galloway.
"Disappointing we didn't get enough support across BW but we'll learn lessons & fight hard to win it back."
And the party's own grandees will advance all sorts of reasons why, in their opinion, Labour was trounced so horrendously in what was regarded as a rock-solid Labour seat, especially when the Government is in all sorts of trouble over fuel, cash-for-access and Cornish pasties.
"Lessons will be learned," is a phrase you will hear time and again over the next few days as Labour contemplate the shambles. This was a seat which, according to the arithmetic and the state of politics at the moment, Labour should have retained with, if anything, a huge and increased majority .
But the "experts" and commentators should stop scratching their heads. Most people who know George Galloway find the reason for this shock result quite simple.
Love him or loathe him - and the Labour Party loathes him - George Galloway is in my opinion by far the best political campaigner I have come across in more than half a century of reporting politics.
He was thrown out of the Labour Party some years ago, because of his alleged closeness to Saddam Hussein - and he has been a sharp thorn in Labour's side ever since.
He defeated Labour's hugely popular Oona King at Bethnal Green and Bow in 2005. Admittedly, he failed to win the nearby Poplar and Limehouse seat in 2010 and unsuccessfully contested the Glasgow list at the Scottish general election last year.
But his eyes must have glinted when he heard the news that Bradford West had become vacant. Just the sort of constituency, with its high Asian population, to suit Galloway. He did not disappoint. It was, to use his own words after his stunning victory, "the Bradford spring" achieved by his own persuasive language and high energy.
So Labour need not bother to write long reports trying to explain their abject humiliation. In my view it was all down to one man, the political genius George Galloway.
Labour was predicted to hold on to the seat, but Mr Galloway, an ex-Labour MP, won 18,341 votes to the 8,201 for Labour candidate Imran Hussain.
The contest was sparked by the resignation due to ill-health of Marsha Singh.
Turnout in the poll was just over 50% - considered high for such an election, especially in an urban area.
As he did in the 2005 general election, when he dramatically swiped an east London seat from his former party, Mr Galloway targeted the votes of a large Asian community.
Celebrating his victory, he told Sky News last night: "It is a very comprehensive defeat for New Labour, it is a pathetic performance by the Government parties.
"The big three political parties have had a very salutary, unkind lesson this evening and I hope that they all take note.
"The people of Bradford have spoken this evening for people in inner cities everywhere in the United Kingdom."
The Conservatives polled 2,746 votes, suffering a swing of 22.78%, but party chairman Baroness Sayeeda Warsi attacked Mr Miliband for failing to capitalise on the Government's recent difficulties over a potential strike by fuel tanker drivers, the furore over the so-called pasty tax and the "cash for access" row.
Baroness Warsi said: "If Labour can't win one of their safe seats in these tough economic times and in a tough week for the Government, how can they win anywhere?
"Not in half a century has an Opposition come back from such an appalling result to win a majority at the next general election.
"This tells you everything you need to know about Ed Miliband's weak leadership."