As a fanatical Bob Dylan fan, one refrain has played over and over in my mind over the last week - "Because something is happening here, and you don't know what it is..."
Ballad Of A Thin Man could have been written for the political elite and punditocracy, schmoozing with each other in a gilded echo chamber in London.
The earthquake delivered by the people of Bradford West last week rattled them, but left so many unshaken in their complacency - at least at first.
With weary predictability they lurched from one comforting fake explanation to another in a transparent attempt to avoid the truth.
It helped, of course, that with a handful of exceptions they didn't even bother to talk to the people in Bradford who drove through this spectacular political uprising.
Let's for a moment recall its scale. The Liberal Democrats lost their deposit, even though they hold the seat next door (that must now be tenuous).
The Tories came close to losing theirs and shed 10,000 votes compared with the general election. Labour also lost 10,000 votes.
I and Respect got over 18,000 votes - 56 per cent on a relatively healthy 50 per cent turnout, more than twice Labour's vote.
It is the same total vote that Labour got at the last general election.
And all this with a Con-Dem coalition, which according to the normal rules of political motion ought to mean that all opposition to the government would have coalesced around Labour with little space for any electoral force to its left. But we are not in normal times.
Cue from the Establishment a babble of evasion and self-deception.
First we were told that this unprecedented result was down to Muslims, who apparently unlike other citizens of our country vote en bloc.
Problem - the Labour candidate was a Pakistani Muslim, whose main pitch was that he was a local Pakistani Muslim with the right family connections.
Second problem - it is simply arithmetically impossible to explain a 56 per cent majority in a constituency that is 38 per cent Muslim by some mythical "Muslim vote."
Third - as counting agents from every party will confirm, Respect won this election in every part of the constituency, from the inner city to the rural, with its overspill almost wholly non-Muslim council estates.
So by the beginning of this week that excuse was being quietly abandoned.
But not before we had been treated to a propaganda tirade that was frankly reckless and incendiary.
The mainstream media, especially the BBC, must now be taken to task.
They both insulted Muslims in Bradford as if their votes were somehow second class and also sowed seeds of division between different communities by refusing to acknowledge the common concerns that led to this result and instead attempted to racialise the outcome.
Now we are told that this was a one-off, freak result.
They said that seven years ago when new Labour lost the "safe" seat of Bethnal Green and Bow to Respect.
Each event is, of course, unique. But there are general features.
And those few journalists who have bothered to listen to the people who made this happen are now beginning to discern some of those features.
There is a colossal chasm in this country between working people and the political elite.
The national opinion polls fluctuate, but they don't ask the question that has been bluntly answered in Bradford - are you enthusiastic about any of the three old parties?
The resounding answer is No.
People are not enthusiastic about a grim consensus of austerity and rising inequality, of scapegoating of the poor, the disabled and immigrants, of wars and the threat of more.
One of my opponents tried to make my opposition to the Afghanistan war and my call for bringing the troops home a stick to beat me with.
She seemed not to grasp that two-thirds of the British public want an end this bloody adventure.
Some commentators have suggested that the result was simply because of the war. They don't get it.
Most people are opposed to the war, but they did not cast their vote simply or mainly on that basis.
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for them are not only wrong in themselves, they are the most striking expression of a wider phenomenon - that the political class is out of touch, unable to answer the questions that people ask in every term, and is sailing forth to disaster, oblivious to the cries of the people on the lower decks.
And Bradford, like so many other cities and towns is crying out against the ideologically driven assault on the remnants of the welfare state, against the rubbishing of a whole generation facing mass youth unemployment, extortionate tuition fees, the end of meagre assistance for young people in further education, the stigmatisation of the young, the penalising of pensioners who have contributed a life's work to the wealth of this country.
And they are sick of being treated as if they were some foreign dominion, overseen by an imperial raj that speaks a different language.
"They are simply not listening to us" was the message I heard time and time again in Bradford. "We want a voice to force them to sit up and take notice."
Reacting against the smart media smear that Bradford is somehow not British, one white couple told me: "Of course Bradford's British. We don't need to put some Britain into Bradford. We need to make a change here and put some Bradford into Britain."
Like many other northern and inner cities, Labour has treated Bradford as a rotten borough.
And the rottenness of the local political machines stinks. It is a combination of the old Labour right-wing methods of stitch-ups and corruption of the kind that T Dan Smith made infamous in the north-east of England with a cynical manipulation of clan and village bonds among many communities that hail from the Asian subcontinent. That was blown apart last week.
It will be challenged further on May 3 when Respect stands in the council elections and also campaigns hard for a directly elected mayor who will be accountable to the people as a whole, not to wheeler-dealing in smoke-filled rooms.
We have many plans for Bradford. At their centre is building the movement for change that has been driven above all by young people and women, who bear the brunt of the government's assault on working people's living standards as well as facing marginalisation and continuing inequality in all areas of life.
But despite the best efforts of the chatterati, Bradford is already having an impact on the national political scene, and Respect intends to do the same.
In Parliament, in council chambers, on the street, with the trade unions and with all the progressive movements, Respect will be opposing this anti-working-class government in every way that the official Labour opposition should be doing, but is not.
We will make the case for investment, not cuts; for peace, not war and for the defence of multicultural Britain from the ravages of the monocultural public school rightwingers whose otherworldliness is summed up by the likes of Francis Maude.
Hundreds are joining Respect, including people with great track records in the labour and progressive movements.
We're delighted by that. At the same time, we have always seen our job as not only advancing our party as a voice and instrument for working people and the poor but also strengthening the whole left and, crucially, the capacity of the mass of people to take some control of their lives and end the years of one-sided war of the rich against the poor.
Within Parliament and without we will co-operate with any who are prepared to break with the austerity consensus.
There are some in Labour's ranks who rightly draw the conclusion that the age of Clinton-Blair triangulation is dead and that the politics of Labour must be based on the interests of working people.
I'm with them, and against those who want to stick with the disastrous course set by Tony Blair and continued through to today.
Bradford has given a glorious glimpse of what "is happening here" in this country and even more so in the austerity-bound eurozone.
French Left Front candidate JeanLuc Melenchon has transformed the presidential election campaign with a message of real labour values and rejection of the crazy austerity economics of "Merkozy."
His campaign has had an impact on the rhetoric of Socialist Francois Hollande. Even a rhetorical shift by European social democracy is welcome, as it means that the left's case for a way out of the crisis is at least registered in the official political spectrum, raising the credibility of left-wing arguments.
In Greece, the centre of the European crisis, forces on the left stand to do extremely well at the forthcoming general election and I wish them well.
By the middle of next month we are likely to see a new political reality in Europe - one that our politicians, particularly Labour politicians, will have to respond to.
The era of copper-fastened consensus around sado-monetarism and vicious scapegoating of minorities is over.
It was always an orthodoxy removed from the mass of the people.
Now, in various ways, the mass of the people are puncturing the official bubble above them, just as in one country after another they have taken to the streets or occupied public space to resist the ravages of the Great Recession.
The forces of the right still have great reserves of strength, of course. But Bradford shows that the left and its ideas are back.
We all have an obligation to work seriously, constructively and effectively to make the best of these shoots of spring, which have come after a barren and cruel winter.
George Galloway is Respect MP for Bradford West.
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