London Indymedia

Anniversary of Tower Hamlets Council being changed for the worse

AVNewsLondonE16RU | 22.10.2013 01:45 | Analysis | Indymedia | Social Struggles | London | World

Dated 16 October 2010, the London 'satirical fortnightly magazine' 'Private Eye' carried a 'Rotten Boroughs' entry that summed up the problem that the Labour Party in Tower Hamlets, East London, faced.

Dated 16 October 2010, the London 'satirical fortnightly magazine' 'Private Eye' carried a 'Rotten Boroughs' entry that summed up the problem that the Labour Party in Tower Hamlets, East London, faced. As the headline put it, the Labour Party's then official candidate for "executive mayor" was doomed to lose the poll at that time due in 4 days time, on 21 October 2010. THREE YEARS have just passed, literally an hour ago, since that date. How has Tower Hamlets Council delivered democracy to the Community? How have the ordinary people in Tower Hamlets ‘benefited’ from the destruction of a collegiate, collective Council leaderships and its replacement by a system that gives all the executive powers to a single person?

0118 Hrs GMT
22 October 2013
It would appear that the measurement can be made only by empirical evidence.
What people experience.
And if outlets like Private Eye have maintained a policy of supporting calls for accountability, transparency and manifest solid democracy on local Councils and on the collections of people who make the decisions.
This reference is of course to the many advisers and such like that have been reportedly paid by Tower Hamlets Council
over the three years.
Payment of disproportionately large sums of public money to persons who do not appear to enjoy public ethical approval seems to have been a regular feature of the post 21 October 2010 Tower Hamlets Council’s incidents in ‘the news’.
By ‘news’ here is meant news outlets that operate outside the control of Tower Hamlets Council’s own internal bureaucracy and those other than the Council’s own ‘town hall pravda’ the ‘East End Life’ (which has been) frequently condemned by Tory Local Councils’ minister Eric Pickles and his ministerial colleagues e.g. Bob Neil


Saturday, 16 October 2010
"HELAL DEAD MEAT" in "Rotten Boroughs", Private Eye, No 1273, 15-29 October 2010
"Labour is in meltdown in Tower Hamlets, where the party's cack-handed efforts to prevent its own former council leader, Lutfur Rahman, becoming elected mayor of the east London borough on 21 October have virtually guaranteed his triumph at the polls.
Lutfur has become an embarrassment to Labour because of his alleged links to the fundamentalist Islamic Forum of Europe, which pulls the strings at the East London Mosque - first reported in this column two years ago (Eye 1219) and forensically examined by Andrew Gilligan on Channel 4's Dispatches back in February.
In the blowback from Dispatches, Lutfur was ousted as Labour group and council leader in May. He then put his name forward for nomination as the party's mayoral candidate and became an unlikely martyr after the London Labour Party twice removed him from the list of candidates. Lutfur went to court to remain on the list and then romped home in a poll of local party members. Labour's National Executive Commitee then dumped him as candidate, so Lutfur declared he would stand as an independent - shades of Ken Livingstone and the London mayoral race back in 2000.
Playing the frank Dobson role as doomed-to-lose official candidate is Lutfur's replacement as council leader, Helal Abbas, who has little democratic legitimacy because he was only the local membership's third choice, with 157 votes to Lutfur's 433. Second-placed John Biggs, who unlike Abbas comes with no embarrassing baggage, won 251 members' votes. He is assumed to have been passed over because he is, er, white.
Abbas, a former bankrupt, is hardly a breath of fresh air, having appeared in this column on numerous occasions over the past decade. In a previous incarnation as council leader in 2003 he won the Eye's prestigious "brass-necked councillor of the year" award for pocketing a 49% rise in allowances (Eye 1096) and ungraciously responded to the accoldate by declaring that Eye readers were not "sane-minded" and should "get a life" (Eye 1099).
During his three years at the helm up to 2005, he took on the mantle of the fraud- buster and police opened investigations into four council-funded organisations. Some of the shine came off this when leaked documents from a Housing Corporation investigation in to allegations of electoral fraud at a housing association referred to a certain "Candidate A" who had used "votes" from an out-of-date register - which included the names of dead people - in an attempt to win a seat on the association's board (Eye 1133). Abbas was asked on at least four occasions if he was "Candidate A" and each time strangely lost the power of speech.
PS: Labour has purged those Tower Hamlets councillors -eight of them - who supported Lutfur's mayoral candidacy. These martyrs to principle include Rania Khan and Oliur Rahman, who were originally elected as Respeck councillors in 2006. They then left to join a breakaway group called Respect: Independent Party (RIP - geddit?). At the London Assembly elections in 2008 the pair stood for the Left List but were then persuaded by Lutfur to join Labour last year. Principles - now you see 'em, now you don't!"
Lutfur's shabby treatment by the Labour Party, who sought to have him removed as candidate without a proper investigation, has echoes of the treatment meted out to as many as 30 BNP organisers who were suspended without being given a proper reason except that they might use the membership list to help Eddy Butler (who was calling for a leadership election and therefore needed to secure enough nominations) and that they may potentially breach the Data Protection Act, with no indication of when a decision might be given as to whether their suspension would be lifted and certainly no right to attend any hearing in order to defend themselves.
Those in the BNP who wish to show solidarity with victims of their party's arbitrary decisions wish Lutfur a successful campaign.



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