Supermarkets across Tower Hamlets report rapidly dwindling stocks of popcorn as residents prepare for Monday’s BBC Panorama documentary about our beloved Mayor Lutfur Rahman.
Details of the programme have begun to emerge, apparently the title is ‘The Mayor and our Money’.
Now it has to be said that Love Wapping finds the title a little disappointing.
Especially as it seems the Panorama team have ignored our previous suggestions.
Ours were better. Much better.
The Mayor’s money, not ours
Also Panorama seems to have missed a fundamental point. It’s the Mayor’s money, not ours. Duh! So where’s the problem BBC?
Anyway that minor detail aside, here are some words we stole from the East London Advertiser (ELA) this morning.
Quite why the ELA bills this as an ‘exclusive’ I am not sure, but it looks like they just reprinted a BBC Press statement anyway. See below:
“Up and down the country, directly-elected Mayors control billions of pounds of public funds. But can this lead to too much power being concentrated into the hands of one politician?
John Ware investigates the directly-elected Mayor of Tower Hamlets in London – where opponents claim he’s used public funds both to promote himself and to create a local power base that, come election time this May, will help return him to office.
Panorama reveals evidence suggesting that, under the Mayoral system in Tower Hamlets, accountability and transparency have been put into reverse, with the Mayor refusing to answer opposition questions about spending decisions involving millions of pounds of public money – and also how he has injected faith into politics.”
‘Using public funds to promote himself?’
‘Too much power?’
‘Accountability and transparency put into reverse?’
‘Refusing to answer questions?’
Yeah – that’s about right.
Thing is I have been watching Panorama over many years and know that John Ware is one of the best investigative reporters on the planet. Check out his Wikipedia entry.
So I would be very surprised if he and his team’s revelations are to be restricted to what is common knowledge in Tower Hamlets.
Amongst John’s many investigations he revealed evidence that led to the eventual downfall of Dame Shirley Porter, former Conservative Leader of Westminster City Council.
For those of you who don’t know John’s work focussed on Dame Shirley and her involvement in the “homes for votes” scandal, considered by some to be the worst case of corruption in UK public service since the Second World War.
Central to this corruption was what is known as ‘gerrymandering’, manipulating the boundaries of an electoral constituency to favour one party or class.
Indeed the damage she caused to the Conservative Party at the time was so immense that some consider that her actions led to Tony Blair eventually gaining power.
And we all know how well that worked out for us.
Oh and Tony Blair came up with the ‘directly elected Mayor’ idea. Cheers Tony.
My point being that if an individual has a whole BBC Panorama documentary devoted to them it is not good. Ask Dame Shirley.
Don’t forget: BBC Panorama BBC One on Monday, 31 March, at 8.30pm.
And bring your popcorn.