Community news and investigative journalism for Wapping E1W and Tower Hamlets London

“Stopping the cult of personality that’s more at home in North Korea than East London”

By on May 22, 2014 in Elections 2014

This is a speech that John Biggs made a few months back. John is Labour’s candidate for Mayor of Tower Hamlets and you can often see him in Cinnamon coffee shop. He used to be councillor for Wapping so knows it well.

I have been keeping these words for an important occasion as I think they give a good insight into the man and the politician. I think that important occasion is today 22nd May 2014.

Have a read if you wish and make your decision. Then go vote.

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Tower Hamlets – one of the most vibrant and exciting places on the planet.

“We need to start a new chapter in the life of Tower Hamlets – one of the most vibrant and exciting places on the planet.

This is my home. I’ve seen it ebb and flow over the years, walking with giants in its proudest moments – falling well short of its potential at its lowest.

Today, Tower Hamlets is at a crossroads. Although there is great success and achievement, for too many this isn’t happening. The people are being neglected, divided and, unless they are favoured, left behind by the very Mayor who is meant to help them.

Tower Hamlets is a story of ambition and change going back to the roots of the East End. It’s a story of people travelling here, whether from half way round the world or, like parts of my family, the English countryside because they want to improve their lives and the lives of their families.

It’s a story of traditional communities flying the flag for and constantly, subtly, redefining our heritage, culture and values. It’s a story of new professionals, entrepreneurs, even bankers. All want to call our borough home.

The story of Tower Hamlets is about seizing opportunity, working together and realising potential.

Look at what is on our doorstep – the City, Canary Wharf, Tech City, the media and legal centre of the world, world beating medicine, the list is endless – our community should be using those opportunities. Many are. But for many this is not happening. A vital job for a modern council is to make people more powerful. We can do that.

Whether it’s SMEs or global giants, I know how much good business can do for the borough.

Take where we sit tonight, Canary Wharf. This isn’t an island shut off from the rest of the borough. It’s part of our borough, our community.

When I win I want to work with business, not for token gestures or pet projects but developing proper partnerships that benefit everyone.

The best way to get jobs for local people is to work with business but Lutfur Rahman refuses unless it involves a photo-opportunity, and he doesn’t care about the detail.

Instead of making the most of the opportunities in Tower Hamlets he fails at every chance he has.

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Not a single Olympic event for Tower Hamlets

Take the Olympics – the golden example. We were at the centre of the world’s biggest festival. Yet what did Tower Hamlets get? Not a single Olympic event. No marathon. No lasting jobs. No homes. No vision.

But maybe that’s not fair – let’s not forget one achievement – the current mayor did get a VIP pass and tickets to the best events.

The world on our doorstep just waiting to be invited in and Lutfur Rahman still fails. To tweak a phrase I heard at the Labour Party Conference, Tower Hamlets can do better than this!

The problem is he believes it’s not his fault. Always someone else’s problem, always someone else’s fault. It’s wicked business, the evil Government, the McCarthyite Labour Party.

The best excuse came recently when his Cabinet suggested that families shouldn’t complain about the late night raves he packs into Victoria Park because it was their fault for choosing to live there. He just doesn’t get it!

East Enders are fighters not victims

He says people in Tower Hamlets are victims. We’re not, we’re passionate fighters.

I know we can win. But let’s not kid ourselves – the challenge facing us is significant.

I and my team of councillors and candidates will be working every second we have to win back control but we do need your help. Running elections on this scale is not cheap. And our opposition is mysteriously well financed.

Tonight I have a new pledge – I’m told you need one. It’s about stopping that cult of personality that’s more at home in North Korea than East London.

There will be some urgent cuts:

  • No Mayoral mug shots plastered across the borough.
  • No more abuse of East End Life.
  • No more luxury mayoral Mercedes.
  • No more wasting hundreds of thousands of pounds on mayoral ‘advisors’.
  • And sadly no more driver to do the all important mayoral laundry.

Joking aside, this is an important point and an important election.  It’s about the future of our borough and our people.

Whether kids go to good schools.

Whether there are jobs for them when they leave

Whether homes are affordable and the streets safe.

A community with confidence and a sense of its place.

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Making smart choices

As Mayor I’ll work to make smart choices informed by the Labour values of fairness, equality and social justice. That’s why it’s so important to elect a Labour Mayor here in Tower Hamlets.

This is no time to waste money – it’s a time to take important decisions that will help hard working people.

That’s why I’ve already pledged to scrap zero hour contracts in the borough and why Tower Hamlets Labour campaigning has forced the Council to blacklist the blacklisters, not working with companies who blacklist workers.

The home of Cable Street

Tower Hamlets is the home of Cable Street and not one but two labour party leaders. It’s a melting pot and an economic powerhouse. The richest and poorest of places. It deserves better.

The future story of Tower Hamlets is about seizing opportunity, working together and realising potential.

The Future story of Tower Hamlets is about One East End – working together to build a better future.”

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