Yes you read that headline correctly. Ex-Mayor Lutfur Rahman and his protege Rabina Khan shared the platform at an election meeting on the Isle of Dogs on Thursday 21st May. It’s almost as if the ex-Mayor is running for Mayor again.
The Tower Hamlets First election meeting, organised by the “Rabina4Mayor/ Isle of Dogs wards conference”, was held at the Calders Wharf Community Centre E14 which is owned by East End Homes (EeH), a public building.
EeH was unaware of this meeting and in response to a letter from Cllr. Peter Golds, Paul Bloss the EeH Chief Executive stated that:
“I would hope that you know that it is not EeH policy to facilitate political meetings for the party formerly known as ‘Tower Hamlets First’ or indeed any political party.”
Mr. Bloss is now investigating.
Where’s the money?
With both the ex-Mayor and his preferred Mayoral candidate sharing the stage it is beyond dispute that this was a political campaign meeting.
The key question is did anyone pay for this event? Or was it free? If payment was made who paid and was it at normal rates or discounted? If discounted then it must be recorded as a political donation.
The law requires that the cost of hiring Calders Wharf Community Centre for this meeting must be declared in the return of campaign expenses.
This might seem a detail but the question arising from this is fundamental as it was blatant disregard for election expenses procedures that led to Lutfur Rahman and Alibor Choudhury being barred from public office.
Selective admission based on race
There are lots of odd things about this particular meeting. One of the most troubling is that it seems that entry to the “Isle of Dogs wards conference” was very selective.
Below is the account quoted by Cllr. Golds in his letter of an Island resident who heard about the meeting and went along to hear more about what Lutfur and Rabina had to say. (It should be made clear that LW has not spoken to this witness at the current time but we have no reason to doubt this account.)
“I tried to attend an election meeting held at Calders Wharf community centre at Island Gardens on Thursday 21 May. I walked in and was immediately told by a man presumably acting as a bouncer to leave or the police would be called. I was told to stop recording on my phone (which I wasn’t) and I was then told to handover my phone, which I obviously ignored.
When I walked in I could see Lutfur Rahman was on his feet addressing the hall, in Bengali, which was 100% Asian. Mainly men. Rabina Khan was sat next to Rahman leading the applause.
At no point was I asked who I was or why I was there, it was get out now from the word go.
I decided to leave after a few minutes and was followed by this ‘bouncer’ all the way through the car park. The whole incident was very unpleasant. It was clear that as a white person I was not welcome and threatening me with the police was laughable but at the same time worryingly sinister.“
At face value this sounds pretty standard stuff. The only surprising thing is that the resident even tried to go to the meeting.
Like many other Tower Hamlets residents LW has personal experience of the ‘muscle’ used to intimidate anyone who dares to challenge possible wrong doing during elections.
Isle of Dogs wards conference
Does anyone know what the “Rabina4Mayor/ Isle of Dogs wards conference” is?
Text messages were sent by the Rabina4Mayor campaign inviting select residents to this event so we can assume that Ms. Khan knows.
Rabina? Any idea? Can you tell the rest of us?
Cllr. Golds believes that the meeting was organised by the ‘Island Gardens Community Group’ (whatever that is) which is the brainchild of Tower Hamlets First.
Confused? You will be.
Readers of Ted Jeory’s blog will be familiar with an organisation called ‘Island Garden Community Association’. Have a look at the comment by JayKay 6 June 2013 on Trial by Jeory here. Is the ‘Island Garden Community Association’ related to the ‘Island Gardens Community Group’ ?.
Is “Isle of Dogs wards conference” really an organisation or is it just a bullshit name to confuse people? It sounds official with a certain grand ring to it. If you are gullible. And why ‘wards’ and not ‘ward’?
Settle down for a long wait
As Tower Hamlets has a problem with political corruption as blatantly obvious as a festering boil on the end of the Mona Lisa’s nose those who live outside the borough might think that the authorities will soon take action.
Those who live inside the borough will know that the opposite is true.
Nothing will be done by anyone in authority. Guaranteed.
The only notable exception to this is Sir Eric Pickles.
After all it’s only Tower Hamlets, so who cares?
For more information
- Letter from Peter Golds (PDF)
- Letter from Peter Golds to Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe (Facebook)
- Is a Registered Provider of Social Housing a public body? (Legal precedent TERESA DONOGHUE v POPLAR HOUSING AND REGENERATION COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION LIMITED)