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

Rabina’s dog-whistle politics drags Mayoral election campaign into gutter

By on April 25, 2017 in Elections 2018, Politics

Any election campaign in Tower Hamlets soon sees proceedings slide into the filth and stink of the gutter.  Corruptly-elected Cllr. Rabina Khan has taken an early lead this year with an election leaflet (below) for her Mayoral campaign that clearly states that 90 Bangladeshi children have been taken into care by the Council since 2016.

A statement which seems to have no basis in fact whatsoever.

In the political trade this technique is known as ‘dog-whistle’ politics, where political messaging employs a coded language that appears to mean one thing to the most people but has an additional, different or more specific meaning for a targeted subgroup.

A dog-whistle

In this particularly blatant usage the not at all subtle inference is that the Nasty People at Tower Hamlets Council have taken no less than 90 Bangladeshi children into care because they are – you guessed it – Bangladeshi.

Or to be blunt Tower Hamlets Council takes children into care based on their ethnic origin, not their circumstances.

Not because they are children at risk, not because experienced social workers have made a professional judgement, but because these children are Bangladeshi.

Racist politics

To be even more direct. Rabina Khan’s leaflet accuses the current Labour administration of being racist.

Quite where Rabina Khan’s grammatically challenged campaign team obtained this figure of 90 Bangladeshi children from is unknown. It certainly was not in the recent Ofsted report. (PDF)

LW looked up every one of the 105 uses of the word ‘care’ in the Ofsted report. The only reference we could find to the number of children in care in the borough at the time was here at paragraph 34:

“At the time of the inspection, Tower Hamlets was looking after 333 children.”

333 children. Presumably of all ethnic origins. No breakdown by ethnic group, religion or shoe size.

Let us dissect the claim of 90 Bangladeshi children being taken into care by Tower Hamlets Council a little further with the aid of the pesky things called facts.

Comparative Statistics Children Looked After – Newham, Southwark, Tower Hamlets

Numbers of children looked after aged under 18 years
Borough 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Newham 450 410 405 430 350
Southwark 550 560 550 500 475
Tower Hamlets 295 305 325 275 305
Numbers and rates per 10,000 children aged under 18 years
Newham 58 51 50 52 42
Southwark 93 93 90 81 75
Tower Hamlets 53 53 53 44 47

Data Source: Children looked after in England including adoption: 2015 to 2016 https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoption-2015-to-2016

Uh huh. Numbers not wildly different from Newham and Southwark.

Now let us look at the proportion of population of Tower Hamlets that is from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) groups. The most recent data we could find for this is for 2016.

54% of the borough population is BAME.

Data Source: https://data.london.gov.uk/dataset/london-borough-profiles

So that means for the figures above that the numbers BAME children in care for the borough should be higher than the claims of Rabina’s crew. About 50% higher.

However without the proper data we are guessing.

But the complete absence of evidence-based facts has never stopped Tower Hamlets First / Peoples Alliance of Tower Hamlets / Whatever They Are Called Today before and it seems it will not this time round either.

Expect more of the same.

Note that LW has not mention the other statement on the election leaflet with regard to the closure of Youth Services centres by the Labour administration, neatly ignoring the reason for their closure being that they were cesspits of corruption created by the previous corruptly-elected administration of which Cllr. Rabina Khan was a proud member.

Odd that.






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