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

Lifting the lid on Tower Hamlets politics Part 2 – Whitechapel by-election

By on September 8, 2017 in Elections 2018, Lutfur Rahman

This is the second of two posts that may shed some light on Tower Hamlets politics. You can read the first one here. This is also Love Wapping’s 1000th blog post. A shame it has to be about something so tawdry.

Not in office but still in power

Mayor Lutfur Rahman

ex-Mayor Lutfur Rahman

As we pointed out yesterday it seems Lutfur Rahman and crew are intent on causing mischief and by so doing continue to manipulate politics in the borough for their own ends.

Yes we know Lutfur Rahman was found guilty of corruption, fiddling the grants system for the political benefit of his chums in Tower Hamlets First, thrown out of the town hall, banned from standing for public office for five years back in 2015 and is now the subject of a criminal investigation by the Hendon Hedonists of Operation Lynemouth.

But so what? Lutfur may not be in office but he is still in power. Go figure.

The video below has, we are told, been published by the Tower Hamlets Independent Group political advisor [This correct? THING has a political advisor? Shurely shome mishtake? Ed.] on the direct instruction of Lutfur Rahman to damage Cllr. Khales. Unfortunately Cllr. Oliur Rahman is also damaged but it seems Oliur is just collateral in this fight.

The danger for Lutfur Rahman is that he damages himself is news of his actions should ever get out. So tell no-one about this, right?

The video is another transcript of an audio recording detailing a conversation between Labour councillor Khales Uddin Ahmed and ‘Independent’ councillor Oliur Rahman (no relation) before the 2016 by-election in Whitechapel. This video has been on YouTube for a while and according to Cllr. Khales is the second part of the first video you can see on the previous post. 

Have a watch. Transcript below.

Not nice is it?

Face value? Wassat?

At face value two things seem to be going on here. The first is a Labour councillor talking to the Leader of the main opposition about the choices of candidate for the Whitechapel by-election. The second is the use of the term ‘kala’ in reference to Victoria Obaze.  In Bengali ‘kala’ means black or blackie, a blatantly racist term.

As with the previous video LW has had the audio checked against the transcript by two Bengali speakers. Both confirm it to be accurate.

Cllr. Khales denies this and states that “I can confirm as per translation of the transcript below confirm not a single racist or sexist word was used.” and has provided his translation (see below). Khales is also at pains to point out the difference between “Khala” which in Bangladeshi means maternal aunt and “Kalo” which means black.

One of our Bengali speakers is of the opinion that the word ‘khalee’ – with a double ee – is clearly used and that use cannot be misinterpreted as it could not be misconstrued for ‘khala.

Victoria Obaze has been asked for comment on the transcript but we had not heard from here at the time of publication.

Whatever the reality of the words used the risk is that concern about the use (or not) of the racist term ‘kala’ may detract from the main issue which is the purpose of the conversation between Cllr. Khales and Cllr. Oliur.

For those unfamiliar with Tower Hamlets politics the conversation is akin to a senior Conservative MP having a chat with Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn as to the merits of each others possible candidates who will be fighting a parliamentary by-election. Odd, huh?

Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition

Another interesting detail is where Oliur mentions Cllr. Aminur Khan as having suggested someone called “Br. Surok” who is a senior civil servant in the Home Office. Sources believe this to be one Suroth Ahmed who used to be involved with the Bangladesh Football Association (BFA).

Cllr. Aminur Khan aka ‘Imram’ (People’s Alliance of Tower Hamlets, Whitechapel) is a leading figure in Islamic Forum Europe (IFE) and the husband of Cllr. Rabina Khan (Leader of PATH Group, People’s Alliance of Tower Hamlets, Shadwell) and the PATH Mayoral candidate for 2018.

Four parties, one candidate

So this indicates that there were no less than four political organisations involved in the selection of the candidate to oppose Labour candidate Victoria Obaze in the by-election:

  1. Tower Hamlets Labour Party (represented by Cllr. Khales)
  2. Independent Group (represented by Cllr. Oliur)
  3. People’s Alliance of Tower Hamlets (input from Cllr. Aminur Khan)
  4. Islamic Forum Europe (input from Cllr. Aminur Khan)

It would be cruel to suggest that the eventual by-election winner, Cllr. Shafi Ahmed (People’s Alliance of Tower Hamlets, Whitechapel) , was chosen because he used to be Lutfur Rahman’s chauffeur.

But it seems about right.

Cllr. Shafi Ahmed

Video transcript as published by #One [presumed to be Tower Hamlets First]

Published 24 Aug 2017

“Full English Transcript at 2:25 in the video – Sitting Tower Hamlets Labour Cllr and party member who is a former Labour Speaker of the Council, Cllr Khales Uddin Ahmed fixing the downfall of a female Black African Labour candidate (own party) with the Opposition Leader in a disgustingly racist and sexist way. Labour Party lost that by-election – The Labour Opposition he is speaking to in this leaked secret talk – won. How long more Labour will turn a blind eye in Tower Hamlets”

*True and accurate translation of telephone conversation between Khales Uddin Ahmed (Bromley North Ward) and Independent Cllr Oliur Rahman in London Borough of Tower Hamlets before the Whitechapel Ward By Election on 1st December 2016.

Cllr OR (Oliur Rahman): Assalamu Alaikum, Brother Khales, where are you?

Cllr KUA (Khales U Ahmed): Wa alaikum salam, now in front of my house? Why?

OR: What is the news, GEC, is the motion passed? (Enquiring about the Labour Party Motion about selecting its party candidate for Whitechapel ward by-election

KUA: Yeh, Yeh, the blackie, will be gotten rid of this time, get rid of blackie. [The term ‘Kala’ in Bengali means Black, referring to Ms. Victoria Obaze, the Labour party’s candidate in Whitechapel ward as a ‘blackie’… both racist and sexist in language. Cllr. Khales U Ahmed saying ‘the blackie’ must be stoped from winning – his own party candidate……]

OR: And do one thing, talk to Rabina, yeh.

KUA: What talk?

OR: Candidate here, 2018, 2018, 2018 is far away, don’t know whether we will die or live in 2018.

KUA: Yeh.

OR: Understand? In Whitechapel now, give one candidate. If don’t give one candidate, can’t give delivery. You can’t give what you want if don’t give one candidate.

KUA: Tell me, who would be the candidate?

OR: I’m thinking, but couldn’t get the right candidate from top of my head. I had relationship with Br. Imran (Cllr. Aminur Khan), he proposed some names. He proposed. Br Surok, br. Akhlaq, he proposed those names. However Br. Surok is the senior civil servant in the Home Office. He wouldn’t get the permission. He wouldn’t give up his job.

KUA: Akhlaq doesn’t wish to stand either.

OR: Surok will not come for £10k salary as councillor.

KUA: Yeh.

OR: I heard now Br. Aktar. You can’t control Whitechapel by br. Aktar. Aktar wouldn’t be the candidate either, listen to me.

OR: Oh Yeh, yeh.

KUA: I heard a name,

OR: Yeh

KUA: Perhaps you don’t know, God knows. I don’t know, I don’t know fully. Name is Shafi.

OR: Yeh, Name is Shafi, the fat man. Yeh I know.

KUA: In the last election, he was with Lutfur Rahman’s car.

OR: I know, I know Shafi.

KUA: He was with Lutfur Rahman’s car.

OR: I know Shafi very well. He is my face book friend.

KUA: Yeh, he is the candidate.

OR: If he is the candidate in a place like Whitechapel, tell me, can he manage?

KUA: Now who else can be given there? Who is that man?

OR: Can I pursue Br Akhlaq

KUA: Br Akhlaq wouldn’t stand

OR: Wouldn’t stand? let me talk, let me pursue.

KUA: Talk to him.

OR: If i can pursue Akhlak, can you talk to Rabina and Imram, try to explain them.

KUA: Yeh, I will explain to them, you talk to him.

OR: OK, I will let you know

KUA: OK

Transcript according to Cllr. Khales

Oliur Rahman: Peace, Brother Khales where are you?

Khalis Uddin Ahmed: I have just come in front of my house.

OR: What is the news? Has the motion been passed at the GC?

KUA: The motion was for there to be member selections.

OR: Very Good, Very Good! If there is member selection we will place the (maternal) aunt – khala. there..

KUA: Yes, we will place the aunt there.

OR: You do something, speak to Rabina. Speak about who the candidate is there. When 2018 comes don’t know whether we will be alive.  If we put one candidate, no one will give a peanut.

I am thinking, can’t come with an idea in the head as to what to do.

I spoke to Imran, he is a friend of mine. He proposed some names, Brother Surat and Brother Akhlaq. He proposed them.

But Borther Surat is a civil servant, he is senior civil servant at the home office. Home Office won’t give him permission, he won’t give up his job for a £,10,000 councillor job.

I am hearing that they are saying Brother Akhtar.

KUA: Brother AKhtar will not stand. I am hearing the name Shafi, Brother in law of Rabina.  Now I recognise him, in the previous election he is with Lutfur Rahman, at the car.

OR: I recognise him, he is my facebook friend. Can he as candidate, with large body mass do it in Whitechapel?

KUA: Who else are you guys gonna put up? Brother Akhlaq is not gonna stand?

OR: He is not gonna stand, let me persuade him?

KUA: You guys talk.

OR: We might be able to get Brother Akhlaq.

Just make Rabina understand.

I will make him understand. I will let you know.

Note:

Khala – Aunt (Maternal)

Kalo – Black

Cast of Characters

Other Terms

‘Trigger ballot’ refers to the series of ballots that took place in 2016 within Tower Hamlets Labour Party to decide its leader. The process was such that the incumbent, John Biggs, was selected as a trigger ballot and the open election process was avoided, thereby eliminating any threat to Biggs leadership.

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There Are 2 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Cllr Khales Uddin Ahmed says:

    The most important bit is missing, The timeline does not add up.The phone conversation happened on Friday 28th October 2017, there was no candidates at that moment, Candidates had not even applied for the role, the deadline for applications was on the 30th of October 2016.
    Victoria Obaze or any candidate were not even on the scene, at that time victoria Obaze was not seen as favourite to win. On Thursday 3rd November 2016 Victoria Obaze was selected to be the candidate.

    Therefore please can you make the correction on your blog, as in no way the conversation referred to Victoria Obaze, as no one knew what the final shortlist of candidates was going to be for that Thursday’s selection.

    I assume the above is an honest mistake on your part, and you are being mislead by individuals who are being directed willingly or unknowingly by Lutfur Rahman.

    Yours,

    Cllr Khales Uddin Ahmed

  2. Akbar Ali Sham says:

    Tower Hamlets Labour Party now reaps the reward of what it once sowed. Well done John Biggs! returned to continue his project and finish the Job he started back in the 80s!

    For years TH Labour Party officials imposed their own candidate being put up for local elections by barring fully paid up Labour members from selecting their own candidates! It would seem for decades TH Labour Party’s faceless officials have systemically cultivated and groomed Bangladeshi ‘wannabe’ Labour politicians. Afterall, the Party officials had selected these people to stand for local elections representing the Labour Party and not the members. Funny how on this occasion Labour allowed members to select their candidate to stand for the Whitechapel by-election. The reason for allowing members to nominate and elect their own candidates could because all the nominated candidates for the by-elections were BAME? Maybe TH Labour Officials knew that it’s impossible for them to win Whitechapel Ward which once use to be a safe Labour seat and now no longer? Or it was a good way to stick a hefty wedge in within the BAME members and let them fight it out and watch the fight grow bigger nearing the next mayoral elections?

    Could be suggested that TH Labour Officials nurtured their Bangladeshi candidates into further incompetence? Imposing candidates who ordinary people may consider represents the worst values and motivation that can be found in any community or in a political leader? Yet these candidates can be controlled due to their sheer ignorance, naivety and narrow-minded thinking! Or are all theses independent groups arm’s length TH Labour Party subsidiary groups created to do the parties dirty work?

    All this seems to be benefiting only one person and his cronies I would say, and that is John Biggs and his faceless TH Labour Party Officials.

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