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

Childish game of political sniping further alienates Tower Hamlets electorate

The local and mayoral elections on 3rd May will be the most important in the history of the London Borough of Hamlets. Despite this some politicians would rather indulge in cheap political point-scoring than addressing real issues.

It would be funny if it was not so depressing.

For the last two weeks there has been a noticeable increase in the amount of trite attempts by rival candidates to show their rivals in a bad light.

As LW occasionally covers politics we have recently been bombarded with a stream of emails and phone calls from politicians pointing out the wrongdoing of other politicians.

Over enthusiastic politician spotted in Wapping

This stupidity by those who seem to believe they are competent of representing us came to head yesterday when LW received an email from one candidate whining about another candidate (in a completely different ward) who had been “filmed and photographed with a Council employee and Council equipment to promote himself.“

Here is the guilty party – none other than Wapping Labour candidate Abdal Ullah helping wash graffiti off one of our lovely bridges.

The horror!

(Note: The only reason our lovely bridge looks lovely is because of the efforts of the amazingly capable Wapping Conservative councillor Julia ‘Christmas Tree’ Dockerill who has taken the very wise career decision to become an MP far away from Tower Hamlets.)

"I don't want to play so there!"

“Sir! Sir! Janet borrowed my pencil!”

The puerile missive sent to Tower Hamlets Chief Executive Will Tuckley continued with the observation that “I was not aware that Council resources might be made available to potential Council candidates to help illustrate their priorities for the Borough if elected.

I also intend to be a candidate in the forthcoming elections and should be grateful if you could let me know who I should contact within the Council to take advantage of this initiative?

I would also be interested in learning more about the range of resources that I might be able to use for such purposes.”

Fair point? Or cheap point scoring? If Mr Ullah is guilty of anything it is of being over enthusiastic in an urban area.

And it would be nice to see all the other people who want to be our representatives getting their hands dirty (or wet).

Another separate criticism was that Tower Hamlets Labour Party were using council email addresses and phone numbers on their election literature.

In turn the Labour Party accused the Wapping Conservatives and Lib-Dems of doing the very same thing.

Run for the hills! Run!

The Labour Party view is that the use of council contact details on political party literature does not constitute a breach of the Code of Conduct.

The Conservative Party view is that “The council, in effect, has been co-opted to promote the election of a council candidate in the most blatant manner possible.”

The LW view is that we don’t really give a damn either way and current and future representatives should grow up and spend their time engaging with residents about policies.

Anyone engaged in political activities in the run-up to the May elections (we are still not in the formal election period) should always be aware that Tower Hamlets remains an outstanding beacon of corruption and they need to not only be squeaky clean but also appear to be squeaky clean.

So it is pretty daft to use council email addresses and phone numbers on election literature.

Apart from that it is very poor design practise to use different email domains for the same group of people. But don’t get us started on the incredibly low standard of election leaflets in the borough or we might get really angry.

What else?

The non-executive mayor

Oh yeah! The distinct possibility that Lutfur Rahman will soon be the non-executive mayor of Tower Hamlets!

We have spent so much time this morning writing about the above detailed drivel that we haven’t been writing about the non-executive mayor. Let’s hope the wannabe councillors have not been preoccupied too much with generating the drivel in the first place so forget about this travesty of the democratic process that is beginning to become a distinct possibility.

Here’s the deal people

For those who take no interest in local politics – aka the people who find cheap political point-scoring childish and just give up in disgust – but who might be reading this, here is the hard reality of what is happening in Tower Hamlets.

We will break this down into simple easily consumable facts.

  1. In 2014 Lutfur Rahman was corruptly elected as executive mayor of Tower Hamlets
  2. In 2015 Lutfur Rahman was kicked out of office for the whole corruption thing and banned from standing for elected office for five years (until 2020).
  3. Rahman was only ejected from office because four ordinary residents took him to court. Until then – as now – the establishment stood back and did nothing.
  4. In 2018 Cllr. Ohid Ahmed is standing as the Tower Hamlets Independent Group mayoral candidate.
  5. The reality is that Cllr. Ahmed is the proxy candidate for Lutfur Rahman.
  6. Members of Cllr. Ahmed’s canvassing team have been heard to say to potential voters that ‘Lutfur Rahman is the mayor and Ohid is his candidate’.
  7. If elected one of executive mayor Ahmed’s first executive decisions will be to appoint Lutfur Rahman as a mayoral adviser.
  8. Lutfur Rahman’s career as Mayor Ohid’s adviser will come to an abrupt halt in 2020 when he can legally stand for electoral office once more.
  9. Prospective executive mayor Cllr. Ahmed’s election literature has this endorsement from the corruptly elected former Mayor Rahman ““Proud to support your highly capable and energetic Independent Action Team & Ohid Ahmed for Mayor”
  10. In January 2018 the Electoral Commission approved the registration of the Aspire Party which is a political vehicle for Lutfur Rahman.
  11. Once more the democratic process is under attack in Tower Hamlets.

Let’s be clear on something. The assault on the democratic process in Tower Hamlets does not stop at the borough borders. It threatens the whole of the United Kingdom.

Already LW hears that this cancer is infecting Newham. It is no coincidence that Newham borders Tower Hamlets.

While this continues to happen every politician who seeks election in our borough should be directly challenged and asked these three questions:

  • Do you support the democratic process?
  • Do you condemn any criminal activity by any elected representatives?
  • Do you support and will you actively cooperate with the current Metropolitan Police criminal investigation into the Tower Hamlets First administration of Lutfur Rahman between 2010 and 2014?

Depending on the answers to these questions you might then want to ask them about ASB, the housing crisis, speeding cars, council consultations that are not consultations and the rest.

Knock off the cheap jibes boys and girls and get to grips with the issues that matter or the electorate may not vote for any of you.

And there is no worse fate for a politician than to be ignored.





 

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  1. Andrew Wood, Cllr Canary Wharf ward says:

    There are two important issues:

    If you look at the Labour leaflet you can see the use of the mayor@towerhamlets.gov.uk email address. This email is answered by Council employees and not Labour party members or John Biggs (who has a different .gov.uk email address which he answers himself)
    The 0207 phone number is also answered by Council employees not by John himself.

    Had it been Johns personal mobile number and his personal email address there would have been no issue. The twitter link is personal to John and there are no issues with that.

    The issue is not the use of towerhamlets.gov.uk email addresses itself but that other Mayoral candidates are also not being offered the use of Council employees to directly process residents enquiries (if they are a Cllr they can raise a members enquiry but not all Mayoral candidates will be Councillors)

    So if somebody sees a Labour leaflet, calls or emails the Council with an issue, if it is then resolved by Council employees, who takes the benefit of that resolution? the politically neutral Tower Hamlets Council or the Labour candidate for Mayor?

    The issue with Abdal Ullah is the use of Council equipment by a candidate (the high viz jet, the spray equipment etc)

    We are not allowed to use Council resources for campaigning and that should apply to all candidates. Otherwise the Council risks being seen as not impartial.

    How can the Council resolve these issues? One possibility is to offer all candidates equal access to Council facilities. That clearly would be mad but what other alternatives are there to creating a level playing field?

    PS I think we should have an award for best and worst leaflets 🙂

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