Natasha Bolter is to announce that she is turning her back on Lutfur Rahman to stand as an independent candidate in May’s local elections. And that is ‘independent’ as in genuinely independent, not as part of Rahman’s ‘Independent Group’.
In her press statement (which can be read in full below) she throws some light as to how Lutfur Rahman is working in the shadows to regain power in the borough despite being banned from seeking elected office.
‘Lutfur taking advantage of the Bengali community’
“Lutfur and Maium [Miah] take advantage of the Bengali community and the local mosques by promising them planning and funds if they come to power,” says Natasha.
Every politician in the borough knows this to be true but few will ever stand up and say this in front of potential voters.
In September last year Natasha announced that she would be standing for Lutfur Rahman’s Independent Group in Canary Wharf ward with Cllr. Maium Miah.
There may be something about the air in Canary Wharf that makes people change from one party to another so frequently.
Cllr. Miah is without doubt the most skilled at this as he has the dubious distinction of having been elected as a Conservative then changed to the Labour Party then changed to Tower Hamlets First faster than you can say Lunch Clubs.
More on Cllr. Miah in the next few months.
Ms. Bolter has a colourful political history having previously been a member of both the Labour Party and UKIP.
As it is a little too easy to just dismiss her as being politically naive last week LW met Natasha for a chat over a coffee in Husk Coffee in Limehouse.
We were pleasantly surprised by what we found. And we don’t mean the amazing Husk Coffee cake.
Natasha’s previous political experiences give her a good perspective on political parties both national and local and she is forthright in her views.
Labour Party? “Too much internal politics,” says Natasha.
UKIP? “They told me my job was just to stand around and look pretty.”
Lutfur Rahman? “He just wanted me to bring in the female votes for [Cllr.] Maium Miah, nothing else.”
On the subject of Tower Hamlets First’s slightly relaxed views on due process when in power and curious electoral practise Natasha is a little naive but not blind to what has happened.
“I think in the past I have done something on a whim and not thought it through properly. This time I have thought about it for the last month before making my decision.”
During our hour long conversation we found that many of Natasha’s politic beliefs were sensible and in line with many voters in Tower Hamlets who are fed up to the back teeth with the constant drone personality politics.
People just want things done
So what are Natasha Bolter’s real political beliefs? “Politics is not about political parties it is about serving the people. That’s what I want to do. I know I need a sizeable number of Bengali votes and that will be difficult to achieve but I am still determined to win.”
Media Statement issued by Natasha Bolter
“My name is Natasha Bolter.
I am standing for local election in the Canary Wharf Ward.
I initially joined Tower Hamlets Independent Group [THIG] as they approached me first and promised me they will be different, open and democratic and inclusive of every community. I believed their vision and joined.
However, over the last few months I’ve realised that the party is run single handedly by one man who calls all the shots and that is the former mayor Lutfur Rahman. He makes all the decisions like a dictator and without any accountability even though he does not hold any official position within the party.
The group is predominately Bangladeshi men with very sexist and misogynistic ideas about women. I feel they only included me to show the wider community they have a non-Bengali candidate and use my name for their own benefit.
I have realised to my own detriment how councillor Maium Miah used me to gain votes from non-Bangladeshi voters and collude with Labour to ensure I lose. This I believe was directly sanctioned by Lutfur.
I do not believe the group is united or that they have confidence in winning the mayoralty in May. Everyone is told to stand or sit because of Lutfur Rahman and his vision to one day return to power.
This I believe is dishonest and autocratic and against my values of being transparent and being genuine for the community. There are good people in THIG who Lutfur’s group have deceived. I hope one day they also realise as I have, and make the right decision.
Lutfur and Maium take advantage of the Bengali community and the local mosques by promising them planning and funds if they come to power.
I find this approach dishonest, illegal and contrary to being inclusive of all communities. Elected officials should work with all communities.
I have decided to resign from THIG because of the above reasons. I am a girl of the people and will not tolerate corruption and divisiveness. I will no longer be played to get votes. This is why I want to put the record straight.
One of our editorial rules is to never interview politicians. We have no interest in recycling the same political platitudes of right against left and centre against everything. We don’t want to write it, you don’t want to read it.
So why did we make an exception for Natasha Bolter?
For the simple reason that we wanted to get behind the headlines designed to make us click on a link or sell newspapers and just find out who and what she is really is.
Will she change politics in Tower Hamlets? No. Does this worry her? Doesn’t look like it.
LW is a sceptical of politicians as anyone but we are convinced that Natasha Bolter is genuine and does want to make a difference by helping those who need a voice.
Quite whether she is ruthless enough to succeed in the street fight of a Tower Hamlets local election has yet to be proved. But she is going to have a go and that is what matters.