Local and mayoral elections take place in Tower Hamlets on 3rd May. Although this is still three months away campaigning is already in full swing with all its customary viciousness.
The looming shadow
As ever local issues in the borough are swamped by personality politics and the shadow of corruptly elected ex-mayor Lutfur Rahman looms large over every electoral ward.
At a time when the threat of terrorist attacks are a hard reality of everyday life the Metropolitan Police has to devote scarce resources to ensure a free and fair vote takes place in May.
In a separate but related Met police operation the 20 detectives of Operation Lynemouth are busy working through a mountain of evidence that is the reasom for a criminal investigation into the Tower Hamlets First council administration of Lutfur Rahman between 2010 and 2014.
Freight train fast approaching
At least one candidate was completely unaware of Op. Lynemouth until a conversation with LW last week.
The analogy we gave was that of a freight train hurtling along the tracks towards the guilty. The reminder was appreciated.
At the 2018 eletions the very future of Tower Hamlets is at stake.
The electorate does not have to make a relatively simple choice between opposing political parties but instead choose if they wish to revert to the industrial scale corruption of Tower Hamlets First or not.
Does the borough have a viable future?
If voters choose the path that Rahman offers them then it is hard to see how Tower Hamlets has a viable future as a functional unit of local government.
You think the problems of the last eight years are big? You ain’t see nothing yet.
Key to the future of how East End residents live their daily lives is the manner in which those who wish to be a councillor or a mayor live theirs.
Which is why the public or private behaviour of those who seek elected office is open to public scrutiny.
Democracy geek alert!
The majority of election candidates will just shrug and get on with their campaigning when reminded of this simple principle of the democratic process (yep, we are harping on about that quaint old thing again) because they are democrats for who transparency is part of the deal. Irrespective of the colour of their skin or party literature they understand the need for public scrutiny.
Scouting around the interwebs for opinions on this issue we found this remarkably prescient comment on a newspaper site in British Columbia, Canada:
“Behaviour, public or private, is a product of character. We can only be indifferent to the behaviour of politicians — any of it — if and when we become totally indifferent to their character. We should not invade privacy, but we dare not ignore what they manifest simply because it has to do with their “private lives.”.
Gerry Hunter, Burnaby
Thanks very much for that Gerry, whoever you are.
‘Behaviour, public or private, is a product of character.’ If the private individual undertakes or condones corrupt or illegal behaviour then it should be no surprise that they will act the same way if elected to public officer.
Lack of social taboos
In Tower Hamlets it is fair to say that anyone who associates with members of a political party – whatever its name – that have seen no social taboo in systematically corrupting our system of local government should be condemned for their association.
Politics is about ideas. Some candidates for election in May believe that lining their pockets and those of their mates is a completely normal idea. They see nothing wrong with it.
These people will corrupt our borough with no more consideration than others would choose to take an umbrella with them when going to work on a rainy day.
These same people are still busy using every trick in the book to get elected.
Just because we have not published news stories about this activity does not mean it is not happening.
Centre of UK political corruption
Do not believe that corrupt electoral practise is a thing of the past in Tower Hamlets. It is not. It thrives still. Tower Hamlets remains the centre of political corruption in the United Kingdom.
Partly this is the fault of the central government authorities who have consistently failed the borough by not bringing the corrupt to justice.
Partly it is the fault of an imported sub-culture that runs its politics on the manipulation of the block votes of individuals in return for beneficial treatment when their candidates gain power.
With an annual council budget of around £1.1 billion (yes, billion) that is potentially a lot of beneficial treatment.
But mainly it is the fault of the individuals who join a corrupt political group with the sole intention of becoming richer. They will makes noises about the benefits of community, the threats of acid attacks and solutions to ASB but they are only noises.
Their promises hold no truth or sincerity.
All this is by way of an explanation of why LW will be biased in its political coverage during the next three months.
While we never pretend to attain the standards of BBC impartiality we like to think we do our best to be reasonably balanced.
Unless we smell the stench of corruption.
Then we turn our spotlight towards the smell and start digging away at anything unusual we find.
We see little point in giving the right of reply to someone who not only makes a profession of lying to the electorate but would also be more than happy if LW was to stop publishing. Or just ceased to exist.
LW is very lucky that we have the active support and participation of residents all over Tower Hamlets who tell us where to look for corruption. The efforts of these private citizens remain private because many fear retribution if identified.
It’s easy to demand that people stand up and be counted, but when the price of doing that might be a beating for you or a petrol bomb thrown through the window of your family home it is not easy to do.
Vote – but vote carefully
So neither your or anyone else will ever know who they are. If you don’t want to tell LW what you know then tell the police.
The use of secrecy to expose those who operate in secrecy is one way to defeat corruption.
The other way is to make sure you vote carefully on 3rd May.