The Lansbury ward by-election caused by the resignation of former councillor Muhammad Harun will take place on Thursday 7 February 2019 and the usual scramble to become a candidate for whichever party is politically expedient is well advanced.
Ex-deputy Mayor and street cleaning guru Ohid Ahmed is a no-brainer candidate for Aspire (or similar party) and this morning the Wapping Mole heard a rumour that Maium Miah may also be standing for whichever party will put him in charge of council grant allocations – of which he has extensive experience.
It seems certain that the field of candidates will be exclusively Bangladeshi and one of these may well be Tara Hussain who has suddenly switched from being a Liberal Democrat to being a Conservative.
Here’s the initial thread explaining my decision: https://t.co/dA8Qmw9wap
— Tara Hussain (@_tarahussain_) December 24, 2018
Not at all. My issues mainly lie at the national level and my divergence with the Lib Dem position of having a second referendum on Brexit.
— Tara Hussain (@_tarahussain_) December 24, 2018
Rumour has it that the formal announcement was somehow delayed to allow the ruling Labour Party to get a week’s head start on the competition as ex-councillor Harun’s imminent departure was a reality at the start of the week.
Candidates now have until 4 pm on 11 January 2019 to submit their nomination papers with a list of validly nominated candidates.
Register to vote people!
Polling cards will be sent out to all registered electors in Lansbury ward but residents who are not already registered to vote are encouraged to register before the deadline of Tuesday 22 January 2019.
Information about how to register to vote is available here.
Heads you win, tales you change your mind
While a Lib Dem Ms Hussain declared that “On paper I am your ‘stereotypical’ Labour voter. I’m a woman, young, BAME, working class and from London. That is why often I leave my friends and family confused when I tell them I am a Liberal Democrat.”
Even more confusing for the now staunch Conservative Party member who was until the other week a staunch Lib Dem is that Ms Hussain used to be a, er, staunch Conservative and a great fan of David Cameron.
“I wasn’t always a Liberal Democrat, I once used to be a Conservative, from 2014–2016, under Cameron I believed that the Conservative Party represented my view in the individual but what became apparent was it still viewed society through the same lens as Labour. What Labour and the Conservatives represent are two sides of the same coin. One side ignores existing identities to avoid tackling the barriers facing minority groups thus reducing us to our labels and the other is obsessed with identities which equally reduces us to those same labels. Both parties live in a binary world where society is structured according to your race, ethnicity, gender, class, sexuality, religion and geography.”
So that’s all clear then. Apart from which side of the coin Ms Hussain now labels herself with. If it is possible to label yourself with a coin.
But then who really gives a toss?
If you are reading this Tara please email Moley at firstname.lastname@example.org with an explanation of your most recent switcheroo. Moley can’t promise to publish it, he just wants to understand your change of heart.
The Lansbury ward by-election will, as usual for Tower Hamlets, become a street fight. Lutfur Rahman’s Tower Hamlets First / Aspire Party crew are lining up to be the candidate to win Team Lutfur a seat on the council. At the moment they have none.
Whichever candidates do declare themselves as staunch advocates for the values of another issue that looms above the by-election is the investigation by the City of London Police into allegations of fraud during the Rahman era. It would be unfortunate if a candidate was nicked just as they put another leaflet through another door. Oops!
Lansbury residents fuming
Whoever decides to sip from the poisoned chalice that is the Labour candidature in Lansbury will have an uphill battle on their hands. Moley understands that local residents are fuming by what they see as a betrayal by ex-councillor Harun who was only elected in May this year.
The good people of Lansbury will need a huge amount of persuasion that whoever Labour puts up will not betray their trust as Muhammad Harun allegedly has.
Ms Hussain stood as a Lib Dem in the May 2018 local elections and only managed to convince 299 people of the Lansbury electorate that she was the one for them.
Labour have it all to lose
But then the 1,868 people who voted for Muhammad Harun may feel their vote was a complete waste of a decent cross on a perfectly good bit of paper.
Harun and his (ex) colleagues Bex White and Kahar Chowdhury won 43% of the vote in May but they now have that 43% to lose.
The massive majority (minus one) that Labour currently enjoys in the council was unusually high. One of the main reasons for this was Labour’s last-minute scare tactics that a vote for anyone other than Labour would allow Rahman in by the back door because only Labour could be trusted to keep borough politics clean.