A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Tower Hamlets

And now the bad news. After the joy of Labour regaining Bethnal Green & Bow from Respect and holding the 3-way marginal of Poplar & Limehouse, Tower Hamlets Labour has had a ghastly few months. In many ways it is similar to the situation in Hackney in 1996 when a poisonous factional fight only ended when the bad guys expelled themselves by walking out of the Labour Group after NEC intervention. In Hackney this externalised the internal poison and whilst in the short term we lost the 1998 election, long term it enabled Labour to renew itself and come back as a healthier party. I expect the same long term relief in Tower Hamlets. Better out than in!

You can read the full saga of the Labour selection for elected Mayor of Tower Hamlets here on the blog of Ted Jeory, former editor of the East London Advertiser:

Put simply, Labour regional and national figures running the panel process repeatedly judged former Council Leader Lutfur Rahman as not fit to be considered for selection for Mayor. There were numerous allegations all of which have been catalogued by Mr Jeory and journalist Andrew Gilligan. The one they don't focus on was the show stopper though, which was that Lutfur, it is alleged, didn't endorse Labour's parliamentary candidates in the borough (MPs Jim Fitzpatrick and Rushanara Ali) in the General Election. However, repeated legal challenges eventually led to Lutfur getting on the panel and going forward to selection.

The selection went ahead and Lutfur won.

The irony is that there was no requirement for the regional party to have allowed a democratic selection in Tower Hamlets. We (I'm on the Regional Board) decided to do so perhaps naively. Tower Hamlets Labour Party is under "special measures" and has been for years because of repeated impropriety in internal party selections and what the Aussies call "branch stacking" - Bengali community leaders from two rival factions literally trying to buy Labour selections (and historically Lib Dem ones as well) by mass recruitment of their followers. When this was investigated in the past it turned out large numbers of the inflated membership in the borough (over 3,000 members at one point but down to 1,200 since the national party clamped down on recruitment malpractice) had no idea they had joined Labour, had not paid their own subs, and were just cannon fodder to be wheeled out at selection time by communal leaders. Because of this the regional party had chosen all the recent council candidates, trying to ensure balance between the rival Bengali factions rather than a winner-takes-all-wipeout and some representation for the other communities which make up 70% of Tower Hamlets' population but are not prone to communalist interventions in local political parties.

Post-selection some of the defeated candidates complained to the NEC that there had been electoral fraud in the selection ballot, particularly that very large numbers of people not resident in the borough had voted. This and the allegations about Lutfur's conduct persuaded the NEC to suspend him as candidate and impose the then Council Leader, Helal Abbas. Lutfur decided to run as an independent, thereby expelling himself from the Labour Party, and was endorsed by Respect and George Galloway.

National political alignments appear not to apply in Tower Hamlets internal politics. Despite having publicly supported David Miliband for Labour Leader, Lutfur has been hailed as a socialist martyr by the far left Labour Left Briefing faction and their Labour NEC member Christine Shawcroft, and by the former International Marxist Group entryists in Socialist Action.

This week Ken Livingstone piled in on Lutfur's behalf, doing a walkabout with him and a TV crew in Brick Lane during which he made pejorative remarks about the Labour candidate. This would have led to his automatic expulsion from the party if he had not issued a statement claiming that he was only asking for a second preference vote for Lutfur and for a first preference vote for Abbas. However, Lutfur's Get Out the Vote leaflets all featured him pictured with Ken.

In the event, Lutfur won convincingly:

Rahman, Lutfur Independent 23283
Abbas, Helal Uddin The Labour Party 11254
King, Neil Anthony Conservative Party 5348
Griffiths, John David Macleod Liberal Democrat 2800
Duffell, Alan Green Party 2300

The turnout was a dismal 25.6% with the Bengali vote coming out and splitting 2-1 in Lutfur's favour, and most other voters staying home, confused by this bizarre factional story.

Tower Hamlets Labour campaigners who have been working for a Labour victory are understandably incandescent about Ken's intervention. Abbas' reaction was:

“This is a sad night for those of us who want to build a better future and a united Tower Hamlets.

“Lutfur Rahman has won tonight but not as he wanted, as the Labour candidate.

“Thankfully, Labour’s ruling National Executive had the backbone to stop him from being the Labour candidate.

“We may have lost tonight, but at least the Labour Party has clean hands.

“I am proud that we fought a clean, decent campaign and refused to get in the gutter with the candidate backed by George Galloway and the so-called Respect Party."

Some questions for people to comment on:

  • How does Labour (or any of the other parties) stop itself being used as a playground for rehearsing communal faction fights that are nothing to do with Labour politics, or as a vehicle for well-organised ethnic or faith communities to take over and seize control of local authorities and their resources?
  • How do we tackle communalism - the unhealthy and undemocratic practice of people voting along ethnic or faith lines rather than judging parties and candidates on their policies and merits?
  • How do we give democratic selection rights to genuine party members in a local context where organised groups are "branch-stacking" and trying to buy their way to victory?
  • What action can we take to ensure Ken sticks to the same rules and basics of behaviour that every other Labour member has to? (It's our fault - we readmitted him - which I argued against at the time - knowing he was Labour only when it suited him)
  • Given London Labour members have picked Ken as Mayoral candidate so he's the only one we've got, how do we rebuild his relationship with a loyalist activist base in Tower Hamlets and the wider London Party who will now feel extremely reluctant to go out and work to get him elected?

I'm keen to know what people think as this will be a big issue at the next NEC meeting on 30 November.

I am sad rather than angry about Ken's intervention. The London Labour Party in 2008 was very united for the Mayoral campaign and that involved those of us who had been passionate stop-Keners in 2000 moving on and putting the past behind us. I want another united campaign in 2012 but Ken is going to have a lot of fence-mending to do to make that happen. I will be giving Ken as Mayoral candidate the loyal and very active support from now until 2012 he singularly failed to give to Helal Abbas.


Anonymous M said...

"or as a vehicle for well-organised ethnic or faith communities to take over and seize control of local authorities and their resources?"

Maybe if non-ethnic and non-faith communities got off their backsides and participated in the democratic processes they are lucky enough to have parties could not be "take over". You really can't blame any group good enough to get themselves organised in the rules for being successful at it.
As for Ken, I see you are assuming that no action will be taken against him by the Labour party. I now want the Labour party to readmit the 8 councillors and the CLP secretary it expelled and apologise to Lutfur Rahman for the way it treated him.

12:09 pm, October 22, 2010

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Councillors are supposed to act in interests of entire community, not one section of it.

Otherwise you end up with Monklands in the early-90s where the bigger I think Catholic town allocated jobs and services to its own folk at expense of the smaller Protestant town.

12:20 pm, October 22, 2010

Blogger Alec said...

>> I will be giving Ken as Mayoral candidate the loyal and very active support from now until 2012 he singularly failed to give to Helal Abbas.

Which is exactly why it could happen again.

12:26 pm, October 22, 2010

Blogger Hughes Views said...

Complex issues here therefore simplistic, easy answers won't help. Not least complex is the character of celebrity politician Ken Livingstone - a classic case of the least worst option probably being to have him in the tent peeing out rather than vica versa.

One thought: it seems incredibly easy to join the party, with very little vetting, and to get immediate voting rights. In the leadership contest there was a prominent, and therefore presumable 'officially' approved "join today, vote tomorrow" campaign. I guess this came about largely because party managers want the subscriptions to bolster the party's empty coffers.

But shouldn't there perhaps be a requirement to have been a member for a nominated period before getting a vote? A year perhaps, or maybe ten...

12:59 pm, October 22, 2010

Anonymous M said...

"Councillors are supposed to act in interests of entire community, not one section of it".

And what has that got to do with any group being good enough to get organised? Should low paid workers not have joined unions to organise for their interests? Should the Dagenham women at Ford not have come together to demand equal pay? Should the Black population in South Africa not have come together to fight apartheid. Face facts, Luke. It is not the Bengali community's fault if the other demoninations of resident living there cannot be bothered to take part in the democratic processes available to them.

1:05 pm, October 22, 2010

Anonymous Labour Party Member said...


I think that three things are required, from Labour very urgently.

First of all, Labour needs to stop courting people as members of cultural, ethnic or faith "communities" and seek instead to focus on the "community" of the local area. We should seek to oppose sectarianism, actively.

Secondly, Labour must harness that anti-sectarian impulse, and turn it into a force just as strong as the Islamic Forum Europe machine, that so comprehensively outflanked Labour. It is absolutely possible to do this. Much of the IFE's efforts were co-ordinated through facebook.

Thirdly, and most importantly, we are in dire need of an anti-extremist politics which is able to take on not only the BNP and the EDL, but also groups like the IFE. Quilliam is very good at this task, but it needs to be carried out in tandem with the anti-fascist network of a group like Searchlight.
A proper anti-extremist campaign can use the same techniques and tap into very much the same base that was used to see off the British National Party.

It goes without saying that Ken Livingstone, and other supporters of Islamist politics in the Labour Party, will oppose all of this. However, it needs to be done - or else we cede the field to the IFE and the BNP. Socialists should not do that.

1:31 pm, October 22, 2010

Blogger Jimmy said...

I think this makes Ken's position untenable. For the next two years Rahman as Mayor of the Olympic Borough is going to be the tory press' bogeyman and we now have a Mayoral Candidate who is going to be tied to Rahman at every turn. It's electoral suicide. The only possible chance we have in 2012 is with a different candidate. I don't underestimate the difficulties but you know he will never behave himself and this is not going to get any easier. If it were done twere best done quickly. Let him run as an independent. It's what he is anyway.

2:06 pm, October 22, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

How dare these people vote for one of their own kind.

Probably the best response is to ensure that people in Tower Hamlets swear a pledge to uphold the United Kingdom as a white anglo saxon protestant state.

I can remember the days when you could walk down Brick Lane without meeting a single darkie, and the local politicians were all cheerful cockneys like Baron Lionel de Rotchschild. Now the place stinks of curry and islamism.

2:20 pm, October 22, 2010

Anonymous Upset of Tower Hamlets said...

Jim Fitzpatrick is to blame. He used walking out of a Muslim wedding as a PR tactic upsetting sections of the community who then pushed their weight behind having a Mayoral campaign.It was the tipping point to the result we see today.

2:20 pm, October 22, 2010

Anonymous EduardoMilibando said...

This is the pathetic Labour Party that thinks it's going to waltz back to power when it can't even keep control of Tower-Flippin'-Hamlets!

4:04 pm, October 22, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a slam dunk on the only issue that matters any more. Ken has excluded himself and the NEC will look pathetic unless they act

4:08 pm, October 22, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You make some interesting points, but you don't mention that the people who drew up the original shortlist of three didn't consider Helal Abbas to be a fit person to be Labour's candidate. Indeed it could be said that this shortlist was an attempt to maximise John Biggs's chances of selection by pitting him against two lesser known Asians.

Possibly this was the root cause of the fiasco and reflects poorly on the leadership of the London Labour Party

4:24 pm, October 22, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd be interested to know how the NEC are to take a view on Ken's involvement when Ken is part of that decision making structure

4:26 pm, October 22, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So is Livingstone going to be kicked out for blatenly breaking Labour election rules.

It couldn't be more cut and dry.

Or is it a case of the rules only applying to certain mambers of the Labour party?

4:33 pm, October 22, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Jim Fitzpatrick is to blame. He used walking out of a Muslim wedding'

Stop the feeble excuses,Jim and his wife didn't want to be part of some 14th century medieavel ritual,anymore than attending a wedding where people are split based on the colour of their skin.

4:39 pm, October 22, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent post Luke. Ken has yet again showed that when it comes to acting with comradely behaviour to his Labour colleagues he is about as reliable as a Nick Clegg election promise.

4:39 pm, October 22, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

'•How do we tackle communalism - the unhealthy and undemocratic practice of people voting along ethnic or faith lines rather than judging parties and candidates on their policies and merits?'

By having a freeze on any further muslim immigration until the existing muslim population is fully integrated.

4:45 pm, October 22, 2010

Blogger johnpaul said...

I can't see how Jim Fitzpatricks actions were to blame (i know the press had afield day about his wife not sitting next to him, But that was irrelevant) Good post as always Luke,

4:46 pm, October 22, 2010

Blogger Matthew Cain said...

Given everything we knew about TH - surely the extraordinary question is how we were ever able to end up with a directly elected Mayor in the first place. The dynamics of the borough make it quite clearly vulnerable to this sort of behaviour.

4:53 pm, October 22, 2010

Blogger Timothy Godfrey said...

Please don't trot out those old lines against Ken.

We created Mayors - they are all about personality. The result: very big personalities and power battles.

Also, you can't get away from the fact that the full selection process was vigerous. Photo id included.

Everyone knows East London politics are a mess, Jim Fitzpatrick has never shied away from putting the knife in to Ken at every opportunity - the lesson here? Keep away!

The Labour Partys problem is twofold: 1) not publishing the evidence and not being able to convince the court 2) people like Gilligan attacking

Entryism can be tackled by interviewing members, formally approving members and checking payment routes. The Labour Party needs to be open and democratic.

It's also been pointed out that if this selection was conducted by primary, the result would have been identical - infact a bigger majority would have been obtained for Lufter.

The killer criticism is that the eventual Labour Candidate was not the runner up. Why not?

Finally, just like Ken, it is possible to be and act of the left while being quite mainstream in policy. London is not England and I would suggest Tower Hamlets is not London.

Gilligan about... Beware.

5:08 pm, October 22, 2010

Blogger Merseymike said...

Sorry Luke, but the Party cocked up here, whatever way you look at it. Like it or not, clearly far more wanted Rahman than the third-placed Abbas. If Rahman wasn't 'fit to stand' then he should have been expelled from the party BEFORE the selection. I am totally opposed to the view that people can be members of the party, but not allowed to be a candidate for it. All or nothing.

Given that he was chosen he should have been the Labour candidate and the party really only has itself to blame. The most sensible thing now would be to readmit him to membership and then work together to look at some of the problems - as you note, even though Respect jumped on the bandwagon, Rahman isn't noted for being on the left of the party.

I used to live in Huddersfield and remember an occasion where a sitting Labour councillor (who was certainly a racist) was booted out and replaced by a LibDem, because of this sort of 'communal' shift. I don't think there is any way round it. Its not only the Bengalis either - the Hasidic Jews vote Tory in the very same way. Its part of the culture which has maintained in what remain quite insular communities. In Bradford and Dewsbury similar shifts happen and party lines are really quite incidental.

I think that Ken knows only too well what is wrong with the stupidity of 'my party right or wrong' and here, its the NEC who ought to be making the apologies - because THEY got it wrong by blocking a candidate when a selection was permitted. If they didn't think it was possible to have a fair selection then a candidate should have been imposed first, not after someone they didn't like had been selected. But isn't it blatantly obvious that people in Tower Hamlets wanted to vote for the runaway winner?

So, that's what I want to hear from the NEC - WE got it wrong, and WE won't do this again. Any other response will be interpreted , quite rightly, as 'we know better than the people of Tower Hamlets'. Rahman won - it was a landslide. Live with it.

5:12 pm, October 22, 2010

Anonymous Londoner said...

David Miliband would be an excellent candidate for Labour in the 2012 mayoral election.

5:34 pm, October 22, 2010

Anonymous tony said...

"or as a vehicle for well-organised ethnic or faith communities to take over and seize control of local authorities and their resources?"

how rich it is for Labour activists who for years have used and abused BME communities for their own political gain, now worry about the level influence these communities may have within their own party. What happened? do you fear the brown man can now think for himself?

Labour thought they could ride roughshod over the of local voters - especially in the Bengali community, simply because they had a few token establishment Bengali's of their own. You should learn from this that BME communities are not the plaything of the Labour party.

6:01 pm, October 22, 2010

Anonymous Peter Kenyon said...

Dear Luke

As a member of the NEC that read the complaints lodged at short notice and some 72 hours before the close of nominations for candidates to run as for the position of elected mayor of TH, I urge you to focus on the allegations.

Either uphold them or dismiss them observing due process and the entitlement of all parties to natural justice.

I hope you have better luck than the previous NEC did over the Erith and Thamesmead ballot box break-in and voting paper tampering.

7:03 pm, October 22, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha ha ha.

So your reprimand and rebuke to Livingstone is to write a snappy blogpost, then threaten to work and campaign like billio for him.

Ooo scary.

Of course working for the application of Labour Party rules and the expulsion of Livingstone would mean backbone and principle rather than tribalism, and you couldn't care less about that. You'll back Livingstone because he's got the right coloured rosette even though you rightly think nothing of him.

That makes you a lesser man even than he is. You should hang your head in shame.

7:28 pm, October 22, 2010

Blogger E10 Rifle said...

People on the Labour NEC still clearly don't understand the old-fashioned Bengali tradition that the person that secures the most votes wins an election.

Another massive piece of foot-shooting control-freaking stupidity, all this

10:06 pm, October 22, 2010

Anonymous Toby Chopra said...

God I'm glad I'm out of the London Labour Party. What a waste of energy this all is. If the voters in places like Crawley, Medway, st albans and Dartford get wind of stuff like this they won't give us another look.
The ConDems are about to lay waste to this country and this is what is absorbing everyone's attention. SORT YOURSELVES OUT and turn your fire on the real enemy.

10:21 pm, October 22, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can anyone really be surprised at the result for Tower Hamlets Mayor, when the Labour Party in effect said "we know better than you who you should be voting for and because we think that you're not really qualified to vote properly we will make sure that you can't vote for the wrong candidate"?

Lessons from the past - Livingstone (london), Morgan (Wales).

In relation to the question "how can we get the right people to join the Labour Party?" There are two options a) a list of properly qualified Labour Party members who know whether someone is right for the Labour Party can be drawn up and any prospective member would need two nominations 'from the list' in order to join. I believe this works very well for the Masonic Lodges and also by the Communist Party in China b) a campaign could take place in areas where Labour Party membership is low, first to engage people in the community to understand their needs, second to gain their political support for policies and third to get those supporters to join the party.

Having spoken to a good number of residents in deprived boroughs like Hackney and Tower Hamlets, there is a great deal of cynicism amongst the electorate who say their local councillors are nowhere to be seen other than when a vote is being canvassed. They complain that their local councillors are inaccessible and don't give their phone numbers and addresses.

Oops-I notice that Hackney Councillors all seem to be listed under the same Town Hall number of 8356 8373 addresses.

The Labour Party needs more members NOT less in deprived boroughs and it should go out there to get them to join. The problem is that too many councillors seem far less interested in their communities and much more interested providing business opportunities for their mates.

I'll let Luke comment about Hackney Council, Renaissi and the six figure salaries.

11:57 pm, October 22, 2010

Anonymous NT said...

One way forward for Labour is pretty straightforward, and it to stop this kind of thing happening:


There no mystery here, no esoteric formula. If money is spent as it is supposed to be spent, and there is transparency, the scope for abuse is drastically reduced.

I get the feeling that many people in the Labour Party have forgotten that basic issues of administration are not just important, but crucial.

Come back Herbert Morrison, all is forgiven.

9:20 am, October 23, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just read your biog, must have missed something, what is it you actually do ? or have done ? I see no mention of work, or depending on your efforts to earn a living. Don't be too upset when only the rich professional politicians, like Benn, Harman, etc get all the jobs.

11:33 am, October 23, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Serves you bloody right.

Labour imported 3m to win them marginal seats and now they've got a handle on multicultural/diversity/ethnic lark and are voting for the man like them with a towel around his head.

11:54 am, October 23, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...


12:33 pm, October 23, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"So your reprimand and rebuke to Livingstone is to write a snappy blogpost, then threaten to work and campaign like billio for him"
- couldn't have put it better!

What a total COWARD you are, Luke.

1:28 pm, October 23, 2010

Blogger Jimmy said...

"If the voters in places like Crawley, Medway, st albans and Dartford get wind of stuff like this they won't give us another look. "

Precisely. Sadly the Kennites believe the world ends at the M25.

Sorry, not even that, the old ILEA boundary. Beyond that there be dragons.

2:08 pm, October 23, 2010

Anonymous Chas said...

Thanks to the Labour party and former government for turning my home into a squalid third world ghetto where vote-rigging is the norm. At least now this evil and verminous party is self-eviscerating and won't be in a position to inflict its poisonous policies on the country for a good long while.

2:16 pm, October 23, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ken Livingstone believes in just one thing and that is Ken.

That is clear from the way he has treated the Labour Party in the past and most recently in Tower Hamlets.

Why people think Ken is wonderful is quite beyond me (but then I declare an interest).

(Lib Dem Cllr in Surrey)

2:39 pm, October 23, 2010

Anonymous Ben said...

There is absolutely no way Rahman should be let back in. Why is it that it is the "left" of the party which is defending vote buying, political corruption and communalism? Very progressive, comrades. The Labour Party is not a cipher for powerful sectional interests. It is a body committed to social democratic ideals. Abbas is right in his concession speech analysis - better to lose and plant a standard for progressive values rather than be the plaything of reactionary communalist interests.

I second everything Labour Party Member has said - clearly someone who has given a lot of thought to this difficult issue.

Finally, Ken has exposed himself, again, as a snake and a traitor. He is not a genuine figure of the left, but rather an old-fashioned machine politician out for his own interests. He should be expelled. The rules are clear. If he is not, then Labour will lose the Mayoral election. Simple as. I support the loyal activists of Tower Hamlets, not Ken's ego.

2:58 pm, October 23, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Labour is far too politicised in Tower Hamlets. It should be listening to what local people want and delivering as best it can. We are concerned about the issues here, not Punch and Judy politics. Labour's own supporters stayed indoors because they are fed up with this.

4:43 pm, October 23, 2010

Blogger Elby the Beserk said...

Labour deserve Ken Livingstone and his constant attempts to put himself in the spotlight. In the end, Ken is more important than anyone else, and the Labour Party are welcome to him - nay, deserve him.

4:58 pm, October 23, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Multiculturalism or Balkanisation?

I'd find it interesting if the Labour Party could conduct a debate on its activities since 1997 and address that issue honestly.

No, I'm not a Labour Party supporter. However it is possible to broadly agree about outcomes (except for horizontal equity of course) but consider that they are more likely to be achieved by market based, small state solutions.

I.m not naive enough to think that any of this is achieved by single party politics. A strong democracy requires pluralism, strong institutions and the rule of law.

It is not clear to me that the Labour Party hierarchy agrees with this view. Actually, I think it had a strong Marxist-Leninist tendency prone to the argument of the excluded middle: if you are not for me you are against me. I think it has been prone to the use of state resources to promote this tendency at the expense of strong institutions and the rule of law and others have exploited that for their own factional advantage (be it ice cream in Walthamstow or the BNP wherever)

A 25% turn out is everyone's problem

8:08 pm, October 23, 2010

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

To the 2 people who have accused me of cowardice re. Ken:

I won't prejudge matters here that I might have to consider on the NEC based on evidence and professional advice from the Party's lawyers and compliance staff and that might subsequently become subject to legal challenge. If what Ken had said and done in Brick Lane and his subsequent statement ammounted to a cut and dried breach of rule, he would have been automatically excluded from membership.

8:42 pm, October 23, 2010

Blogger Jimmy said...


I'm bound to say that it seems pretty cut and dried to me, despite Livingstone's sophistry. That said, I quite agree that in your position it would not be wise to express a concluded view. I assume that most iof your critics here are tory trolls, but that doesn't mean party members aren't concerned. Ken's been drinking in the last chance saloon so long he has his own mug. I was happy to see him readmitted in 2004. I was wrong. Failing to discipline him makes us a laughing stock and not just in London. Are you really willing to campaign for a Respect candidate in all but name?

10:05 pm, October 23, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although most politicians say they are for unity and that only their victory will unite all the people of the area, the real question is, do they understand the real obstacles that exist in achieving unity? Sometimes, those who claim to be the only force that can promote unity in fact causes the disunity in the first place, knowingly or unknowingly.

The Labour Party should understand the new dynamics that the triumphant Bangladesh Awami League party has introduced into local politics in Tower Hamlets by pouring higher levels of concentration to an existing ingredient. Within the Bangladeshi population in the UK there are divisions just like other communities, but in the UK we try to resolve and manage differences through talking and establishing channels of communications. In Bangladesh political parties and NGOs often hate each other and engage in zero sum politics with the result that problems get unresolved for decades and even centuries.

The action of MP Jim Fitzpatrick when he walked out of a Muslim wedding was inexplicable and un-British. I have never known a local MP showing the levels of disrespect to a couple in his own constituency during their happiest day. How does one explain such a foolish act? In my view, there has to be a background to this, which must include the internalising of the Bangladesh Awami League’s way of dealing with the Islamic threat. Most people, not the supporters or members, but who have had dealings with the IFE in East London does not recognise any of the allegations being made by Andrew Gilligan, Helal Abbas and others who are linked to the Bangladesh Awami League.

The Labour Party will never be able to deal the internal divisions within traditional labour voters and members in Tower Hamlets without first breaking the influence that Bangladeshi Awami League is exercising in local politics through naive councillors and MPs of the area. In Britain we look for mid way point and win win compromises where as in Bangladesh the Awami Leagues wants all for itself.

10:56 pm, October 23, 2010

Anonymous BethnalGreenResident said...

Disrespect to obvious segregation? Fitzpatrick is to be commended.

12:20 pm, October 24, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I won't prejudge matters here that I might have to consider on the NEC based on evidence and professional advice from the Party's lawyers and compliance staff and that might subsequently become subject to legal challenge. If what Ken had said and done in Brick Lane and his subsequent statement ammounted to a cut and dried breach of rule, he would have been automatically excluded from membership."

You think going walkabout with a candidate opposing the Labour candidate, then happily calling the Labour candidate not credible, isn't a cut and dried breach of rule?

Let's face it, you want Ken out, but you reason Labour are more likely to lose to Boris in 2012 if Ken isn't standing (....as the Labour candidate). You'd sooner he won than you put up a decent candidate with a greater chance of losing. All this guff about prejudging the NEC is just that - guff.

Yep, it's cowardice all right. You can admit it, Luke, we've all come to expect it from the Labour Party by now.

7:07 pm, October 24, 2010

Anonymous john problem said...

I can't wait for Tower Hamlets to declare independence from the UK. Followed by Hackney wick, Guildford, Manchester South and SW3. It is written.

8:45 pm, October 24, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can this be the same Ken Livingstone who likes to remind people on freedom and human rights, and then happily took money from, and hosted several shows on Press TV?? The official broadcasting mouthpiece of the Iranian Government, a regime not noted for freedom and human rights. What a hypocrite!

1:57 am, October 25, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Never mind about Tower Hamlets, (while Rome burns Nero fiddles)

Labour are not doing enough to defend their 13 years in power and to win the argument over the economy nationally. The Lib/Dems keep getting away with it just blaming the last government for not keeping to a budget and squandering money away.

Tower Hamlets (Bangladesh Town) is not the key to winning a Labour government its Nationally against the Con/Dems, who are in power now!

12:33 pm, October 25, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The last commentator seems to have hit the nail on the head. Just where are the opposition whilst Ken Livingstone is doing his usual tricks of highlighting Ken and screwing the party.

Apart from the BBC, the so called opposition seem to be allowing the government a pretty trouble free reign at present.

I thought Ed Milliband was supposed to be leader of the opposition not David Dimbleby!

4:56 pm, October 25, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is one thing to say - I am a moderniser, a Blairite, whatever you want to call it. I am not on the old right of the Labour Party and I am not going to vote for people who are to get on the NEC any more either.

By letting Livingstone stay - as you are so clearly going to do, you are making the same mistake the old right did with the Militant Tendency/RSL forty and more years ago.

No way am I backing that rubbish politics ever again.

9:06 pm, October 25, 2010

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Anon 9.06pm

if we start splitting hairs about which kind of Labour moderate we are then we'll end up with the mirror of the left this time, running two rival slates, which in a FPTP election is bonkers.

Thanks for telling me I'm not a Blairite I really love it when people I assume I've never met decide to define my politics.

Also thanks for airbrushing the role of the Solidarity Group/Labour First (Old Labour Right) and Kinnockites and LCC (soft left) out of the history of the battle with Militant. The concepts of "Blairite" and New Labour weren't even invented until 1994 nine years after Kinnock and Hattersley expelled Militant.

I'm fairly sure I won't get a say over Ken Livingstone's future in the Labour Party. If it was cut and dried it would be auto-self-exclusion. If it isn't it goes to the National Constitutional Committee - the NCC not the NEC determines disciplinary cases.

I will however get to tell him what members think of his conduct, and I think we share the same view of it.

9:55 pm, October 25, 2010

Blogger johnpaul said...

Anon 906pm,Although Shirley Williams did try to present to the NEC in 1980 a report on Militants undemocratic ways and Wilson when PM in 75 sacked Eric Heffer from the Cabinet,Or Callaghan Questioned the Likes Of Joan Raynard,I'm not sure post Gaitskells withdrawl of the Whip from Michel Foot in 80, that there was a lack of critiicsm of the far Left 40 years ago,I WOULDN'T DOUBT PARTY Campaign Organisor Andy Burnham would pause for a second to have livingstone ousted if he thought he could prove Livingstone acted outside the rules,Livingstone went ot a green candidates launch at the election 6months ago,So Ken new what he was doing ,but it would be hard to prove Ken acted outside the rules

8:39 am, October 26, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel I have made a number of positive contributions to the debate. I will respond and contribute when I get stimulated by any new and interesting accusations that Andrew Gilligan makes with respect to Lutfur.

From his last three pieces I have started to get bored with him. He suggests that Lutfur's letter to Labour councillors or ominous signs, which is so ridiculous I have started to wonder why is he really after Lutfur. Although many people, especially with unbalanced mind and lack of global perspective will continue to be aroused by Gilligan's outragious claims, most people in my view will not find is approach as honest and someone who is looking for a genuine solution.

I do accept that there is a Muslim problem in this country and some of the Muslims went a bit nutty during the 1990s and during the early part of this millennium, but I am convinced he is not looking for a solution. Why do you think so many Islam haters are congratulating him and see him as their hero and champion.

If you look at the people who make contribution to the Guardian commen section you will see on the whole they are a more balance group of people as compared to this section.
Andrew also suggests that others are joining him in his crusade against Lufur's Mayoralty. By reading Julian Glover’s article in the Guardian I am becoming convinced that Andrew is very upset and looking for any sign to help him justify his vile crusade against a descent man, that is Lutfur. Julian’s article is a balanced piece with expression of genuine concerns and everybody should also be concerned at how the TH council has been run and how it might be run so that we can avoid catastrophe.

I usually don’t like to make personal attack against another human being but I am sometimes tempted but I will keep my cool and humanity and watch the diminishing returns to Andrew’s motivated outrageous attack against Lutfur. Actually when I read Andrew’s piece on Lutfur’s letter to Labour councillor it was him, not Lutfur, who sounded ominious with his threat. Yes threat, warning councillors not to join Luthfur’s otherwise he will put them under scrutiny. As if they will be worried. They are already developing a thick skin to this form of outrageous attacks by Andrew and the likes of him. Only those councillors who might have skeletons under their bed might be frightened.

What is happening now can bring positive benefits to the East End Bangladeshi community. They have been forced to engage, defend, think, study, etc. to defend the honour of the community. However, due to the position, ideology and action of the Bangladesh Awami League, who are acting as a big influencing factor in this regard, will mean that the Bangladeshi community in the East End and UK in general will become very divided indeed. There will be a heavy price in this, indeed.
However, this is also a very big challenge and we Bangladeshi Muslims, with our Bengali Muslim British cultural heritage will have to engage at a higher intellectual level and direct our critical minds to finding creative solutions to what is happening to our community.

Bangladeshi Muslims in East End and UK wants to play a positive role and make good contributions to general British way of life. We know there is a problem and needs to be addressed but thinking a solution that comes from militant Bengali Nationalist Secularist who hate Islam is going to be a no solution.

11:42 am, October 27, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry Mr Akehurst, but, you are rather a two faced little person, complaining about the selection process in Tower Hamlets, how the NEC of which you are a member stepped in to prevent branch stacking etc. Perhaps you would like to inform readers of your involvement in the very one sided selection process in Barking & Dagenham, where you and others from London Region actively contrived in the corrupt methods and branch stacking, so that one MP could get the bunch of nodding donkeys she wanted.

if you are going to criticize then you must expect those who know the truth to criticize back.


1:02 pm, October 27, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am amazed that this flap has led a whole host of entryists to unmask themselves:


9:06 pm, October 27, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Surely the wider matter is that the London NEC will be deciding upon a London Labour Party matter?

A regional faction has taken control of the Party to the detriment of the rest. Still I voted for you so maybe its my own fault.

10:00 pm, October 27, 2010

Blogger the dude said...

great news the mosso's kick labour out of tower hamlets,theres gratitude for you. love it lets get rid of lib/lab/con

1:14 am, October 28, 2010

Anonymous Peter Kenyon said...


You reported Perhaps you would like to inform readers of your involvement in the very one sided selection process in Barking & Dagenham, where you and others from London Region actively contrived in the corrupt methods and branch stacking, so that one MP could get the bunch of nodding donkeys she wanted.

Is it time to catalogue all the interference, and name check the Labour Party Obergruppenführers' little helpers in each of the selections/appeals that have been conducted say in the last two years?

10:54 am, October 28, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am disgusted with your open door immigration policies and sick and tired of the Muslim threat you have imposed on the United kingdom. I hope you are proud of yourself, "When you look in the mirror". For i point my finger at you with one word. TRAITOR
George Edwards
British National Party

11:33 am, October 28, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm amazed that a member of the NEC is debating this issue in public using Ted Jeory and Andrew Gilligan to illustrate the facts behind his case. If you want a serious debate about the issues, could we have a little evidence from the front line rather than accusations and divisive remarks which eminate from people who's only interest in the Labour Party is ensuring that they are never in power again.

1:11 pm, October 28, 2010

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

I think Ted Jeory is a Labour Party member so whatever Gilligan's hostility to Labour it is not shared by Jeory.

I pointed people to him and Gilligan because their material says much of what I understand was presented to the NEC, the text of which unfortunately isn't itself in the public domain.

2:33 pm, October 28, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response to Peter Kenyon @ 10.54 more than happy to let you have the full documentary evidence, as for the Appeals that were made to the NEC via London Region etc, they never got there........totally ignored from start to finish as Mr Akehurst well knows.

The party must then expect at some time to get a kick in the face and this is it......and it may not end there.


4:17 pm, October 28, 2010

Blogger the dude said...

all i can say is that the bnp man in sheffield,is the only one worth listening to at least he is giving us a warning whilst you leftys debate. lib /lab/ con wont do anything about this colonisation because thats what it is COLONISATION.....

5:57 pm, October 28, 2010

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Blythe I am very proud of the role I and other regional board members played in panel hearings and appeals in Barking and Dagenham.

By insisting on a baseline quality of Labour candidates and removing those incompetent, destructive or who refused to campaign we ensured ordinary voters in the borough got excellent Labour candidates and contributed to Labour winning every seat on the council and burying the BNP.

The results speak for themselves.

I am also proud we ran what some rejected candidates told me was a very fair process.

6:14 pm, October 28, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You state Mr Akehurst that you are proud of your involvement in the corrupt practices in Barking and Dagenham selection procedure, it seems to me that you and your other panel members only listened to one side of the story, of course we all know whose side of the story it was.

And as for others telling you that you and other panel members were fair, its enough to make you choke on your dinner.

Still I suppose you can at least claim that your hands were somewhat cleaner when it came to the very dodgy practices on polling day which are still under investigation, but, then again if London Region were involved in that as well you may still end up with your collar being felt.


8:30 pm, October 28, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Andrew Gilligan’s interpretation of Lutfur’s letter to Labour Councillors and on the first full council meeting of Lutfur as the Mayor it is so clear that he twists things and gives a really biased interpretation. The sad thing is that some Bangladeshi people have brought their political divisions from back in Bangladesh to Tower Hamlets and Andrew Gilligan is helping fuel the fire by his vile, clearly twisted and misleading reports and logically flawed analysis.

The Bangladeshis who are supplying Andrew with misleading information have not learnt lessons from hundreds of years of divide and rule policies of outsiders towards us and how we paid a very a heavy price indeed.

Although Andrew's pieces are not really that good and belongs to gutter journalism, but the fact that he is associated with a mainstream newspaper his contributions have had more impacts than it should have.
I would urge everyone to judge his programme on Channel Four by reading his completely twisted and outrageous interpretation of Lutfur's letter to Labour Councillors and on the proceedings and outcomes of the first full Council meeting, held last Wednesay. It is so clear that he has an agenda.

I really wonder what is his agenda. If he really wants to confront the dangers of Islamic fundamentalism then why does he resort to twisted and misleading journalism, attracting support from many Islamophobes and racists, many of whom see him as a hero and their champoin.

I believe he does have a hidden agenda.

11:33 am, October 29, 2010

Blogger rwendland said...

The poor-quality of Gilligan's research for his Telegraph blog stories is laid bare by this blog where he raises doubts that Rahman is a solicitor, arising from Gilligan's inability to understand the Law Society's website.

I sure hope the material presented to the NEC was a lot more substantial than Gilligan's "research".

3:26 pm, October 29, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The main reason that I support the Green Party is that I have been disgusted by the behaviour of the factions in the Labour Party. At a time when we need to be creating the widest coalition to fight the governement cuts, these factions will concentrate solely on fighting each other. The first act has already been seen: cutting the Mayor's salary by £10,000. Such self serving pettyness is why local people rightly hold Labour politicians in contempt.

1:16 pm, October 31, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a name I'm suprised not see mentioned in this discussion - John Biggs. I'm not up to speed on all the internal politics in TH, but have always been very impressed by his work on the GLA.
Do you think he might have done better?

1:32 pm, November 01, 2010


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