Sunday, August 09, 2015

The new Liberator: Politics in Tower Hamlets

The new issue of Liberator is out. There is a particularly interesting article by Gwyneth Deakins, once a Liberal councillor in Tower Hamlets, about the fall of Lutfur Rahman and race and politics in the borough more generally.

She writes:
The first issue is the use of accusations of 'racism' as a political tool. This subject was debated at length in court as counsel for the petitioners sought to demonstrate that Rahman and his followers had use (false) accusations of racism to undermine Labour's mayoral candidate John Biggs at the 2014 election. 
It was amply illustrated how such accusations were routinely and prodigally launched by Tower Hamlets politicians, usually the far left and some in the Bangladeshi community. 
This is nothing new to anyone who stood in political opposition to the bloc of Labour, the far left and some Bangladeshi groups in the past 35 years. 
Moderate Labour figures such as Biggs had to perform contortions to avoid accusations of racism not only in public but within the foetid atmosphere of internal Labour Party machinations. 
Judge Mawrey has at last recognised the nature of the Emperor's clothes on this issue and acknowledged the absurdity of such accusations. 
Unfortunately, during the Lib Dem administration between 1986-94, we were plagued by accusations of racism from the start. The whole 'liberal' establishment, including the press and many Lib Dems, unquestioningly bought into this analysis without any examination of the facts. It is a perception that persists to this day in some quarters. 
Lutfur Rahman, incidentally, was received as an honoured guest by Labour in Leicester in 2011. This was despite the fact that, the year before, he had been deselected as the party's mayoral candidate in Tower Hamlets (amid concerns about the selection process and his alleged links with extremist groups) and then stood as an independent against the Labour candidate and won the election.


Frank Little said...

> we were plagued by accusations of racism
Driven gleefully by the Labour machine, as I recall. I was sorry that a Ming-chaired internal party inquiry largely rolled over in front of it, but I suppose it was the only way to stop the press campaign.

> It is a perception that persists to this day in some quarters.
Too true.

crewegwyn said...

At the time a (near) complete set of election leaflets (all parties) was made available to allow people to reach their own conclusions. I obtained a set. I can't say I was thrilled by the Lib Dem leaflets but - in my judgement - if anybody was issuing provocatively racist leaflets it was another party.