Statement on the outcome of the Election Court

The following are my own opinions, posted on my personal blog. I am not writing on behalf of Left Unity or TUSC, the two organisations I’m representing in the general election.

Today’s outcome was a judicial political assassination. I sat and listened to the judgment with a growing sense of the British State stamping down on uppity natives. Someone said to me as we left the court ‘nice day for a show trial’. That’s probably an overstatement for a case that took six weeks to hear and arrived at a 200-page judgment, but this was a verdict of the establishment, by the establishment, for the establishment. The one point made by the judge that I do agree with is that the real losers are the people of Tower Hamlets.

This is clearly a personal disaster for Lutfur Rahman and others, but we must make sure it doesn’t become a political disaster for Tower Hamlets. Under-pinning the judgment is a caricature of our community that I reject. The impression created is of Bangladeshi people (and by implication Muslims) as political zombies. The judgment was full of references to ‘insular’, ‘isolated’ and ‘traditional’ communities easily manipulated, like children, by unscrupulous authority figures. This is precisely the narrative of Islamophobia exploited by the establishment and media to explain everything from child sexual abuse to Isis.

Another proposition implicit in the judgment is that Bangladeshis in Tower Hamlets will only vote for other Bangladeshis and that this, in itself, disadvantages the Labour Party. This is clearly nonsense. The local Bangladeshi community has been firmly established for over 40 years, during which time there have been several MPs, most of them Labour, two of them Jewish and only one Bangladeshi-Muslim. The town hall has mostly been controlled by Labour and before them, the Liberals. But this is just one of several examples of gross double-standards and hypocrisy on display at the Courts of Justice today.

The judge says Lutfur Rahman used grants, patronage and communal links to win votes. I don’t know how true this is, but would this be the first politician to ever have done so? Of course not. Such practices have been used by politicians in all places, of all parties, religions and ethnicities. This was as true for the many years that the Labour and Liberal Parties ran our borough as it has been since their grip was broken. But in the end, this is the real message today’s judgment sends: the political establishment demands the restoration of compliant politics in Tower Hamlets.

The judge made great play of what he interpreted as the false allegation that John Biggs is a racist, but such attacks are hardly exceptional. There are many people, including me, saying that Nigel Farage – someone who blames foreigners for traffic jams – is a racist and people shouldn’t vote for him. Am I now breaking the law?

Tower Hamlets First stand convicted of using ‘undue practices’ to win votes, at a time when establishment politicians and their big business supporters are in a frenzy whipping up ‘project fear’ against the Scottish National Party. Is this undue influence?

Or is it only illegal if you challenge the establishment, especially if you’re Asian and Muslim?

I’m not prepared to be an apologist for Lutfur Rahman, but I’m not prepared to join a lynch mob either. The portrayal of him in court is not one I recognise from my limited personal experience of him. The suggestion that he is, in effect, only interested in serving one section of our community is false. He has used his administration to reinstate EMAs, maintain Council Tax Benefits and celebrate St Patrick’s Day and LGBT culture. In stark contrast to the Labour council leader who preceded him, Lutfur Rahman took a courageous and principled position to oppose the EDL. If he and his associates have done things they shouldn’t, they should be held accountable, but so should all the other politicians who are guilty of similar things i.e. nearly all of them!

Finally, while all this is going on, there is a concerted attempt to destroy our Welfare State and drive through cuts that will severely affect people living and working in Tower Hamlets. Lutfur Rahman has not done enough to oppose this Tory onslaught. The Labour Party is actively conniving in it. We need a united, determined campaign to defend our community against cuts and direct rule by Westminster in the form of Eric Pickles’ Government commissioners and to demand a better future for Tower Hamlets.

 

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10 Responses to Statement on the outcome of the Election Court

  1. Tim Sanders says:

    Absolutely spot on Glyn!]

    T

  2. Anna Livingstone says:

    Well spoken Glyn.

  3. Jim Denham says:

    What a load of apologist nonsense! As for “Or is it only illegal if you challenge the establishment, especially if you’re Asian and Muslim?” Two words “Phil” and “Woolas.”

  4. Dilwara Begum says:

    We’ll said Glyn. Truly coragious to have spoken the truth which is lacking today due tobully boy ppoliticians

  5. Brian Nicholson says:

    Like it can we get more coverage in the media? Maybe the East London will publish it god Luck in forthcoming election

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  8. Curious Cat says:

    I read your article about the former mayor of Tower Hamlets.

    If your web site is ever to be neutral and unbiased and supportive of the working classes you really do need to read the judgement at http://law.slough.info/law46/law46.php

    A true Socialist does not cheat the working class, as Mr Rahman conspicuously did.

    ======================================================

    342

    It follows that the court is satisfied that false registration, false voting contrary to s.61(1) and personation by persons who are in law the agents of Mr Rahman has been proved to the requisite standard.

    373

    The court is therefore satisfied that agents of Mr Rahman were guilty of breaches of s.62A of the 1983 Act and thus of corrupt practices.

    377

    With regard to the unlawful completion and use of voting documents by third parties, the court was satisfied that both corrupt and illegal practices had taken place and had been committed by persons who were, in electoral law, the agents of Mr Rahman.

    378

    With regard to the unlawful alteration of ballot papers already completed, the court could not be satisfied to the requisite standard that corrupt or illegal practices had taken place and no finding is made on that issue.

    431

    The press release of 15 April 2014, therefore, did amount to a breach of s.106 of the 1983 Act. But there was more to come.

    450

    The court is satisfied, therefore, to the requisite standard that the press release of 23 April 2014 contained false statements concerning the personal character and conduct of Mr Biggs and that Mr Rahman did not have a genuine belief in the truth of those statements and neither he nor Mr Choudhury had any reasonable grounds for belief in their truth.

    459

    In respect of the payment of canvassers evidence by the four witnesses listed above, the court is satisfied that there was a breach of s.111 of the 1983 Act.

    500

    It follows that the court is satisfied that the conduct of Mr Rahman and his agents Mr Asad and Mr Choudhury in making grants does amount to the corrupt practice of bribery under s.113 of the 1983 Act.

    507

    In the circumstances, the court must find that, in relation to payments to the media, Mr Rahman was guilty of bribery.

    511

    In the view of the court, public money was misused to pay a publicist for Mr Rahman.

    574

    Though it may thus be academic whether Mr Rahman is regarded as personally guilty of undue influence or guilty through his agents, as set out above the court finds Mr Rahman personally guilty.

    632

    In view of its findings as to the personal responsibility of Mr Rahman and his agents, the question of whether there was also general corruption under s.164 of the 1983 Act may seem academic but, for the sake of completeness, it is confirmed that the court is satisfied that general corruption did take place and met the criteria of that section.

    634

    The result of the decisions reached in this judgment will be that Mr Rahman’s election will be avoided and he will be disqualified from standing in the new election. The findings will necessarily lead to adverse consequences for Mr Rahman.

    635

    Given the nature of THF as a ‘party’ and the reality of its control by Mr Rahman, this means that the election of all THF Councillors must be taken to have been achieved with the benefit of the corrupt and illegal practices found by this judgment to have been committed.

    640

    The court considers that it has the power to name Mr Choudhury under s.145 and has no hesitation in formally naming Mr Choudhury as personally guilty of corrupt and illegal practices. This means that he must vacate his office as Councillor forthwith and will suffer the statutory period of disqualification under s.160 of the 1983 Act.

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