I’ve just sent the following letter to Tower Hamlets Council, protesting against the physical, as well as the political, removal of local democracy.
Dear Head of Electoral Services
Thank you for your letter of 30th April. As a candidate, I object to the decision to hold the general election count for Bethnal Green and Bow at the ExCel Centre, for the following reasons:
- The ExCel Centre is not in Tower Hamlets. The count for an election held in this borough should take place in this borough. In light of recent developments, this appears to be another example of the removal of local democracy from local people.
- At a practical level this decision makes it harder for people involved in the election to attend the count. Public transport will be very limited at this time and place, particularly at the end of the count. (In effect, most people will now be reliant on the private car to attend the count – not a good environmental message!)
- I particularly object to the use of the ExCel Centre. This is a venue that regularly hosts a vile arms fair where instruments of repression, torture and death are bought and sold. I would be very unhappy to learn that Tower Hamlets Council is paying public money to a business that I believe should be boycotted for being complicit in crimes against humanity.
I would therefore be grateful if you could answer the following questions:
- What is the reason for holding the count at ExCel and not in our borough?
- What alternative venues were explored (I can think of several possibilities, including publicly owned buildings that I assume would be cheaper to hire.)
- What is the cost of using ExCel and how does this compare with alternatives?
(Left Unity – TUSC candidate, Bethnal Green and Bow)