There is a big meeting of Tower Hamlets Labour Party this evening at which the main issue will be the attempt to reintroduce democracy to the borough by ditching the position of Directly elected Mayor.
Let’s just hope that Tower Hamlets Labour Party do not kid themselves that they are the only ones who get a say in this.
Sure they get a big say ‘cos they form the current Labour administration of Tower Hamlets but that’s it.
If the administration fails to recognise the anger felt by residents across the borough and seeks to diminish it they might get a really nasty surprise.
Which only seems fair.
By hook or by crook
Let’s be 100% clear on this issue.
The current Directly elected Mayor John Biggs will use every trick in the book to retain power in his hands and his alone.
Any idea that his motivations are anything other than selfish are both deluded and dangerous.
Dangerous because some of the councillors, both Opposition and Labour, who do realise the damage one person having too much power can inflict unfortunately do not realise the seriousness of the current battle.
They are not working fast enough, they are not working smart enough and that is just not good enough.
The worst that can happen
While the people of Tower Hamlets do have a chance to get rid of the Directly elected Mayor role permanently they should also realise that it may all backfire with terrible consequences.
And we end up with another ten years of continued deceit, extensive cuts to essential services and residents being treated with contempt. Those who will suffer the most will be those who are most vulnerable as is always the case.
To reiterate. It is our view that the only system of governance which stands a chance of saving Tower Hamlets is the committee system. All the political parties get a say, no one person has total control.
The Mayor and his lackeys (Stalinist reference deliberate) are all of a sudden great fans of the ‘Leader and Cabinet’ system. Well guess who the Leader would be? Exactly.
Same problems as a Directly elected Mayor system. Just how the current Mayor likes it.
The other week we reported on the startling decision by the Mayor to give away some if not all of his Directly elected Mayor powers to his cabinet members.
We think, but do not know, that this was simply part of the game he is playing. This move should not in any shape or form be treated as genuine.
It might just be his way of making it easier to pass the buck when the next council budget crashes and burns. Or it might just be that Mr Biggs always needs someone else to blame, preferably a colleague. Like Cllr. Rachel Saunders in the past or Cllr. Rachel Blake in the present.
The Mayor’s real motive for being nice to his cabinet colleagues may soon be revealed. Not sure his cabinet colleagues will be around to see it, but hey! That’s the price of political ambition.
Opposition and Labour councillors have proposed this petition to hold a referendum to replace the ‘Directly Elected Mayor’ in Tower Hamlets , a key part of which is discussion and education about the different ways to govern Tower Hamlets other than at the whim of a Directly elected Mayor whoever that person might be.
Come on down Lutfur Rahman!
Residents should brace themselves for the distinct possibility that, if the role of Directly elected Mayor is not ditched into the deepest stretch of the Thames, one Lutfur Rahman will once again be Mayor. (Don’t believe me? Tower Hamlets ‘Labour Party’ politicians have already been spotted meeting with the great man himself.)
If this happens the blame will fall on the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. But it will be residents, not well-paid civil servants or government ministers, who will suffer. Really suffer.
Experience has shown us (as have our investigations) that there is no difference between Lutfur Rahman and John Biggs. Neither of them are fit to hold public office, let alone be a Mayor of any sort.
Maybe one day another court case will explain why.
Until that time the role of Directly elected Mayor of the London borough of Tower Hamlets needs to be wiped from the map of the East End of London.
There is no room for pity or sentiment. It just has to be done.
If our councillors cannot manage this task then residents should take over (as in ‘take over’) and do their job for them.
Which would then pose the question of why bother having any councillors at all?