Listen carefully. Can you hear it? That sound in the distance. Hear it now? It seems to be getting louder with every passing week in Tower Hamlets. First it was a whisper, now it is a little more distinct. Word on the street is that it will soon become a deafening roar.
Yep, it’s the sound of Tower Hamlets residents across the borough standing up for themselves, their families, their friends and their communities and refusing to be dictated to by Labour councillors.
Today that sound of rebellion got a little louder still.
Bethnal Green residents published an open letter (below) to the Councillors of Bethnal Green (Weavers and St Peter’s Wards) John Pierce, Abdul Mukit, Kevin Brady, Tarik Khan and Gabriela Salva-Macallan which asks them to stand with residents against discrimination, direct or indirect on the basis of age, disability, socio-economic inequality (class), race, gender or faith.
And the residents demand that ‘this be demonstrated publicly, with a clear rejection of the whip on Liveable Streets.’
This is a similar letter to that published by Whitechapel residents recently.
The specific reason for this public rebuke is when a complaint against the discrimination embedded in the Liveable Streets, a 2,000 signature petition, was dismissed at Council on January 20th 2021 the residents were portrayed as being climate change deniers.
Seriously. This happened.
Because residents complained about Liveable Streets they were all made out to be car enthusiasts intent on filling our streets with their 4×4 Kensington Tractors. Because they questioned the status quo they were all portrayed as cycle haters.
This is the only way Tower Hamlets Labour Party, led by Mayor Biggs, can conceive of winning an argument. By using its position of power to subvert the very basics of democratic debate.
Stand up, make your voices heard, protect your communities
The reason that residents in Whitechapel and now Bethnal Green have resorted to writing open letters is that they have lost faith in democracy.
In Tower Hamlets too many councillors, all of them Labour, treat the views of residents with contempt and do whatever they are told to do by the Mayor or whatever is best for the Labour Party.
There are some good Labour councillors, very good in fact, but we will not name them here for fear of them being branded as party traitors.
Bottom line is that residents are being silenced. Until they write an open letter for all to read and bypassing the gag that their ward councillors use on them.
Ballot box is redundant
This is the only way for them to be heard. The ballot box, long a source of controversy in the borough for other reasons, has finally been proved redundant.
This approach is all the more unusual because this rebellion is specifically against Labour Party councillors. Not Liberal Democrat. Not Conservative. Not Independent. Just Labour.
That’s the Labour Party that is supposed to be for the many, not the few. The Labour Party that is for the oppressed, not the elite. The Labour Party that is for those with the least, not those for the most.
Maybe Tower Hamlets Labour Party did not get that memo?
Residents in Whitechapel and Bethnal Green have both asked their councillors to clearly reject the Labour whip (a party order to vote a specific way) for Liveable Streets.
The Enquirer is not clear what will be the fate of those councillors who refuse to do so, but it is highly unlikely it will be a good career move.
Many in power or part of pressure groups who seek power really do not get why Tower Hamlets people are against Liveable Streets.
They have not got a clue. They have no idea what has hit them and that there is much worse hurtling along the tracks.
This opposition is not about cycle lanes or bikes versus cars. It is about the manner in which Tower Hamlets council, a Labour administration, has tried to force Liveable Streets on communities with little or no regard for the needs of those communities.
The ‘Liveable Streets’ scheme is a fuse that has fizzled and now exploded the frustration of ordinary people who have been ignored for years.
It may well be the cause of the demise of the 50-year-old rule of the Labour Party in Tower Hamlets and its replacement with a democratic system where ordinary people represent their communities with honour and duty.
Err… that’s it! (Sorry, editorial comment is normally at the end of news stories.)
Now read the letter below please before the next one arrives.
To sign this you have to be someone who lives, works, studies or uses community facilities in Weavers and St. Peters Ward. If you meet these criteria then please scroll right down to the bottom of the letter and enter your name where it says ‘Your answer’.
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