TL;DR: Aspire Party produces shoddy leaflets in support of a guy who is not standing for elected office, cites the work of another party to get itself elected. Go figure.
The Aspire Party campaign literature and website for the May 2022 local elections are so bad it is difficult to know where to start.
But start we have to. Sorry. Why not go and read book instead? Or Private Eye? That’s always good.
The Aspire Party website shows contempt for both those who want to find out more about the Aspire Party and the most basic principles of website design.
It looks like someone has used the original website for a by-election (“This area is in my bones”) with some vague intention to change it into the main Aspire website then given up after about five minutes.
Visit the site if you must but the screen grab below shows most of its faults.
There is an almost total lack of information about Aspire. And that is it.
OK, Tower Hamlets Council is incapable of running its own website and the Tower Hamlets Labour site is full of out of date content from the 2018 election so it is an exceptionally low, almost subterranean, bar but this is just dross.
Aspire Party campaign literature
An examination of the Aspire Party printed literature is not much better although at least someone has bothered to put some copy in it.
Quite what the words that make up the copy mean is another matter.
Here is an example, they are all virtually identical.
Top left of the leaflet’s that Moley has looked at is a quote from Lillian Collins, who is the Aspire Party Nominating Officer according to the Electoral Commission but this is not in the leaflet. That she was Chair of the Poplar Baths Steering Committee (so what?) and the former Chair of the Local Labour Party (Tower Hamlets Labour) is. The irony that the leaflet is full of criticisms of the very same Labour Party of which she was proud to be Chair is lost on her it seems.
That other party was great! So vote for us!
“Aspire achieved remarkable things in Tower Hamlets where Labour have failed,” says Ms. Collins.
Notice the small factual error here?
Yep, Aspire have never been in power in Tower Hamlets. Or did we miss that memo?
Presumably the reference to Aspire here and throughout the leaflet is to Tower Hamlets First. Which is another political party.
So the Aspire Party is using the achievements and failures of Tower Hamlets First in its attempt to get elected.
Which is like the Conservative Party boasting about the achievements of the Labour Party to get elected. Or the Lib Dems lauding the excellent work of the Conservative Party over Brexit.
The Enquirer checked with the Electoral Commission about this and it seems they are cool with it, despite these claims being misleading at best.
But in an election where voters will not know if they are voting for an Aspire candidate or a Labour candidate why worry?
It’s that man again
Bottom left of the leaflet is a photo of Lutfur Rahman and his plea for you to vote Aspire on May 5th.
What is completely absent from this or any other Aspire Party campaign material is any reference to the fact that on 23 April 2015 Lutfur Rahman was found personally guilty of making false statements about a candidate, bribery, and undue spiritual influence and guilty by his agents of personation, postal vote offences, provision of false information to a registration officer, voting when not entitled, making false statements about a candidate, payment of canvassers, bribery, and undue spiritual influence and that corrupt and illegal practices for the purpose of securing his election, and that corruption was so extensive during the 2014 that it was declared null and void.
The other puzzling issue is that the Aspire Party seems devoted to the political ambition of one man.
But that one man is not an Aspire Party officer, is not standing as a councillor and to date has not announced his candidacy for Mayor.
Which is kind of odd.
Reality is that the Aspire Party has nobody else with any public profile outside of his (or in one case her) living room. So who else is going to be the figurehead? Maium
Miah Talukadar? He will probably have joined another party come May.
According to Lutfur the election is about more than a vote, it is about our future.
He then asks “Remember a time when your council worked for you?”
Although this author was brought up in Southwark and lived in the Basque Country, Euskal Herria, for a while and the Bilbao City Council there was pretty good.
Innovative fundraising. Seriously?
The Aspire Party can always be relied upon to shoot itself in the foot more times than an angry centipede with a machine gun.
A perfect example of this is given below which is taken from the leaflet’s intro text where Aspire is talking about council tax and where it will get the cash from to fund its pledges.
“We will freeze it [council tax] again and invest in services by innovative fundraising and leaning on the council’s huge reserves in a time of crisis.”
Innovative fundraising? Seriously?
Is the town hall going to be first prize in a raffle? Will residents be required to donate 20% of their earnings to the council finance department? Or maybe all council services will only be available after a cash, er, donation? Could work.
To state the bleeding obvious, it is a bit daft for a political party whose figurehead has been done for corruption to say that they will raise council finances through innovative fundraising.
Vote for the house picture
Fortunately Aspire canvassers out on the doorsteps may not be challenged on this too much as their electoral message to residents is simply “Vote for the candidate with the house picture.”
In light of this maybe all the other political parties should change their logos to a house picture?
Could be fun.
Enough of sub-standard misleading election leaflets, what about the Aspire Party candidates?
You knew that was coming didn’t ya?