Rabina Khan kicked off her campaign to be the next Directly-Elected Mayor of Tower Hamlets yesterday evening with a fiery speech in Watney Market.
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey was in attendance to support the Councillor for Shadwell and the event was well attended by Lib Dem supporters, ward candidates and those attracted by the crowd.
For those who have yet to meet Councillor Khan you should have a look at the short video clip below which gives you some glimpse of her fire in the first part and humour in the second.
As the Councillor said, “I didn’t just appear. I have always been here.”
As someone who has tangled with her in the past this author can testify that it is a really bad idea to muck her around.
Moley and Councillor Khan clashed repeatedly during the 2014 election and this only ended after we had both reported the other to the Metropolitan Police about the same incident.
Which Mole cannot remember any details of whatsoever so it can’t have been that big a deal, just normal Tower Hamlets politics.
Like the street fight outside Teviot Street mosque the other week between Labour and Aspire supporters. Just the way it is.
The Famous Five
There are five candidates for the Mayoral election (well, as far as we know).
Of these the only candidates with any chance of being elected are Rahman, Biggs and Councillor Rabina (or Rabina ‘cos there is no point in calling her Khan ‘cos there are zillions!).
While the other Mayoral candidates add value to the discussions (ahem) during the election there is always the risk they might take key votes away from one of the main three candidates and so decide the election.
Which would not make them popular, would it?
Anyhow, back to Rabina.
How many times have you seen / heard / read anything in the national media about / from Mayor John Biggs in the last year?
How many times have you seen / heard / read anything anything in the national media from / about ex-Mayor Luther Rahman in the last year?
The reality is that the only politician in the borough who is often in the media is Rabina. A classical example of this is the cladding disaster where she has been of direct help to people in the borough and around the UK.
Downside for Rabina is that the haters – usually in the Council chamber – emerge with claws drawn when they see her latest media appearance.
This is typical of the disease that passes for politics in Tower Hamlets, attack the person, ignore the policies.
Now a very brief overview of how the three main Mayoral candidates stand at the end of March.
No chance whatsoever. Zero.
Lutfur’s time (2010 – 2014) has been and gone and he screwed it up. He got caught and found guilty of corruption. Not a criminal conviction of course, but still a guilty verdict.
Whatever momentum and popular support he had is gone and it is not coming back.
Of all the residents this author has spoken to during the last month or two not one has had anything good to say about Luther. (Or John Biggs for that matter).
Lutfur’s unstated policy of only fielding candidates who are British-Bangladeshi has, rightfully, no support.
He has fallen back on the ‘let’s discuss policies, not the past’ routine which can be translated as ‘let’s not discuss the electoral petition and the whole being found guilty thing.
And when did any election in Tower Hamlets every involve debating the merits of different policies?
Mole’s information is that Lutfur has canvassed all his potential voters and his sums do not add up. That simple.
To make matters worse he does not have his key people around, just Ohid Ahmed and Maium Miah. The main person he is missing is Alibor Choudhury, but apparently Alibor he wants nothing to do with Tower Hamlets politics. As smart as ever.
Some Aspire Party people have been chosen as Labour candidates, and it might be that Aspire gains more seats from these entryists than those who openly who campaign as Aspire.
Mayor John Biggs
John Biggs has probably already been defeated by his own people and his own hand, Tower Hamlets Labour.
In an attempt to organise Tower Hamlets Labour just as he wanted it Biggs alienated so many people that Labour now has a major problem in just getting enough people out to knock on doors and deliver leaflets.
Those who have been turned over by Biggs have made their feelings known by refusing to canvas for him.
Which in the run up to polling day is not exactly ideal. More disastrous.
Followers of @EastEndEnquirer on Twitter will have hardly been able to avoid our attacks on the Mayor’s blatant use of Council assets for party political purposes.
And like this…
Sad and desperate. Oh and rarely anything to do with the truth.
Voters would do well to remember that Tower Hamlet Labour has little in common with the main UK Labour Party apart from having the word ‘Labour’ in their titles.
UK Labour just wishes Tower Hamlets Labour would disappear. Despite this little to no attempt has ever been undertaken to sort out Tower Hamlets Labour because the people in charge know that the amount of dirt, scandal and tribal politics that would be exposed would be colossal.
So Tower Hamlets Labour continues to stumble along from one internal squabble to the next.
It’s fuel comes from various far left-wing groups who realise that the chaos and confusion inherent in Tower Hamlets Labour is ideal for getting their own people, many radically opposed to the whole concept of social democracy, into positions within Labour that they can further exploit for their own extremist ends.
The irony is that while politicians and activists of all types run around warning that the most trivial by-election is an open door for Luther Rahman / Respect / The Unicorns from the Planet Tharp and if they get elected we are all doomed the real threats walk in unnoticed.
Again UK Labour wants these people and their beliefs gone, but seem incapable or unwilling to do so.
Lots of people in the East End of London will vote Labour because they have always voted Labour.
These people should remember the responsibility that every voters bears and pause before putting their mark next to the red rose.
They should look at the candidates names and ask themselves if they know who that person is?
A little research might reveal that their Labour candidate is in reality an Aspire candidate.
At one level there is no difference between Aspire and Tower Hamlets Labour, they are in reality just one big gaggle of centre left activists whose loyalties change with the wind, but it would still be nice if residents could vote for a person who actually believes in the party they claim to represent.
So Lutfur is as weak as a kitten.
Biggs is crippled by his own people.
That must mean Rabina is going to be the next Mayor of Tower Hamlets, right?
Well no. Maybe. Or maybe not. Or yes.
Rahman is so stuffed that his team asked Rabina’s team if she would mind standing aside for him? (The response is not recorded but did involve a lot of laughter.)
Which leaves Biggs and Rabina.
There is no doubt that a huge proportion of the Bangladeshi vote will go with Rabina, as to how much we will only know when we get the Mayoral election results.
Rabina has made it clear that if she were to be elected she would be Mayor for everyone in the borough, not just those sympathetic to her or the Liberal Democrat viewpoint or those from a specific ethnic group.
One way she might make this concrete is to have a cabinet made up of councillors from all the different parties.
Now that would be interesting.
Before all Lib Dems in the borough cause a shortage of Persil in their rush to get their colourful cardigans washed, they might want a bit of a reality check.
Despite being a highly regarded member of the Liberal Democrats Rabina does not have a big party machine behind her. Because the Lib Dems are not a big party.
The Lib Dems also seem to be lacking in the essential killer instinct which is essential if you want to win elections.
Too often they talk about coming second or third somewhere as if this was some sort of electoral success.
The only thing that matters is coming first guys. Try it some time, you might like it.
This lack of an efficient election fighting machine might not be a problem for Rabina but instead an opportunity because she will be (has been?) forced to create her own machine from supporters she knows and who believe in her.
If that machine is effective (and in reality the odds are it will not be) the Mayoral election will come down to a choice between Mayor John Biggs and Councillor Rabina Khan.
That in itself could be decided by second-preference votes.
At this stage of the game Moley is not going to be daft enough to make any predictions as to which one of these two will win.
What Moley does recommend is viewing the video at the top of the page again and see the steel in that woman’s face and voice.
More on this nearer the election.