The commenter Wise owl of Wiltshire made the following very interesting remarks on my last post about Ohid and Lutfur falling out:
I understand from a good source our humble Mayor is discussing a reshuffle. Apparently Ohid is going to be booted out of cabinet. Four main reasons: 1) sheer incompetence and inability to manage his brief, 2) constant moaning about NOT getting enough media attention and interference in EEL, 3) irritating Lutfur about being treated as the mayor’s equal.
He or she included a fourth reason which I’ve deleted for legal reasons but the suggestion that Lutfur is planning a reshuffle must have some merit, not just because of G(h)ulam Robbani’s likely victory in Spitalfields tomorrow (by the way, there is a very interesting leaflet circulating about him in Spitalfields at the moment, and if there is any element of truth to its details, his victory will backfire massively not only on him but also on Lutfur in a very serious way).
Robbani, who styles himself as a social care expert and previously worked for the council in that area, will probably want a cabinet position. To sack Ohid from the deputy mayor position might well be a step too far, not least because he is close to Lutfur’s moneybag, Shiraj Haque.
But where to put Robbani? Oli Rahman currently looks after Children’s Services (and has the poisoned chalice task of bringing youth services back in-house, a very odd decision by Lutfur for which he has yet to give any financial justification…), while Labour rebel Abdul Asad looks after Adult Healthcare.
It will be a conundrum for Lutfur and I don’t know what the answer is. However, there is a wider point.
I’m told by someone in the town hall who observes these things closely that there is growing disillusionment within the ranks of Lutfur’s independents. Oli Rahman, Rania Khan and Lutfa Begum have always acted together, both within Respect and then as SWP-backed Respect rebels, then as Labour members and now as independents.
I imagine they were less than impressed by Lutfur’s decision to endorse former Respect leader Abjol Miah in Weavers: Abjol once infamously yelled in apparently rather nasty way at Lutfa Begum during a Respect meeting. It’s interesting how few independents have copied Lutfur’s endorsement. Did Lutfur consult Oli, Lutfa and Rania about backing Abjol? I very much doubt it and that would be in keeping with the autocratic way he runs his mayoralty. My hunch is that this group of three are beginning to feel used; they could even be regretting their expulsion from Labour. Labour rebel Shahed Ali is also bright enough to realise what’s going on.
In fact, if I were Labour, I’d be dangling some carrots their way.