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Archive for January 16th, 2014

The camera never lies, does it?

President Lutfur Rahman held a very Presidential fundraising rally on Tuesday night. I wasn’t invited, alas, but I suspect it was cheaper than the £100-a-head affair hosted in honour of John Biggs last November at the same venue, the East Wintergarden in Canary Wharf.

Apparently, it was a good and impressive do. I’m not sure who paid for it, but in a press release issued today, Lutfur’s new party, Tower Hamlets First, said they’d raised £56,000 AFTER the event. Wow! There’s no such thing as a free dinner, is there? Except in Tower Hamlets, where there are plenty of free lunch clubs…

Well, since Lutfur has always been a transparent sort of guy, we can all look forward to the break down of that £56k when he declares it in the most minute detail to the Electoral Commission.

Now, one of the accusations frequently levelled at President Rahman is he’s almost exclusively interested in the Bengali vote. But that’s not true. Because his press release included a main photo to prove his broad appeal.

mayor with supporters

 

Helpfully, though, he also sent us a wider shot.

Event photo

Which appears to match the description given by someone who attended: very Bengali and very male.

Here’s the text of his press release (I’m just pasting these without correcting mistakes):

Press Release

For immediate release – 16 January 2014

Mayor reports back to the community on three years in office

‘Transforming Tower Hamlets’ event sets vision for the future

Mayor Lutfur Rahman was joined on Tuesday night (14 January) by over 500 representatives of local organisations, community activists and supporters at the East Wintergarden in Canary Wharf to mark his administration’s delivery after three years in office.

The event was chaired by broadcaster Rizwan Hussain and Nana Asante, the Mayor of Harrow. Guests were treated to two films detailing Lutfur Rahman’s political journey and the administration’s string of nationally recognised achievements in housing, education and investments in fighting crime, as well as speakers including:

Ohid Ahmed, Deputy Mayor of Tower Hamlets; Simon Woolley, Founder and Director of Operation Black Vote;

Lillian Collins, Chair of the Poplar Baths Steering Group and former Chair of Poplar and Canning Town Labour Party;

Shiraj Haque, Chair of the 2010 Yes for Mayor Campaign;

Father Michael Dunne; Head of the Catholic Deanery, Tower Hamlets;

Captain Nick Coke of the Salvation Army and TELCO/CITIZENS UK;

Muquim Ahmed, Chair of the British Bangladeshi Chamber of Commerce;

Mawlana Shamsul Haque, Chair of Council of Mosques, Tower Hamlets and

Nazia Ahad, teacher and local resident.

In his speech, Mayor Rahman thanked the residents of the borough, community activists, supporters and the business community and embraced his unusual political journey saying:

“There are plenty of conventional politicians up for election in Tower Hamlets; plenty of very ordinary candidates with very ordinary ideas… I’m glad that I am an unconventional politician; I’m glad I’m not a careerist or a party man, because Tower Hamlets is an extraordinary place.”

Mayor Rahman also set out his vision for the future of the borough; centred on the £100m Whitechapel Vision redevelopment project which will bring 5,000 new jobs, 3,500 new homes, space for retail businesses and a publicly-owned town hall in the historic former Royal London Hospital building, saving residents millions each year in rent and service charges on the current town hall.

After a successful event, local business people and supporters pledged a total of £56,500 towards Tower Hamlets First and the re-election of Mayor Rahman.

Mayor Rahman said: “Our administration as a proven track record of implementing progressive policies to deal with emerging issues such as the government’s cuts to welfare, but we’ve also shown we can successfully plan and deliver the big projects that will change the face of Tower Hamlets forever.”

Operation Black Vote Chief Simon Wolley told the gathering: “Lutfur has made history as Europe’s first directly elected black mayor. He’s a role model to black communities across Britain

Speaking after the event, Deputy Mayor Ohid Ahmed said: “Lutfur Rahman stands head and shoulders above the other candidates. He has the vision and determination to transform this borough and I’m proud to fight alongside him for the ordinary people of Tower Hamlets.”

Lillian Collins, Chair of the Poplar Baths Steering Group said: “Lutfur is committed to ordinary working people in Tower Hamlets; he delivers on his promises and cares as much about our heritage as our future. Four years ago, the reopening of Poplar Baths was a mere dream. Now it is fast becoming a reality.”

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A bit of fun…I’ve just written this for the Express website. A cheery take on a very earnest proposal by Lutfurite councillors Rabina Khan and Rania Khan for a very worthy tribute to Nelson Mandela in Tower Hamlets.

nelson mandela tower hamlets

LEFTIE council bosses in London want to build a Nelson Mandela House–not in the Only Fools and Horses area of Peckham but a few miles away in Tower Hamlets.

Ruling councillors at the controversial east London authority want to name a new building after the late South African president “to ensure his legacy will always be upheld” in the area.

Councillors Rabina Khan and Rania Khan, a former member of the Socialist Workers’ Party, have proposed a motion on the idea for debate at next week’s full town hall meeting.

It is not known whether they are fans of the famous BBC sitcom, but when asked last night where Del and Rodney Trotter used to live, Cllr Rania Khan said she had no idea it was in Nelson Mandela House.

The fictional council tower block in Peckham was named by show creator John Sullivan as a mocking take on the socialist inner-city councils of the Eighties when Mandela was still in a Robben Island jail.

The motion by the two Tower Hamlets councillors makes no reference to Only Fools and Horses and is entirely serious and worthy.

They say their borough, which is frequently dogged by accusations of racism between Bengalis and whites, should learn from Mr Mandela who died last month.

They are demanding their council colleagues “name a building on the Blackwall [housing] development after Mandela”.

They urge the council “to use every relevant occasion to remind the young of the borough of the importance of both fighting for their beliefs and reconciliation”.

But in their preamble to the motion, the two councillors also try score political points by referring to the politics of the Eighties.

They write: “Despite Margaret Thatcher describing Nelson Mandela as a ‘terrorist’, and the refusal of the Tory government at the time to unite with the rest of Europe in imposing sanctions on South Africa, Nelson Mandela died perceived universally as a courage and principled politician whose example in resisting oppression and inequality inspires all those struggling for racial equality and social justice.

“In a borough where so many different races live side by side, Mandela’s determination to create racial equality and unite the black and white people of South Africa holds a particular importance.”

The two ex-Labour councillors are independent members and allied to the council’s directly elected mayor, Lutfur Rahman.

The site for the new building would be on the Blackwall Reach development, which is currently under construction by the Blackwall Tunnel.

Councils are currently expecting a deluge of request for changes in street names and other monuments in honour of Mr Mandela, but Tower Hamlets is believed to be the first to want a building in his honour.

Cllr Peter Golds, who leads the Tory opposition on the council, said his colleagues’ move was foolhardy and “singularly inappropriate”.
“I thought we had progressed from the days of Only Fools and Horses,” he said. “A statue would be a much better idea.”

Two tower blocks were used to depict Nelson Mandela House in the sitcom.

The original was in South Acton, west London, while the later shows featured Whitemead House in Bristol.

Cast members of the show were in mourning today after the death of actor Roger Lloyd-Pack who played the often dopy character Trigger.

The motion is listed here on p107 of the agenda for Wednesday’s full council meeting: 

12.11 Motion on Nelson Mandela

Proposer: Councillor Rabina Khan Seconder: Councillor Rania Khan

The Council notes:

• On the 5th December 2013, South African anti-apartheid revolutionary Nelson Mandela passed away.

• Mandela served 27 years in prison after being convicted of attempting to overthrow the state while an international campaign lobbied for his release.

• After his release, Mandela joined negotiations with President FW de Klerk to abolish apartheid and establish multiracial elections, lead the ANC into victory where he became South Africa’s first black president and won the Nobel Prize for Peace.

The Council believes:

• Despite Margaret Thatcher describing Nelson Mandela as a ‘terrorist’, and the refusal of the Tory government at the time to unite with the rest of Europe in imposing sanctions on South Africa, Nelson Mandela died perceived universally as a courage and principled politician whose example in resisting oppression and inequality inspires all those struggling for racial equality and social justice.

• In a borough where so many different races live side by side, Mandela’s determination to create racial equality and unite the black and white people of South Africa holds a particular importance.

The Council resolves:

• To remember Nelson Mandela, in particular, to use every relevant occasion to remind the young of the borough of the importance of both fighting for their beliefs and reconciliation.

• To name a building on the Blackwall redevelopment after Mandela to ensure that his legacy will always be upheld and achievements be acknowledged in Tower Hamlets.

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