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I asked Nick McQueen, the new Ukip candidate for Tower Hamlets mayor to write a short piece to introduce himself and to outline some of his views and how he would improve the borough. I also asked him for his views on the important second preference vote that Labour’s John Biggs is probably relying on.

Below is Nick’s piece and below that, I’m copying the short manifesto Ukip has drawn up for Tower Hamlets.

The three things that stand out for me in terms of headline grabbers are the decriminalisation of heroin in Tower Hamlets (to get rid of the dealers, but which could also have the effect of attracting every junkie in London to the borough); new “Moses” clubs in every school to help children of different faiths mix more; and the abolition of the council funded “mother tongue” classes for Bengali families (something I and many others including David Goodhart have called for).

I think this should prompt a good discussion….Here’s Nick’s piece:

Why I am Standing

I am an East Ender born and bred. My life experiences set me apart from the political class. They are trained to argue for policies that they do not believe in but in the East End we call that lying. Instead I will be honest, transparent and accountable.

Children in the borough are suffering. Some of them are being fed soup at the end of the month.

Others are being segregated due to the current mayors policies, and the funding for their clubs has been taken away. There is overcrowding in the borough I grew up in the East End but I have never known it this bad. I want to fight for the multi-cultural, multi-religious society of London’s East End.

The East End is not a colour, we all become as one. A community is assessed NOT on how well the rich live, but on how well we look after the less fortunate.

My Views of the Current Mayor Lutfur Rahman

Mr Rahman uses policies of segregation rather than integration – for example his “mother tongue” lessons. The mayor of Newham (Sir Robin Wales) has recently accused him of bringing a form of apartheid to Tower Hamlets. He rarely speaks in the council meetings. He does not have the interests of the whole community at heart. Have you ever seen him at Canary Wharf standing up for the City, one of our country’s most important industries and a major source of the tax revenue that funds our public services?

Would I like Rahman out at Any Cost?

Yes of course I want him out. But the answer is not to elect a different socialist administration under Labour. Their candidate John Biggs will keep his role on the London Assembly – we don’t need a part-time mayor. He ran the council for a number of years and the Labour Party created Rahman. Would you give a lighter back to a previous arsonist?

The Tory candidate (Chris Wilford) has been parachuted in. He has no real background in the East End and is currently talking about potholes. We need something very different for Tower Hamlets – UKIP can be that difference.

How Can UKIP Make the Borough Better?

We will breathe new life into the borough with our policies. UKIP does not have a whip in local government, which gives our councillors freedom to fight for the specific things that matter to their electors.

 We are very different to the other parties. See my views on the decriminalisation of drugs to solve the heroin problem in the borough. I will use council resources to generate more money.

See my vision for an East End Wonderland every year in Victoria Park.

I will introduce free breakfast clubs for primary school kids and after-school “Moses” clubs to bring together children from all backgrounds (Moses is a prophet to the Jews, Christians and Muslims).

I want grammar schools for the academically-gifted children and trade schools for those of a practical disposition so that they can learn the real skills they need to earn good money in the trades.

I will support small businesses in the borough by easing the bureaucracy and making the council more responsive. I have been in business for most of my life so I know what it is like. And I will always stand up for Canary Wharf and oppose EU interference. The City gave me my start in life – I started a business providing the plants for their offices.

I will support genuine civic groups as long as they are for the whole community, to promote integration rather than separation.

The conduct of the council meetings is a disgrace. UKIP will restore order and dignity to the proceedings.

I will bring in forensic accountants to go over the books and look for asset stripping and misappropriation, and I will prosecute those responsible. Those accountants will also find me millions of pounds of savings and I will be ruthless in cutting out waste.

I will support the arts in the borough and will find a permanent site for Old Flo.

Do I Have Bengali Support and Candidates?

I know a lot of Bangladeshis – some of them are my next-door neighbours. They have promised me their vote because like the rest of the community they are fed up with the current system. Why should they be any different? Their kids are also being targeted by the heroin pushers. So yes, I have Bengali support. But no, we do not yet have any Bengali candidates. If anyone from that community is interested in standing for UKIP please contact me.

We only formed the UKIP branch in December, so we are starting from behind. We do not have the local structure and activist base that the other parties have. We have set ourselves the goal of finding twenty candidates – one for each ward – so that everyone in Tower Hamlets who wants to vote for UKIP can do so. That would be a massive achievement.

Second Preference Votes

We are in this to win. I want people’s first preference votes only. If you want UKIP and the change that we will bring then you should vote only for me and my councillor candidates. If you absolutely must vote for your old party – Tory or Labour – then please lend me your second preference votes (and please give our councillors one of your votes on that ballot). We are not instructing our supporters to give their second preference votes to anyone.

I am getting the support of working class people, Conservatives, Labour, and also from people who have never voted before. Our challenge is to get enough of the people who have given up on politics to register to vote. Our first flyer simply has UKIP on it and the contact details for the voter registration department at the council.

The following is from the Tower Hamlets Ukip website:

My Plan

  • Zero tolerance on heroin to protect our youth.
  • Free breakfast clubs and school dinners for primary school children.
  • East End Wonderland at Victoria park to raise funds for open spaces.
  •  “Moses clubs” in all schools to bring the different races and religions together, with special activity programmes during the holidays.
  • Quickly create new primary schools by using existing college buildings.
  • Grammar schools for the academically gifted and trade and technical schools for those of a more practical disposition.
  • I want community integration rather than segregation.
  • My office will be fully transparent and accountable.
  • I will bring in forensic accountants to look for asset stripping and misappropriated funds, and I will prosecute those responsible.
  • I will promote culture and art in the borough and find a permanent site for Old Flo.
  • I will support businesses, for example with a late license for Brick Lane.
  • I will always stand up for Canary Wharf and oppose EU interference in our vital financial services industry.
  • I will replace the mayoral dictatorship with a fully democratic system.
  • I will cut open the belly of this beast for everyone to look inside.

Budget savings to implement my plans

My accountants will find millions of pounds in savings by cutting unnecessary spending. But the following “quick wins” can be implemented straight away.

  • Abolish unnecessary expenditure on faith buildings.
  • Abolish “mother tongue” lessons.
  • Abolish the mayoral car and highly-paid advisors.
  • Stop the translation of information into foreign languages, removing the need for council-funded translators.
  • Scrap the East End Life propaganda newspaper.

Personal message from Nicholas

Dear Voter,

I’m aware of the ups and downs of life and how difficult it is to cope with the austerity measures that we are all experiencing, be it on an individual basis or from a family or business perspective. Let me explain to you my political position. In some ways I go further than Labour when it comes to delivering social protection. In other ways my policies are more conservative than those promised by the Conservatives.

I truly believe that the basic human needs – heating, eating and housing – must be affordable to the community, especially where children are concerned. For example, children cannot learn if they are underfed and this is unfortunately happening in our borough. Hence my commitment regarding the school breakfast clubs. A community is assessed not on how well the rich live but on how well we look after the less fortunate among us.

I’ve been in business for most of my life and I understand how much we need good businesses to create jobs and pay taxes, which is why I support the growth and expansion of the business and financial districts in the borough, and I will help them above and beyond expectations.

The middle section of my politics is libertarian – the philosophy that places the highest value on personal freedom and limited government. More liberty helps us all to achieve more, to be happier and healthier, and it will make the community a better place to live in. I will integrate libertarianism with modern-day politics to confront the problems that we face today.

The national leadership of UKIP does not dictate our policy in local government but leaves us free to do what we need to in the local setting. UKIP is the fastest growing party in the UK because it is for everyone, especially the working man and woman. We believe that if you work then you should be better off. When we run the borough you will benefit. When we run the country it will be strong once again.

I was born and bred in the East End. I am old school, but my life experiences set me apart from the schoolboys that have been running the borough. My promises set out above will breathe new life into the borough, making it a better place to live and work. Our history, and our multicultural diverse community is what makes Tower Hamlets one of the most dynamic places in the world and one of the most interesting places to live and work.

Thank you for reading this, and I hope you will support my campaign for the greater good of our local community.

Love East End. Vote UKIP. Vote Nicholas McQueen for Mayor. 

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Mayor speaking

President Lutfur Rahman, the Boy from Bow, the community organiser who inspires the streets of Spitalfields, gave his State of the Union address at Canary Wharf earlier this month. It was so good, the whooping crowd immediately reached for their pockets and gave him £56,000.

Who says beggars can’t be choosers!

Here’s what His Martyrship had to say:

Good evening everyone. I am honoured to be here tonight to report back to you on my three years as Mayor of Tower Hamlets.

Before I do, I want to thank everyone who has been part of that journey – my councillors and colleagues; my friends and supporters from across the spectrum in Tower Hamlets; the community groups and faith organisations that are the backbone of our public life; everyone on my team who has worked so hard to deliver the change that the people of Tower Hamlets voted for and that the people of Tower Hamlets deserve.

I do not wish to talk much about what we’ve done; Instead I want to focus on what we’re going to do. But before I do there is one question I’d like to answer that I’ve been asked again and again:

How has this administration has delivered so much when everyone else is cutting services, and where do we find the money when we’ve seen £130m in cuts in just three years?

I’ll tell you:

While others have simply been slashing services, we’ve been transforming the Council from the ground up; challenging old and inefficient ways of doing things; shifting our resources to better serve our residents; working tirelessly to find out what our community truly needs; pushing the Council to respond and effectively wherever those needs are not met; either by improving existing services; or by introducing radical new policies that nobody else in the UK has the courage or the imagination to implement.

But all our achievements take place against a backdrop of massive government cuts; of welfare reforms that are throwing up huge social challenges; of a stagnant economy and a growing gap between rich and poor.

There is also the sad fact that some in the main political parties locally have refused to accept reality; by hook or by crook they seem determined to stop us from delivering; determined to take the path of opposition for its own sake; and determined to use the most divisive and destructive tactics to bring this community to a grinding halt.

But you rejected them in 2010 and they will not succeed in 2014 because they belong to the old world of factional and divisive
politics. They have nothing positive to offer the people of Tower Hamlets.

So this is the challenge:

Delivering lasting change in a time of austerity; protecting some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in Britain; yet also unleashing the talent and aspirations of local people so that they can be active participants in the improvement of Tower Hamlets, not just onlookers.

It is a big task; but I have three core principles that have guided me throughout my time in politics:

First and foremost I believe in the talent and the ambition of our community. Our people, especially our young people, are our greatest asset.

Secondly, I believe in the unique spirit of tolerance and togetherness that characterises the East End; where hundreds of years
of immigration and the historic pressures of deprivation have forged a strong local identity.

You just need to look at the list of tonight’s speakers to see how people of every different background can be brought together by shared values and a shared love of the place we call home.

Finally, I believe that our location gives us the leverage to negotiate hard on behalf of local people. Negotiate with the developers who want to build on our land and the multi-national corporations that bring so much wealth into Canary Wharf.

With these three assets, I know that real and lasting change can be delivered; we can harness the talent in our midst; we can embrace all the creativity that diversity brings and we can make sure that big businesses and developers are delivering for the whole community.

Let them make their profit – I have no problem with that – but only if the community profits as well!

In four months you will have a clear choice:

On the one hand there are those that want to take Tower Hamlets back to the 1980s: unequal, unfair and economically stagnant; divided along lines of class and race.

On the other there is an administration with a proven track record of implementing radical policies; of coming up with solutions to emerging
problems like the welfare reforms and of successfully planning and delivering the big projects that will change the face of the borough forever.

But the mayoral model is as much about personal accountability as it is about the big vision. So I want to tell you why I went into politics and why I’ve fought so hard- and yes! I have had to fight hard.

My path in politics has not been a conventional one.

But ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades; I’m glad that I am an unconventional politician; I’m glad I’m not a careerist, an apparatchik or a party man because there are plenty of conventional politicians up for election in Tower Hamlets;

There are plenty of very ordinary candidates with very ordinary ideas; but Tower Hamlets is an extraordinary place. Over the years, the East End has produced some political giants; independent thinkers and social reformers.

These are the unconventional politicians from whom I draw my inspiration and whose example has given me the strength to fight on
for the all the people of this borough.

Why?

Quite simply, because Tower Hamlets is my home; this community is my community, it is in my blood; it is in my veins.

I’ve come to know every street and corner, every nook and cranny from Banglatown to Bow to the Island.

And everywhere, white, black or brown, I see the same huge potential and the same crushing need.

My heart bleeds when I see families living five-to-a room; when I see young people led astray by drugs and crime or our elderly people
robbed of their dignity and independence.

In the shadow of the glittering towers and untold billions of Canary Wharf, such suffering is absurd, and I’m sure it doesn’t take much to imagine a Tower Hamlets where a generation of children grow up in housing that is fit for their needs; where they attend the best schools in the world and go on to jobs that allow them to fulfil their potential; where they bring up their families in the safest, cleanest borough; and where they are not just residents, but neighbours; connected to each other by bonds of care and trust that ensure everyone’s needs are met and nobody is left behind.

That is my vision.

It has sustained me through the difficult points in my “unconventional” career because each day I know that we are working hard towards that future for our children and mine.

I have done my best over the last three years as Mayor, and before that for two years as leader, to deliver that vision. While the foundations are laid, the true transformation of Tower Hamlets needs to be driven home.

That’s why I’m running again, because the job is only half done.

I know that all of you here share the vision for a better Tower Hamlets and in a few months’ time, I hope to stand in front of you and say that we have four more years to deliver it.

Until then, lets work hard, and lets show the people of this borough that we’re on their side; and that my team and I have the passion and
dedication to keep putting Tower Hamlets First.

 

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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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