Friday, February 24, 2012
i love london. i love the east end. there is a magical charm about tower hamlets: it is a place of paradox and contradiction. we have an elected mayor. not many people wanted such a position to be created. it was helped through by the boys at respect, probably with the hope that gorgeous george galloway would get the nod. he didn't. we got lutfer rahman. i am sure he is a nice bloke. even before he was elected there was just a whiff of controversy about him. although he had been selected to be the official labour candidate he was deselected because of his alleged links to islaminc forum of europe. instead he decided to run as an independent and got the backing of respect. he received 51% of the votes cast. that whiff doesn't want to leave him. we have had the hoo-ha over the amount of money spent on his office. described as a vanity project. we have had the kerfuffle over his chauffeur driven hire car. he needs it because he needs to work while he is on the move - i have always believed that if you are the boss, you have as many people as possible come to you (if only to see your new swanky office). meanwhile the ceremonial mayor of tower hamlets, mizan chaudhury, has run up a very large taxi bill since his official car had been taken away. his reason for need these cabs is that his ceremonial chains are at risk. mr. chaudhury claims that mr. rahman had done this deliberately to make the civic office look bad. we have the on going saga of two female politicians, one a member of the lords the other a councillor, who have both been done for fiddling. the councillors has done it twice and still sits on the council. there are stories that homophobic noises have been tolerated in the public gallery of the council meetings. when there were a load of homophobic hate stickers that went up around the area it wasn't long before the fact that it was muslim led was quickly dropped from the reporting. just recently there has been the story of the 'executive advisor' who is getting £1000 a day, though tony winterbottom has claimed that he will bot be accepting his fee, even though he has also said that he is embararrassed that it is known he is charging so little. mr. winterbottom used to be an advisor to ken livingstone. this has led to questions about the number of high paid members of mr. rahman's inner circle. now we have allegations that there is potential voter fraud ahead of the london mayoral race - the evening standard has reported that some 64 properties across the borough have 550 inhabitants. while there is much to commend tower hamlets for - i never thought i would saying that one thing it does is make local politics interesting. perhaps it is time that i really took a serious interest in how my local council is run. here is where i agree with david cameron and eric pickles - we should all be interested and involved in local politics. so get out there and get involved.