The ‘Islamic Republic’ of
Tower Minaret Hamlets
His Grace is delighted that Labour have been trounced and humiliated in the race to become the first elected executive mayor of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. The independent candidate Lutfur Rahman beat Labour’s Helal Abbas without the need for second-preference votes: it was an outright victory in the first round with 51.76 per cent of the vote. He now controls a £1bn budget in an Olympic borough, and will remain in office until 2014.
As one sour-faced member of Tower Hamlets Labour Party observed: “It really is Britain’s Islamic republic now.”
His Grace does not know if Mayor Rahman is the Islamist supremacist alleged by Andrew Gilligan.
He does not know if he ‘has close links with a group of powerful local businessmen and with a Muslim supremacist body, the Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE) - which believes, in its own words, in transforming the “very infrastructure of society, its institutions, its culture, its political order and its creed… from ignorance to Islam”.’
His Grace does not know if Mayor Rahman has refused to deny these claims.
He does not know if the borough’s change from a conventional council leader to a mayoral system came about as a result of a campaign which was led and financed by these two groups – or if the IFE, in its words, wanted to ‘get one of our brothers’ into the position.
He does not know if Mayor Rahman has been attempting to ‘Islamicise’ the borough through the dissemination of extremist literature in Tower Hamlets’ public libraries. Or of he signed up entire families of sham ‘paper’ Labour members to win the party’s mayoral nomination.
But what His Grace does know is that Lutfur Rahman was a fully paid-up member of the Labour Party, democratically selected to be its mayoral candidate in the borough in which he was educated, has lived and served for decades, and was then sacked as the official Labour candidate by the party’s National Executive Committee. And so Mr Rahman decided to stand as an independent.
Have Labour learned nothing from Blaenau Gwent?
When an unaccountable, central executive élite wrests power from the local, democratic and accountable, they invariably cede the victory to the opposition.
Democracy in the UK can only be revived by trusting local people to select local candidates and elect their own officers and councillors who then have the necessary powers to enact local laws to effect real local change.
Mayor Rahman’s victory is a triumph for the local Labour Party members, a defeat for the party’s General Secretary Ray Collins and a humiliation for their new leader Ed Miliband.
You can’t buck the people.
Mayor Rahman may indeed be a latent Islamist with friends who happen to be shadowy Muslim extremists intent on creating a sharia state in London.
Or, as he says, he may be a jolly decent bloke who just wants to ‘serve the people of Tower Hamlets whether black or white or whatever their religion or creed’.
Whatever his religio-political agenda, he now rolls it out with the democratic consent of the people of Tower Hamlets: it is an unavoidable consequence of the creed of 'localism' to which the Conservative Party now subscribes.
And please do not complain if he finances Islamic academies, imposes burqas in schools, demands halal meat at the local McDonalds or promotes a borough-wide holiday for Eid.
The turnout was a meagre 25.6 per cent.
Mayor Rahman's 23,283 votes represent just 13 per cent of the electorate.
And that is no-one’s fault but the apathetic voters of Tower Hamlets.
Local politics demands local engagement.
If the good people of Tower Hamlets are content to do nothing, they should not be surprised when evil triumphs.