diamond geezer

 Thursday, May 03, 2018

It's election day in Tower Hamlets, which means 95% of you can now go and read something else instead.

Not only are we voting for 45 councillors, but we're also voting for a Mayor, and they get to take all the important decisions no matter which party the other councillors represent.

It's our fourth Mayoral election. The first was triggered by a suspicious referendum, the second was declared void, and the third was a re-run. Our first Mayor was found guilty of electoral fraud and has been debarred from standing for office. Our second Mayor is a former council leader who's been picking up the pieces, and he's standing again. It's always complicated in Tower Hamlets. [Mayoral booklet]

John Biggs (Labour)
The current Mayor. Lives in Wapping. Wants to carry on doing the things he's currently doing. Promises integrity, ambition and shaking his fist at government cuts. Plans to make the borough safer, cleaner, greener and fairer. Specifically, 10 new pocket parks, 2000 new council homes and 1000 apprenticeships. Likely to win, but the bookies have said that before.

Dr Anwara Ali MBE (Conservative)
Former councillor, and currently a GP. Lives in Limehouse. The owner of www.dr-anwaraali-mbe.com. Promises a Great and United Tower Hamlets, and making best use of council reserves. Plans to make the borough safer, more secure and more sustainable. Specifically, new CCTV cameras, renegotiating council contracts and the introduction of a 'Health and Well-being Shuttle'. Long odds.

Ciaran Jebb (Green)
Sustainability Officer at UCL. Lives in Bethnal Green. Also standing as a councillor, in case his mayoral ambitions fail. Promises a radical and honest approach. Plans to hashtag #airpollution, #youngpeople, #localhousing, #smallbusiness and #greenspaces. Specifically, enforcing 20mph zones, introducing drug-safe zones and funding for threatened nurseries. No chance.

Rabina Khan (People's Alliance of Tower Hamlets)
Former cabinet member, now on her third ex-Labour splinter group. Lives in Stepney. Came second last time. Unhappy about service decline under the current administration. Plans to fight for the vulnerable and disadvantaged, and against discrimination. Specifically, 2500 new council homes, free social care and freezing council tax. Likely the runner-up, again.

Abul Monsur Ohid Ahmed (Aspire)
Former Deputy Mayor. Running for the party founded by the former (disgraced) Mayor. Lives on the Aberfeldy. Promises a fresh new vision and a safer, fairer future. Plans additional funding for youth services, an annual Communities Festival and the creation of a thriving faith sector. Specifically, 10000 new jobs, 10000 new homes (by 2026) and 50 electric charging points. Wild card.

Hugo Pierre (Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition)
Works for Unison in Camden. Lives in Stepney. Says Let's Turn Jeremy Corbyn's Words Into Action In Our Town Hall. Standing on a no cuts agenda. Specifically, railing against the rich, rent caps, restoration of the student maintenance allowance and stopping nursery privatisations. Would donate half his Mayoral salary to the cause. I doubt the momentum is behind him.

Elaine Bagshaw (Liberal Democrat)
Qualified Business Change practitioner. Candidate for Poplar and Limehouse at the last General Election. Lives in Poplar. Has a 'Six To Fix' plan. Plans to focus on homes, crime and Making It Easier To Do Things With The Council. Specifically, reusing 559 empty houses, reducing fly-tipping, and going back to delivering pink recycling bags to your doorstep. TH's LD heyday is long gone.

Friday lunchtime update: Mayoral election results
1) John Biggs (Labour) 37619 (48%) [+7246 second choices = 66%] ELECTED
2) Rabina Khan (PATH) 13113 (17%) [+3765 second choices = 34%]
3) Abul Ahmed (Aspire) 11109 (14%)
4) Anwara Ali (Conservative) 6149 (8%)
5) Elaine Bagshaw (Lib Dem) 5598 (7%)
6) Ciaran Jebb (Green) 3365 (4%)
7) Hugo Pierre (TUSC) 728 (1%)

That's an impressive win for the current Mayor, almost taking half the votes on the first round of counting. The two splintered local opposition parties managed 30% between them, suggesting the days of offbeat Tower Hamlets politics may now be firmly behind us. None of the other main parties really got a look in.

Saturday morning update: Council election results
» Labour 42 councillors (46% of the vote)
» Conservative 2 councillors (10%)
» PATH 1 councillor (6%)

After four years of 'no overall control', Labour have stormed back with their cleanest sweep since 1974. The only Conservative representation is on the Isle of Dogs (after Wapping and Limehouse switched back to Labour). The sole independent candidate is Rabina Khan, the Mayoral runner-up, as the diaspora of ex-Lutfur supporters slumps from 18 councillors to 1. Aspire got 15% of the votes but no seats. Tower Hamlets almost looks like a normal East London borough again.

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