20/05/2015 by connordowning
Andy Erlam, Angela Moffat (UKIP) and Azmal Hussein, who petitioned against Lutfur Rahman
Socialist Fight denounces Election Commissioner Richard Mawrey’s biased and bigoted judgement that removed elected mayor Lufur Rahman and barred him from public office, Councilor Alibor Choudhury is also barred immediately. His judgment is dripping with class bias and patronising racist Islamophobia. He made his judgement of breaches of law where clearly no law at all was broken but his unique position makes him, and him alone without peer or jury to co-adjudicate, not only the judge but the jury and executioner as well.
On the issue of “spiritual injury” the law that he was relying on required him to show that:
“A person shall be guilty of undue influence— (a)if he, directly or indirectly, by himself or by any other person on his behalf, makes use of or threatens to make use of any force, violence or restraint, or inflicts or threatens to inflict, by himself or by any other person, any temporal or spiritual injury, damage, harm or loss upon or against any person in order to induce or compel that person to vote or refrain from voting, or on account of that person having voted or refrained from voting.”
But he did not show this at all, nor did he attempt to show it. What he “showed” was his own bigotry in referring back to the challenge in the two the Co Meath constituencies in Ireland in 1992:
“Time and again in the Irish cases it was stressed that the Catholic voters were men of simple faith, usually much less well educated than the clergy who were influencing them, and men whose natural instinct would be to obey the orders of their priests (even more their bishops). This principle still holds good. In carrying out the assessment a distinction must be made between a sophisticated, highly educated and politically literate community and a community which is traditional, respectful of authority and, possibly, not fully integrated with the other communities living in the same area.”
Of course it was not love but a Tory witch hunt and reactionary Catholic bishops defending the British Empire from the threat of Irish Home Rule, the same forces that now threaten Lufur Rahman, Tower Hamlets and anyone fighting back against the bankers’ austerity.
But in the two Co Meath the Catholic Bishop, Thomas Nulty, had a pastoral letter read out in all the churches in the dioses on the eve of the general election, declaring that they could not vote for a Parnellite and ‘remain a Catholic’ i.e. they would go to hell. This was in the midst of a British Empire Tory loyalists witch hunt against Charles Stewart Parnell to break his alliance with Gladstone and prevent Irish Home Rule. It succeeded in this, the voided elections made no difference to that and the Catholic Church was only too willing to co-operate. Parnell was a Protestant who was ‘living in sin’ with Kitty O’Shea hence they got the bigoted Bishops on board.
The witch hunt against Lufur Rahman is in defence of the bankers’ programme of austerity promoted by the entire establishment, clearly a totally opposite situation to that of 1992. It has been pursued over the last five years to prevent popular resistance to austerity from spreading. Limited and weak though that resistance is nonetheless we must support it and oppose the Islamophobic bigotry used against it to divide the whole working class. As Bob Pitt posted in Facebook:
“But the imams’ letter in support of Lutfur didn’t threaten “spiritual injury” against anyone, nor did it attack the other candidates. It certainly didn’t claim that anyone who voted for John Biggs was offending against Islamic principles or would be punished in the afterlife. Mawrey was reduced to arguing that the letter suggested that it was Muslims’ religious duty to vote for Lutfur, therefore by implication they would suffer “spiritual injury” if they didn’t. So far as I can see, the Irish case in the 1890s provides no basis whatsoever for that interpretation.”
But what then was the basis for his judgement, how did he justify it even to himself? Proof is not needed, “Implication” and “suggestion” are enough for Mawrey. And patronising racism; the Bengali Muslims are even more stupid and backward than the Irish in 1892. Except in the Irish case the entire establishment both secular and religious acted to threaten the voters of Meath and in Tower Hamlets case the entire establishment is leading the witch hunt and the Bengali Muslim are resisting and refusing to capitulate. The Electoral Commission of 1892 would have sided with Rahman as they did with Parnell.
Clearly it was a mistake to allow such people to vote at all in Mawrey’s view (back in 1892 even if Disraeli supported some Tories still regretted the extension of the franchise in 1867, Mawrey is a political descendant.) and he was now acting to annul their votes and debar their chosen representatives.
Rahman reinstated the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA), he did not implenet the Bedroom tax and he retained Council Tax Benefit, and he celebrated St Patrick’s Day. He defended LGBT culture, his was the first council to take active steps to oppose the blacklisting of building workers by refusing to use firms guilty of this illegal practice and he mobilised the whole council to oppose the fascist English Defence League. These are his real ‘crimes’.
Rahman is guilty of bribery because he hired someone who is a TV reporter to be his advisor, Lutfur was not a ‘credible witness’ (he didn’t believe him), but Tory councillor, Peter Golds, who is known to be a close friend of John Major, was a ‘credible witnesses’ (he did believe him). The police found no evidence of any ‘corruption’ despite two widely reported investigations. A one million inspection by accountants PricewaterhouseCooper last year found no evidence of fraud or corruption. The mass media did not report the failure of these cases.
But convicting a principled anti-racist like Rahman of “using the race card” is really beyond belief. The Daily Telegraph reported that to get an election investigated:
“Four people are needed and so Mr Erlam was joined by Angela Moffat, 47, a Ukip member, Azmal Hussein, 63, a Brick Lane restaurateur, and Debbie Simone, 44, a Labour candidate who felt she too had been cheated.”
The Labour party candidate, Debbie Simone, was obviously ashamed to be publicly photographed with the UKIP bigot, Angela Moffat, but Ken Livingstone is not afraid to charge the Tower Hamlets Labour party with racism and co-operating with UKIP to appeal to racist bigotry and this seems to confirm it
Lutfur Rahman guilty of “using the race card” – against the EDL! Here he is (centre) protesting against the fascist EDL in 2013 (Pic: Guy Smallman)