lutfur rahman

The Election Commissioner’s judgement against Lutfur Rahman last Thursday could hardly have been more comprehensive or more damning. As a result, Rahman has been removed as Mayor of Tower Hamlets and banned from seeking office.

Faced with such a clear decision against their man, most of his supporters on the hard left (many of whom have spent months declaring his innocence and smearing his critics as racists) have fallen remarkably silent. Not all, though – on Thursday there will be a rally, laughably titled “Defend democracy in Tower Hamlets“. Judging from past performance and the blurb for this event, it will follow the usual Rahman ally format, declaring he did nothing wrong and implying that those criticising him are guilty of racism.

The list of speakers is a compendium of the most loony of the loony left. Although there is an ungrammatical disclaimer that “All speakers in a personal capacity”, they are for some reason still billed by the organisations they represent. Here’s the full line-up:

  • Weyman Bennett, joint secretary of Unite Against Fascism (and a senior member of the Socialist Workers Party),
  • John McLoughlin, Branch Secretary of the Unison trade union in Tower Hamlets (who can be seen here alleging Lutfur’s critics are islamophobes),
  • Salma Yaqoob, former leader of Respect,
  • The odious Lindsey German, of the Stop the West War Coalition,
  • John Rees, a spokesman for Owen Jones’ People’s Assembly (and the partner of the aforementioned Lindsey German),
  • Lutfur Rahman himself.

All in all, a pretty motley crew from the barmy fringes of the far left, holders of some sickening views about the worst mass murderers of modern times and general advocates of reality-free revolutionary politics.

But wait, I forgot one: “Christine Shawcroft, Labour Party NEC”. Loony she may be, but this isn’t a delegate from an obscure far-left fringe group – she is a member of the governing committee of a party which hopes to be in government in a few days’ time. Nor is Shawcroft a brief interloper into Labour’s central operation – according to her website she has been an NEC member for 14 years.

Speaking in “a personal capacity” or not, what does this say about the kind of views which are apparently acceptable at the top of the Labour Party?

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