Democracy and the Tower Hamlets Mayor

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Sadiq Khan returned as London Mayor

Sadiq Khan (Labour) took 55% of the votes whilst Shaun Bailey (Conservative) took 45%.

Tower Hamlets Mayoral System Vote

Local residents have decisively voted to reject the confusingly titled Leading Together system. This was promoted by many local political parties as a way to stifle Lutfur Rahman. But of course it was anti-democratic. It would have led to ten years of a system under which a small group of councillors would choose their leader, who would in turn select their own cabinet. All very cosy and behind closed doors – with no input from you!

Over three times the number of voters chose the present system where they choose the mayor from a wider field of candidates.

The results were:

Yes for Mayor (you vote for the mayor) 63,029

Leading Together (you hand over democracy to the local elite) 17,951

“Spoilt” ballot papers (people who thought the whole thing was ridiculous) 3,444

Democracy is a fragile thing

Worldwide democracy has been captured by elite groups who know what’s best for the masses. Before the Brexit vote the Bank of England, the European Bank, the IMF, the CBI and many more told voters that a Leave vote would result in economic catastrophe. It hasn’t.

Unsurprisingly, voters have been getting shirty. They want the right to vote on matters which concern them, and have been skeptical of incompetent politicians for years. But the recent English elections have shown democracy in rude health. Voters have been happily making changes, and letting politicians know that they work for us – not the other way around.

Revolting by Mick Hume

I’ve bought a number of books on the topic of democracy. Revolting, by Mick Hume was published in 2017 after the votes for Brexit and Trump. It’s not about the merits or not of either decision. It covers the attempts by the Democrats and our Parliament, House of Lords and Supreme Court to overturn the democratic choices made by millions of voters. British elites (with vested interests) thought that Leave voters were too ignorant, too uneducated, to understand what they had been told to do by experts – vote remain! In the US Hilary Clinton called voters in “flyover country” deplorables. I didn’t buy her book “What Happened” which she published after she lost the election. It was obvious. She was lecturing, entitled, and not even good enough to beat a man like Trump. The “low information” people she derided, people who were called gullible unqualified simpletons, took revenge and denied her what should have been an easy victory!

I did buy Fire and Fury, Michael Wolf’s account of Trump’s first 9 months in the White House. It’s hilarious.

Democracy and National politics in the UK

David Cameron’s Brexit Referendum leaflet was pushed though every front door in April 2016. It included the words, “This is your decision. The Government will implement what you decide.”

A once in a generation decision Uk referendum

That didn’t stop Sir John Major saying “Although the referendum was advisory…” in a speech made in Feb 2018. He also said, “No-one can truly know what ‘the will of the people’ may then be. So, let Parliament decide. Or put the issue back to the people.

“And what is true for the House of Commons must apply to the House of Lords. Peers must ignore any noises off, and be guided by their intellect and their conscience.“ This is back to the voters are too thick argument.

It’s taken a while, but the Conservatives have managed to adapt and change. They’ve been rewarded with an amazing majority. But the Hartlepool by-election, I think, has proved terminal for Labour at national level. I don’t think they can recover from this.

Labour’s biggest source of funds comes from Unite. Back in October 2020 the union cut it’s affiliation money by 10%. Len McCluskey warned Sir Keir Starmer not to move Labour too far from the left. This is a Catch 22 situation. There are not enough voters on the far left. The only times Labour has won recently were under Tony Blair in the centre ground.

In March this year Len McCluskey said Keir Starmer risks being “dumped into the dustbin of history”, and said voters “don’t understand” what Labour stands for anymore. With amazing foresight McCluskey went on to say that Starmer was on course to “destroy the unity of the party”.

After Labour lost big time in Hartlepool Len McCluskey said the loss was “staggering and worrying”.

Two days ago Khalid Mahmood, Labour’s shadow defence minister, resigned. He said that, “A London-based bourgeoisie, with the support of brigades of woke social media warriors, has effectively captured the party.” This chimes with the stuff I’m reading in books about democracy.

It occurred to me that if the Labour Party doesn’t represent the Unite Union’s members, why is it providing any funding?

I’m also reading newspaper opinion columns which think that Labour will remain unelectable (nationally) for the next ten years. That means that the official opposition will be WhatsApp groups of Tory back benchers, the 1922 committee, and the editor of the Daily Telegraph? A credible opposition is essential for the proper functioning of our country.

Alan Tucker

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