Last night the people of Tower Hamlets shook the political establishment that's quite tired of being shaken thank you very much and elected Lutfur Rahman the expelled Labour candidate with more than fifty percent of the vote.
Results in full:
|Abbas||Helal Uddin|| Labour ||11254||25.02%|
|King|| Neil || Conservative ||5348||11.89%|
On a very low turnout (meaning that the elections cost four quid for every vote cast!) the Labour Party were despondent on the night even though when sorting through twitter earlier in the day you'd have found the Tower Hamlets thread clogged up with their supporters - it's almost as if twitter doesn't matter! The very thought...
Labour are blaming everyone but themselves for this defeat. Ken Livingstone for having a walkabout with Lutfur, the turnout, postal fraud, their own voters - everyone except themselves.
Having been duly selected as the Labour Party candidate Lutfur was promptly hoofed out and replaced by the third placed candidate Abbas. If the Party had a problem with Lutfur then they should never have let him stand for the role or be a leading member of their party in the area for years.
It seems they haven't learned their previous lessons about how damaging this kind of control freakery can be. Time and again Labour (and it is always Labour, no one else does this) stitch up selection processes from the centre and then the decision comes back to bite them.
Livingstone's first Mayoral run, the Welsh Party leadership, the Blaenau Gwent candidacy and in Scotland the case of Dennis Canavan are all examples where Labour's desire to control the Party have meant that they sabotaged their own party and, in the end, didn't get their way anyway either. There's a lesson for all parties there that no seat is safe, you can always fuck it up.
So far there have been expulsions from the Labour's council group as well as the candidate and it looks like Labour have managed to lose control of a borough that has been solid Labour for almost a century.
PS Well done to tower Hamlets Greens for their very positive campaign and good result, I know they're very happy today. A little more and we'd have beaten the lib Dems... next time comrades!