Friday, 22 October 2010

Tower Hamlets result proves that Labour still don't understand Mayoral politics

Imagine the scene:

A candidate overwhelmingly favoured by local party members is forced out by a national party that thinks it knows better.

His replacement is an un-charismatic figure whose candidacy is widely seen as illegitimate.

Pushing ahead regardless, the party romp to a stinking defeat, in an area they had previously won comfortably and against a candidate who just months previously had been part of their own party.

I'm talking here about the Tower Hamlets Mayoral result, but I could just as easily have been talking about Ken Livingstone's victory over Frank Dobson ten years ago.

And yet in the ten years that have passed the Labour party seem to have learnt almost nothing about the nature of mayoral politics.

Labour's losing candidate Helal Abbas said this morning:

"We may have lost tonight, but at least the Labour Party has clean hands."

And by imposing a candidate who even their own local members didn't want, Labour had washed their hands clean of any chance of winning the election.

Of course if Lutfur Rahman goes on to be the disaster they predict, they can at least have the comfort of self-righteousness.

Just as if Oona King had beaten Ken Livingstone, those same people would have gone on to self-righteously lose against Boris Johnson.

But in Mayoral politics all that counts is winning, and just like in 2000, Labour appear to have given up on that from the start.

Tower Hamlets result:

Lutfur Rahman (Independent)  23,283 
Helal Abbas (Labour) 11,254
Neil Anthony King (Conservatives) 5,348
John David Macleod Griffiths (Lib Dems)  2,800
Alan Duffell (Greens) 2,300

More on the ground coverage from Dave Hill and Diamond Geezer and more analysis from Mayor Watch.


ChrisC said...

"Of course if Lutfur Rahman goes on to be the disaster they predict, they can at least have the comfort of self-righteousness."

Whereas if he had gone on to be a Labour disaster...would that have been better??

AdamB said...

I've no idea whether he'll be a disaster or not. That's rather for the voters of Tower Hamlets to decide isn't it?

Appealing of Ealing said...

So Livingstone's man got the job!

...which means nothing could possibly go wrong in Tower Hamlets.


I look forward to all the replays of that endorsement over the next two years. Should play well in the East End.

Anonymous said...

If you honestly believe Labour should have just accepted the result of the members' ballot (have you not read the reports of it?), gone on to a stonking victory with Rahman (which they would) and just enjoyed the victory and power, given all that happened from 2008 to May 2010, you must either be literally mad or have falled for the poor victim of racist injustice tale the Rahman camp have been spinning.

AdamB said...

I'm not saying the Labour party should have done anything. I'm just pointing out that there's a wing of the party (the Jim Fitzpatrick wing shall we say) who are dedicated to imposing or trying to impose no-hoper candidates, because they think they know better than local members.

So far these people have brought us such shining stars as Frank Dobson, Oona King and now Helal Abbas. Who knows what great delights they have in store for us in the future.

Just to be clear I'm no supporter of Rahman, or of Ken's decision to back him which I think was a big mistake. I'm just pointing out the kamikaze nature of certain Labour members.

Thanks for the anonymous mental smear by the way. Don't come again!