Archive | December, 2016

Timing is everything

22 Dec

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Cllr Lakmini Shah, Cabinet Member for Children’s Safeguarding, was among those who discussed the future of the Carpenters estate last week

Here’s a curious tale.

When the Focus E15 protesters turned up at East Ham Town Hall last Thursday to watch Sir Robin and his cabinet discuss plans for the future of the Carpenters Estate they found they couldn’t get into the public gallery because it was already full.

Frustrated, they ended up in a side room where they were unable to see what was going on, with only a dodgy audio feed of proceedings to listen to.

As they were leaving at the end of the meeting they saw a group of Asian women emerge from the public gallery. They weren’t Carpenters residents, as no-one from the estate recognised them.

Who were they and what agenda item had they come to watch being discussed?

It’s great that people are interested in watching democracy at work. But what an unfortunate coincidence that a group exactly large enough to fill the seats in the public gallery should turn up on the same day as the Focus E15 campaigners and prevent them getting in.

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No Mandate

9 Dec

The Newham Labour party Trigger Democracy campaign has sent out a powerful email to local party members, telling them that Sir Robin has no mandate to continue as the mayoral candidate without a proper, open selection.

On Monday, you’ll have heard media reports about the Labour Party Newham Trigger Ballot result in which the current Mayor is claiming victory. What you won’t know is that his ‘victory’ is on the back of shady affiliate organisation votes. While 11 out of 9 Labour Party branches voted decisively for NO, the vote of those Newham Labour Party members don’t count because the Mayor has ‘gamed’ the process through 11 secretive (including some very small) affiliate organisations. 

So the Mayor can only claim a false victory. He has lost the confidence of Newham Labour Party members and has #NoMandate.

#NoMandate Charge Sheet

Charge #1: Newham Fabians co-chaired by GLA Member Cllr Unmesh Desai and Mayoral Advisor Cllr Tahmina Rahman, didn’t hold a meeting with all its eligible members and in line with the Fabian Society’s  constitution. It is unclear if they are even a paid up affiliate of East Ham Constituency Labour Party! The Fabian Society’s General Secretary is now investigating this breach of their rules and voting irregularity. 

Charge #2: The Christians on the Left affiliate organisation didn’t even hold a formal vote at their meeting. They thought a discussion chaired by Mayoral Advisor Cllr Clive Furness  to ‘canvass opinion’ was sufficient . 

Charge #3: The BECTU affiliate organisation made up of one (that’s right, ONE) member unilaterally voted to reselect the sitting Mayor. That one vote cancelled out the votes of the entire East Ham Central Labour Party branch where 59 members voted. @BECTU HQ is also investigating, as they weren’t aware of the vote either. 

Charge #4: A GMB representative with no connection to Newham signed all four of the Newham GMB affiliate votes while no meetings were held with local Newham GMB members. So while the current General Secretary was happy to endorse the Mayor openly and the GMB is campaigning against LIDL for not respecting the voice of its workers – they clearly can’t be bothered to respect the voice and votes of local Newham GMB members. 

Charge #5: The national TSSA Trade Union have no record of an eligible TSSA branch affiliate in Newham and are currently investigating where this mysterious TSSA vote for the Mayor has actually come from. 

Charge #6: The Procedures Secretary, Cllr Pat Murphy  who oversaw the rigged Trigger Ballot process is a paid Mayoral Advisor, depends on the mayor’s goodwill for his livelihood and highlights a fundamental conflict of interest. He’s the one that’s tried to stop Labour members in Green Street East branch from even holding a trigger ballot meeting. 

Charge #7: The vast majority of Newham Labour Party members who took part in the Trigger Ballot process voted for an open selection not the automatic reselection of the Mayor. But because of the dirty tricks by some of the Mayor’s supporters and fraudulent actions of some dubious affiliates, their vote has been disregarded.

So how can Sir Robin Wales claim ‘victory’ when he clearly has #NoMandate. 

Campaigners are asking party members to email Sir Robin, asking him to respect the votes of members and agree to an open selection, and to sign a petition calling on the Labour party to do the same.

Xmas cancelled – again

6 Dec

The relaunch of the long-dormant Newham Fabian Society has been postponed.

Dear Friends,

Due to venue and logistical reasons, we are having to postpone our Fabian Xmas Social. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Best wishes,

Tahmina

Perhaps the venue was too small to hold the very large number of people who want to ask Cllr Tahmina Rahman how come she signed a letter saying the Fabians were voting in favour of Sir Robin in the trigger ballot when the local society hasn’t met for years.

Or perhaps the guest speaker feared his talk on “Political development and future of Newham” would be met with howls of cynical laughter.

What is it with the mayor and Christmas socials? It’s all eerily familiar.

Party says no

5 Dec

After the final set of trigger ballot meetings, the score stands at eleven wards to nine in favour of an open selection for Labour’s 2018 mayoral candidate.

The detailed results are: 

Ward Yes No
Beckton 16 3
Boleyn 3 36
Canning Town North 17 21
Canning Town South 6 8
Custom House 7 6
East Ham Central 29 31
East Ham North 20 23
East Ham South 26 8
Forest Gate North 13 30
Forest Gate South 34 21
Green Street East 5 32
Green Street West 36 32
Little Ilford 23 36
Manor Park* 29 28
Plaistow North 27 17
Plaistow South 12 19
Royal Docks 11 1
Stratford & New Town 11 34
Wall End 20 18
West Ham 8 20
Totals: 353 424

* Second ballot. The first ballot tied at 30:30

In addition to the wards two affiliates, the Co-operative Party and the West Ham Women’s Forum, voted No; Christians on the Left did not vote but the chair determined the consensus was for Yes.

Whatever happens with the remaining affiliates (but I think we can all guess…) it is absolutely clear that ordinary party members want an open selection.

It would be a travesty if Sir Robin denied them one.

God only knows

2 Dec

After the four ward meetings last night – all of which voted No – I tweeted that the trigger ballot score stood at 9 in favour of automatically reselecting Sir Robin and 11 for an open selection.

I was then told by a couple of people that a mysterious and unnamed affiliate organisation had also cast its vote in favour of the mayor, so it was actually 10 to 11.

It turns out that the mystery affiliate was Christians on the Left – an organisation previously known as the Christian Socialist Movement.

The Newham chapter met on Sunday 20 November at the Cornerstone Café. You might think Sunday was an odd day to choose, given that Christians have other commitments that day but, as we know, there’s no rule against it!

There were 14 people at the meeting, most of them councillors and many from the mayor’s payroll vote. Cllr Clive Furness, mayoral advisor on Adults and Health, chaired the meeting.

Among those who spoke in favour of Sir Robin were Terry Paul (mayoral advisor – Skills and Adult Learning), Joy Laguda (chair of council and ‘associate cabinet member’) and Aleen Alarice (not yet a paid advisor, but ever-hopeful). Cllr Furness also spoke for the mayor, despite being in the chair.

The agenda for the meeting said it had been called simply to canvas opinions on the affirmative nomination. No ballot papers were distributed and no vote was taken, but Cllr Furness announced that as the majority were in favour he would write to the local campaign forum to tell them. 

The lord moves in mysterious ways.

Despite frequent requests, the ‘procedures secretary’ running the trigger ballot process, Cllr Pat Murphy (mayoral advisor – lead councillor for Royal Docks), has refused to disclose the full list of affiliate organisations entitled to take part. I doubt the Christians will be the last surprise vote in Sir Robin’s favour.