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Is Barking becoming the new Tower Hamlets?

Barking Labour Party went through a very difficult period in 2008 to 2010 when it saw a lot of previous councillors step down or be deselected. Some of these councillors that found themselves deselected decided to stand as independent Labour but all were unsuccessful.

As someone who grew up in Barking I was glad to see the BNP wiped out but did feel sorry for some of those councillors that did not win this time round. I had hoped however that this would be the end of the party shenanigans and that Barking CLP would start afresh and move forward in a more open and democratic manner.

It appears not.

There is a by-election in Longbridge Ward after the untimely death of Nirmal Singh Gill, a great Councillor, previous Mayor and dedicated community activist. This by-election is one we can and should win. As always there are three key things to get right in the by-election; message, campaign and most importantly candidate.

Well it appears the candidate part of that has been taken over by Barking CLP again. Last week all members should have received a nomination form asking them if they want to stand, right? Wrong. All Longbridge members of six months should have got an invite to the selection meeting, right? Wrong. And the selection process should be completely transparent, right? Wrong.

For some reason, not know to myself, all of the above have been conducted against the Labour party rule book. I know of members who have not received nomination forms even though they have been members for longer than 12 months and in certain cases for over 5 years!

The other main issue is that members who have been members for six months have not been invited to the selection meeting on Thursday night because for some strange reason the local party has set a membership date of June 30th? Would this be done to stop the large amount of new members that were signed up in August-October from voting even though they have the minimum required membership as set out on page 27 of the rule book?

Now let’s look at who made this decision and what possible implications it could have. The man put in charge of this process and whose name all letters have gone out in is Councillor Dominic Twomey. Surely as someone who has been through the process he should know the rules? But maybe it is someone else on the selection panel that has made the mistake. Unfortunately for all of us no one knows who else will be on the selection panel tonight. I do know that the Dagenham members who were eligible to be on the panel through LGC membership haven’t been invited but who has is a whole other mystery.

So the next question is what will this achieve. Well, the date of membership cut off will most likely result in the selection of Foyzur Rahman as the candidate. Not heard of him before in Labour circles? That would be due to him being an ex-Conservative council candidate in 2006 for Abbey ward, Barking and in 2010 for Longbridge Ward – the ward he is now looking to represent as a Labour councillor.

So to recap – not following the rulebook on nomination forms or selection meetings, trying to stitch it up for an ex-Tory and a selection short listing meeting that no one knows about. Welcome to Barking CLP

I won’t bother covering the issue around swelling membership beyond belief in such a short space of time and an MP who is determined to become de facto leader of the Council, as im sure that needs a whole article of its own, but hopefully this gives you a wonderful insight into the wonderfully democratic workings of Barking CLP and its determination to become the next Tower Hamlets.

3 Comments

  1. Not Voting Labour This Time says:

    As someone eligible to vote in the by-election, and with close links to Tower Hamlets, I am astonished by the selection of the Labour Party candidate. I agree with the parallels you have drawn with Tower Hamlets.

    Syed Ahammed, for all his hours of service to the party and local activism, has a very poor command of spoken English and I’m sorry, if you’re going to be an elected representative then you damn well need to be able to communicate clearly! I very well hope Syed if successful doesn’t become a representative only for the growing Bangladeshi population of the Longbridge ward, but for all communities. I don’t want Barking becoming Tower Hamlets, but it seems this whole selection process could have been taken from the same page of the guidelines of the shambolic Tower Hamlets Labour Party.

  2. M.A Khan says:

    Our COUNCILLORs are not the representative only for the growing Bangladeshi population of the Longbridge ward, but for all communities. We are living in a diverse community and need a councillor who can represent them all. He must have a councillor who understand the need of teh community and has the ability to communicate all sections of the community.

  3. George says:

    In the People’s Democratic Republic of Barking and Dagenham, we have two small, but perfectly-formed CLPs running the municipality in an exemplary manner.

    We believe in strong leadership. In order to avoid stress on councillors, assembly meetings are only held every couple of months, or so. Troublesome debates are avoided by having all the decisions made in advance in cabinet. All councillors have to do is to vote in favour when so directed by the chairman.

    We now get few complaints from voters ever since we changed the constitution and raised the threshold for petitions from 200 to 1500 signatures. Any complaints that do get through can now be safely steered into committee and ignored, with no appeal.

    The council runs things very efficiently and our deprived residents are all much too busy worrying about benefit cuts, threatened evictions and Jobcentre sanctions to trouble themselves about politics.

    We are now considering changing our council motto from DEI GRATIA PROBLEMUR REBUS to UBI SOLITUDINEM FACIUNT, PACEM APPELLANT.
    (They make a desert and call it peace)

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