The Demolition of Democracy at Tower Hamlets Council, and why you need to vote on 22 May

Posted on | Friday, 11 April 2014 | No Comments

The primary reason I’m campaigning to be elected as a local Councillor on 22 May 2014 is to rebuild democracy – comprehensibly demolished at Tower Hamlets Borough Council (THBC). It has been replaced by a dictatorship, and no one seems to give a damn. Council officers have effectively become quislings to an Administration that shamelessly flaunts its rejection of the democratic process. You don’t believe me? read on:

(In a later post I’ll explain how this American system of Elected Mayors can so easily fail within the structure of our – unwritten – Constitution of Parliamentary Democracy).

The THBC web tells us all we need to know about the flawed process.  It states under the heading Council and Democracy:

Tower Hamlets Council is made up of 51 elected local councillors from 17 wards across the borough. The council operates an elected Mayor and Cabinet form of executive decision-making, with an overview and scrutiny committee, a standards committee and various other decision-making and regulatory committees.
The political composition of the council is 26 Labour councillors, 14 independent councillors, 7 Conservative councillors, 2 Respect councillors, 1 Liberal Democrat councillor and 1 Labour Independent councillor.

Note, the above description hyperlinks to the 51 elected councillors, but does not link to the all important Cabinet. It also tells us the political allegiances of the councillors, but not the cabinet…
Let’s see what it’s concealing:

The Mayor and Cabinet
Tower Hamlets has a directly elected Mayor, Lutfur Rahman, who is supported by eight councillors who each have a defined area of interest. Together the Mayor and Cabinet make the decisions on strategy, policy, service provision and finance that ensure the council is run in accordance with our Community Plan and the relevant statutory guidance and legislation.

 (My highlighting).

You see, the ‘Cabinet’, the composition of which is shown below, are all (so called) Independent Councillors, i.e., none from the majority party or from any other party for that matter, and they alone make the major Council decisions.

The effect is that the majority party in council becomes the opposition! Absurd but true. Further, the Mayor’s gang of councillors in cabinet (as I’ve highlighted below) make the final decisions on strategy, policy, service provision and finance. Democracy? You decide.

Cabinet members, (as of July 2012):
The following councillors are not in the Cabinet, but have advisory roles:
p.s. Yet to be examined is the legal relationship between the Mayor’s ‘Tower Hamlets First’ party and ‘Independent Councillors’..

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