In Tower Hamlets, following the removal of the last elected mayor from office in very worrying circumstances, Independent candidate Rabina Khan is running for Mayor. It will be either her or the Labour opposition that wins. Sybil Cock and Andrew Ward explain what you can do to help a left-of-Labour candidate win the first election following the General Election.
- Familiarise yourselves with the arguments. After five years of media smear stories, it’s easy to believe that Lutfur Rahman’s administration was corrupt, and that Rabina Khan’s is going to be. A good start is this – which takes you through why the election court judgment that saw Rahman barred from office is dangerous for democracy. This deals with the racism underlying the case, and Giles Fraser wrote this in the Guardian on the ‘undue spiritual influence’ issue whilst this reviews the judgment. This deals with the issue of general corruption.
- Spread the word There has been a deafening silence from people like Owen Jones and Seamus Milne who would usually be attacking the Tories, and so it is even more vital that the left talks about this case. It’s not that Tower Hamlets Council is perfect – Rahman led a social-democratic administration that passed cuts budgets – but as the only borough in the country to restore EMA, create £1500 university grants, build record affordable homes, bail out thousands of families hit by the bedroom tax and absorb the cost of the Tories’ council tax benefit cut, it’s a project worth defending. Share these links. Have conversations about it.
- Endorse If you’re backing Rabina Khan, tell her why with a few sentences and a picture if possible and send it to email@example.com so she can post it on social media.
- Vote. If you live in Tower Hamlets, don’t forget to vote on June 11th, and encourage friends and those around you to do so as well.
- Campaign. This is the most important. The election for Mayor (and one Councillor) is on June 11th. Labour is putting everything into this campaign and the left should too. Rabina Khan (interviewed here), has a strong chance of winning. She is a left-of-Labour Muslim woman who has fought hard on housing and welfare. Her campaign is explicitly anti-austerity. Her opponent refuses to even acknowledge she exists. We are leafleting primary schools to talk to local parents every morning and afternoon, and tube stations each evening. If you live in Tower Hamlets, you could leaflet your block or put a poster in your window.There are mass canvasses each weekend and an anti-austerity march in Whitechapel at 1pm this Saturday – expect more events. Like and follow the Facebook page Rabina Khan for Mayor of Tower Hamlets and invite people to the events. The closer we get to polling day, the more people we will need. If you have time then contact the campaign on firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com to find a local ward team to work with and get updates.