Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Lutfur Rahman, the Left and ‘spiritual influence’.

with 70 comments


Luftur Gets Support.

There have been a variety of reactions to the high court ruling by Richard Mawrey QC, on Thursday that Lufter Rahman, the mayor of Tower Hamlets borough since 2010, was guilty of vote-rigging, seeking spiritual influence through local imams, and wrongly branding his Labour rival a racist.

 This carries some weight.

John Rees on the outrageous dismissal of Tower Hamlet’s first elected Muslim Mayor

The Tower Hamlets electoral fraud trial was a political event from the beginning. Indeed, everything you need to know about the decision of High Court Judge Richard Mawrey to declare void the election of Britain’s first Muslim Mayor is contained in his summary judgement. In it he said that Muslims in Tower Hamlets are ‘not a real minority’ because, apparently, there are so many of them in the borough.

Like the rest of his remarks it will fuel every racist stereotype that has ever been uttered about Tower Hamlets, and it will legitimise the long and disgraceful war by Tories, Lib-Dems and the local Labour Party to stop the rise of Bangladeshi representation in the area.

Rees asserts,

The judge’s view is so baseless that perhaps we should not be surprised that he is refusing to issue the executive summary of his judgement that he read out in court.

And what of the main charge that Lutfur Raham used ‘spiritual influence’ to gain votes? The judge obviously imagines that Muslims are so backward and superstitious that they cannot make their up their minds how to vote without religious guidance, or to ignore such advice if they wish. How confusing it must have been for those Muslim electors in wards where the front-runners were both Muslims!

And in any case in every Tower Hamlets election Muslims vote for Labour in large numbers as well as for left of Labour candidates. The Mayoral election in which Lutfur Rahman became Mayor (for the second time) was no different.

And if the use of ‘spiritual influence’ in elections is enough to declare them void then there’s going to be a few other results declared null…in Northern Ireland where the influence of Protestant and Catholic churches will remain enormous at the coming  general election for instance. Perhaps the most amazing aspect is this spiritual law under which the judge issued his verdict is archaic, first introduced by the British in Ireland to stop Catholic preachers rallying the Irish! One doesn’t need much imagination to see how this legal relic will be used against Muslims.

He also says,

Even more staggering is the judge’s accusation that Lutfur Rahman ‘played the race card’. Actually he played the anti-racist card against a Labour Party establishment which has long abused the loyalty of its supporters in Tower Hamlets.

The Judge began (Richard Mawrey QC’s ruling on Tower Hamlets election court.   Paragraph 152)

“…just as undue spiritual influence under s 115 of the 1983 Act is not confined  to Christianity, it is equally not confined to religions which have the Christian sacraments or an equivalent, the threat of withdrawal or refusal of which can be used by clergy to influence voters. Similarly, it is not an essential ingredient of the section that the spiritual influence should be that of a monotheistic religion or of a religion which contains a belief in an afterlife where punishments and rewards are meted out for conduct in this life. In an appropriate case undue spiritual influence could be created by what some might regard as a cult, such as Mr Moon’s ‘Unification Church’ or even ‘New Age’”

He observed (Para 529) ,

The Petitioners’ case may be summarised as follows.  In formulating his campaign, Mr Rahman, as well as playing the race card, was determined to play the religious card. The campaign would be targeted at Tower Hamlets ’ Muslim population with a stark message: ‘Islam is under threat: it is the religious duty of all devout Muslims to vote for Mr Rahman and his party .’  (para 530) It was not, the Petitioners said, the first time that the religious card had been played. There was a persistent history of Mr Rahman attacking his opponents who happened to be Muslim by claiming that they were not, unlike himself, devout and pious Muslims.

Continuing he remarked,

Secondly there is a substantial body of credible evidence that the Imams’ message that it was the duty of faithful Muslims to vote for Mr Rahman entered the general campaign ,with religious duty being mentioned in canvassing before the poll and to voters attending polling stations on election day.
What this meant in practice is covered in the judgment section on ‘intimidation’.

(Para 590),  Groups of supporters would approach voters, particularly Bangladeshi voters and harangue them in a manner that appeared to some onlookers to be rather aggressive.

Several witnesses from different polling stations used the phrase ‘running the gauntlet’ to describe their passage into the polling station. Others spoke of feeling ‘harassed’.

(Para 591) Both English and Bengali speaking witnesses attest to THF (Rahman’s party – note) supporters shouting, amongst other things, that a) it was the duty of Bangladeshi voters to support Mr Rahman: this was normally expressed as support for Mr Rahman rather than for THF as a party; b) similarly it was the religious duty of all faithful Muslims to support Mr Rahman; c) Mr Biggs was a ‘racist. d) the Labour Party was ‘racist’ and ‘Zionist’; e) anyone voting Labour had been brainwashed against Islam.

Rees asks,

And if ‘playing the race card’ is grounds for declaring an election void are we now going to see other candidates judged by this standard. Will UKIP councillors or MEPs be held to account? Or perhaps it’s only an accusation that applies to people who suffer racism.

Absolutely right.

He also says,

That leaves the only meaningful charge being that of misusing funds. Yet that would have to be proved in the case of every single councillor for the election as a whole to be re-run, even if it could be agreed that this is grounds for re-running elections rather than a slap on the wrist that expense fiddling MPs receive.

A serious case here of whataboutery – which we will ignore: this is the judgement on Rahman, not on the whole council.

The conclusion Rees reaches is unfortunate.

The general climate of Islamophobia (the Daily Express is already gloating) makes any accusation half believed even before it is investigated. It is of a piece with the mounting establishment hostility to the SNP. The old system is fraying and any challenge to it is being met with a full force tide of reaction. If the establishment gets away with removing one of the few councils that came to power by fighting racism and austerity, that has an admirable anti-war record, then the whole left will have suffered a setback and every racist in the country will be rejoicing. We should not let that happen.

So the whole affair can be dismissed as part of the “tide of reaction”.

Not it can’t.

The Judge ruled that there was a great deal of politiking to gain  support – through grants and other mechanisms – in the Borough.

The Independent reports,

… former mayor, who was elected to a second term last year, had focused his electoral machine on the borough’s large Bangladeshi community – effectively bribing voters by targeting them with generous grants and using the influence of a senior cleric to tell Muslims it was their duty to vote for him.Mr Mawrey said: “The evidence laid before this court has disclosed an alarming state of affairs in Tower Hamlets. This is not the consequence of the racial and religious mix of the population, nor is it linked to any ascertainable pattern of social or other deprivation. It is the result of the ruthless ambition of one man.”

It is well-known on the left that is explained away on the grounds that “this is Big City politics”, “they all do it.” That in this instance Rahman had acted in this way to serve a progressive – anti-austerity and broadly on the left – platform.

That’s as may be – it’s contestable. But what Rees raises is the issue of ‘religious guidance’, which, he considers irrelevant, since everybody can make up their own minds.

Clearly this was not the view of Rahman and his supporters.

Is the ‘spiritual influence’ that Rahman used, and described above in the judgement (there is more detail in the full text), acceptable?

Is screaming in a mass about religious duty, hatred of  ‘Zionists’, and ‘racists’ (er, oddly conjoined), to everybody about to vote something part of “fighting racism and austerity”?

Is it ‘anti-racist’ to identify one candidate with one religion and appeal, above all, to ‘faithful Muslims’?

Is labelling – systematically – your opponent a “racist” (which is  libelous if written) a campaigning strategy to follow ?

Is machine politics left politics?

Instead of yelling,  ‘Islamophobia’, we should also look at Rahman’s connections with Islamism – including some of groups who can only be called racist – as part of his way of building support for his “electoral machine”.

What exactly is his stand on, and relations with, the Jimaat-i-Islami whose leaders have been accused of complicity in genocide, the mass murder of our Bengali sisters and brothers, in 1971?

This is apparently not a problem for Counterfire.

Nor, it seems, for former London Mayor Ken Livingstone.

Lutfur Rahman: Ken Livingstone says he hopes corrupt mayor will appeal High Court verdict says the Evening Standard.

“Former London mayor Ken Livingstone has slammed a High Court judge’s decision to void Lutfur Rahman’s election, calling the Election Commissioner an “unelected bureaucrat”.”

A dissenting voice, James Bloodworth, reminds us of a few home truths.

Lutfur Rahman played the Islamophobia card to silence his critics. And too many on the left fell for it

We must ignore the inevitable cries of “stitch up” that will now follow.

Those of us who have lived in Lutfur Rahman’s Tower Hamlets in recent years had a fair idea that something wasn’t right. An atmosphere of menace and intimidation prevailed at council meetings and a cult of personality was thrown up around Rahman himself, with posters carrying the Mayor’s face (and little else) increasingly ubiquitous in the borough. Extremist preachers were invited to speak in council chambers and council grants were directed away from secular organisations in favour of groups which mainly served the Bangladeshi and Muslim communities.


70 Responses

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  1. ‘This is apparently not a problem for Counterfire.’

    this is because they are real marxists.


    April 24, 2015 at 12:41 pm

  2. Did the Pope of Marxism canonise them then?

    Andrew Coates

    April 24, 2015 at 12:45 pm

  3. Counterfire “real Marxists”? ha, ha, ha!

    This is *real* Marxism:

    “The lower middle class, the small manufacturer, the shopkeeper, the artisan, the peasant, all these fight against the bourgeoisie, to save from extinction their existence as fractions of the middle class. They are therefore not revolutionary, but conservative. Nay more, they are reactionary, for they try to roll back the wheel of history. If by chance, they are revolutionary, they are only so in view of their impending transfer into the proletariat; they thus defend not their present, but their future interests, they desert their own standpoint to place themselves at that of the proletariat. “

    Jim Denham

    April 24, 2015 at 12:53 pm

  4. the glee you have at Rahman’s downfall tells me you are crypto zionists.
    the ‘marxism’ is just a cover you use to pretend you are ‘left’.
    there is little difference between you and the EDL/ Douglas Murray etc.

    How uncovering the links between zionists and senior Labour party figures? how about zionists racism?


    April 24, 2015 at 1:07 pm

  5. ‘There’s a vacancy coming up at the Vatican on account of the Pope’s resignation. I think I’ve got just the person. It’s a guy called Jim Denham who blogs at Shiraz Socialist. He’s not much cop at confession but he does do inquisition and absolution.’ – Jews sans frontiers blog

    So, Jim Denham is the pope of marxism?


    April 24, 2015 at 1:45 pm

  6. Another take from a TUSC person https://glynrobbins.wordpress.com/2015/04/23/statement-on-the-outcome-of-the-election-court/ I haven’t seen a single reference to the vile Woolas from any one of these people.

    What all these ‘whataboutery’ comments miss is the precedent set. In particular the possibility of the requirement for a voter to take on the legal risk being looked at again. Iain Dale was laying into the electoral commission yesterday and it’s to be hoped that it does become easier to remove corruptly elected politicians. Someone should have got Sadiq Khan’s reaction.

    Anyone who has ever read Private eye’s ‘Rotten Boroughs’ knows that the stuff outlined by the judge is out there in local politics. Surely the left should welcome it becoming easier to remove corruptly elected politicians?

    Paul Canning

    April 24, 2015 at 1:57 pm

  7. Just another example of lefties not being able to see beyond the end of their nose.

    Paul Canning

    April 24, 2015 at 2:03 pm

  8. comment missing from just before Andrew

    Paul Canning

    April 24, 2015 at 2:04 pm

  9. Glyn Robbins, of TUSC and Left Unity makes no reference at all to the detailed section on ‘spiritual influence’ which is referred to in the present Blog post.

    Does he think this kind of political moblisation is in any way socialist or left-wing?

    I will not be put off by references in the judgement by Richard Mawrey QC, to Catholicism, Ireland’s past, or indeed the details of the law on this matter.

    I simply ask: is this the kind of political campaigning – communalist, exclusivist and borderline racist (we all know what ‘Zionist’ means in this context) – something the left should support, or implicitly condone?

    Unless we can take a secularist stand of opposition to it, then anything else anybody says is beside the point.

    Andrew Coates

    April 24, 2015 at 4:40 pm

  10. This is worth looking at:

    Corruption aside….
    4 Votes

    Sometimes it’s better just to admit you might have backed the wrong man. You might have made poor excuses for him, and you might have been taken in by his manipulations. Unfortunately, humans have a great deal of pride, and so it was inevitable after the Election Commission found former Mayor of Tower Hamlets Lutfur Rahman guilty of election fraud yesterday, that his ardent apologists would be trying to salvage their misguided – and frankly wrong – picture-esque view of a man found to be using religious intimidation, and vote rigging to win power. So I thought I’d share some of the desperation of those who cannot quite bring themselves to admit they might have been too quick to cry Islamophobia:

    Predictably Mo Ansar is convinced of a shady conspiracy of fear involved:


    And see this:
    Lutfur Rahman: My part in exposing the mayor in the face of verbal attacks and threats

    Ted Jeory, whose fearless blog helped to expose the mayor of Tower Hamlets, explains the divide-and-rule tactics which have left a scar on the community


    Andrew Coates

    April 24, 2015 at 4:57 pm

  11. Apparently this is all the fault of Gilligan’s articles on Tower Hamlets and Rahman.

    Andrew Coates

    April 24, 2015 at 5:08 pm

  12. I guess facts are irrelevant when you’re peddling myths but the notion of an ‘establishment stitch up’ is plain laughable. What part of the ‘establishment’ assisted the petitioners? The tale is one of them being blocked at every turn. Was Rahman’s representation not a QC?

    Galloway was just out in Oldham implying that it was a religious duty to vote for him.

    How soon some forget when religious opponents called for votes against socialists – or you would be damned.

    Paul Canning

    April 24, 2015 at 6:49 pm

  13. “I guess facts are irrelevant when you’re peddling myths but the notion of an ‘establishment stitch up’ is plain laughable.” @paul canning – why is it? why do you defend the establishment?

    there is some kind of alliance between ex leftist atheists, such as the late but not so great Christopher Hitchens – who was beaten in debate by GG – lgbt activists, and zionists to bash everything remotely islamic. do

    siding with the oppressed is marxism. teaming up with the state is not. this is what you are doing.

    Luftur Rahman was not anti semitic or homophobic, yet zionists and lgbt all try and bash him. why?

    They are united by a single idea -‘ islamophobia.
    confront your islamophobia Paul.


    April 24, 2015 at 8:47 pm

  14. Tendance: Why be “put off” by the Judge’s comments on Roman Catholicism in Ireland in the ruling? T hey are perfectly reasonable, as they explain the background to the law on “spiritual influence” in elections and major cases in which the law was used. The stuff on the Labour Party and Eastenders is bunkum and *any* professor who might have been marking such a piece of work would have put a red line through it and said it was irrelevant polemical shite, but on the background to the law, as with the details on “treating”, the QC seemed spot on.

    The Judge did himself – and the cause of local democracy – a lot of disservice re. the bits that were clearly off at a tangent as to the case in hand, but on the history of religous corruption in elections and pointing out what “ethnic minority” means with regard to Tower Hamlets politics (and the history of corruption in Tower Hamlets politics since year x), he didnb’t get much wrong , I think….

    prof daggi (cantab)

    April 24, 2015 at 9:04 pm

  15. @Mike

    Ya mamma.

    Paul Canning

    April 24, 2015 at 10:12 pm

  16. See that in amongst the rest of the mealy mouthed bollox, Rees manages to fit in a few words of support for the Tartan Tories. NONE of the divers shills for Rahman, Respect or whatever mentions class, all they talk about is religion and ethnicity.

  17. There is a superb (looking, at least) demolition job of the ruling by the Judge (he wasn’t even that, incidentally) by a Green party (so no Trot, she) member. Read it with open eyes. I wonder if she does shoot every fox but if she has, it’s a coup.


  18. I know the SNP are the wrong kind of Left for most people here, but I think it’s wholly unfair to call them “Tartan Tories”.

    They are, in fact, British in the post-war, centrist sense which the English have largely abandoned, but that needn’t be a bad thing even if it isn’t the tradition that most people here come from. And you do sometimes have to deal in terms of practical electoral politics, especially when the alternative is what it is.


    April 24, 2015 at 11:23 pm

  19. Mr Punch-drunk: The Green party author of the rubbish you’ve liked to obviously hasn’t bothered to read the ruling, as (far from “shoot(ing) every fox” she’s simply wrong on just about every point – especially mass postal vote fraud, which *was* found to be proven beyond reasonable doubt: see paras 364 – 372 of the ruling.

    Andrew Gilligan demolishes, point by point … http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/andrewgilligan/100274286/lutfur-rahman-a-defence-based-on-lies/
    … another wretched Rahman apologist, Seymour in the Graun (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/may/30/lutfur-rahman-tower-hamlets-mayor-smear-campaign)

    And before making any of the usual banal comments about Gilligan and the Telegraph, remember what Orwell wrote about things having really happened, and not having happened any the less just because the Daily telegraph reported them. Better still, just concentrate on answering the factual points raised by Gilligan.

    Jim Denham

    April 25, 2015 at 10:43 am

  20. My point is a broader one about the use of religious hysteria for political ends.

    If a right-wing party had used religion in the way Rahman has done the left would be screaming from the roof-tops about its injustice.

    It is entirely probable that, given the clear affiliation of Islamists on the far-right, a far-right of their own naturally, distinct from the BNP, that this could well happen in the UK if sections of this mouvance – the ones who believe in using existing political institutions – stand in elections.

    Andrew Coates

    April 25, 2015 at 11:35 am

  21. @Jim

    I would add that @Jackofkent, amongst others, is pointing to the impossibility of judicial review. Meaning, because they are the authority, that there was no problem with the judge’s reading of the law.

    There’s a petition up, getting lots of signatures, appears to come from students, which seems to rest on a claim of ‘ double standards’ and selective reading > https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/an-alternative-lutfur-rahman-election-petition-1?bucket&source=facebook-share-button&time=1429887908

    What is laugh out loud is how, somehow, this is an ‘establishment coup’ yet the petitioners cite the police and other parts of the state in Rahman’s defence!

    The ‘spiritual influence’ stuff is getting a lot of play – and is now being supported by right-wing Anglicans [http://archbishopcranmer.com/if-imams-may-not-influence-voters-why-should-priests-or-bishops/]. As
    Arieh Kovler has pointed out, the continuous references to C19th Ireland ignore that every electoral law since has contained this [http://www.ariehkovler.com/2015/04/could-galloways-by-election-victory-have-been-voided-like-rahmans/]. As it should.

    The petition also aims ad hominum at the petitioners, much like how ‘jew’ and ‘gay’ was freely hurled by Rahman’s people at the Tory group leader. And this is how NUS green leftie Izaakson behaves:

    Except her other name is ‘Jennifer Jones’ and this is why she hates Bob:


    Expect much more of this. (#towerhamletscoup)

    Of course there continues to be little reference to the example of Woolas. Because they can’t make reference because if they do they’d have to look beyond the end of their noses.

    Paul Canning

    April 25, 2015 at 12:13 pm

  22. That’s poor, even from you, Denham.

    Your link is eccentric. It’s a rebuttal by Gilligan of various manifesto claims (we gave a bursary, etc.) and nothing to do with claims about malpractice in the elections!

    I agree that the Telegraph can report the truth and maybe Gilligan might occasionally (perhaps if he was talking about the weather) but I personally know that what he says may not be correct. He mentioned a minor structure near to where I go. So I went and looked at it and it was not at all as he reported.

    The paras you mention are also odd. They are the middle of something and do not make sense without some context. There is talk of 15+14+105 ballots (although I’m not sure they are all taken to have been false). If true, it’s wrong but I would expect all major parties to have at least that number of faked postal votes. Rahman got 9000 first preferences more than Labour. Do you really think he faked 9000 votes?

    But it is also a lot more ballot papers than the Green mentions. Let’s just say her comments are interesting, then.

    And Damon makes a good point. “They were making a big fuss – as did the judge I think, about ”intimidating atmospheres” at poling stations. That’s just subjective anecdote really.”

    How would such work anyway? Vote for us or we kill you! Then you walk in – a secret ballot – and then absolutely you would vote another way

  23. Like postal votes……

    Andrew Coates

    April 25, 2015 at 12:30 pm

  24. Galloway and Socialist Worker liked election courts in Tower Hamlets – in 2007.

    “George Galloway, the Respect MP for Bethnal Green & Bow, spoke in the House of Commons on Monday night during a debate on public confidence in the integrity of the electoral system. Here is the full text of his speech, extracted from Hansard, the official report of parliamentary proceedings (© Parliamentary Copyright 2007).

    Mr George Galloway: Like the honourable member for Spelthorne (Mr David Wilshire), I wish that I had more than ten minutes, because much needs to be said. Complacency is a fatal flaw in politics, yet it has been the hallmark of the government’s approach this evening – and, indeed, during all previous discussions and debates on this subject.

    Listening to the minister tonight, one would not think that in addition to welcoming Polish plumbers, builders, bus drivers and vegetable pickers, we should now be forced to welcome a Polish parliamentarian to investigate large-scale voting fraud here, in the mother of all parliaments. There is no time for me to coverall the issues that I would like to deal with, so I shall stick to postal voting if I may. By introducing lifelong postal voting on demand, the government have fundamentally undermined one of the key democratic rights fought for and won in this country during the past 150 years: the right to cast the vote in secret. That was a central demand of the Chartists, forerunners of the Labour Party, precisely to put an end to the bribery, corruption and intimidation of voters by the rich and powerful.

    When, hard on the heels of the Second Reform Act of 1867, Gladstone introduced the Ballot Act 1872 to enshrine that right in law, that was a vital step forward for democracy in Britain, but it is being recklessly tossed aside. The claimed justification for the changes to the postal voting system is that they will increase voter participation. Of that there is not one jot of evidence, but there is plenty of evidence of how wide open to corruption they have made the political system.

    Bob Spink: Does the honourable gentleman believe that a better way to improve voter participation would be to reintroduce integrity to the government?

    Mr George Galloway: I shall not go down that road, because the Conservative party started the deterioration of government integrity in this country. I would not want it to be thought that I am in any way sympathetic to Conservatives just because I shall be voting with them this evening.

    Trade unions affiliated to New Labour sent out postal vote application forms by the hundreds of thousands to their members and others, and asked them to return the forms not to the town hall charged with managing the election, but to their trade union headquarters, to a post office box hundreds of miles away from the person filling in the form. There was no good reason for that, but there are plenty of bad reasons on which one could speculate. It is but a short step from that manipulation of the electoral process, which is none the less legal, to the fraudulent application for postal votes by people other than the voters themselves, with the instruction that the vote should be sent to an address other than the registered address of the voter.

    In Tower Hamlets last May, we witnessed the most corrupt election held in Britain since 1872. Hundreds of votes were purloined by crooks applying for postal votes and getting them redirected to an address sometimes just doors away from the registered address of the voter. Whole blocks of flats woke up to discover that every one of their residents had applied for a postal vote to be redirected to another address without their knowledge. Some 2,800 postal vote applications were delivered to the town hall in Tower Hamlets in the last hours of the last day, and many were brought in by sitting councillors. A total of 18,732 postal votes were registered in Tower Hamlets: a vast increase on the vast increase that had occurred at the general election the year before. Almost 15 percent of those were delivered on the last afternoon. A total of 946 postal votes were redirected to addresses that were not the registered address of the voter, with considerably more as a percentage in the wards where new Labour councillors were under pressure.

    For the entertainment of the chamber, let me say that, despite all this, our party defeated the Labour mayor, the Labour deputy mayor, the Labour leader, the Labour deputy leader, the Labour housing convenor, the Labour deputy housing convenor – I could go on, but the house would lose patience. In one ward, New Labour councillor Bill Turner, who won by just 38 votes, himself had postal votes redirected to the address at which he said that he was living. The system is so utterly without basic democratic protection that it is virtually impossible to detect fraud with a sufficient degree of proof to bring the matter successfully before an election court, where, as might not be known, one must demonstrate that the fraud would have changed the result of the election. Fraud can therefore be demonstrated on a significant scale, but if it is not enough to change the course of the election, the matter is simply thrown out.

    Two petitions were accepted, and were prayed in aid by Labour members. But we were only allowed to have the postal votes for the winning Labour candidate examined, and the only check that we could carry out was a forensic examination and comparison of the signature. None the less, the handwriting expert agreed by all sides in the petition identified 30 percent of the postal votes as questionable, and believed that the signatures were probably from different hands in almost half those votes – and that was just sampling 300 postal votes out of almost 19,000.

    On top of that – this is where the issue of complacency arises – a major police investigation into voting fraud in Tower Hamlets is ongoing, and has engaged four police officers full-time for the past ten months. No charges have yet been brought – I do not know if they will be, as it is so easy to subvert the system – but Assistant Commissioner Andy Hayman has already commented, on the basis of that investigation, that postal votes are particularly susceptible to fraud. Despite all the talk of there not being many prosecutions, the Crown Prosecution Service has confirmed that 390 cases of alleged electoral offences have occurred over the past seven years, and not all in inner cities. In Reading, only two of 46 postal vote applications examined were found to be authentic. Richard Mawrey QC, who has been much quoted this evening, looked at ballots in the Birmingham city wards of Aston and nearby Bordesley Green. He said that there were at least 1,000 forged votes in Aston and 1,500 to 2,000 in Bordesley Green. The system of postal voting on demand is leading to a banana republic perception.

    Like the minister, I am a former Labour Party official. I have been fighting elections for almost 40 years, almost always on the winning side. I know about elections. Now, for the first time in my political life, people ask me, ‘How do we know that they are counting these votes fairly? How do we know they are not rigging the election?’ I am not saying that that is happening, but there is a systematic undermining of confidence in the electoral process, caused largely by postal vote fraud.

    Councils share the responsibility with government. Richard Mawrey QC considered our two petitions – the only two that we could get in front of the election court. I hope that the minister, who is laughing, will listen to what he said about a New Labour council just a few miles from Westminster, held by one seat that was only secured by this type of corruption. In response to our petitions, Richard Mawrey QC declared that the evidence that we presented showed ‘disturbing’ and ‘suspicious’ signs of ‘classic postal voting fraud’. He went on to say that a regime that allows electors to acquire postal voting ballots ‘on demand’ has been ‘an open invitation to fraud’, which has proved to be ‘distressingly easy’.

    Yet in the wake of those comments by a Queen’s counsel, Tower Hamlets council, with its Labour majority of one, issued a press release that was such a falsification that Andrew Gilligan – remember him? The minister shakes her head. He was the only journalist to tell us the truth about the government’s lies on Iraq. He said in the Evening Standard that the council’s press release was a pack of lies. Who presided over all this? A woman called Christine Gilbert, whose intimate connections to New Labour are so personal that I would not like to go down that route. Suffice it to say that her reward for presiding over the tower of corruption in Tower Hamlets was to be made the chief inspector of schools at Ofsted. God save our children. God save the integrity of their examination results.”

    Socialist Worker.


    Andrew Coates

    April 25, 2015 at 12:42 pm

  25. invited a 3rd world population into a 1st world country, and you get 3rd world politics? seems so to me. but not an expert, i admit. I’ve been in India during election period, and i guess, it is mainly like Rahman’s campaign. ethnic group bloc voting. I dont think that religion has much to do with it apart from as a marker of identity. not a good sign for the UK, but this is what we get with mass immigration?


    April 25, 2015 at 12:45 pm

  26. More on the judge, Richard Mawrey QC [aka ‘creepy old white zionist neocon’].

    Ousted a Tory in Slough in 2007: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slough_Borough_Council_election,_2007#Central

    Backed petitioners in Birmingham against six Labour councillors: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/west_midlands/4406575.stm

    Paul Canning

    April 25, 2015 at 12:53 pm

  27. Yes, you could intimidate someone to give you their postal vote – agreed.

    Does the judgement refer to this?

  28. Gawp. Galloway praising both Gilligan AND Mawrey. Round of applause for that find Andrew.

    Paul Canning

    April 25, 2015 at 12:58 pm

  29. Double gawp. Jen Izaakson aka Jenny Jones has her own form on rigging elections http://anticapitalists.org/2013/04/08/why-i-voted-no-confidence-ls-editor/

    Paul Canning

    April 25, 2015 at 1:53 pm

  30. Punch. You ask

    Yes, you could intimidate someone to give you their postal vote – agreed. Does the judgement refer to this?

    You claim to work in PR, you are at a computer 24/7, as far as I can tell. You are not my 85 year old mum. You know who to search a PDF document.

    I’ll make it easier for you. The answer is “yes”. People were also tricked out of their postal vote application/registration forms, so that’s a double yes, I reckon.

    Otherwise, i refer you to my comment here and my (serious) request at the end of it.


    April 25, 2015 at 2:40 pm

  31. What we have here is a reversion to the kind of religious/communalism operated at election time by the Catholic Church in places like Liverpool and Glasgow throughout most of the twentieth century, and which the left fought against tooth and nail, without fear of being branded “Catholophobic” or whatever. The difference now is that sections of the so-called “left” now support communalism and religious interference in politics.

    Jim Denham

    April 25, 2015 at 3:08 pm

  32. And as forgot to point out at Shiraz, when Shirley Porter was found guilty of gerrymandering, no-one, not even her supporters tried to play the “antisemitic” card. They were scum, but they didn’t (I presume) even think of going down that road.


    April 25, 2015 at 3:54 pm

  33. I can concur with Jim on the role of the Catholic Church re its political influence.

    During the 1974 Feb campaign, as a teenager in the east end of Glasgow, I remember the priest making his sermon regarding voting. “Do not vote Communist.”

    The CP, and Jimmy Reid in particular, had received a lot of positive press over the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders sit-in and the local Labour Party used their connections to try and nip this in the bud.

    Here’s a clip of Reid speaking on election night in Clydebank. He lets rip by saying that some local Labour people who, were they living in Spain, be members of Franco’s Falange.


    John R

    April 25, 2015 at 4:10 pm

  34. The credit for that find about Galloway praising Gilligan and Mawrey etc Paul goes to Ted Jeory who tweeted it- and I immediately praised his find….

    He is exceptionally well-informed.

    Latest: John Biggs to be announced as Labour’s candidate after blessing of NEC

    April 25, 2015 by trialbyjeory


    Andrew Coates

    April 25, 2015 at 4:19 pm

  35. Jeory should be trusted about nothing

    For example, he has just published the plea by a Tory “married, mum of one child, GP cum international business women” (and former TH Lab Cllr, naturally) to be the Tory mayoral candidate. I would have thought her new political friends would fail her on her literacy, if nothing else.

    Jeory says about her address that “I quite like the tone of that.”. That’s the general tone of Jeory.

  36. We let people make their own mind’s up here.

    Andrew Coates

    April 25, 2015 at 4:53 pm

  37. A future Labour Government is committed to outlaw the scourge of Islamophobia by changing the law and making it an aggravated crime, according to the Party’s Leader Ed Miliband.

    “We are going to make it an aggravated crime. We are going to make sure it is marked on people’s records with the police to make sure they root out Islamophobia as a hate crime,” Miliband told the Editor of The Muslim News, Ahmed J Versi in a wide ranging exclusive interview.

    “We are going to change the law on this so we make it absolutely clear of our abhorrence of hate crime and Islamophobia. It will be the first time that the police will record Islamophobic attacks right across the country,” he said.

    Paul Canning

    April 25, 2015 at 5:29 pm

  38. Thanks for that link, John R. Sorry, though to read that Jimmy Reid ended up a Scottish Nationalist (something I wasn’t aware of).

    Jim Denham

    April 25, 2015 at 5:30 pm

  39. And then, when they have mostly fairly made up their minds, we support their choice being removed from office

  40. SouthpawPunch is having a laugh is he doesn’t believe intimidation and manipulation goes on in the Bengal-Deshi community. I remember in Haringey back in the 80s, we were always told, when canvassing for Labout, that the father dictates to the rest of the family the way they vote, and therefore if the father says they are voting Labout, then you have 15 or 20 votes from that house. Has he forgotten the socialist criticism of ‘secret ballots’? That they are prone to manipulation and intimidation, which is why a show of hands giving accountablity is better to see where your support lies. As for the legal reasoning of the judgment, that is how they roll in a Common-Law system. To ensure fairness, cases must be compared and distinguished to draw out the principles of justice.

    Sue R

    April 25, 2015 at 7:26 pm

  41. In fairness, it should be noted that Mr Punch-drunk appears to be a trifle hard of thinking.

    Jim Denham

    April 25, 2015 at 7:33 pm

  42. Has he forgotten the socialist criticism of ‘secret ballots’? That they are prone to manipulation and intimidation, which is why a show of hands giving accountablity is better to see where your support lies.

    Eh Sue? As if a show of hands isn’t just as (or more) open to intimidation?


    April 25, 2015 at 8:16 pm

  43. in a way, i dont see any problem. ie all voters are manipulated in some way, by advertising mainly. maybe Luftur was corrupt, but he is not more so than any other MPs, if one looks more closely.

    what is wrong with bloc voting and asking at the mosque for support? its nothing much different than any other party.

    Sue R- the expert on bangladeshi communities in the UK? or a bourgeois liberal when it suits you?
    as if there isn’t canvassing and political party stuff in churches, synagogues, mosques, temples and gurdwara.

    what if the best thing for the bangladeshi in east london was precisely to get someone who represents them?

    I suspect the real reason for a lot of this attention given to Luftur is because he is not part of the main parties. the rules as they are, are unfair for smaller parties. they have to resort to unorthodox tactics.


    April 25, 2015 at 8:52 pm

  44. hi,

    this is an article on 5pillarz. the line about jews and gays teaming up against Islam is not being put out by me. I am perhaps foolishly? repeating it. i suggest you tackle this article, because it is a view that is becoming popular.



    April 26, 2015 at 12:44 am

  45. Galloway gets it right again. make this man leader of the Labour party.



    April 26, 2015 at 12:51 am

  46. ‘5 pillars’ sounds like a DIY or perhaps structural engineering periodical. Most unlikely it has anything germane to say about jews or gays … unless it’s about Morty Greenberg the well known homosexualist architect.

    PS, your mask has slipped — you forgot to use your ‘zionist’ figleaf.

    PPS, people who appear to be as obsessed by The Gays™ are you so evidently are, are usually compensating for something.

    redkorat☭ (@red_korat)

    April 26, 2015 at 2:47 am

  47. It is very telling that someone supposedly flirting with ‘questions’ about the case against Rahman, like Southpaw, would dismiss Jeory because of a few nice words about a Tory, yet entirely ignore the history of Izaakson (who Seymour etal are promoting).

    Of course Galloway would run to state actors when it suits. The people behind the ‘save Rahman’ petition run to the Metropolitan Police.

    This is from Gilligan in the telegraph, quote:

    “Mr Erlam spent the last week before the case living away from home to avoid the Met. “It was disruptive and distressing. To my mind the clear intention of the police was to discredit me just as the case started,” he said.

    “The publicity would have been extremely damaging.”

    His alleged offence, with another petitioner in the case, Azmal Hussain, was to have intimidated a witness, Abdul Latif Khan, into signing a false statement. But the supposed victim had already told police that the “crime” never happened.

    “I was put under absolutely no pressure by Mr Erlam or Mr Hussain,” he said. “I have made no complaint against either of them.”

    According to emails seen by The Telegraph, the judge, Mr Mawrey, was “angry” about the police behaviour and wrote to them, saying the election trial should take precedence.

    But now it is over, the Met has swung back into action. “I’m not going to the interview on Tuesday,” said Mr Erlam. “They’ll have to arrest me. I will insist on handcuffs and I want a picture.”

    Mr Khan, meanwhile, has written to the police, demanding they investigate the people who’ve really been intimidating him – Mr Rahman’s supporters.”

    This is just like Putin’s Russia. Word for word it could come from the experience of Navalny or someone like Yevgenia Chirikova.

    If the situation was anything other than the cops backing their thug then there would be angry demos outside Scotland Yard demanding police action. But these aren’t the correct oppressed people here. Any brown person not towing the line deserves what they get and, anyway, must be a plaid lackey of the zionist establishment – is what will be said.

    Rushanara Ali is refusing any comment, thus amply demonstrating how far the intimidation has gone.

    But you just have to glance at the story of the rise of someone like Izaakson (or the treatment of Naz Shah) to see how thuggery is fine with sections of the left if they think it advances some ideology, no matter who gets tossed under the bus.

    Paul Canning

    April 26, 2015 at 7:22 am

  48. It’s very telling – if you are a believer in mad conspiracies.

    I had never heard of Izaakson before a couple of days ago, whereas my knowledge of Jeory is lengthy – on his blog you will find comments from me over the last couple of years and I have read it for longer.

    So I know he has right-wing views but also knew nothing of her before I recommended her post (and I think that the further information about her questions her credibility – that’s why I changed how I referred to her post.)

    Anyway that all very fine. All you who have read the judgement – how many votes are determined to be dodgy? (Does anyone know how many votes were postal, incidentally – I can’t find that info anywhere).

    I have seen some reference to a group of dodgy votes totalling less than 200 but that was just one part. So all you experts on the case – come on – is it really claimed in the judgement that more than 9000 ballot papers were fixed (in whatever manner) because that was Rahman’s majority on 1st preferences .

    If not, then you will be reversing your knee-jerk reactions and joining me in questioning what may be a coup, won;t you? (I won’t be waiting.)

    Excellent news that Galloway may run – but it should be Rahman.

  49. Why are you focused on the number of dodgy votes? The law is that any vote rigging – any – invalidates the election. Are you suggesting that someone can engage in that and get away with it?

    I notice elsewhere that you argue that Woolas could do what he did and should be allowed to still stand. This is an argument against electoral law. That the corrupt should be allowed to get away with it and thuggery should be unmolested by the law. What is now clear is that the police stood by – are you defending that?

    Why I say that some can’t look beyond the end of their nose is because – as Andrew has highlighted with Galloway’s comments! – we should argue for and need the fair application of the law. This is in our interests. Since when is it socialist to argue against laws against corruption and vote rigging!

    And before the usual whataboutery is raised, Woolas and Shirley Porter have already been argued to counter, but also – hopefully – this case will lead to changes making it easier for people – including us – to bring cases against the corrupt!

    Galloway cannot run unless he somehow manages to move his residency and put himself forward in time.

    Paul Canning

    April 26, 2015 at 3:25 pm

  50. I notice that Jeory links to Dave Osler’s old Blog – just saying.

    Most people who develop bees in their bonnets about local politics, and local politicians, are odd, obsessive, and so on.

    But Jeory has been proved broadly right, and it took some bottle on his part to stand up and do what he’s done.

    So I say, hats off to him!

    However this Blog took up Tower Hamlets some considerable time ago, over the issue of the Jamaat and the genocide in Bangladesh.

    It’s this, on the context of the wider issue of religious influence – in this case communalism – and, the power of directly elected mayors, which concern this Blog.

    There is ample evidence to give reason for our concerns.

    And, to cite Nick Cohen,

    “Anyone who criticised the mayor was a racist. When councillors said the mayor must answer questions, his supporters accused them of “racism”. When an opponent appeared at a meeting in a black cardigan – the poor woman was in mourning for her dead husband, incidentally – Rahman’s fixer roared that where once the East End had been terrorised by Blackshirts, it was now terrorised by Blackcardigans.

    When Labour ran a candidate against him it was racist. When the BBC investigated him it was racist. And not just casually racist either. The judge noticed how Rahman always upped the ante by saying that all who tried to hold him to account were aiding the English Defence League. The EDL is, in truth, an ugly but small organisation that is close to collapse. For Rahman it was a gift. He could use it to paint his opponents as the willing accomplices of neo-fascists on the one hand, while corralling Bangladeshis frightened of racist attacks into line on the other.”


    Is this the kind of politics the left should be involved with?

    Andrew Coates

    April 26, 2015 at 3:28 pm

  51. Golly gosh – I actually ‘argue against electoral law’. Well, there you go.

    Anyone should be able to stand for election. If Peter Sutcliffe wanted to stand for election he should be able to.

    Bobby Sands, IRA volunteer was doing 14 years when elected to parliament. His electorate were happy to vote for someone convicted of possessing guns. He would not be eligible to stand in present day circumstances.

    It should be up to the electorate of TH to to decide if they want Rahman or not – and as I state above, despite fraud, unless anyone produces numbers to show otherwise I would guess the number of legitimate votes for him were higher than for Labour.

    That’s the coup. I’d like to see an argument against that.

    Canning also writes: Why are you focused on the number of dodgy votes? The law is that any vote rigging – any – invalidates the election.

    Therefore all MPs to be elected next month won’t be MPs. Every single MP will have a least one vote obtained through – my old mum’s been solid Tory all her life, it’s shame the Alzheimers has robbed her of everything so that’s why I will be using her postal vote better – as she would if only ever listened – and voting Green for her this time’.

    Elections are not pristine – that’s how capitalism is. Wise up.

    And, er, the the Woolas and Porter matters were raised by Denham – that Labour Party buffoon and Rahman hater!

    Citing Nick Cohen – that right-wing tosser. Do you think that strengthens your case.

    I also much prefer the present-day content of the Dave Olser blog. More leftwing. http://www.davidosler.com/

  52. How feisty of you @Southpawpunch (could your moniker be any butcher? or is it ironic?).

    I guess if Reggie Kray was paying off cops and, quote, ‘won’, that would pass your, quote, ‘principals’?

    “Elections are not pristine – that’s how capitalism is. Wise up.”

    Too right! We have our own thugs and don’t you forget it!

    One lil corrective. I brought up Woolas. Because that shithead Labour politician was responsible for vile asylum policies I worked against. This was not why he lost his seat but good to know backing him feels ‘leftwing’ to you.

    Paul Canning

    April 26, 2015 at 7:10 pm

  53. Just on Jeory being ‘right wing’ etc.

    I have a thing about socialists being mean to Tories. It’s not simply because socialists are perfectly capable of doing appalling things, which they are, but because Tories are perfectly capable of doing something right.

    That lesson was learned by me through HIV/Aids, when someone like Norman Fowler behaved well and the Cuban regime not so much. For oldies like me the defense of Rahman is a bit like the defence of the Castros over the Mariel exodus.

    Sure that plenty of others could relate to so-called ‘comrades’ throwing them under the bus – Naz Shah for example.

    Certain people will always judge others – like Jeory – through an ideological lens. 99.9% of the world will not stand their scrutiny.

    That is called being a cult member. Real socialists stage an intervention.

    Paul Canning

    April 26, 2015 at 7:32 pm

  54. I don’ t want to be ‘mean’ to Tories.

    I want to destroy them underfoot. Now of course, some Tories can be less objectional than some Labour, sometimes, but that’s in the context of how right-wing they all are .

    I’d also say now comparing TH to the Mariel boat-lift is floundering, big time.

    So forget the flim-flam and get quantative.

    Numbers:- is the claim of the number of dodgy votes (in whatever way, but I also wouldn’t trust the judge’s judgement – but let’s run with what he says for now) greater than 9,000 – yes or no?

    If yes – it’s probably a fixed election but that would mean a bit more than 10% of all votes (and about a quarter of Rahman’s votes) were dodgy – .pretty unlikely, I think.

    If no – it’s a coup. It’s sackcloth and ashes time for all you lot all and a rapid change in direction by this blog to call for the reinstatement of Rahman.

    There are really no other choices if you have any decency and are not duplictious shysters.

  55. As Mr Punch is so worked up about numbers here, maybe we can have that discussion when he lets us know how to calculate the number of votes gained by partisan and communualist distribution of council grant money and the somewhat dubious funding of local Bangla media, through grants and illegal advertisements; then that figure can be added to the number of forged votes.

    If you can read, I mentioned Porter, not Denham. I’m not in or of the Labour Party, and I can see one main buffoon in this thread. How is your empire of blogs going? You did keep claiming, once upon a time, they were about to be relaunched, but maybe you don’t want to archive all of your comments in one place (can’t imagine why)?


    April 26, 2015 at 8:46 pm

  56. I understand your reluctance to address the numbers, and don’t forget, you are the one who boasted of having read the whole report, but they really are needed.

    So tell me what are the numbers (I saw some small ones- 200ish – in the excerpt, I read) or maybe it is that there are no clear numbers in the report?

    Come now, that’s a reasonable request I think and would base this discussion on facts not baseless hyperbole (e.g. Coates quoting Nick Cohen, whose latest headline is ‘Tower Hamlets: how a dictatorship flourished in the East End’. Yes, many is the time I have had to shake off the secret police in Bethnal Green or visited a newsagent in Canary Wharf to find a wall-to-wall display of the only newspaper, the council’s East End Life, allowed into the borough by the border guards sat next to the Tower (who when at a loose end, are executing Rahman’s prisoners in the filled-in moat – all those clever big poppies were to hide all the blood).

    Numbers – or this discussion is going nowhere

    I’ve all my old blog posts saved – when I get a free month sometimes, I’ll post them all. There are certain duties incumbent on you when you are Britain’s last Trot.

  57. It’s not a “boast” of reading the report, it’s a fact.

    So answer the question: how do you count votes gained through gerrymandering and illegal distribution of council funds?
    There are certain duties incumbent on you when you are Britain’s last Trot.

    That’s the spirit, Mr. Punch. All is not lost.


    April 27, 2015 at 12:02 am

  58. There was no redrawing of the boundaries of TH and ignore the effect of any supposed ‘illegal distribution of council funds’.

    And, so, the number is?

  59. Southpaw Punch appears to be under the impression that it is sometimes legal to engage in electoral fraud. What an imaginative take on reality.


    April 27, 2015 at 2:24 pm

  60. “Dear friend,Following the outrageous ouster of Tower Hamlets’ Mayor Lutfur Rahman an emergency meeting has been called to protest the racially skewed judgements of judge Richard Mawrey. The trial follows a sustained establishment campaign against Mayor Rahman initiated by Tory Eric Pickles.

    The meeting aims to ‘set the record straight about the removal of Lutfur Rahman as Mayor of Tower Hamlets and set out what needs to be done to defend democracy in Tower Hamlets, to challenge racism in the borough and beyond, and to ensure that anti-racist, anti-war and anti-austerity politics find their rightful place in the council.’

    Speakers include:
    Lutfur Rahman
    Christine Shawcroft, Labour Party NEC
    John Rees, People’s Assembly
    Andrew Murray, Chief of Staff, Unite the Union
    Lindsey German, Stop the War Coalition
    Salma Yaqoob,
    John McLoughlin, Branch Secretary, Tower Hamlets Unison
    Weyman Bennett, Unite Against Fascism

    (All speakers in a personal capacity.)

    Defend Lutfur Rahman
    6pm, Thursday 30 April
    Waterlily Conference Centre, 69-89 Mile End Road, London”

    See you there, comrades!

    Try and bring some numbers with you!

  61. What a crew!

    “elements of what now passes for the British left”

    What a crew….

    I notice that Socialist Action are leading support for this.


    I hope Christine is keeping well……

    Andrew Coates

    April 27, 2015 at 4:10 pm

  62. How could anyone not notice? I have always *wondered* if SA (what a lovely abbreviation) were involved in THF. I doubt if they were, but I’m sure they would have tried to be, what with their record re. Mayoral administration.


    April 27, 2015 at 6:05 pm

  63. “and to ensure that anti-racist, anti-war and anti-austerity politics find their rightful place in the council.”

    Rahmann took grant money earmarked for Alzheimers sufferers and gave it to his cronies – and then these hypocrites have the gall to sound off about austerity. They are scum.


    April 27, 2015 at 6:45 pm

  64. Very simple question. Is Andrew Gillighan’s response in the Telegtaph to Richard Seymour’s Guardian article accurate or not? Been looking but can’t find anything; the refutation seems only to be an ad hominem attack on Gillighan (who may be – for all I know – a complete tosser) and the claim that LR is the victim of a smear campaign. But I’m interested to know whether the claims made by LR’s supporters (houses built, grants given etc.) stack up. For what little it’s worth, I’m sure there is huge ‘establishment’ hostility to Rahman but this doesn’t mean that his manifesto claims are honest. I don’t know whether LR is guilty of electoral manipulation or not but a.grant ‘grubbery’ and using using community ‘leaders’ to deliver votes is a long standing feature of inner city local politics, well-practiced by the Labour Party; b. the left have a history of backing dodgy regimes and individuals who are ‘on our side’.


    April 27, 2015 at 9:15 pm

  65. Reblogged this on oogenhand.


    April 28, 2015 at 7:26 pm

  66. Just to note. Giles Fraser has a shockingly bad piece on ‘spiritual influence’ in the Grauniad [http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/apr/29/lutfur-rahman-tower-hamlets-mayor-verdict-undue-spiritual-influence].

    Posted this comment >

    How on earth can Fraser ignore that the Catholic Church in Ireland has a long history of trying to decide politics? I’m not a student of late C19th Irish politics but that obvious ‘insight’ plus a quick google produces this:

    “The pastoral [letter] was but the culmination of a vigorous anti-Parnellite campaign by Bishop Nulty and his clergy, who ironically had ensured that Charles Stewart Parnell first entered Westminster as MP for Meath in 1875. This probably accounts equally for the Meathmen’s continuing loyalty to their fallen leader and for the vehemence of the bishop’s opposition after the scandal of the O’Shea divorce revelation in November 1890 of his former protégé’s adultery. Now Dr Nulty, who had long assumed a ‘divine right’ to nominate candidates in both parliamentary and local elections, availed of the divisions caused by the split to consolidate his hold on political power.”


    All Giles Fraser has done is quote Disraeli and then made a claim about the Nulty decision being ‘racist’ based on nothing but, of the face of it unlikely, supposition. I look forward to seeing some actual Irish historians put Fraser back in his box.

    (Some early Irish comment pointing out Fraser’s twatishness)

    Paul Canning

    April 29, 2015 at 2:36 pm

  67. Fraser is the moral cretin who loathes Charlie Hebdo and thought that the French Revolution was atheist.

    Guardian Writer, Gilles Fraser, Attacks Secularism and Charlie – Again. January 17th 2015.


    He continues to lie and distort, “…unashamed to use a law that was developed to subdue Irish Roman Catholics and then apply it to a contemporary religious minority that is suffering from a very similar brew of racism and hostility to what is seen as their foreign religious practises ie Islam. To make matters worse, Richard Mawrey QC uses exactly the same trope of the “thick Irish” and applies it directly to Muslims.”


    The law in this matter, Paul, was updated in 1983.

    Judgement, paragraph152,

    “Accordingly, just as undue spiritual influence under s 115 of the 1983 Act is not confined
    to Christianity, it is equally not confined to religions which have the Christian sacraments
    or an equivalent, the threat of withdrawal or refusal of which can be used by clergy to
    influence voters. Similarly, it is not an essential ingredient of the section that the spiritual
    influence should be that of a monotheistic religion or of a religion which contains a belief
    in an afterlife where punishments and rewards are meted out for conduct in this life. In an
    appropriate case undue spiritual influence could be created by what some might regard as
    a cult, such as Mr Moon’s ‘Unification Church’ or even ‘New Age’.”

    The left, as I have said before, would be up in arms if this influence was used against us.

    As indeed it has been, not only in Ireland, but in Glasgow, Liverpool, well into the twentieth century, and beyond, and – hey lets look at Italy….

    I suppose a creepy-crawly cleric would not find it amiss to have possession of this influence.

    I note there is no reference in his article to the actual case in hand, the details of the judgement, or indeed any real account of what has happened in Tower Hamlets.

    Andrew Coates

    April 29, 2015 at 4:24 pm

  68. there is a ‘blink and you would miss it’ reference. He ‘makes no comment’ on the bribery, thuggery etc. As others have pointed out he worked for Rahman – and that interest is not noted!

    This is really useful http://www.lawandreligionuk.com/2015/02/11/spiritual-influence-and-elections/

    I wonder if any Muslim body has made a submission to the Electoral Commission review of electoral law?

    This reminds me of the arguments around the balance between freedom of religious expression and anti-discrimination laws. Thing is, Fraser – no, none of the usual suspects – seem to be the slightest bit interested in how elections can be kept free and fair. Hence they don’t consider the implications for the left. And, of course, not one has referred to the Woolas verdict.

    Paul Canning

    April 29, 2015 at 4:53 pm

  69. The reference to “a law that was developed to subdue Irish Roman Catholics” is just outright stupid ignorance. The 1883 act (which I know about now from a basic Google!) was a progressive act designed to stop bribery and vote rigging etc. I can’t see any evidence that the case against the Bishop was in anyway racist, the opposite from what I looked at. Fraser is just making it up.

    Paul Canning

    April 29, 2015 at 4:56 pm

  70. As he did about Robespierre being an atheist!

    “Atheism is aristocratic; the idea of a great Being that watches over oppressed innocence and punishes triumphant crime is altogether popular.”

    Maximilien Robespierre”

    The man’s a blithering idiot.

    Andrew Coates

    April 29, 2015 at 5:22 pm

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