Progress for Elaine Bagshaw in Tower Hamlets Mayoral Election

bagshselfieAs you’ll be aware from various posts on Liberal Democrat Voice over the past few weeks, Elaine Bagshaw has been fighting the Tower Hamlets Mayoral Election caused by the disqualification of the previous Mayor, Lutfur Rahman.

Elaine has fought a busy and energetic campaign, helped by new members taking part in their first election. She made progress in number of votes, percentage of the vote and went up a place from 6th to 5th. That ‘s a result that she can be pleased with. The result, from the Tower Hamlets website,  was as follows:

Tower Hamlets results

This represents a gain for Elaine of just under 200 votes and 0.8% since the election a year ago. UKIP fall back and Elaine went from 6th to 5th.

In addition, Will Dyer managed a 1% increase in the vote in the council by-election in Stepney Green.

Well done and thanks to Elaine, Will and their campaign team for throwing themselves back into a campaign immediately after the General Election. Let’s hope they get the chance to have a decent rest now before continuing the #libdemfightback.

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46 Comments

  • The Lib Dems must be desperate if they are pleased with getting 3% of the vote! It was not a first past the post election, so there was nothing stopping voters voting Lib Dem in the first round.

  • Put yourself in our place Robert. We know we are facing a huge task to re-establish ourselves as a force to be reckoned with, and this was a very small step in the right direction.

  • Elaine and her team deserve our thanks for their efforts, but I think anyone who pretends that this result is progress or something we can be pleased with is sadly ignoring the situation the party is in. A year ago Tower Hamlets were on their own as the rest of London were fighting their own elections. This year with no elections, help could come from the rest of London and all we obtained was 200 more votes and increased our vote share by 0.8% up to just over 3%. Even in October 2010 at the height of the Tuition Fees fiasco we got 2,800 votes and over a 6% share.

    Quite simply there is a huge amount of work to do, just to get halfway back to where we were. Anyone pretending otherwise is just hiding from the massive decisions we have to make and make quickly before this level of performance becomes the norm across most of the country.

  • sally haynes-preece 13th Jun '15 - 11:15am

    As an absolute result it is bad, But given the obvious labour demographic, it is not fertile Lib Dem territory. so the fact that any progress has ben made is good. Sometimes just holding on to your percentage share of the vote is good!!!

  • Like Jonahan Calder I can remember the excellent Liberal councillors who had a majority on Tower Hamlets Council . They were innovative, radical and inspirational but were eventually undermined by the then party leadership and various national media figures who did not have the first idea about realities of life in East London.

    I make no criticism of the existing team around Elaine Bagshaw – it cannot have been easy to pick themselves up and run again so soon after the disaster for the party that was the General Election national result.

    I am however curious about the Stepney Green result. (The ward byelection which took place on the same day).
    http://moderngov.towerhamlets.gov.uk/mgElectionAreaResults.aspx?ID=115&RPID=5892613

    Was there any concentration of effort in this ward ?
    Elaine was not going to seize the Mayoralty but was any thought give to winning the single ward and getting a Liberal Democrat back on the council? That would have estabished a bridgehead for the future.
    It seems not from the result. Would anyone care to comment?

    BTW – there is no such thing as a “good second place” — let alone a good seventh place.

  • David Faggiani 13th Jun '15 - 12:54pm

    Both views are right. It’s objectively a terrible result. We have a massive Greens problem, only to be won with bold policies, in my opinion. And we are certainly, to paraphrase Marsellus Wallace in Pulp Fiction, pretty damn far from OK. But, it is a move upwards, so thanks Elaine and any contributors to it. Also, the Tower Hamlets contest, although AV run, was always this year going to be ‘about’ Rahman’s legacy vs. whoever could best challenge Rahman’s legacy. A huge squeeze was inevitable. So, next fight.

  • I think this is a sign of things to come and as the devastating Election results showed hiding your head in the sand and pretending things will get better just wont work. Have you learned nothing?

  • Daniel Henry 13th Jun '15 - 1:00pm

    I don’t think we do ourselves why favours by trying to present results like this in an overly positive way – makes it look like we’re in denial.

    As everyone else has said, Elaine and her team did a good job in difficult circumstances, but rather than pretend we made progress here, we should instead recognise the challenge we face in reestablishing ourselves.

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 13th Jun '15 - 1:07pm

    Well, let’s see, the General Election was only five weeks ago, and the likelihood of a rush of new support amongst the populace would be, I suspect, low. And, whilst we could draw on activist support from across London, so could the other parties. So, all things being equal, a small increase in our vote is welcome news.

    Is it a sign that things are getting better? Almost certainly not – it is just one election – but if a few people have been enthused by the campaign, if some electors feel slightly more engaged by the Party, that is a good thing. The rebuild is going to be slow and faltering, and for those who seem to feel the need to come here and gloat, it’s a pity that you couldn’t use the time to do something more effective in your own communities.

    I would also like to thank Elaine and her team for flying the flag for liberalism in Tower Hamlets. It is a difficult place to do politics these days, having become so polarised, but if we are to become a national force again, we have to attempt a presence everywhere.

  • paul barker 13th Jun '15 - 1:15pm

    Just to go back a bit for people who dont know, the Libdems in Tower Hamlets split, that might seem a long time ago now but it takes decades to recover from something like that – look how long Labour took to make a partial recovery from a similar split in Bermondsey.
    Both these elections were about one thing, whether Labour could defeat the Rahman candidates standing as Independents, we were low down on a list of Others. We were beaten by the Greens but we beat UKIP, in the circumstances we did OK.

  • Elaine Bagshaw 13th Jun '15 - 1:30pm

    So a few things on this. What you don’t see in these results is the huge number of second preferences we got. A lot of those from Labour as well which definitely wasn’t the case a year ago. The result also had a lower turnout than last year, and we were the only ones who increased both vote share and number of votes, even when we weren’t campaigning full time.

    Most people in Tower Hamlets don’t understand the preference system, as most people in London don’t. As a party we’ve got to get much, much better at explaining how this works to people, otherwise we’ll continue to do poorly.

    Whilst a number of people came and helped us campaign, our region made it clear that the council by-election in another part of London was priority. So we were just a byline in things like emails to members.

    We didn’t target Stepney as we knew it wasn’t fertile ground for us. We concentrated on the three wards we’re working for 2018. Tower Hamlets is two parliamentary constituencies, so to have upped our vote when we only did anything in a very small amount of it is something we’re really proud of and shows there are green shoots of recovery everywhere – even here in Tower Hamlets.

    And whilst Lib Dems may remember our time on the council fondly, a lot of people locally don’t remember it at all as our roll tends to change by 25% with every update.

  • Elaine Bagshaw 13th Jun ’15 – 1:30pm

    Elaine,
    Thanks for specific response on Stepney Green. It is good to know that you have your strategy in place for 2018 and have been working to it already. That no doubt puts your borough well ahead of many London Boroughs where we were wiped off the map last year.

  • John Tilley “Like Jonahan Calder I can remember the excellent Liberal councillors who had a majority on Tower Hamlets Council . They were innovative, radical and inspirational but were eventually undermined by the then party leadership and various national media figures who did not have the first idea about realities of life in East London.”

    I would be interested to know more about this, John. Is the last sentence referring to the problem the Party has with diversity?

  • I very much take the point that the population in many parts of Tower Hamlets is very different from 15 years ago… But it is worth noting that in 2002 we gained 9 seats to have a total of 16 and 31% of the vote in Tower Hamlets – so the final demise long postdates formation of the Lib Dems. By 2010 we were down to 1 seat, so it also predates the coalition.

    Was this the result of a targeting strategy on nearby parliamentary seats, I wonder? What targeting strategy should we pursue to rebuild from 8%? Should we concentrate on nurturing local activists wherever they may be, and helping them to build a local party, or on telling them to go and work in a target ward 30 miles away?

    Anyway the Wallington South result was a morale booster, and obviously not a push-over too. But we need to get into a position where we can fight a strong local campaign in two council by-elections in London on the same day!

  • Lots of respect to the Tower Hamlets team to keep plugging away in difficult circumstances. The recovery starts here. 🙂

  • Eddie Sammon 13th Jun '15 - 5:12pm

    Great respect for standing and increasing the vote share. Obviously I think it is still a disappointing result, but people should get behind candidates after tough results.

  • Phyllis 13th Jun ’15 – 2:02pm
    “…I would be interested to know more about this, John. Is the last sentence referring to the problem the Party has with diversity?”

    I don’t think I can give an adequate answer to your question. I certainly could not give a brief answer. From the 1970s until 1994 our party brought about a revolution in Tower Hamlets. In the earlier 1970s Tower Hamlets had been a Labour fiefdom — every single councillor was Labour. This changed when 7 Liberal councillors were elected in 1978 increasing their number to 18 councillors four years later.
    With 26 councillors elected in. 1986 it was one of the few London Boroughs with a Liberal majority. The popular administration was re-elected four years later with a increased majority and 30 councillors.

    What happened after that was not exactly a shining example of loyalty by the party big-wigs to the hard working activists on the ground. What actually happened is possibly still a matter of dispute. Diversity (or lack of it) was not the central issue but different people would give you a different answer to your question.

    As Andrew says, the party retained a significant team on the council until around ten years ago. He is right to say that the Coalition had nothing to do with the undermining of our support in Tower Hamlets. Although moving the party ever rightwards was never going to help rebuilding trust in the party in any London Borough as we saw in May 2014 and May 2015.

  • Tony Dawson 13th Jun '15 - 6:36pm

    It might not be the best time to revisit Tower Hamlets Liberals ‘Local Homes for Local People’ policy except to point out that inner London as a whole probably needs censible a policy to protect local people against being pushed out of their home area right now.

    What Jeremy Shaw and his team did in Tower Hamlets might well have been wrong in some ways. We all makes mistakes. What I will say with no shadow of a doubt is that Jeremy Shaw was a far better Liberal than many who chose to judge him.

  • John
    I think we can blame the coalition for going from 19% in 2010 to 3% in 2014 though! Which of course makes any recovery to the point of winning seats again very difficult. And typical of so many places where we used to challenge Labour…

    Not impossible of course!

  • If half of what is said about the Lib Dem administration in Tower Hamlets is true, then frankly I find some of the comments above rather disturbing. We’ve all made mistakes; most of us haven’t run race-baiting campaigns.

    http://pubs.socialistreviewindex.org.uk/sr168/nineham.htm
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/lib-dems-in-fresh-row-over-racist-leaflet-1503514.html
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/lib-dems-accused-of-whitewash-over-racism-expulsions-1468202.html

  • Sammy O'Neill 13th Jun '15 - 8:44pm

    @Jonathan

    I don’t think you appreciate how massively the demographics of tower hamlets have changed since the Liberals ran it last. Bangladeshi’s now make up 32% of the population (more than the “white british” population), compared to about 10% when the Libs last ran the council. I don’t think I’m being unreasonable in saying lib dem voters amongst many of the ethnic groups in Tower Hamlets simply do not exist.

  • Sammy O'Neill 13th Jun '15 - 8:50pm

    @JohnTilley

    I can’t realistically see any Lib Dems gains in Tower Hamlets at any point in the near future. There is simply no voter base in existence to build on and the demographics of pretty much every ward are about as anti-lib dem as it’s possible to be. The few wards that are on paper more feasible like Island Gardens or Canary Wharf are unlikely to result in seats for us as there’s a strong (and seemingly quite loyal) tory vote there which is unlikely to shift. So sure we’ll split the labour vote, but we’re unlikely to be able to win them.

    I’d of course welcome any local feedback on which wards they feel are feasible for us to win in the future, but from what I know I genuinely can’t see it happening. Much better to focus on rebuilding in feasible locations.

  • Eddie Sammon 13th Jun '15 - 9:06pm

    People talking about the demographics: there should be no no-go areas anywhere. It seems there are and this needs to be rectified.

  • Sammy O’Neill 13th Jun ’15 – 8:50pm

    Erm … That is exactly what people said in the early 1970s — “You cannot possibly win in Tower Hamlets because it is solid Labour, always has been.”

    If we only work in wards which look “feasible in 2015 we would have to completely abandon about 28 of the 32 London Boroughs. It is the reality of where we are after 11 years of Orange Bookery — we have to start at the very bottom. It is that bad and all the nonsense that being a “party of government” would change things and that sharing a few junior ministerial posts in a rightwing Conservative Government would see lots of new supporters can now be seen for the empty dreams they were. There are no quick fixes, no easy routes, no clever tricks. There is only the hard way — working in communities with local people to take and use power.

    BTW — the demographic data for Tower Hamlets from the 1991 census (the year after we got our biggest majority) shows that the BME pupation was 35%. You seem to thnk there has been some massive change in recent years? Someone from Tower Hamlets might want to say what the situation is but my guess is that one of the most significant changes in population in thelastv20 years has been the development of expensive properties resulting in the election of Conservative councillors .

  • George Potter 13th Jun '15 - 10:02pm

    There should indeed be no, no-go areas and this does need to be fixed but there was very little which could be done to fix it while we were in coalition. The next five years, however, is the perfect opportunity to start fixing this in places like Tower Hamlets.

  • As a resident of Tower Hamlets, I find it sad to see where we have gone from in 2010 to now, but Elaine and her team deserve much credit, They put up a real fight in a place we could never really win, and that happened in the very complex back drop of the local areas politics and Labour throwing everything at winning this election.

  • I think we should trust Elaine here – there is obviously a plan to build for 2018 in certain wards, and I certainly would not presume to advise how to do it from Yorkshire. Up here the Lib Dems have broken through in mainly Asian wards but generally you need to build some local credibility first (like David Ward, a controversial character, but someone who has brought Asian community activists into the Lib Dems)

  • Sammy O'Neill 14th Jun '15 - 12:16am

    @JohnTilley

    “Erm … That is exactly what people said in the early 1970s — “You cannot possibly win in Tower Hamlets because it is solid Labour, always has been.” ”

    I have not said that. I did not say Tower Hamlets is unwinnable because it’s solid labour, I view it as unwinnable due to demographics and the total Lib Dem failure to appeal to ethnic minority Londoners. Those ethnic minority Londoners now outnumber White British Londoners in increasing numbers of boroughs, and will indeed in London as a whole. How can any political party serious about real change not grasp the desperate need to appeal to and represent those people? Somehow we have.

    “BTW — the demographic data for Tower Hamlets from the 1991 census (the year after we got our biggest majority) shows that the BME pupation was 35%. You seem to thnk there has been some massive change in recent years? ”

    Well John, it has changed quite a lot. The BME population at the last census was almost 55%. Add to that 14% who identify as white (but who are not British) and you’ll see the figures are dramatically different from 1990. That’s 69% non white British.

    With respect, I don’t think you quite appreciate how difficult the situation is in places like Tower Hamlets for Liberal Democrats. Perhaps you haven’t been there or don’t quite understand how woeful our party’s appeal to ethnic minority voters is, but we’re going to need a bit more than delivering lots of copies of Focus as we’ve done in the past. The party desperately needs visible minority members in positions of leadership so that voters do not view us as a white, middle class male party. More than that, we need policies which appeal to everyone and not just narrow sections of society. Demographic changes will kill the party off for good if we keep our heads in the sand over this.

    (Nb: I have nothing but respect for the hard work Elaine and her fellow activists do to try and keep the Liberal torch burning in areas where it is at risk of going out for good, so please do not view my comments as an attack on her)

  • Sammy O'Neill 14th Jun '15 - 12:21am

    @Eddie & George

    I agree that in an ideal world there should be no “no go areas”. However until the party makes massive changes we are going to desperately struggle to appeal to ethnic minority voters. The polling data from the last election shows we did appallingly with non-white voters. Where are the plans to address this? Which of the leadership candidates is proposing to do anything about this? All I hear is silence.

  • Eddie Sammon 14th Jun '15 - 1:21am

    Sammy, you are right to mention that it is a problem. I just wanted to also raise the idea of having “no no go areas”.

    If the party heads into the same direction as the Greens then it will likely get the same result when it comes to ethnic minority appeal.

    My favoured approach would be to prioritise “representation” as much as principle, which means compromising with the electorate, but I understand this approach is not well liked in the party after the Clegg years. However it is funny how Labour are now planning on moving into this ground.

    I lived in Tower Hamlets for two years. Many young City and Canary Wharf professionals live there and I remember enjoying its diversity.

  • Sammy O’Neill 14th Jun ’15 – 12:16am
    “…The BME population at the last census was almost 55%. Add to that 14% who identify as white (but who are not British) and you’ll see the figures are dramatically different from 1990. That’s 69% non white British.”

    and

    “…Perhaps you haven’t been there or don’t quite understand how woeful our party’s appeal to ethnic minority voters is, but we’re going to need a bit more than delivering lots of copies of Focus as we’ve done in the past. The party desperately needs visible minority members in positions of leadership so that voters do not view us as a white, middle class male party.”

    and

    Sammy O’Neill 14th Jun ’15 – 12:21am
    “… The polling data from the last election shows we did appallingly with non-white voters. ”

    Sammy,
    This is a serious question, which you may consider answering.
    How exactly will “… visible minority members in positions of leadership …” actually change the voting habits of people in Tower Hamlets?
    The Labour Party have played this game for decades and yet it lost to Respect when George Galloway stood in Tower Hamlets and when he stood in the first time in Bradford. George Galloway is white and a Scot and spent very little time in either seat before he was a candidate.

    You also ignored my point that there are now Conservative councillors elected in Tower Hamlets, are you suggesting that this results from The Conservative Party appearing to be other than middle-class, white and male?

    You describe Tower Hamlets voters as “…69% non white British”. Are you suggesting that Liberal Democrats are incapable of being elected where this is the case?

    According to the analysis that I have seen, (published in The Times), voting patterns from different ethnic groups indicate that Liberal Democrats got support as follows —
    White British——8%
    Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi—–6%
    Other Asian——-12%
    Black African, Caribbean, other —–1%

    I am not sure what this tells us about Tower Hamets (which does not have a large African/Caribbean population).

    What was clear from the results of the 2014 London Borough elections as well as the resuts of the 2015 General Election is that in hundreds of places which are 95% “white British” our candidates did just as badly or worse than we did in both Bethnall Green and Bow, and in Poplar and Limehouse. It is worth remembering that in Poplar and Limehouse this year it was The Conservatives who came second with 25% of the vote.

    BTW – it is actually possible to disagree with your views and yet still to have “been to” Tower Hamlets and know a little bit about the place. Your suggestion that anyone who disagrees with you cannot have been there does not help you make your point, it is a distraction. Just for the record I am not a jolly cockney, Pearly King from Central Casting, who spent his life working on the docks with Jack Dash — but I am guessing you are not either?

  • Getting back to Elaine’s comments, I’m sure the second preference votes which Elaine mentions are also important to future, local, development and targeting. Elaine Bagshaw 13th Jun ’15 – 1:30pm: “….the huge number of second preferences we got…. people in Tower Hamlets don’t understand the preference system”. The first point shows the value of being observant and collating results in as much detail as possible at the count – for later use. The second preferences are clearly useful in knowing your wards which can be worked better as they might also produce surplus party workers – ready for the next elections in those wards and neghbouring wards.

    Though it is opinion-led that electors don’t know how the system of preference voting works, and should be clarified by parties and the media at every election, we also know that Tories, especially, will say we need to revert to FPTP because the citizens cannot understand preference voting. It is not that citizens cannot understand but that it suits some parties not to constantly explain the voting system – especially to new arrivals who may not have voted at all before entering the polling station.

  • Lester Holloway 14th Jun '15 - 11:45am

    Not sure how Tower Hamlets can be a solid Labour borough when half the votes are going to independents and Respect. More likely there is a desire for more self determination, not for its own sake but because of a feeling that this will deliver better outcomes for the local Bangladeshi population. I think with the defeat of Rabina Khan the opportunity to court new votes opens up, but I can’t see this happening unless the party find a way to marry policies for all with a sense that we recognise what Bangladesh voters want. We need am intelligent recruitment strategy, courting key individuals and showing we understand the whole borough, not just some of it.

  • Sammy O'Neill 14th Jun '15 - 4:00pm

    @JohnTilley

    Having visible minority members in positions of power/high profile is obviously not in itself a magic cure, but is a substantial part of attempting to make our party more representative of the wider country and the local communities it wishes to serve. It is a terrible and damaging image for any party where a national party has absolutely no ethnic minority members in key positions in the 21st century. Add to that the need for a diversity of voices in formulating policies that are able to appeal to everyone and not just the party membership, we’ve got a real problem.

    My comments about you perhaps being unfamilar with Tower Hamlets stem from your bizarre previous comment that the demographics of the area haven’t substantially changed in 25 years. Anyone with even a passing familiarity with Tower Hamlets would never make such a claim, so from that I concluded you were obviously not at all familiar with the area.

    The Tories win seats in Tower Hamlets because a) there are pockets of large numbers of Canary Wharf workers in several wards who are naturally inclined towards them, b) they have successfully established a fairly strong support base amongst high earners across most demographic groups so the wards mentioned in a) remain feasible for them to win and c) Peter Golds is well respected locally for his determined opposition to THF and the homophobic abuse he’s had to suffer. The Lib Dems do not have any corresponding or comparable inherent advantages/build up support bases in Tower Hamlets to ensure a high chance of councillors being elected. The Tories do.

    In terms of your comments about the Times study, I would highlight to you that the sample sizes for most ethnic minority groups were too small to infer much accuracy there. If you look at a cross section of polls, most with much larger sample sizes, you’ll find that constantly Lib Dems underperform amongst ethnic minority voters. We didn’t win a single seat in an area where the White British population wasn’t above (or in most cases substantially above) the national average apart from Carshalton and Wallington, which we very nearly lost and I suspect will lose come 2020.

  • People should remember that in 2010 in the general election, that the Lib Dems came a solid second with 20% of the vote.

    To say that we do not appeal to voters in the constituency where I live is show how short our memories are. This constituency, like many in London, is where we actually have much to offer the voters, and they will respond, but we need to remember how to respond back.

    That goes beyond simply saying ‘put people of the ‘right colour’ in the seat. Voters are not stupid, and nor are they that shallow.

    Rushanara Ali Labour 21,784 42.9 +8.4
    Ajmal Masroor Liberal Democrat 10,210 20.1 +7.8
    Abjol Miah Respect-Unity Coalition 8,532 16.8 -19.8
    Zakir Khan Conservative 7,071 13.9 +2.0

  • In Bradford East we got 30% in a constituency which is only 49% white British…. That is only slightly less than we got in Southport… And one of the smallest drops (4%) in our vote in the entire country.

    And in the Bradford Moor ward (which is very Asian, demographically) we got 38% with a 12% swing from Labour to us (Lib Dems have won there in the past), so it is not just that David Ward collared the white vote and Labour everyone else… No doubt the Bradford East Lib Dems could tell people more.. That leaves Bradford East higher up the target list than Hornsey and Wood Green, and only a little lower than Birmingham Yardley (looking at Labour seats)

    David Ward has got himself in trouble with the Party for his comments over Israel, but I doubt if that is the main reason for doing ok in the Asian vote. Certainly it is not a no-go area for Lib Dems

  • JohnTilley 13th Jun ’15 – 9:38pm …………………….. It is the reality of where we are after 11 years of Orange Bookery — we have to start at the very bottom. It is that bad and all the nonsense that being a “party of government” would change things and that sharing a few junior ministerial posts in a rightwing Conservative Government would see lots of new supporters can now be seen for the empty dreams they were. There are no quick fixes, no easy routes, no clever tricks. There is only the hard way — working in communities with local people to take and use power………….

    So true…. However, I am really worried about the future when there still are many comments praising David Laws and welcoming his continued ‘valuable input’ in rebuilding the party….

  • @expats David Laws would make an excellent leader.

  • Matthew Huntbach 15th Jun '15 - 1:55pm

    Phyllis

    I would be interested to know more about this, John. Is the last sentence referring to the problem the Party has with diversity?

    It’s another case of Labour’s “nah nah nah nah nah” approach. When they lost control of Tower Hamlets to the Liberals Labour adopted the strategy of trying to find anyway they could twist anything the Liberals did to make out they were racist. Labour are like that – if they lose they can never believe it was their fault, and that perhaps people wanted a change. Oh no, they always turn round and try to make up a story like this.

    Now, the Tower Hamlets Liberals were mostly people to the left of the party, and they hadn’t got on with the SDP. Remember the SDP were actually started in Tower Hamlets, with the claim they could reach Labour voters and the Liberals were just a Celtic fringe party – so the vigorous inner city ex-Labour-voters-winning party under their nose (which they hadn’t noticed because they were too grand to look at what was happening locally) were something of an embarrassment to them.

    So, it was part of left-right Liberal-SDP squabbles in the Alliance and then SLD that instead of supporting their own activists the national leadership ganged up with Labour to destroy them.

  • David Evans 15th Jun '15 - 2:59pm

    TCO – David Laws would make an excellent leader of what? A party determined to replicate its 2015 performance in the South West, and lose all its seats in the rest of the country??

    “Sorry mate your wing has had its chance and almost destroyed us. We may not even recover with the best leader available, but we will certainly never recover if we give you another go.”

  • Matthew Huntbach 16th Jun '15 - 12:57am

    Tony Dawson

    It might not be the best time to revisit Tower Hamlets Liberals ‘Local Homes for Local People’ policy

    It would get a lot of support from Bangladeshis complaining about their local homes going to the Sudanese …

  • Matthew Huntbach 16th Jun '15 - 1:09am

    James King

    We’ve all made mistakes; most of us haven’t run race-baiting campaigns.

    Well, one of the leaflets you cite was actually illustrating the slogan “Liberal Democrats fighting for you” with a picture of a boxer. This was twisted by people who wanted to see racism where there wasn’t racism into it being some sort of racist imagery when that was not the intention and it was not seen as that where it was distributed. But the newspaper article you quoted didn’t tell you that, did it?

  • Matthew Huntbach 16th Jun '15 - 1:12am

    Sammy O’Neill

    I don’t think you appreciate how massively the demographics of tower hamlets have changed since the Liberals ran it last.

    But if you had mentioned that massive change when it was happening, you’d be accused of being racist.

  • Matthew Huntbach 16th Jun '15 - 1:20am

    Lester Holloway

    We need am intelligent recruitment strategy, courting key individuals and showing we understand the whole borough, not just some of it.

    Well, that was what actually happened. Various Bangladeshi factions joined the various political parties. The biggest faction joined Labour, but another large faction joined the Liberal Democrats. I was briefly a member of Tower Hamlets Liberal Democrats during the end of their period of running the Borough, though never active with them, but I attended a few meetings so I did observe this. You ended up with politics which though nominally based on the standard political parties was actually more about different factions within the Bangladeshis. This is what you get when you “court key individuals”.

  • Richard Underhill 2nd Aug '15 - 5:39pm

    Labour’s ‘sons and daughters’ policy on housing was condemned as racist, but in the meantime they had lost the all-up election and condemned the council with what appeared to be hypocrisy, sadly effective.
    Devolving power to neighbourhoods depended on having central control.

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    In Today's Guardian, Owen Jones is claiming that the Lib Dems are not an anti-Brexit party, but the Brexiteers' best friends, because they will not...
  • User AvatarPeter Hirst 14th Nov - 3:20pm
    Perhaps we should be thinking that we might be having yet another General Election early next year if that is what it takes for the...
  • User AvatarGraham Jeffs 14th Nov - 1:30pm
    Thanks for your comments Mark. Let's also remember that a visible presence in non-target seats is essential to help boost our poll ratings across the...
  • User AvatarPaul Barker 14th Nov - 1:24pm
    The time to discuss the relative succsess of our focus on Remain will be when we know the results, sometime on Friday the 13th, we...