Labour,  Lutfur Rahman

Luke Akehurst, Labour NEC Member on Lutfur, Ken, Communalism

Read Luke Akehurst’s take on yesterday’s victory by the Islamic Forum Europe candidate, Lutfur Rahman.

In particular, he asks the following questions:

Some questions for people to comment on:

  • How does Labour (or any of the other parties) stop itself being used as a playground for rehearsing communal faction fights that are nothing to do with Labour politics, or as a vehicle for well-organised ethnic or faith communities to take over and seize control of local authorities and their resources?
  • How do we tackle communalism – the unhealthy and undemocratic practice of people voting along ethnic or faith lines rather than judging parties and candidates on their policies and merits?
  • How do we give democratic selection rights to genuine party members in a local context where organised groups are “branch-stacking” and trying to buy their way to victory?
  • What action can we take to ensure Ken sticks to the same rules and basics of behaviour that every other Labour member has to? (It’s our fault – we readmitted him – which I argued against at the time – knowing he was Labour only when it suited him)
  • Given London Labour members have picked Ken as Mayoral candidate so he’s the only one we’ve got, how do we rebuild his relationship with a loyalist activist base in Tower Hamlets and the wider London Party who will now feel extremely reluctant to go out and work to get him elected?

I’m keen to know what people think as this will be a big issue at the next NEC meeting on 30 November.

Those with a genuine interest in helping Labour face these challenges might want to comment at Luke’s blog.

Luke concludes:

I am sad rather than angry about Ken’s intervention. The London Labour Party in 2008 was very united for the Mayoral campaign and that involved those of us who had been passionate stop-Keners in 2000 moving on and putting the past behind us. I want another united campaign in 2012 but Ken is going to have a lot of fence-mending to do to make that happen.

I will be giving Ken as Mayoral candidate the loyal and very active support from now until 2012 he singularly failed to give to Helal Abbas.

Well, I’m not an NEC member, and so I don’t have to pretend to think that Ken Livingstone is any good. However, unlike Ken Livingstone – who campaigned for Lutfur Rahman, and who has a very long history of allying himself with supporters of terrorism, totalitarian politics, and Islamist  entryist parties – I won’t be recommending a vote for another candidate.

I do think, however, that Ken Livingstone is totally unfit to be Mayor of London. I very much hope that he will lose and lose ignominiously.  If he does, it will be a direct result of the manner in which this man conducts himself.

The bottom line is that a political faction which is every bit as extreme, sectarian, racist and nasty as the British National Party now controls a one billion pound budget. Ken Livingstone played his part in that development, and he must be held to account for it.