A Jewish mayor has been accused of fraud and a Christian mayor has been accused of bribery. Such a line sounds unthinkable in a modern nation’s press and yet our media has yet again been riding the train of Islamophobia with a string of articles accusing a ‘Muslim mayor’ of fraud, divine intervention and selling lollipops…
Yes you did read that correctly for those of you who had to reread the divine intervention part. Lutfur Rahman, the mayor of Tower Hamlets, ran independently against both the Conservatives and Labour winning the mayoral seat. Since his victory losing candidates have been launching a string of allegations, which have been getting stranger and more ludicrous as each one is thrown out of the courtroom, with no evidence found as yet. The case is currently in continuation as the Court has allowed more time for petitioners to back up their claims which some suggest are politically motivated.
Some such allegations include stating that Mr Rahman and his supporters were selling lollipops to potential voters, as a form of bribery. Other stranger allegations suggest Mr Rahman asked for divine intervention to win the election, which is probably impossible to prove as I am sure God will be unable to comment.
Tower Hamlets does of course have a small history of electoral fraud, but the only person ever to be convicted was a Conservative party candidate. Could Mr Rahman be the next politician convicted of fraud? A total of four people have filed to have his election deemed invalid. Curiously the four people are directly linked with the losing parties of the last election.
Stranger still print media has jumped on the bandwagon in some of the worst journalism an election has seen. The Daily Telegraph’s article on the issue has the word ‘allegedly’ printed both at the start and end as they take opinion for fact and facts fall on deaf ears as the Telegraph must recycle a quote from Mr Rahman’s team given to the Evening Standard.
Mr Rahman, an independent Social Democrat, was elected in May by a 3000 vote majority, bolstering his self-professed record of delivery, despite some of the worst cuts local government has faced in generations. Since then he has been fighting to keep his democratically won seat from ferocious campaigns by Labour, Conservatives and other political parties. Such ‘politics’ has become what we, the electorate, expect from UK politicians. The Metropolitan police have investigated the issue and after finding no evidence are being accused by the four of taking part in the conspiracy.
This childish and undemocratic behaviour is the very reason why many, especially young people, are turning away from politics. Who would want to be involved in an industry that degenerates itself to such actions? Yet it is clear that more involvement from the, currently silent, majority will drown out the lunacy as it comes from a small minority. If the British people fully involve themselves in politics, the rational majority will silence the minority.
BY: Matteo Bergamini