The Guardian view on Lutfur Rahman: ethics must trump ethnicity

The wholly devastating verdict against Lutfur Rahman, the former mayor of Tower Hamlets, found guilty of corrupt practices, vote-rigging, and deliberately smearing his Labour rival as a racist, destroys more than the career of an energetic and illegally unscrupulous politician. It is also a damning criticism of the inadequate ways in which British democracy defends itself against fraud, demagoguery and corruption.

Justice has been done here, but it has been done slowly and at huge personal risks to the four citizens who brought the action and who would have been bankrupted had it failed. There must be a review mechanism that is independent of the democratic process and can correct some of its failures. Who else but the courts can provide it? There is no special virtue in elected officials if the electoral process is itself corrupt. [256 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 156 votes] Should this article not include a couple of sentences to the effect that: ‘Several of this newspapers columnists were so taken in by this man and his cronies that they closed their ears over many years to evidence based warnings of what was going on in Tower Hamlets.

They were as vocal as Rahman himself in screaming ‘racist’ and ‘Islamophobe’ at those who warned of what was going on and their stance regrettably contributed in no small measure to its continsurance and the poisonous community relations that will now persist in Tower Hamlets for many years’.

[2ND 149] I have been reading about Lutfur & his delightful gang for years in Private Eye, Tower Hamlets is but a a tip of the iceberg.

Why do the mainstream press with all the resources at their fingertips take about 5 years to scream “quelle horror” when it eventually reaches them? it’s already in the public domain.

[3RD 136] “The defence of politics as it was practised by Mr Rahman is that it is an effective and probably inevitable response to discrimination and stereotyping from the outside world.”

And how was politics practised by Mr Rahman? Well, according to this article, he was

“…. guilty of corrupt practices, vote-rigging, and deliberately smearing his Labour rival as a racist”

and

“emerges as a liar, evasive and manipulative, a man who corrupts the electoral process so that he can corrupt its political results, buying votes and media coverage so that once elected he can direct streams of money and patronage at his supporters.”

But it’s not ultimately Rahman’s fault because his behaviour was simply an “inevitable response to discrimination and stereotyping”. So ultimately, it’s all whitey’s fault. No surprise there, then!

[4TH 134] Just a shame that journalists from this paper waded in to defend him less than a year ago. Dreadful journalism.

[5TH 99] Nobody perpetuates identity politics in the UK more than the Guardian. Also, have they eaten humble pie for previously calling the complaints against Rahman a smear campaign? [Guardian Cif] Read more

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