I think Eric's Pickle's intervention to launch this investigation was a good thing. There has been allegations after allegations for a long time and a process was needed to end rumours / allegations or do something about them. I support Lutfur, not because I know him personally or support his particular brand of politics but the way he was treated and the pressures put on him.
I don’t believe any of the Bangladeshi Labour councillors who became leaders in the past were in any way better than or cleaner than him. In fact in my judgement far worst. I do believe there is competency and experience issues here and structural problems. In terms of Luthfur being lobbied, I am sure many people lobby him and people around him to influence decision on funding and grants.
I have worked in regeneration programmes in London where we dished out funds in millions, some to big boys and girls and some to small community organisations. Always there are lobbying and pressures. I have personally administered grants in Bedford, Kilburn (Brent), Greenwich, Stratford (Newham) amounted to several millions and I was very meticulous and tried to be fair based on needs as per local deprivation studies, personal knowledge of issues and needs and the applicants identification / justification of needs and their plan to address them, where the final decisions were taken by panels made up of Board sub committees. Even then some groups accused me and my organisation of being bias.
I think it is good that Luthfur is fighting back and there is an opportunity for Luthfur to work with commissioners appointed by Pickles on a number of areas where the study have found problematic. Luthfur can both focus more on some of the other areas and work with the commissioners to improve on areas of concerns. In this way Luthfur can actually benefit and he will face less accusations of wrong doings.
I do hope that Luthfur does mount a legal challenge and the media starts to scrutinise other councils on their grants giving and also grants given by Labour council in Tower Hamlets during the 1990s and early last decade.
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