I won't be voting for a Mayor
By Jim Fitzpatrick
It's nearly time for the General Election and we have council elections, too, and a referendum on a directly elected Mayor in Tower Hamlets.
In the Mayoral referendum, I'll be voting "No". The local council has been performing well, with huge challenges. It's been regarded as a Beacon Council for over five years now.
Stable politics, good managerial leadership and good staff have improved services year on year. Why change?
Why destabilise the structure? Why create a new layer of bureaucracy? Why pay for a new, additional, expensive post that's not needed?
The present system works. It can be improved, and will be - but it doesn't need a complete change in power structure.
The democracy argument from supporters of an elected Mayor is yet to be explained, given their curiously unrepresentative video on their website, and the issue of who claims to represent whom is what I've been highlighting in the debate regarding the Islamic Forum of Europe.
A self-appointed group of people who claim to represent the whole of their community and the whole of their religion does a grave disservice to the majority of that community - and to criticise that group is not to criticise the religion.
Any attempt to do so is simply disingenuous mudslinging. Thankfully, people are realising this and speaking for themselves.
- Jim Fitzpatrick is MP for Poplar and Canning Town