When working as an Electrical / Mechanical Engineer on a large and complex sewage pumping station on the banks of the Thames near to the Woolwich Ferry, I was involved in detailed design and engineering works alongside a Muslim Malaysian Civil Engineer who was part of our team. I got to know him quite well during the 18 months we spent on the building and commissioning of the station. In one of our off-peak chat sessions, the subject of bribery / back-handers / corrupt practices came up, and I was astounded to hear, from this well-educated, competent, and otherwise intriguingly normal man that he considered bribery, ‘back-handers’, corruption of whatever sort, from ‘looking the other way’ to accepting cash, after being asked to lessen or dilute working standards and practices; as being perfectly normal in India or Malaysia, and why should it not be accepted in England. The ‘mindset’ of this Muslim, which was to either condone or accept bribery as ‘a matter of fact’, was to me, simply appalling.
So, should we be astounded to learn, according to a Petition to the High Court organised by a cross-party group of six Tower Hamlets voters; that the Mayor of Tower Hamlets, along with his Muslim supporters, arranged that some polling stations were besieged by crowds of “hostile and threatening” supporters of Mr Rahman, with Bengali voters, especially women, intercepted outside polling stations, then “accompanied” into the polling booths and “directed how to vote”.
It says that some people arrived at the polling station to find that their votes had already been cast. Others who applied for postal votes never received them or had their ballot papers taken from them by Mr Rahman’s supporters. Numerous “ghost voters” were registered to, and voted from, addresses where they did not live. Rahman supporters smeared Mr Biggs as a racist and told Bengali voters that anyone who voted for him was “not a good Muslim”.
During May’s chaotic count, which lasted five days, candidates from parties opposed to Mr Rahman saw their votes fluctuate dramatically. Sanu Miah, a Labour council candidate in the St Peter’s ward, came top in the first count, with 2,270 votes. However, Mr Rahman demanded a recount, to take place the following day. The votes were stored at Tower Hamlets’ headquarters, Mulberry Place, overnight. In the recount Mr Miah dropped from first place to fifth, with his vote falling by a quarter to 1,722 votes. However, Mr Miah alleges that the seal on one of the ballot boxes was “tampered with and opened” overnight and that “something took place with the ballot papers whilst they were held at Mulberry Place”.
The Judge in the Birmingham Trial had it about right; where there are Labour-supporting Muslims sneaking around the ballot boxes, there is certain to be both Bananas, and corruption!