Harringay online

Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

After it was discovered at the St Ann's Labour Party selection candidate selection meeting that there were people present and voting who should not have been, I came home from the pub (where I'd heard about it) and wrote this article. It has subsequently been edited by site admins to remove the names of people who were embarrassed or in the final case where a journalist said it was potentially libellous. Well here I will attempt to summarise what we have subsequently found out and hopefully take people's attention away from my original appalling rant.

Back in May (The Ward AGM):

  • The St Ann's Ward AGM was convened on Thursday the 23rd of May instead of the usual first Wednesday of June by the then Ward Secretary, Barbara Blake.
  • Protests were made by members about this but they were rebuffed by the Ward Chairman.
  • At this meeting The current Ward Secretary resigned and there was bloc voting to decide the new Ward Secretary.
  • A person in the bloc opposing John Blake turned up late and was prevented from voting despite there being nothing about this in the Labour Party rules.
  • John Blake was elected Ward Secretary by one vote.

The Selection Meeting:

  • The meeting was run by The Secretary of the St Ann's Labour Party , and Steve Hart from Hornsey & Wood Green.
  • A candidate who arrived early noticed the five members arrive with Ali Gul Ozbek, sensed that something was up and mentioned it to Barbara Blake. When the other candidate seemed unhelpful they mentioned it to Steve Hart. Then the candidate went looking for the five people but was barred from entering the room (3o minutes before the selection) by the Ward Secretary.
  • By the time one member I have spoken to arrived, the five members were seated at the back of the room. Four men and one woman (who works in Ali Ozbek's Pharmacy).
  • A blonde woman turned up before anyone had started speaking but was barred from entering the room by the Ward Secretary, despite remonstrating with him.
  • Barbara Blake won in the first round (to select a female candidate) against Zena Brabazon and Emine Ibrahim by two votes. It was 11/1/14. Everybody voted.
  • It is alleged that one candidate knew the questions in advance and had prepared answers.
  • At the appropriate point in the meeting the secretary asked if everyone was OK with the others in the room and everybody laughed.
  • There were various factions voting together in the room; the five new members, Charles Adje's family, Zena and David's people and the Ward Secretary's people.
  • In the final round Ali Ozbek and Peter Morton were selected, beating Zena by one vote.
  • Ali is a local chemist and businessman on Green Lanes who seemed very passionate about what should be done with St Ann's and spoke eloquently about the need to reduce business rates. He is also a property developer.
  • At the time Peter worked as head of press for the Labour Party.
  • Barbara is a trade union official and ex Ward Secretary.

After the Selection Meeting

  • A fellow councillor calls David to commiserate with him.
  • David Browne and Zena Brabazon did some investigation using the St Ann's Labour Party membership list and the electoral roll.
  • They discovered that nineteen new members signed up that year did not actually live in St Ann's and that they had either given Green Lanes business addresses when they signed up or claimed addresses in the ward.
  • Not one of these new members, many of whom were recruited on the 8th of July gave an address in the ward at which they are eligible to vote, which is required by party rules.
  • Five of these members were "eligible" to vote because they signed up before the cut off date of the 30th of April, however they should have been barred from voting because they do not actually live in the ward.
  • Zena and David wrote to their local Labour Party officials who sent their evidence on to the London Labour Party.
  • Nobody can tell me for sure where Ali Ozbek lives but he claims an address in Finsbury Park Avenue.
  • Ali Ozbek has donated money to the Labour Party.
  • According to a twitter exchange with a Labour councillor in another ward, the membership list should have been gone through before the meeting by the person running it to make sure this kind of thing did not happen, it was certainly done in their ward.
  • When one of the five members who voted was called at his home his partner informed the caller that he had been in Turkey for a while and was not due back yet.
  • In Harringay several new Labour Party members were registered using Green Lanes business addresses but not before the cut off date.
  • Barbara Blake has told local traders that it is OK to register as a member in the Labour Party from a business address (it is definitely not) and the Tottenham Membership Secretary has expressed a similar view in a meeting, only to be corrected.

The "Corruption in Haringey Labour" article.

  • After I wrote the original article, in which I also made some allegations against Claire Kober, the only phone call to site admins was to remove the Secretary of the St Ann's Labour party's name from the discussion.
  • There was a lot of comment on the original thread and as of Saturday the 12th of October it appears to have been viewed more than 7000 times, although I dispute that as a useful metric (I think the actual figure is much lower).
  • After some badgering it was picked up by an overworked Stephen Moore at the Tottenham Journal, here.

Trying to get a re-run

  • I have pushed the councillor who commiserated David on his loss on Twitter to join calls asking for a re-run of the election but they have resolutely refused, to the point where it's all a bit weird and "la la la, I can't hear you".
  • As it stands the London Labour Party have agreed that the five people were not eligible to vote but they say that this was not picked up before or during the meeting so the result stands. Their investigation consisted of speaking to the Ward Secretary and Steve Hart. Steve Hart lied because someone did speak to him before the meeting.
  • The London Labour Party have the attendance list and will not release it, presumably because it shows that people were not identified correctly and that at least two of the five were imposters.
  • Appeals to the NEC have all been rebuffed, even with the full acknowledgement of what went on.

The Labour doorstep in Harringay

  • The St Ann's Labour Party have a great deal of trouble getting members to help them out with canvassing. A photograph has been tweeted showing more than 20 people out in Harringay Ward above the same session in St Ann's, with just two.
  • When David Lammy, after a lot of badgering apparently, stepped out in St Ann's for the Labour doorstep he was met by a picket of local men calling on him not to support the St Ann's fraudsters. As I understand it he will not be going out with them again.

The Police are involved

  • On Monday the 10th of February Haringey MPS made a visit to me on behalf of the secretary of the St Ann's Labour Party and his partner.
  • It was alleged that I had called him filth on Twitter (which I have not, that was someone else) and that I said "I know I'm hassling you but...". I was served with a Notice of Harassment Letter which will now appear in extended CRB checks.

*An individual has asked that their name be replaced with their function in this post on the grounds that they are not seeking public office. This has been done.

Tags for Forum Posts: election2014, labour, st ann's labour, stanns

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As a local Labour member I'm shocked that this action has been taken by the police against someone standing up against corruption and lack of transparency, and yet the police are not (apparently) proceeding in spite of evidence in the incident at the Salisbury. I'm grateful to John M for being willing to stand up and expose possible irregularities (at least) in election of candidates. Well done John.

Let's be careful about this 'evidence in the incident at The Salisbury'. It is my understanding that the case was somewhat nuanced and short of a full and balanced accounting, I need to point this out. 

Just to be clear however, there was a heated disagreement at the Salisbury between a couple of members of the local Labour Party. Completely accept that there are no doubt different sides to this story, but want to be clear that it happened; I happened to be sitting at a table in the middle of it, having a drink with a friend.

On 17 February LibDem blogger Mark Pack commented on his website here about the latest instalment in the St Ann's scandal.

Mark got a copy of the famous John Blake letter before it was taken down. Unlike John Blake, Mark has grasped that the key issue for the selection  and the May election, is signing-up by twenty-one "members" who don't live in St Ann's ward; nor in several cases, are their homes in the Tottenham Constituency. And the impact on the result of the selection ballot when five of these people voted. 

Mark Park expresses his doubts about the police response to tweets by John McMullan and Phil K.

"Given that the accusations about the tweets don’t involve incitement to violence, high volumes of abuse, personal threats or the like, the intervention of the police is rather worrying on free speech grounds."

I know that many Labour Party members and supporters are very concerned about St Ann's for the same reasons. Although there's still a deafening silence by key people in the Labour Party on both the vote-rigging and the issue of free speech.

I was surprised Mark didn't mention Emine Ibrahim being a whistleblower who has had the courage to stand up and tell the truth as she sees it - on both issues. (And yes, I'm aware that different people can have differing recollections of the same events.)

(Tottenham Hale ward councillor. My wife Zena Brabazon is one of the two deselected councillors in St Ann's ward.)

Labour Inn-fighting

Before it disappeared I saw the leaked email. The long, fratricidal diatribe showed little restraint and poor judgement. Should the branch secretary not consider his position?

I remain surprised that the Labour leadership continues to allow the matter to fester. My remarks may be seen as self-serving, but someone at Labour ought to get a grip on this soon.

It's not just that Labour's 'official' St. Ann's candidates will be seen as selected as a result of a tainted process. It taints all politics. If Labour leaders don't act quickly to clean up the mess, it could be exploited for electoral purposes by their opponents. Like me.

The involvement of law enforcement officers is likely to have raised eyebrows. Was that sanctioned within the Labour Party? If so, I wonder at what level. Events at No.10 Downing Street show that the police service needs to be careful indeed before involving themselves in matters having a large party-political component.

Disclosure:
I am a prospective councillor candidate
Highgate Ward,  Liberal Democrat Party

People who have followed this thread may not yet have spotted a new discussion posted here by Osbawn.  He draws attention to the new Private Eye magazine which includes a summary of this story in their Rotten Boroughs column.  (21 February - 6 March edition; page 14.)

The summary is broadly accurate. Although Private Eye makes a small error in referring to John Blake, Branch Secretary of St Ann's Labour Party ward as "David Blake". (Elsewhere he writes as John David Blake.)  They also describe Peter Morton - one of the selected Labour candidates - as "a senior Labour Party press officer". This was accurate at the time of the branch Selection Meeting in September 2011. However, Mr Morton subsequently left that job.

(Tottenham Hale ward councillor. My wife Cllr Zena Brabazon is one of the deselected candidates in St Ann's ward. The other is Cllr David Browne.)

A news item about Margate has again raised the question of when genuine online debate and disagreement crosses a line and is treated as "harassment".

Today (23 February 2014) The Observer reports that very strong feelings about a new Tesco store led to two Facebook sites with Margate people taking for and against positions. This has now led to Police involvement following a complaint by Louise Oldfield a campaigner against Tesco.

The Observer reports that Ms Oldfield "...  suffered online abuse from what appeared to be a number of people hiding behind a pseudonym."  She referred the comments to police who, initially decided not to pursue the matter. But "changed their minds after Ms Oldfield approached the office of Kent's police commissioner, Ann Barnes".

I've not seen the Facebook sites, so I'm not going to comment on the Police action. Except to say that it seems the Crown Prosecution Service needs to keep a close eye on these cases and ensure its guidance is kept clear, up-to-date, and as practical and helpful as possible

A further thought. I don't deliberately publish things which are untrue about other people. I assume that most people don't. But I do sometimes get my facts wrong. So please tell me.

The LibDem councillor Jim Jenks wrote something critical of the Council (fine) but got some of his facts wrong. I raised this with him. Jim listened, promised he'd check and did so. Very quickly correcting what he'd written. That's a man who earns my respect and trust.

(Tottenham Hale ward councillor)

  John, a joint contribution from me and Zena transferred to your Bindman's client account today.

 Also, we've been told that a couple of new people have - separately - contacted Private Eye magazine about the so-called "Notice of Harassment". - a.k.a. harassment of citizens' right to the expression of free speech as is necessary in a democratic society.

Thank you very much Alan. Hopefully we get our legal costs back as mine is money destined for other purposes, as I imagine yours is.

According to this post from 2010 James Stewart lived in Hornsey Ward in Hornsey & Wood Green constituency. Pray Labour Party, when did this man, who is Ed Miliband's spokesperson, move his membership to St Ann's so that he could take part in this selection meeting?

Im sorry Justin, that you did not feel able to comment on my post on your laughable election leaflet which made its way into the Guardian....but to be consistent.....you haven't commented on this post either!

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