Since Labour won the local elections in 2010 they have been blurring the line between official civic events and Labour party rallies. I have asked the Chief Executive to clarify the status of the Diwali lights switch on event held outside Southall Town Hall on Monday. Pictured on the left of this photo is Labour’s Ealing & Hillingdon GLA candidate Onkar Sahota who is naturally keen to get his face seen in the area.
You can understand the Mayor turning on the lights and the council inviting the local MP, the council leader and local councillors. As they are all Labour politicians you can understand that they all had a jolly time and thought that it was OK to throw Sahota into the mix. But, this looked like a council event paid for with public money and if it was then it was wrong to include Sahota. It would be nice to think that the opposition leaders and actual GLA member for Ealing & Hillingdon, Richard Barnes, were invited. I have asked. Will report back.
This is not the first local event that Sahota has gate crashed. He turned up and spoke at the riot meeting last Monday. He introduced himself as Dr Onkar Sahota and raised a point about the problem of closing GP’s surgeries early because of the riot. Fair enough. He did not introduce himself as a GLA candidate and if he had done he would probably have been booed into silence when he went on to make a nakedly political point and say that it was the “wrong time to have public spending cuts”. The riots had nothing to do with the Coalition’s deficit reduction programme and Sahota shows what a lightweight he is repeating Ken Livingstone’s widely derided remarks and trying to link the two. Next time it would be nice if he declared his interests before he spoke.