It is perhaps unfair to call out Labour candidate for Ealing Central and Acton, Rupa Huq, on this issue as this is endemic in Ealing Labour’s bent politics.
On Friday Huq looked characteristically ill-at-ease as she stood beside East Acton councillor Hitesh Tailor and head of East Acton Primary School, Helen Williams. The latter is paid the best part of £100K of public money to run this school and she is wasting her time doing photocalls with election candidates. At least Tailor is elected and represents the ward in which her school is located. Huq has no locus and I really can’t see why she is on the premises. If the head wants to run an event alongside the Unison funded Stars in our schools campaign to thank her support staff I am not sure why she thinks it is appropriate to invite only Labour politicians, and an un-elected one at that.
None of this is new. In January this year, in the run up the local elections, Labour produced a press release (that wasn’t taken up by anyone as I recall) with this picture.
It shows the head of Selbourne Primary School, Barbara Anne Smith, and a senior council education officer, Opal Brown, posing with the three Labour candidates (none were actual councillors at the time) for the Perivale ward. I complained to the council and the press release disappeared from Labour’s website. The officer in charge told me that Brown didn’t know who she was being photographed with! A reminder was issued “on expectations in relation to this” apparently.
It happened again in April when Steven Twigg pulled Huq along to a visit to West Twyford Children’s Centre.
The head Rachel Martin seems to think it is appropriate to broadcast her Labour affiliations but she is not entitled to do it in working hours.
Again I complained to the council and Twigg deleted his tweet. The officer in charge told me “The school has been reminded of the guidance in relation to conduct in the run-up to elections” and he arranged for legal guidance to be re-circulated to all schools as a reminder.
It isn’t just head teachers that are supporting Labour’s political campaigning. The council often does it too. Labour’s Onkar Sahota abused public resources mercilessly in his camapaign for the GLA in 2012. For instance, council leader Julian Bell used his Parliamentary e-mail account to promote Sahota, Labour councillor for Elthorne, Yoel Gordon, used his council e-mail address when he was campaigning for Sahota and Sahota repeatedly got himself in official photographs before he was elected.
Having been caught out misbehaving previously in April Huq should know she is cheating and abusing public funds. It seems she doesn’t care though. Huq is Bell’s preferred candidate as Sahota was. The culture of cheating infects them all.
I decided to name names above after having politely and discretely taken this matter up with council officers twice before. If this embarrasses teachers then my response is they should stop.