A new outbreak of sectarianism in the Town Hall?

As this blog has reported previously, some councillors in Waltham Forest seem to find avoiding sectarianism, whether national or religious, rather difficult.

Now news emerges of what appears to be a further example of this unpleasant phenomenon.

Annually, LBWF celebrates a variety of nation days, normally with a reception and flag raising ceremony.

The 14 August is Pakistan day, and this year, it was marked in the normal way.

However, during the reception (which was chaired by Cllr. Liaquat Ali and attended by the Mayor), events took a somewhat unusual turn.

For, at the instigation of the experienced and senior Labour Councillor, Masood Ahmad, it is reported, the proceedings were interrupted with strident calls for the abandonment of the India day celebrations which were due to follow 24 hours later, the reason advanced being India’s changing policy on Kashmir.

Indeed, as neutral attendees attest, the clamour from the floor and the assembled Labour councillors lasted for some 10 minutes, and was only brought to a halt by the combined efforts of the Mayor and the Conservative leader, Cllr. Alan Siggers.

This episode can only be called deplorable.

Kashmir is not a LBWF issue, so why councillors should believe that they can use their office, let alone the Town Hall premises, to discuss it is a mystery.

More fundamentally, still, all councillors are duty bound to represent the voting public as a whole, not any particular section of it, and as day follows night this means honouring all nation days equally.

It is quite extraordinary – though sadly not wholly unexpected – that some councillors, even senior councillors, seem not to understand these simple axioms.

Of course, the penetration of Labour by those with their own agendas has long been a problem in Waltham Forest, and it is symptomatic of the impoverished state of the Party that – as this episode well illustrates – neither the ruling clique nor their vociferous left-wing critics are willing to do anything about it.

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