The known and unknown of the election - Tower Hamlets goes to the polls

The East London Advertiser spoke to Tower Hamlets residents this week to find out what they think about today’s mayoral election

ONLINE blogs, newspaper pages and local TV news programmes have been geared towards the Tower Hamlets mayoral election today, when residents pick a man (and that is the one thing we do know) who will command a salary of around �75,000 per year.

Accusations and counter-accusations have flown between candidates during their campaigning, but has that translated to interest on the streets.

The East London Advertiser spoke to ordinary residents, shoppers and stall-holders in the build-up to today’s vote.

We visited Whitechapel market in Whitechapel Road and the Chrisp Street market in Poplar to find out if people knew about the election, if they felt candidates had done enough to engage with them and whether they would be voting today.

Plus we tested some unlucky passers-by on their recognition of the candidates by showing them their photos (without their names) – with surprising results.

Becky Smith, 18, drama student at Queen Mary, University of London. Lives on campus off Mile End Road. (Recognised Alan Duffell, no others).

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“I’m more drawn to him (Alan) as a candidate but I don’t think the Greens would have the power to make significant changes.

“I would have voted for John Griffiths but I feel betrayed by them joining the coalition. Everyone in my flat - 11 of us - are all going to go down to vote together.”

Mohammed Hossain, 34, Brady Street (Recognised Helal Abbas and Lutfur Rahman, no others)

“I am from Bangladesh and I think it’s important for my people to get involved and I believe this election will give them an opportunity to do that. I have a postal vote so I do plan to vote.”

Masud Mer, 30, Brick Lane (Recognised Lutfur Rahman, no others. Knew Helal Abbas is representing Labour and John Griffiths is representing Liberal Democrats but didn’t know their names)

“I can’t decide who to vote for yet so I’m leaving my decision until the last minute. It’s hard to know who the best candidate is.”

In Chrisp Street Market, Poplar, voters shared their views about the election

Mohammad Zabair, 32, St. Leonards Road

“I’ve had something through from Helal Abbas. I think it could help having a mayor. That’s why I want to vote.”

Kadel Strong, 26, Devas Street

“I plan to vote. This area needs a mayor. I know that the Labour Party had two candidates. They shouldn’t have kicked Lutfur Rahman out.”

Waheeda Miah, 22, East India Dock Road

“I’ve heard a bit about it. I heard about Lutfur Rahman on Facebook and I’ve heard good things about him. I don’t know about any of the other candidates.”

Lynn Bezzina, 45, Morant Street

“It’s a load of rubbish. When we were asked in the referendum whether we wanted a mayor, everyone near where I lived said no. Then it all went ahead anyway. Lutfur Rahman has been campaigning around here, I haven’t seen anyone else.”

In Whitechapel market in Whitechapel Road

Sultana Miah, 36, Redman’s Road

“I’ve had a Labour leaflet through my door and that is it. I think the candidates should get out there more to publicise the election. We need a decent mayor especially one who could sort out the schooling. I had a lot of problems trying to get my daughter into a secondary school.

Mohammad Hosain, 23, Avondale Road

“I received a leaflet about Rahman but no-one else. I’m not too bothered which of the candidates wins though.”

Lilian Pickernell, 89, White Horse Lane

“I usually get leaflets about all the candidates for a general election but not this time. I do vote though and will try to on Thursday – it’s no good going around just grumbling about everything if you don’t try to make it better.”