Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman discusses the marathon and how we should remember politicians
- Credit: Rehan Jamil
The shocking events in Boston last week served to remind us just how vulnerable great public events in cities can be.
No-one could have predicted that a marathon would be targeted in this way, with bystanders and participants maimed and killed.
At last week’s meeting of Tower Hamlets full council I conveyed our borough’s sincere condolences to the city and people of Boston.
Many of you may rightly had concerns about the London Marathon.
Security was reviewed and tightened and our event went ahead according to plan with huge crowds turning out to cheer on our athletes on the day.
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Security was of course tight at another event in central London last week – the funeral of Baroness Thatcher.
She was a Prime Minister who attracted strong feelings, and while I disagreed profoundly with many of her policies, the passing of anyone is painful for family and friends.
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However, the event cost more than £10million, and at a time when ordinary people are feeling the full effects of her successor’s austerity policies.
None of Lady Thatcher’s post-war prime ministerial peers was afforded a funeral on anything like this scale.
In fact, Labour’s Clement Attlee, whose statue stands outside Queen Mary University, helped to create the NHS and the welfare state, and had a small, private ceremony attended by 150 people.
All of this also put me in mind of another famous local political figure, George Lansbury, who led the Poplar rent rebels and was known locally and nationally as “Good old George” when he led the Labour Party.
He too had a small, understated send-off.
So I was delighted when recently we helped send-off plans by the Boundary Commission, backed by local Conservatives, that the ‘Lansbury Ward’ should disappear.
Keeping it is a fitting – and cost free – memorial to someone who actually did a lot of good for the East End.