Ken Livingstone’s ‘long march’ with Lutfur Rahman and Campaigners from
Burdet Estate to Brick Lane, Bethnal Green
Ken Livingstone joined the Tower Hamlets Burdett Road Housing Estate tenants and ‘Supporters of Lutfur Rahman’ on a sunny Monday morning 18 October.
The BBC London News crew and Bengali press were out in full force to cover the ‘surprise visit’. Ken and Lutfur met with local residents and small business owners. They discussed many issues including how RSLs were managing housing estates, the environment, and how local businesses were managing in the difficult economic environment. Livingstone and Rahman were then accompanied by the large groun of campaigners along the whole length of Whitechapel High Street, finally arriving in Behthnal Green.
On what became a two mile walk they passed by many local landmarks; starting from famous Sidney Street junction with the infamous Blind Begger pub, Booths salvation army hostel, Altab Ali Memorial Park, Whitechapel Art Gallery, and Brick Lane. Here, the ‘long march’ was punctuated with visits into famous local restaurants and curry houses that bring fame and fortune to Brick Lane. Then passing by the new fashionable business developments around Trumans Brewery the entourage stopped and chatted to the many young entrepreneurs starting up in businesses that echo the trades established by earlier settlers in the area; the 18th century Huguenot silk weavers, the Jewish textile and rag trades and the exotic continental cafes. What a walk!
Ken Livingstone was made very welcome by the east enders who appreciated his very public support for a fellow politician who is facing similar “political” struggles. Turning his back on the contraversial Rich Mix Centre the “dynamic piper” ended his walk through Bethnal Green’s market. He did express concern about the Rich Mix Centre’s continual bail out with millions of public money that could have been geographically distributed throughout the borough… but this is another political issue that needs investigation.