Anyone following this blog, my Tribune columns and other web outpourings will know I’m parti-pris when it comes to Respect (can’t stand them) so I was amused to see that another of their councillors in their Tower Hamlets powerbase has defected. This one has not “come home to Labour” but done a political somersault to join the Tories, after it seems having a few wobblies on the way.

The news was broken in blogland among others by Chris Paul and Dave Osler who both link to earlier ruminations of theirs that foretold all this – respectively here and here. As long-time LBTH Unison man Jon Gray asks pertinently: “Why is it that absolutely anything that Galloway touches eventually falls to pieces?” The defection means that the Conservatives are now the main opposition group in a borough where there are many oppositions including the Lib Dems who used to rule the roost in the 90s. I think all this adds up to the fact that Respect are now, to mix metaphors and use a Lib Dem analogy, as dead as a deceased parrot. The borough is clearly changing. Not long ago it was a Tory free zone, now they are creeping into the southern bit.

It would be fair if the defector Ahmed Hussian resigned to fight a by-election and seek a legitimate mandate. But just as calls for Gurcharan Singh and his mates in Ealing fell of deaf ears I bet he won’t. Even the example of Dick Taverne who did resign from the Commons in 1973 after leaving Labour to sucessfuly fight a by-election was out on his ear a year later. There was a Facebook group and Downing Street e-petition to get the Southall councillors to resign. There should be the same for this bloke.

Finally the source of this bombshell of a story is the East London Advertiser’s Ted Jeory, the sharpest political hack of the local reporter pack. His “Trial by Jeory” column is the first thing most politically inclined folk in the TH turn to on a Friday. Give this man a Fleet Street slot someone (or whatever the 21st century equivalent of the Street of Shame is).