Andrew Boff was the Conservative candidate for Hackney Mayor on May 7. I'm sure, with all these minor shenanigans happening on the national political stage, it slipped your mind to check in with the results of our mayoral election. But I want to do more than tell you about them. I want to ask you for money. No, don't stop reading, it's not for me or even the greater Hackney Tory Collective. It's for a campaign to protect a small, independent newspaper from the mighty legal clout of Hackney Labour Council.
Harry Phibbs covered the 'controversial' decisions of Hackney's Labour council in the run-up to the election: first they banned Andrew's electoral address from going out to voters. Their given reason for this was that Andrew referred to the salary bill of the current mayor and his cabinet. Apparently this is out of order for our council: not only should we pay their salaries, we shouldn't learn how much it costs us either, certainly not from the manifesto of an opposition politician. Run this through your head again: Hackney Labour Council will not permit the costs of their mayor and cabinet to be printed in the manifesto of an opposition politician at election time.
Can it get worse? Yes, it can get worse.
Andrew was contacted by some voters who had rang up the council to find out why his address wasn't included with those of the other candidates, and had subsequently been told that Andrew wasn't actually a candidate. Andrew rang up the council himself, as An Anonymous Voter, and asked for clarification. He was told, indeed, that there was no Conservative candidate in the mayoral election. Fortunately, he taped the phone conversation.
The recording was taken up by the Hackney Citizen, a small, independent, completely non-aligned and fearless media outlet. The Hackney Citizen published the recorded phone conversation on its website.
And as sure as night follows day, the Citizen received a threatening letter from the Council. The Citizen is threatened with legal action unless it removes the recording from their website, a recording, remember, in which a Hackney council officer tells a Hackney voter that Andrew was not a candidate in the Hackney Mayoral election. Which was not true.
I'm glad to report that Private Eye has covered the case in Rotten Boroughs and is showing solidarity with the Citizen in this matter by hosting 'The Boff Tape'.
Labour get away with this sort of behaviour in this borough for one simple reason: because they can. I've had enough of seeing the small, the brave and the independent being threatened, silenced and driven out by Hackney's ruling Labour class. They came for Spirit and we could not fight them off. They banned the author of That Rose-Red Empire from speaking in our libraries. They're coming now for a newspaper, a newspaper with the temerity to tell its readers that misinformation about the Conservative candidate was given out by the council just days before the election.
Does that make you sick? Then you are henceforth an honourary citizen of our rose-red borough. Help the Hackney Citizen fight back. Donate here.