For those who observe Tower Hamlets Council closely or – for health and safety reasons – at arm’s length, Monday’s Panorama would have contained just the one shock amid the welter allegations of mismanagement, cronyism and self-promotion.
Lutfur speaks! He does. We have him on camera and can relive those precious moments again and again, perhaps at 3pm on Christmas Day with our children gathered at our knees.
And he proved himself a canny operator. Not in his replies or quick-wittedness, of course. But in his early decision to cower behind his “human rights” and never speak again – unless it is to subsidised and fawning Bangladeshi TV stations.
For Rahman is no great speaker and a worse debater.
(Reporter John Ware: “We have evidence that Tower Hamlets is a borough in east London.”
LR: “That is absolutely not true, Mr Ware. Not true! You have no proof.”
JW: “We have. We have this tearsheet from the A-Z and a signed letter from the Queen herself.”
LR: “You are just being selective, Mr Ware.”)
It is testament to the strength of the allegations against him – the intricate re-purposing of money to benefit Bengali charities – that Mr Rahman put in a show at all.
But if there was nothing new in these revelations, there was a sense of relief.
At last! Our little local embarrassment is now a national scandal. At last! Outsiders will understand our woe. At last! Unlikely hero Eric Pickles could ride in on his trusty, thick-limbed, steed and rescue us.