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Maybe it’s because I’m not a Londoner…


10:12 am - March 23rd 2008

by Alan Thomas    


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… that I’d rather not support Ken Livingstone for Mayor? Somehow I just can’t muster any massive enthusiasm for Livingstone, nor do I feel the chilling terror of his major opponent (Tory buffoon Boris Johnson) that the Mayor’s re-election campaign appears to be trying to instil in the electorate. To hear the statements coming from some of Livingstone’s supporters you’d think that this was a race between Che Guevara and some kind of combination of Adolf Hitler and Satan, and I just can’t see what is effectively a council election on steroids in such apocalyptic terms. I also, try as I might, just can’t bring myself to like the oleaginous Livingstone, who is still trying to morph himself from his previous status as a grinning celebrity chat show guest, to having some kind of political gravitas. Ironically of course, Johnson is a product of the same media clowning circuit that Livingstone is. Bojo versus Bozo – what an appetising choice for the people of London.

Don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate that there are policy differences on things such as affordable housing targets, not to mention the burning lifestyle issue of bendy buses versus routemasters, and that obviously the latter is a life-or-death matter which should have me up all night in a cold sweat. But again, these differences are at best the differences between a centre-left liberal and a centre-right economic libertarian. At worst (as with BusGate) they’re no more than a question of gimmickry and posturing – emblematic of shallow metropolitan politics at its worst.

The tone of the campaign is also rather unpleasant at times – it may be a sign that Livingstone’s supporters are desperate when stories emerge in the press making barely veiled accusations of racism towards Johnson, either directly or via the proxy of accusations against those who happen to support him. Similarly the same old Evening Standard campaign alleging all manner of misbehaviour on Livingstone’s part seems also to be raising its ugnly head. Darren Lilleker has an interesting article on the dangers for a less-than-universally popular incumbuent like Livingstone “going negative” and playing the race card. For the record, I don’t believe either man is a racist or indeed any less scrupulous than the average politician; I think that such playground accusations are what rush into the gap left by the absence of a serious policy debate over serious political differences.

Even where there are serious political differences, these are over issues that the Mayoralty cannot directly affect. Livingstone’s record on the Iraq war, for instance, is an honourable one whereas Johnson’s is appalling. However neither man will be able to do any more about it from the Mayor’s office than they could from the House of Commons when both were maverick backbench MPs. So again, whilst I recognise the differences, somehow I just can’t seem to care.

What then of the other candidates? My friends in the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty are, albeit distinctly half-heartedly, backing Lindsey German, the SWP candidate. This is presumably on the basis that she’s the sole candidate of the left, to Livingstone’s left. Doubtless her campaign, whilst essentially worthy, will be a token effort at best. Sian Berry, the occassionally impressive Green candidate, has already effectively subordinated her campaign to Livingstone’s. Brian Paddick is a light-weight choice for the Liberal Democrats, being little more than a NOTA vote for people who really can’t stand both Livingstone and Johnson.

So Londoners are faced with a choice between an increasingly tired-looking Mayor who (in spite of “going negative” indecently early in the campaign) can’t crack 40% of first preferences, a Tory who is closing in on 50% virtually by default, and a procession of flaky fringe candidates.

All I can say is I’m glad it’s not my choice.

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About the author
Alan Thomas is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. He is a blogger, a political activist and a lay member of Unite-TGWU. His main interests outside of UK left politics are in Turkey, Kurdistan and the USA. And is also always delighted to write about wine and fine food when he's in less of an intellectual mood. Also at: Shiraz Socialist
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Debates ,Mayor election ,Media ,Our democracy ,Realpolitik

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Reader comments


1. Kate Belgrave

Well said. It is all a little soul-destroying.

The one plus I can see in a Boris victory is that a couple of years of his buttholelery might wise the world up to the dangers of voting Tory in the next big one – ie, in the general election. There’ll be nothing like Boris in full swing to make the aforementioned world think twice about empowering the rest of them.

Unfortunately – as you rightly point out – there ain’t a whole lot by way of inspiring alternative. I wrote Ken off the day he returned to the Labour fold.

Lindsay German is not on the radar, and anyway, must forever now be tainted goods, what with the terminally close association with the Respect circus.

Mind you, there is much amusement to be had asking swuppie mates which Respect Lindsay represents, etc. I’ve been torturing them with that one for a few months now, and am happy to report that it just never gets old. I note that Respect (Respect A? B? Can’t remember) is in the middle of a witty bit of rebranding, and is calling its list for the May effort The Left List. Trying to get away from the whole notion of respect, perhaps?

Ha ha ha.

2. Alan Thomas

I think she’s Continuity Respect, whereas Galloway represents Provisional Respect…

3. Kate Belgrave

Aha.

Is that kind of like the front and back halves of the horse?

4. Alan Thomas

Obviously… although you get to pick which one is the bigger horse’s arse 😉

5. Kate Belgrave

I kind of see the horse’s arse thing as something of a dead heat – although maybe it’s more of a pushmepullyou thingee, but with two butts at either end…

6. Alan Thomas

It still tickles me that Galloway’s lot started off peacocking around talking about broad progressive lists challenging for the GLA, and yet they’ve singularly failed to find any friends at all to speak of, beyond their own ranks. As a result, the Greens, Respect Renewal and SWP-Respect (aka the “Left List”) are all running against each other. It’s almost as pathetic a spectacle as the clown-on-clown wrestling match at the top.

7. Kate Belgrave

… may I also add that I like bendy buses. I am a regular patron of the mighty 453 and have rarely been let down by it. It has never burst into flame, and I always get a seat. Admittedly, it tends to crap out when this or that punter in a wheelchair asks that the ramp be lowered so that they can board, but you can always get out and wait for another 453.

I think, just quietly, that the main problem the enlightened of London have with the 453 bendy bus is that they’ve heard that heaps of black people ride it for free up and down the Old Kent Road. Both Labour and the Conservatives are religiously anti-freebie, of course, so no surprises at the righteous concern about out-of-control black people. If there’s one thing that’s got to be stopped before we can move on as a society, it’s black people taking the piss up and down the Old Kent Road.

Paddick is actually far better qualified to do the job than either Johnson or Livingstone in many important respects. He’s spent his professional career running an organisation of 10,000 people and being responsible to the people of London. The nature of his job has required internal diplomacy, tactical and strategic decision making, budgetary considerations, public relations work and constant attention to transparency and accountability. He’s actually never spent more than 3 weeks out of London in the last twenty years, which even as a Lundunner myself I find pretty extraordinary. His campaign website is bursting with policy material which is more than you can say for the other two – we’re having to hold back slightly on crime and transport in particular because whenever we bring out a decent idea, Boris nicks it and uses his much better profile to publicise it as if it were his. If I have a criticism of Brian it’s that he’s the too-serious, heavyweight choice, so I’m slightly mystified by your throwaway description.

He’s only a “lightweight” in terms of public profile (which is growing all the time) and the fact that his political career is just beginning – which means he doesn’t spend a lot of time doing press calls and shouting about how ridiculous [issue of the day] is, and he doesn’t have a “position” on Venezuela. Neither of which, frankly, should disqualify him from notice.

9. Kate Belgrave

back on-piste now… yes, you make excellent points about the ‘left’s’ direct hit on the self-destruct button over the GLA lists and the Respect debacle.

There are (many) times when I feel that the left simply doesn’t deserve to be in power in any way, shape or form. Certainly, there are days when I prefer a well-organised neocon asshole – at least that way, to paraphrase Clive James, you get a maniac you can rely on.

Here’s a classic example of left dysfunction- as you may know, a number of Unison branch secretaries and respected branch personages are about to get the boot from Unison on various trumped-up charges of misconduct, etc. What do they all have in common? – they’re all members of the Socialist Party. That’s why the union is targeting them. However – the swuppies in my acquaintance refuse to speak up for these beleaguered comrades, because they’re Socialist Party, not SWP. So much for a United Left.

10. Kate Belgrave

Alix – even though I must confess to some retching at your press release above, I agree that Paddick is a better option than the other two. He is even rather admired around my own home for his gravity, courage, and proven – and surprisingly liberal – track record of original thinking as a copper. That’s true praise, coming from me. I ain’t too big on coppers. Am even less big on politicians.

The problem, as you rightly identify, is his problem with profile in these cheap and evil times. That’s why I like Vince Cable – can’t beat the headline-grabbing one-liners. For that reason alone, Vince Cable must play a major role in any future that the Lib Dems have.

That aside for the moment, we don’t have to accept that politics must forever be the personality-driven sideshow that it is now. LC should be in a good position to discuss policy. I can’t believe that an openly gay and liberal-minded copper doesn’t have an interesting personality of his own, either.

Maybe we could get an interview with him on here? I’d be more than happy to do it, and we could put up a recording, too. We could try for one with Boris & Ken, too, except that they’re probably too busy blowing mainstream microphones. Could always jump them at a meeting, though.

You’ve summed it up well, though obviously I don’t agree with the idea that Sian has effectively subordinated her campaign to Ken. As Jimjay said earlier, I think its responsible Green politics because it shows she cares about green issues more broadly than just to fight tribally. I welcome that.

The problem is that this contest is very important because Ken has shown that a mayor can make huge difference to a city as unweildy as London with bold initiatives on transport and the environment.

Obviously, there is a strong emotional element here too. Anti-war types will support his moral position on the war versus Boris’s slavish cheerleading for G Bush.

The other element to me is that London is almost a different country to the rest of Britain, culturally and racially. It is not 95% white and that has an impact. It seems to me that people from ethnic minorities in London may not feel very English or in touch with the rest of the country but they feel proud of London and its mix.

And, the anti-al-Qaradawi crew may not like this, but this is in no small part due to the fact that Ken has actively organised events and financed cultural stuff that appeals to a broad spectrum of Londoners. People appreciate that. If Boris gets rid of that, then London will be much poorer without it.

He’s like the Evening Standard – only interested in the upper-middle class white audience. And that is why I’m in the anyone-but-Boris camp. He’s not going to campaign for the living wage, he’s not going to bother to develop plans for cheap housing for poor people etc. He’s not even shown any awareness on those issues.

Though, Kate has a point that his stupidity may put people off a Tory govt. Though, I think I could live with a Tory govt and a lefty Mayor.

“even though I must confess to some retching at your press release above”

😀 There is at least a story behind the nausea – am on the party London policy committee and my brain has started running in grooves on this subject, so I’m afraid press releases are about all I’m good for! I leave the clever tactical positioning and what-ifs to you lot…

13. Kate Belgrave

Ignore me, Alix. I’m an old troll.

Although – did want to ask something – are these three candidates appearing at events, etc? I would really like to hear them live, and think some direct reporting on their musings would be of value on this site.

14. Kate Belgrave

‘You’ve summed it up well, though obviously I don’t agree with the idea that Sian has effectively subordinated her campaign to Ken. As Jimjay said earlier, I think its responsible Green politics because it shows she cares about green issues more broadly than just to fight tribally. I welcome that.’

I welcome that too, although I tend to agree with those who have said that Berry is unlikely to get enough of the vote to make a huge difference.

The ‘anyone but Boris’ notion is very depressing, though – voting against, rather than for, a candidate. It’s difficult to properly able to argue the failings of Labour in such an environment, really. It’s a case of Defend Ken against Boris regardless. The Labour party is in such serious trouble, but that can’t be examined while everyone on the left is rushing round saying Defend Ken at all costs and hissing ‘Don’t mention the war.’

“London is almost a different country to the rest of Britain, culturally and racially. It is not 95% white and that has an impact. It seems to me that people from ethnic minorities in London may not feel very English or in touch with the rest of the country but they feel proud of London and its mix.”

That could apply to any of the big cities, Sunny. As a proud Yorksher lass, I take that as a slur against Bradford, for starters 😛

Do you think if we BOTH nag Mat he might actually get around to doing his “why the London Mayoral Elections voting system means you should all vote Paddick” post?

Stranger things have been known to happen darlin’

@ Kate: 100% certain Brian would agree to an interview (at least by phone if not in person) if you want to do it, I’d volunteer to but I’m openly biased and have a post on him in draft anyway. D’you want me to talk to people to get it set up for you?

The thing with the electoral system post? It was kinda predicated on “Boris can’t and won’t win” but a week really is a long time, recent polling makes me scared, I’m beginning to suspect that Brian might be the best “stop Boris” candidate, I was going to position him as the best “stop Ken” candidate. Hmm, wonder if I can justify him as “stop both”?

JUST WRITE THE BLOODY POST. Honestly, lazy-arse men.

18. Kate Belgrave

@MatGB – interview would be FAB.

am at k8 at hangbitch.com if you want to discuss.

u r a great man

Kate – “the swuppies in my acquaintance refuse to speak up for these beleaguered comrades, because they’re Socialist Party, not SWP. So much for a United Left.”

Didn’t the Socialist Party quit Unison’s United Left?

And if the ‘trumped up charges’ you’re talking about are those relating to the unfortunate events at last year’s national conference, then yes, I agree the leadership has just been waiting for an excuse to expel these comrades, but unfortunately said folk were stupid enough to present them with that opportunity. They made a serious error of judgement, not enough to warrant expulsion I’ll grant you, but they’re not completely innocent in all this either.

Apologies to all those who have no idea what I’m referring to.

“u r a great man”

He is indeed O:-)

21. Kate Belgrave

Yep, the socialist party did quit the United Left. So much for a united left, as I say.

I think the socialist party partees in last year’s unfortunate incidents were largely innocent – certainly compared to others who remain inside the hallowed union. You don’t have to transgress too wildly to be thrown out of Unison, either. I myself merely uploaded a completely legitimate story about conference to a website, and was thrown out. Disproportionate resource was put into disciplining me – and all for nothing, too. They put all that time and effort into getting rid of me because they thought I was a member of the SWP. I wasn’t. They kept disciplining me long after I left the union, as well. Useless.

And anyway, why should lefties inside that union tread carefully? Hasn’t got them too far thus far. People are being expelled all over the place, and activists like Gavan and Reissman have been thrown to the wolves.

Still, it won’t matter much soon. Labour will have bugger-all by way of MPs after the next general election, which means that union leaders will have even less say or sway than they do now. Which is certainly saying something. It’s all pretty academic.

22. Kate Belgrave

PS – does anybody else like bendy buses?

Is it really possible for a politician’s career to rise and/or fall on a bendy bus?

Weird.

I completely agree Kate.

And no, I don’t like bendy buses. I don’t live in London so my opinion doesn’t count anyway, but as a cyclist I think they’re too bloody dangerous; I know I wouldn’t want one of them trying to overtake me on a bend……

24. Kate Belgrave

I do live in London and my opinion doesn’t count either.

“no, I don’t like bendy buses. I don’t live in London so my opinion doesn’t count anyway, but as a cyclist I think they’re too bloody dangerous; I know I wouldn’t want one of them trying to overtake me on a bend…”

Insert a “motor” into that before “cyclist” and you have my answer…

26. Alan Thomas

And… since when are bendy buses a significant political issue for the left? Since the left forgot what a significant political issue is, n’est-ce-pas?

Anyone who cares about green issues won’t slavishly support the Green Party and subborn their ideals to the requirements of a partisan political corporation (which is what political parties are).

I find it a complete joke that Greens don’t have their policies (environmental or otherwise) put under the microscope in the same way as all the others, but then if they will continue behaving like an overgrown, overblown and flatulent pressure group why should anyone take them seriously and take the time to pick over their weaknesses?

It’s just not a surprise that the Greens have agreed to accept a role as a willing accomplice to an alliance with criminal Ken in order to get their snouts in the trough and thereby make their supposed aspirations a hostage to electoral fortune – I can’t believe anyone is so foolish!

On Paddick, I can’t get my head round the fact that his record as a top copper is dismissed so lightly – is there still some institutional prejudice against an openly gay politician holding the reins of responsibility, rather than being forced to accept being confined to No2?

Before I make my mind up I’ll live in hope that I see some party propaganda which doesn’t push the emotional buttons of wish fulfilment and instead addresses consensus issues in practical and reasoned terms.

We can but dream!

28. Alan Thomas

I think it’s the copper thing rather than the gay thing that puts off people who would otherwise vote for Livingstone from voting for Paddick.

Thomas: “On Paddick, I can’t get my head round the fact that his record as a top copper is dismissed so lightly – is there still some institutional prejudice against an openly gay politician holding the reins of responsibility, rather than being forced to accept being confined to No2?”

No, it’s just an institutional prejudice against Liberal Democrats. That’s why the argument is so insistently being framed in terms of the false choice of Ken v Boris.

I live and (sometimes) cycle in London and hate bendy buses.
I also hate them as a pedestrian and as an (infrequent) driver.
They are indeed quite dangerous – or at least scary – and of course constantly block pedestrian crossings and junctions.
They are fine to ride, though it is annoying to see all the fare dodging.
I rarely visit the Old Kent Road so can’t comment on what happens there, but plenty of dodging takes place in W1.

Why are they a big issue?
Well, it is something which is completely in the mayor’s control – unlike crime or the economy or housing, no matter how much credit Ken tries to claim for whatever improvements may or may not have occurred in the latter.
They also remind everyone that Ken lied when he promised not to ditch the routemaster!

31. Alan Thomas

Ok, I take the point about them being directly in the mayor’s control. Unlike, for instance, the Iraq War, diplomatic relations with Hugo Chavez, crime or the NHS, all of which will undoubtedly nevertheless be topics argued over in this farcical election. But… I still don’t see why some politicos think people see bendy (or unbendy) buses as the election deal-clincher.

32. Kate Belgrave

I LIKE BENDY BUSES.

Although I am alone on that it would appear. Sadly.

The congestion charge has been pretty good, too. Much more pleasant walking round London minus some of the cars & saving the planet as well, etc. Very nice.

The point about the bendy buses being a relevant issue as one of the few things under the mayor’s direct control is right, but we all know that the things outside the mayor’s control will have at least as much bearing. Striking Ken out will be seen as a a good hit on the Labour party, and rightly so. I personally dislike this Labour party so much – and feel that it has betrayed its membership & core vote so badly – that there’s no way I can vote for Ken. I don’t want Boris, but I don’t want the Labour party to feel that it can rely on my vote, either, just coz I don’t want Boris. They rely on that already.

33. Alan Thomas

Seems the latest YouGov poll has Labour’s GLA vote running even lower than Livingstone’s vote for the mayoralty – 24% to the Tories’ 49%. Ruh-Roh…

Although myself and Alan part ways on many issues, this is a quite excellent article and very close to my views.

I once commented on a Tory blog (shame on me) about why I think BJ-the-Mayor-Bear is not fit to run London. I said he was thoroughly nice chap, but utterly ill-equipped – as his experience is merely journalistic – to be mayor. I was attacked on the grounds that Boris should be mayor because he’s a thoroughly nice chap. *sigh*

I see the role as being executive in nature.

This is why a career politician such as Livingstone is utterly unfit. [personally I think being a career politician should disqualify someone from pretty much everything by its very nature, but hey, one must be positive!]

I see Paddick as being a calculated choice – being an ex copper. I expected more of the Lib Dems (why, I don’t know).

Each and every mainstream candidate is an insult to the people of London.

BTW. When does Mike Bloomberg’s tenure expire?

35. Kate Belgrave

You’re right, you’re right, it’s all personality politics…

… but then again, I’d totally go for Charles Kennedy if he ran, for the simple reason that he’s such a laugh. I totally love him.

Does that make me cheap and nasty?

DON’T ANSWER THAT, YOU BUGGERS

I freely admit to being cheap and nasty, and I’d vote for Champagne Charlie too.

Hands up anyone who’s surprised? … Anyone?

Aaron, I don’t see Paddick’s selection as being purely calculated, admittedly I was on the (very) inside as a few friends were heavily involved in his selection campaign when the London members were balloted. As it happens, Alix was involved with the campaign for the third place candidate, and I’d happily support Chamali (who came second) in any other selection contest, and if she runs for Parlt next time I’d consider travelling to do some stuff for her).

Was Brian invited to stand by party high ups? Probably.

Does that actually matter? No way. Of the three, he’s the closest to having real life non-career politician experience, and he’s also a proper real gut liberal with an attachment to online geekery (odds are good he’ll read this thread BTW, he’s got a link to it).

I need to seriously rethink the thrust of my “why you should vote for Brian” post as it was meant as the “stop Ken” plan but now appears to need to be “stop Boris”, which is harder to actually write. I do know that if I were in London I’d be voting Brian first, Ken 2nd—you have the chance of real change, but aren’t risking bumbler in.

I’d love to see Boris in a liberal coalition Govt, but not actually in charge of something in his own right with a mandate to make decisions, that’d be too scary.

Oh yeah, Kate? I like cheap and nasty. Ask Jennie.

*hides*

*THWAP*

40. Kate Belgrave

Pictures..?

Facebook 😉

42. Kate Belgrave

Fab.

I heard Brian Paddick on the radio today and I actually felt sorry for him – it was embarrassing.

Kate/Alan – I am just totally baffled by your views on this. Livingstone is on our side on civil liberties, environmental issues, the need for a living wage, social housing, affordable transport and a whole range of other issues that matter to working-class Londoners and ought to matter to lefties. Boris Johnson is on the other side on all of these issues.

In 2006, lots of lefties decided to have a protest against Labour and helped let the Tories in to running a whole load of councils, including many in London, some in alliance with the Lib Dems. Kate’s written about some of the effects of this, the cuts in services to the most vulnerable, privatisation, closing down organisations which work for social justice and obstruction to new housing which would help families living three or four in one room. If lefties in London don’t vote Labour, then the Tories will get to use the Mayor’s considerable powers to do more of all of this.

I am sure that Cameron is more than well aware of the risks which an off-the-leash Boris might pose.

I would expect him to announce some reasonably serious advisors/cabinet members – whatever they are called – before the election to assuage some of those concerns. Though we’ll have to see.

(Hopefully more serious than Ken’s Socialist Action crowd anyway!)

45. Kate Belgrave

‘In 2006, lots of lefties decided to have a protest against Labour and helped let the Tories in to running a whole load of councils, including many in London, some in alliance with the Lib Dems. Kate’s written about some of the effects of this, the cuts in services to the most vulnerable, privatisation, closing down organisations which work for social justice and obstruction to new housing which would help families living three or four in one room. If lefties in London don’t vote Labour, then the Tories will get to use the Mayor’s considerable powers to do more of all of this.’

Don! – this Labour party has had the most poisonous effect on the families and vulnerable people that you describe above. You fall into the ‘Labour’s bad, but the Tories are worse’ trap when you write as you have above.

The 2006 local elections were classic – you are right to point them out. I was a union activist at Hammersmith and Fulham then – in a council with a Labour administration – and probably one of the errant lefties you refer to, although I wasn’t part of any active movement to thwart Labour – wasn’t aware there was such a thing.

People in the borough and the staff at Hammersmith – who were often also local voters – had turned their backs on Labour in disgust – because of the Iraq war, foundation hospitals, the privatisation agenda – you name it. The council itself was deeply unpopular – it was trying to cut advice centres and housing centres, push all IT staff into a joint venture initiative with a private company, wash its hands of a monstrous funding gap that had appeared in its already unpopular Almo, etc. Our union members felt utterly betrayed by Labour and were climbing the goddamn walls.

When the Labour administration came to us, as the branch officials, to demand our support in the coming election, we simply couldn’t give it to them – not least because our members would have taken us out. Do you really think they would have gone out and voted for the massively unpopular administration that was threatening their jobs and public services just because we told them to? Would they hell. You’re dreaming. We had been recruiting more and more members BECAUSE of our opposition to New Labour’s unpopular policies, not because we supported Labour. We supported the people who traditionally voted Labour.

I can’t say this loudly enough – the reason Labour lost so many councils in 2006 – and has lost some four million voters and 200,000 members, last time I looked – was because its local and national policy programmes were and are so goddamned unpopular with its support base. The party must take responsibility for the fallout from its approach – not keep trying to blame a handful of hairy activists who actually had and have little influence.

The reason the Tories get in is not because people like me actively jeer the Labour party for its betrayal of its voting base – who the hell am I, after all – but because that voting base can’t be bothered turning out to vote Labour anymore. A few swingers vote Tory, and there you have it.

What we need here in my view is more in the way of proportional representation, certainly on the national scene. We will not get that sort of change by sitting back quietly and trying to tell people that they ought to stick with our side simply because the other side is worse. Nobody was ever inspired by that kind of rhetoric – ie ‘our psychopath is slightly less psychopathic than their psychopath, so choose ours.’

I agree with you that the Tories will have a devastating effect on the lives of most of us – I spent much of last year writing about the awful effect that the new administration at Hammersmith has had there. You are absolutely right about that.

The problem is, the Labour party has alienated its natural voting base and seems hell-bent on continuing to do so. Anyone can see that Brown’s administration is doomed – doesn’t matter how Toynbee or Kettle et al try to style it. That administration simply refuses to take a leftwing stance on any topic – so utterly has it bought into this horrible battle for the middle ground and the halfwits who populate it. At the very least, we should continue to agitate so that Labour does not continue to take our vote by default for granted.

I agree, though, that Ken has had some positive effects – you’ll note above that I applaud the bendy buses and congestion charge. I’m not a complete idiot. I’m interested in hearing what Paddick has to say, though. He might be a dolt as someone above suggests, but I’d like to hear from him myself.

Kate: I have – but now cannot use – a ticket for the Evening Standard mayoral debate next Monday evening (March 31st) if you would like it (and I can find it).
Livingstone, Johnson and Paddick are all speaking.

47. Kate Belgrave

cjcjc – that would be brill – cd u email me at k8 at hangbitch.com?


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