Recent Mayor election Articles

Ten reasons to vote Ken

by Dave Hill     April 29, 2008 at 3:55 pm

During the weeks of the election campaign that’s eaten my life, I’ve striven to be fair to Boris Johnson. There was, though, never much chance I’d vote for him. That said, I’ve also been testing my loyalty to Ken Livingstone. I believe his various critics, including those with roots on the left, have over-spun or overstated their cases against him, but that isn’t to say they lack all force. There’s also the question of how much difference a change of mayor would really make.

On the day campaigning officially began, I argued that the job description and moderate content of Johnson’s stated polices meant that many of the differences were less of Big Ideas than emphasis. This wasn’t what Team Ken wanted to hear, as it made clear in a letter the Guardian published the following day: its job from the off has been to sharpen the contrast in substance – of both policy and pedigree – between the two men; Johnson’s, in keeping with David Cameron’s approach, has been to position himself just enough to the blue side of the incumbent to mobilise Tory support without confirming suspicions that he’s daft and extreme.

But though the choice between the two was not as stark as their media images suggested, there was no doubt they were there. The thing was to clarify and quantify them. I’ve done my best and now feel I can vote for Livingstone with conviction.

Here are 10 reasons why.

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Turning politics into a cartel

by Dave Osler     April 29, 2008 at 8:54 am

Two recent politic stories highlight just how rapidly remaining differences between the only two political parties in Britain capable of forming governments continue to erode. That can only be to the detriment of voter choice.

First off, we read that the Smith Institute – a thinktank linked with Gordon Brown – and the Centre for Social Justice – a thinktank linked with Iain Duncan Smith – are to publish a joint strategy on how to get children out of poverty.

As Guardian reporter Andrew Wintour notes, accurately enough: “The joint initiative suggests the differences between the two parties are much smaller than they pretend.”
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Littlejohn endorses Boris

by Newswire     April 28, 2008 at 11:14 pm

Richard Littlejohn, that paragon of enlightened thinking, wants his readers to vote Boris. Almost as bad as a BNP endorsement? Via SB.

Ken woos Libdems with open letter

by Newswire     April 28, 2008 at 6:34 am

Ken Livingstone has published an open letter on his website with the aim of wooing Libdems by pointing out how closely his policies match theirs, in contrast to Boris Johnson.

The letter says:

I do not pretend that I share every single Lib Dem policy but on 90 per cent of issues we agree and we are part of the same progressive tradition in London. And that set of shared values shines through in the many areas where we agree and where we have worked together. I am publishing examples of these areas of agreement because it highlights how we can work together.

On most of the key international, national and London issues my positions and those of the Liberal Democrat Party have been the same. Particularly important have been opposition to the war in Iraq; support for the Kyoto climate change treaty and prioritising environmental policy, opposition to tuition fees; support for Proportional Representation; opposition to Tube privatisation, support for higher charges for polluting cars; opposition to nuclear power.

My pledge to Liberal Democrat voters if I am re-elected is twofold. First, that I will continue to deliver on the policies and values that we share. Second, that I will operate an inclusive administration which includes the talents of Lib Dem politicians and supporters.

The ‘Shared Values for London’ article, comparing policies, is here.

Does it convince anyone?

Paddick stations?

by Simon Barrow     April 25, 2008 at 10:01 am

The BBC1 Question Time special last night, featuring “the three main London mayoral candidates”, was as depressing a tit-for-tat charade as I’ve seen for some time. The ratio of insult to fact or argument was far, far too high. Maybe I just don’t go to hustings enough these days.

Particularly disappointing was Brian Paddick, God’s new lieutenant. Alternating between ineffectually smug and an unconvincingly macho, he didn’t use his central position on the podium to evince authority or offer anything new. Instead he sounded rather like the school rich kid trying to brag about how clever and decent he is. Embarrassing.

Ken made a direct play for Lib Dem second preferences, claiming he agreed with them on 90 per cent of issues and citing his own past support for Ed Davey. Pluralism or panic? Paddick (revealing that we gravitate to his second name, huh?) then accused him of telling people how to vote and claimed that he and Boris were equally bad.
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Using the boot to generate news

by Adam Bienkov     April 23, 2008 at 8:33 am

Boris Johnson brushed clouds of doubt aside yesterday as The Sun newspaper endorsed him for Mayor of London. In a double page spread, Britain’s highest-selling paper told their readers to kick out “Caracas” Ken and vote in “Mayor Race Favourite” Boris.

The London edition of the paper also devoted their entire Sun Says column to the race, urging their readers to pick “a new and fresh Champion for London”. And just in case their readers still didn’t know how to vote the paper included a handy how you can vote section.

Of course The Sun’s endorsement of Boris Johnson should come as little surprise. Boris is in many ways the ideal Sun candidate. Here is a public school toff posing as a friend of the working class. A man who speaks almost entirely in mockney puns without actually saying anything even mildly offensive to Murdoch and his chums.
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How Boris rode his buses into a ditch

by Dave Hill     April 17, 2008 at 11:18 am

As the man who first exposed the financial inexactitude behind Boris Johnson’s “new Routemaster” proposals I’ve got to say I’m amazed that six week later he’s still getting his abacus in a twist about the cost of the scheme.

Actually, other people are in a muddle about it too, but Boris’s latest comments are making matters even worse for him. The story so far:

Episode One: Boris tells Vanessa Feltz it would cost £8 million to put conductors on the existing bendy bus routes. The following day, Ken Livingstone claims it would cost £80 million, though his website swiftly reduces that to £70 million. They can’t both be right.
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Ken’s ad should have looked like this

by Sunny Hundal     April 17, 2008 at 6:02 am

Who said the London Mayor election was boring? I’ve seen more material YouTube material than I can post every day. Anyway. Some Ken supporter has made this video, which I think is actually quite good, even if Ken wouldn’t run it himself.

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Embarassing endorsements?

by David T     April 14, 2008 at 8:56 am

A few weeks ago, Tory Mayoral candidate Boris Johnson was endorsed by the fascist British National Party. His response was swift, short, and sweet:

I utterly and unreservedly condemn the BNP and have no desire whatsoever to receive a single second-preference vote from a BNP supporter

This week, Labour and Liberal Democrats were placed in pretty much the same situation by the Muslim Association of Britain. Candidates should likewise reject with alacrity, the endorsement of this extreme right-wing organisation.
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Politics and the transfer market

by Michael Calderbank     April 11, 2008 at 4:50 pm

With recent reports suggesting that the government might introduce the Alternative Vote (AV) system for elections to the House of Commons, the issue of how preferences transfer between parties is becoming a hot political topic.
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