Home > General Politics, Labour Party News, Local Democracy > Voting in the Mayoral election

Voting in the Mayoral election

A litter of Labour’s known online commentators have decided not to put Ken as their first option in the mayoral elections today, one deciding to vote Green with a tactical eye on granting Livingstone his second preference, while the other this morning decided to accept a blue rosette given to him and do Boris’ counting with activists.

Various Lords have given Ken the snub, MPs are not actively out campaigning for him and some well-known journalists such as Jonathan Freedland long ago decided that Livingstone and the Jewish question was a touch too far.

I agree this should be near the top of our heads when voting for a mayor. After all the Mayor of London engages with international figures and therefore has to have a rigorous internal conversation about how to conduct oneself on matters of world political issues.

The meeting, therefore, with Egyptian cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi plays havoc. Further, Ken’s present failure to recognise a problem here gives us reason never to trust him again, let alone trust him with political office.

But also the recent “beacon of Islam” political theatre, along with dalliances with PressTV, under rule of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s clan of autocratic criminals, doesn’t sit well alongside his comments that Jews are “rich” and “wouldn’t vote for him anyway.”

Why does he feel the need to say he’ll make London a “beacon of Islam” anyway? At best that was the foulest form of political posturing; at worst it is divide and rule politics.

All these things should give us reason to kick up a fuss – but as Ken is “our man” we should keep Mum, lest we tread on our own supposedly tribal instincts.

The Economist in their recent editorial, supporting Boris, said that the Blonde blue candidate is the right candidate for the wrong job, and that the role of mayor should cover far more important ground.

I agree, but obviously not for Boris. But, then, not for Ken either.

Peter Hain, in his recent autobiography, said:

…I wanted to be effective, to be able to make a real difference. And that meant learning what not to do from Ken Livingstone … he seemed to go out of his way to make enemies…

And this holds true today. A London mayor should not be one whose sole aim it is to make enemies, in fact the opposite is true.

If Ken becomes mayor again, which he very much could do tomorrow, then he is more likely to stand next time. Even more, if he wins, the Labour party will find it nearly impossible to throw him out – and I think it’s time they did.

Ken isn’t simply a renegade who cannot be tamed, but his politics and demeanor have become embarrassing and offensive. And we haven’t even raised the tax situation, yet.

There is also something in what Andrew Gilligan, another ex-PressTV partner in crime with links to the Father of Syria’s President Assad, said recently, on what would happen if Ken lost:

If Ken loses again this week, in a city where Labour is currently 19 per cent ahead in the polls, Labour will have no option but to face all these realities.

Boris on the other hand will use a mayoral reelection to further boost his designs on Conservative party leader.

(Could we foresee a lightbulb fight between Yvette Cooper and Boris Johnson yet?)

Boris is clearly not in this for the right reasons, whereas Ken thinks he is doing the right thing, really means it, and is often left looking foolish as a result.

Dan Hodges probably has this right: it is a fight between Ken and Boris. That seems obvious. But he is wrong to support the latter.

I can’t say anything other than vote Ken. I’m not tribal, it’s just I don’t want to see Boris back as Mayor. But I’ll be honest nor do I want to see Ken back either. Sadly, there is no other way. Vote Ken, then insist he is sacked immediately. This inharmonious position seems to be all we have in the sensible camp. I blame politics.

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  1. Edgar
    May 3, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    Fucking Zionist lobby.

  2. Strategist
    May 4, 2012 at 12:23 am

    What a load of rubbish. You’re living on a different planet and making the elementary mistake of believing what you read in the Tory press.

    His comments that “Jews are ‘rich’ and ‘wouldn’t vote for him anyway’ ” were never in fact made in the meaning you imply and you are either a fool or a knave for parroting the propaganda on that quote. His comments, as any research would show, were that Jewish religion or ethnicity had no bearing on the way vote.

    His comments on Islam have always been super-inclusive and super-moderate, and the least that London’s massive Muslim community are entitled to.

    The utter speciousness of your argument is revealed by your Peter Hain quote: …I wanted to be effective, to be able to make a real difference. And that meant learning what not to do from Ken Livingstone … Like, what effect, or difference, did Peter Hain ever have or make in his New Labour ministerial career. The square root of fuck all. Ken Livingstone repeatedly used to powers granted to him by being popular and winning office to make real differences to people’s welfare and making London a far better place than it otherwise would have been.

    i have always quite liked this blog but you have plunged in my estimation here. The Labour Party establishment view is quite often an ugly thing and morally & practically in the wrong. Don’t slavishly follow it – especially down any line of Muslim-baiting.

    • May 4, 2012 at 9:01 am

      1. Didn’t read it in the Tory press, read it on Twitter, then various blogs (all considered rumours by me at the time) before reading it first hand by Jonathan Freedland – a previous Ken supporter who has forgiven him for a lot worse, and who was present at the time Ken said it.

      2. A question: What did Ken imply when he mentioned rich Jews and voting tendencies if not to invoke Jewish religion or ethnicity and the way in which they vote?

      3. If Ken wanted London to be a beacon of Islam, I certainly wouldn’t trust him to be in charge of it. After all, as a representative of Islam, he invited Yusuf al-Qaradawi – a man who justifies suicide bombing and the murder of homosexuals. Is this *your* idea of Islam? Inviting him was probably the most Islamophobic thing ever did.

      4. What Peter Hain did or did not do for the party is neither here, nor there. My rationale for including this quote was to show that even one of Ken’s most avid supporters is on record (in a book only published a few months ago) as saying Ken makes enemies, is not inclusive. Indeed, who needs enemies when you’ve friends like Peter.

      5. I’m glad you read the blog, and if you ever read my comment on here, you’ll know that I slavishly follow my own considered view – am not found to be toeing any particular line, and certainly not that of the Labour party.

  3. May 4, 2012 at 8:09 am

    “Vote Ken then sack him” counts as sensible? If by some fluke, Ken actually gets a majority, exactly how do you sack him without making manifest the Left’s contempt for universal suffrage and the will of the people to the Nation? I suggest a serious rethink of your position is required.

    • May 4, 2012 at 9:03 am

      No rethink required – we sack him for misconduct like Lord Nazir Ahmed. The Labour party is the servant of the people, but ill-considered views are grounds for dismissal. I wish they’d done it before the election, but the campaign was already underway.

      • May 4, 2012 at 9:29 am

        I agree that sacking Ken before he was selected would have been a sensible course, and that Ms King would have given Boris a run for his money. But once an official is elected, you can remove him from the Party but you cannot remove him from office That is the prerogative of the electorate. The PLP’s problem with the former Minister for Europe is an example of what I mean, and that’s why the defenestration of Ken if elected will require more thought.

      • May 4, 2012 at 9:40 am

        Ken will become the independent mayor, rather than the Labour one.

      • May 4, 2012 at 10:12 am

        raincoatoptimism :
        Ken will become the independent mayor, rather than the Labour one.

        A subtlety that will be entirely lost upon the Electorate.

      • May 4, 2012 at 10:26 am

        Maybe “the electorate”, but not the London electorate.

      • May 4, 2012 at 11:06 am

        raincoatoptimism :
        Maybe “the electorate”, but not the London electorate.

        Let’s just agree to disagree, shall we?

      • May 4, 2012 at 11:20 am

        That’s never usually how I do things :(

  4. May 4, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    The funny thing is, Ken himself admits he has an image problem, even if his supporters won’t concede that blindingly obvious point:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/davehillblog/2012/apr/26/ken-livingstone-meets-london-jewish-forum

  5. Strategist
    May 4, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    Dave Hill’s blog linked to there is good straight reporting and gives a clear picture of the real Ken, bearing no resemblance to the anti-semitic demon put out by the propaganda and in the Harry’s Place-style hysteria you seem to feel.

    This is the quote that worries me about the Labour party: I agree that sacking Ken before he was selected would have been a sensible course, and that Ms King would have given Boris a run for his money.

    The point is that Ken won a fair fight with Oona King for the Labour nomination in an electorate comprising all London Labour members because it was blindingly obvious on the hustings that he had infinitely more talent, nous, wit, experience, gumption. The idea that the party establishment should be able to impose a loyalist candidate, however useless, over the democratically-expressed views of members is a mindset that will continue to keep many people of goodwill out of the resurgent Labour Party, which will not be good for anybody in the long run.

    The biggest mistake the Labour establishment could make would be to mistake some good mid-term election results for the people’s love for them as political leaders. Ed M seems not to be making it, and good for him.

    It may be that the results will show that there was a Ken factor that cost Labour the election. Obviously there’s a problem that anyone left wing with a bit of talent & grit and a programme to address our utterly disfunctional system will end up being demonised by the full spectrum of the establishment media. But there’s the opposite problem that you can emasculate yourself to pander to them, but then they may fuck you over anyway. And there becomes no point in winning because you don’t do anything when you get there. It’s not an easy call for Ed Miliband.

  6. May 4, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    It’s fair to say that anyone who is a genuine antiracist, should have been alarmed at Ken taking money from Holocaust denial promoting Press TV and asked why.

    His comments over the years, including telling members of an ethnic minority to go “back to Iran.” suggests someone not completely happy with a certain ethnic minority.

    So when a sizeable chunk of Labour inclined Jewish supporters discuss these issues with him and come away dissatisfied, you have to wonder what’s going on, if you’re a genuine antiracist.

    When someone like Jonathan Freedland says he’s not voting the Ken, if you are moderately intelligent and a genuine antiracist then you should ask why.

    If you’re not, you won’t.

  7. Strategist
    May 4, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    His comments over the years, including telling members of an ethnic minority to go “back to Iran.” suggests someone not completely happy with a certain ethnic minority.

    That’s a troll’s comment. You’re a troll. May I suggest you move along to Harry’s Place?

  8. May 5, 2012 at 1:18 am

    Let’s see if any of Ken’s acolytes will take up many of Jonathan Freedland’s points, see main article:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/mar/23/backed-ken-livingstone-mayor-before

    “The case against Ken Livingstone is not that he is some crude racist. It is rather that, when it comes to this one group of Londoners and their predicaments, their hopes and anxieties, he simply doesn’t care. Consistently warm to some communities – this week he went to Finsbury Park mosque, quoted Muhammad’s final sermon and expressed the hope that as mayor he would educate Londoners in the teachings of Islam – he doesn’t care what hurt he causes Jews. He shows Jews, says one Labour parliamentarian, a “hard heart”.

    The meeting that night was packed with people who desperately wanted Livingstone to reassure them they could vote Labour. One explicitly said he sought no recantation of past remarks nor a change of position on Israel, just reassurance that “you won’t put us through another four years of this”. Even that Livingstone could not provide.”

  9. May 5, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    Where did you get that pic of Ken, his fashion sense and colour co-ordination is dreadful?!

    “A litter of Labour’s known online commentators have decided not to put Ken as their first option in the mayoral elections today, one deciding to vote Green with a tactical eye on granting Livingstone his second preference, while the other this morning decided to accept a blue rosette given to him and do Boris’ counting with activists”.

    I have to say that if you are in the public eye and a member of the LP then it is inexcusable to vote for the class enemy, like the Bullingdon buffoon is. I have no problem with Hodges being expelled (c’mon he only got where he was due to nepotism, his mater being a lousy Lab MP and actress!). Furthermore, on the issue of one deciding to vote Green and being a member of the LP, also in the public eye etc. etc. is rather hypocritical, confusing and dishonest. Even if your vote isn’t considered too problematic (I think it is tbh) it’s the principle that it is at the heart of the issue. I agreed very much so with Paul C’s comment on Liberal Conspiracy about this.

    I am not a member of the LP anymore but even I voted for Ken. The times I didn’t vote for Labour was when I was a member of Socialist Alliance. Why be a member of a political party if you can’t/won’t vote for them?

  10. Strategist
    May 5, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    That’s low-grade rebuttal, that

    No it isn’t, it’s the correct one. A troll is a timewaster and tries to lure you into wasting your time rebutting his points which are empty and not worth responding to.

    I’m now going to fall into that trap, and I’m not pleased to be doing so. Look at the next post:

    Let’s see if any of Ken’s acolytes will take up many of Jonathan Freedland’s points

    Simple. There is literally no content there to rebut.

    “The case against Ken Livingstone is not that he is some crude racist. It is rather that, when it comes to this one group of Londoners and their predicaments, their hopes and anxieties, he simply doesn’t care. Consistently warm to some communities – this week he went to Finsbury Park mosque, quoted Muhammad’s final sermon and expressed the hope that as mayor he would educate Londoners in the teachings of Islam – he doesn’t care what hurt he causes Jews. He shows Jews, says one Labour parliamentarian, a “hard heart”

    So that is it. The case against him consists of J Freedland’s opinion, not backed up by evidence and the opinion of an unnamed “parliamentarian”. Literally nothing there.

    One explicitly said he sought no recantation of past remarks nor a change of position on Israel, just reassurance that “you won’t put us through another four years of this”. Even that Livingstone could not provide.”

    How on earth could he provide it? Four years of what? Absolutely nothing.

    Modernity is a massive waste of time, he is utterly indefatigable in his obsessive determination to paint anyone who criticises Israel’s actions as an anti-semite.

  11. May 5, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    The problem with Ken’s acolytes here is that they demonstrate an inability to grasp the evidence.

    They won’t admit, even through gritted teeth, that Ken alienated many Londoners.

    They can’t analyse the issue logically.

    Perhaps in their better moments they may reflect on why the Labour vote in a particular constituency was incredibly solid, yet Ken’s vote went the other way:

    ““Despite a late wobble, Johnson was predicted to have secured a four-point lead on first preferences in London, enough to protect him even if the bulk of second preferences of other candidates went to his dogged Labour rival, Ken Livingstone. Labour activists rounded on Livingstone for crassly insulting Jewish voters.

    It was pointed out that in seats with strong Jewish communities, such as Barnet, the Labour candidate outpolled his Tory rival by 21,000, yet in the mayoral election in the same seat Johnson beat Livingstone by 24,000.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/may/04/local-elections-drubbing-pressure-cameron?INTCMP=SRCH

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