Friday, April 20, 2012
the london mayoral elections are fast approaching. i haven't managed to get to any of the hustings events - not that it really makes much difference as there is only one place my vote is going. yes i will be voting for ken livingstone, albeit reluctantly. i am not fully behind ken simply because i think he has had his time, that there will be 'problems' in his administration and ken now believes his own hype. all that said he isn't boris; and that is enough. what would have been interesting would have been to hear from the other candidates,as we all pretty much know what we are going to get from ken and boris. the other candidates have remained pretty much spear carriers in the parade. the candidates are siobhan benita independent (she is the darling of the campaign. has backed the third runway at heathrow and wants the tube o run later on friday and saturday nights.) carlos cortiglia british national party (abolition of the congestion charge, no water cannon against public disorder and wants migrants who want to settle here to have an acceptable standard of english.) boris johnson conservative (cut waste in city hall and invest more in transport.) jenny jones green party (increase congestion charge and eventually replace it with a pay as you drive scheme, reduce speeds to 20 miles per hour throughout much of london.) ken livingstone labour (lower fares, more housing.) brian paddick liberal democrats (more police on the street and a push towards all public transport to be run by electricity by 2020.) lawrence webb ukip (worried ice cream vans might disappear from the streets and vat on beer down to 5%.) in the various polls that have been taken over the run up to the elections the boris, ken and brian have received between 91-97% of votes, the other candidates are living on that 3-9% that is left. now part of that is down to the fact that people are going to just vote for the big parties (and in the case of boris and ken - big personalities), it is also a result of the limited exposure that the other candidates get - they have to scrabble around to get acknowledged and get their message out there. bbc london have had some debates that just featured the main parties, but now as the election gets very close they want to hold one that features all the candidates including mr. cortiglia from the bnp. oh the horror. oh dear. ken can't be on the same stage as the bnp - it is a matter of principle. he says "the far right want to destroy our democracy and stand for the elimination of our basic rights. They cannot be treated as a legitimate part of politics." (which is all a bit rich when you consider his links to press tv and his support of some who have used less than democratic means to get their points across. boris and brian are also not going to be appearing on the same stage - boris saying he hadn't agreed to be there anyway, but he wouldn't share a platform with the bnp. brian ins't going to be there because ken and boris won't be there, but brian adds he wouldn't share a platform with the bnp. in case we forget the british national party is a legitimate political party. they may be very odious, but they are a legal party. people can vote for them and some people vote for them because they believe that the bnp represents their beliefs and others vote for them because they believe that the other parties don't give a toss about them. on the basis of ken's hissy fit i can't say they are wrong. to give ken some credit - at least he is making a stand and a political point. boris and brian are just being a bit wishywashy about it. yet none of them will call for the bnp to be banned, and if you won't do that then you have to debate with them and you have to share a platform with them. otherwise democracy is a sham. democracy can't be about the whims of one or two people who decide that they can't have a debate or conversation with someone they don't like. (though that probably explains why boris has never really sat down with the transport unions). every election we have this scaremondering about how the far right are going to take over and break democracy. how many seats have they won? how many have they kept? it is a bogus fear and it us, i believe, used by 'respectable' politicians in order that they can duck the real questions and concerns of a group of their constituents. you are almost left with the feeling that ken and boris are scared to debate with the bnp in case they lose, it isn't about principle, it is about face. after all if the bnp win a few seats on the london assembly does that mean that the mayor will not be in the chamber with them when it comes time to debate and decide on london issues? it is no way to become a leader. it is no way to protect democracy, rather it is a means to begin to erode democracy. the bnp have described it as an act that scuppers debate - hard to argue with that. ukip say "we are going to take every opportunity to talk to londoners, particularly as we are fourth in the polls but are being treated as an also-ran." siobhan benita said: "for me it's just really disappointing because this was the only platform the bbc had given me alongside boris and ken. "my feeling is all seven candidates have been selected, all seven should have a voice." i started by saying that ken was getting my vote because he wasn't boris. over this they have shown themselves to be pretty much alike. shame on them both for not having the courage to do what a democracy demands of its politicians. so siobhan benita it looks like you have my vote.