25 February 2008

Ken Livingstone - The Most Progressive Politician.

I wholeheartedly support this letter published today.
"On May 1 London will elect a mayor. It will either be Ken Livingstone or Boris Johnson. Ken Livingstone is not perfect. Show us a politician who is. But he is not just a serious and skilled politician compared to almost any rival - especially the horror and embarrassment of the Boris Johnson alternative - Livingstone is a standard bearer for real progressive politics.

That is why this election matters to the nation, not just the capital. Livingstone represents a hope that something better is possible; that a different type of society is not just some pipedream of the left, but can be created. This is the reason he is under such severe attack.

The Conservatives see a Johnson victory as a springboard to beat Labour at the next general election. They are piling in with every resource to make it happen - not least the negative campaigning skills of the Australian Lynton Crosby. The lead attack dog is, of course, the Daily Mail group's Evening Standard. It is being used as a battering ram, not just against Ken Livingstone, but against the ideals of a more democratic, egalitarian and sustainable politics.

This is not the freedom and independence of the press but the disfigurement of the fourth estate into a blatant propaganda machine. So a battle is being waged in the country and it is time to stand and fight to ensure that Livingstone wins so that the ideals of democracy, equality and sustainability endure and are given new hope".

Professor Ruth Lister
David Puttman
Neal Lawson Chair, Compass
Polly Toynbee
Jon Cruddas MP
Jon Tickett MP
Tony Benn
Billy Bragg
Tony Robinson
Helena Kennedy
Sunder Katwala Fabian Society
Gemma Tumelty NUS
Those Londoners who want to help Ken, can join his team here. There is also an excellent critique of his opponent's media cronies here.

Update - A longer version of this letter and a longer list of supporters can be found here.


  1. How many of these "supporters" actually live in the poorer parts of London!?!

    Billy Bragg fled from London a couple of years ago because it's such a great city and now lives in tory monocultural Dorset!

  2. Snafu: This is a contracted list and letter. The full letter and list of supporters is here. It includes many Londoners from the poorer parts of London.

    If you look at where Livingstone's voters live - it is clear which candidate has the support of the poor - which is not surprising because he gives them free, cleaner and more frequent public transport and builds more affordable housing.

    The poor rely more on public transport and suffer more from pollution and congestion. It is not surprising that inner London overwhelmingly supports Ken and Boris's support comes from the wealthier car driving suburbs. Boris's strategy is to use the Evening Standard to scare people off voting for Ken and to pretend that his reactionary views are 'misunderstood'.

    Boris now pretends to agree with most of Ken's policies because Ken's policies have been popular.

    The truth is, that Boris has spoken against almost every policy of Kens. Londoners need to hear the truth, which Boris is trying to obscure with his control of the media.

    If Londoners want Ken's policies to continue they have to vote for Ken. I don't want to sit here in four years time when Boris has run down public transport and Ken's innovative green approach to building, pedestrians, cyclists and services has been decimated, and say 'I told you so'.

    Boris is completely dishonest and Ken is probably the most honest politician we have. Ken outlines real policies. Boris talks at inordinant length without providing any real substance at all.

    For example Boris quotes congestion increasing in the last year, but this is meaningless when we all know without the charge, congestion would be far worse (and was worse). Boris offers no alternative policy.

    The congestion charge was the bravest policy any politician has delivered in recent history. Ken introduced it in the face of a media barrage and initial public opposition. It has reduced congestion, but more than that, it has provided vital extra funds for public tranport, cycling and other green measures. The public know that, which is why they now support it and Boris is reduced to sniping untruths about it, while at the same time having to concede he would keep it. Do we trust him? I certainly don't.

  3. Problem with the congestion charge though is this..

    The richer folks who live in the congestion zone get a discount. Those who don't have no problem paying the 8 quid a day. Those who aren't in either of the two above categories take the hit. So essentially it has created less traffic for the more wealthy members of society to drive through.
    Sounds like a tax on the middle class families of London to me.

  4. EF: If you can think of a better solution to congestion then lets hear it. At least Ken is trying to do something, yes you are right - a flat rate does favour the wealthy car drivers and those within the zone - but with the money raised going into public transport and cycling then the majority who do not own a car, including the poorest do benefit.

  5. "but with the money raised going into public transport and cycling then the majority who do not own a car, including the poorest do benefit."

    I hear that considerable sums of money have vanished in the direction of one Lee Jasper and his mates.

  6. Neil, the best way to solve congestion is to let it continue! Those who tolerate it lose time at their individual marginal value they place on time. Those not prepared to tolerate it either choose not to travel or find an alternative based upon their income and convenience. Even socialism is not this equitable!

    The roads of London, or indeed any other city will never be totally and permanently gridlocked as people will find alternative means of transport that work!

    Unfortunately, such a view does not generate any employment opportunities for transport "experts" so should be discarded!

  7. Wyrdtimes: After 8 years of the right wing media digging and trying their best to find dirt on Ken, still no-one questions Ken's integrity or that he wants to do the best for London and is not corrupt in any way.

    The Evening Standard finally admitted on Thursday that they do not even question Lee Jasper's integrity nor accuse him of corruption. This jumped up charge relates to some of the organisations that have received LDA funding (less than 1% over 8 years) have gone bust in strange circumstances or that all of the money they received has not been accounted for (this for new start up businesses is actually a very low rate of failure). As the man responsible for overseeing these funds, Lee has to take the wrap. This lost money is something that needs to be investigated - and it has been by the GLA and Jasper was found to have no charges to answer.

    For political reasons the Lib Dems and Tories on the GLA have blocked Jasper from giving answers to the allegations directly to them, which he has offered to do on numerous occasions. The police have found nothing to answer either. Despite this the ES has continued to keep repeating the allegations using different angles to try and create this air of corruption surrounding Ken. It is absolute rubbish. Ken is the most honest politician in the country.

  8. Snafu: Believe me, something needed to be done about traffic in London, and the congestion charge has made things better. I don't know when you were last in central London - but you can actually cross the road now, it is not anywhere near as dirty and choked a city to walk around in as it was, and the buses are regular, clean, cheap and safe (90p single). The Tories have tried the market approach outside of London and look at the state of the bus services in the Midlands and Manchester, Yorkshire, Lancashire etc. They are a total mess and not surprisingly passengers numbers outside of London are plummeting. London is bucking the trend with 2 million extra passengers a day since 2000. Sometimes yo have to accept that regulation and public ownership offer the best solutions.

  9. i believe that ken livinston is the only candidate that can unite all londoners and make london the capital off the world. he has experience of running london and he has done a good job already!!!!!!!!!!! god bless ken livingston. and boris johnson is a waste of votes, time and headlines, he only cares about the well-off(middle and upper class).