02 May 2008

Please No, Not Mayor Boris!!

Whatever the result of the Mayor election in London, expect the Evening Standard to praise Ken in its paper tomorrow. After trying for the last six months to paint Ken as some sort of sleazy corrupt whore in league with terrorists, they now have to try and win back some of the readers they have disgusted with their lies.

What the ES and YouGov have proved is that any product, no matter how bad, can become a...
best seller if you throw enough advertising and propaganda at it. Campaign Boris have had tens of millions of free advertising over the last six months as a result of the countless ES bilboards around London. Keep telling people that someone is corrupt, day after day for six months and eventually it seems, enough will believe it, even if they don't know what Livingstone is supposed to have done or that the facts on closer inspection suggest he has done nothing wrong at all.

Selling Boris alone on his limited merits was always a difficult proposition, so the ES have concentrated their fire on an anti-Livingstone campaign. It seems the only positives about Boris are where he has been forced (against his better judgement) to copy Ken's policies (partial guarantees on the congestion charge and freedom pass come to mind). It remains to be seen whether he will honour any of them, especially as the Tories who will run his administration have consistently voted against all of these things on the GLA.

No-one is perfect, but Ken comes closer than most. It is sad that one of the most honest politicians we have may have been lost to us. People say they want straight talkers who give honest answers - Ken was that politician. He made brave judgements following his principles and this has put him in good stead time after time as he is eventually proved right and well ahead of the curve. Finally it seems, the Tory liars have overridden the reality of the improvement he has brought to Londoners lives.

The latest news I have is that Boris is ahead in 9 of the 14 constituencies and that over 2.4 million votes have been cast. This means both Boris and Ken seem likely to get over a million votes each (Ken won with 900,000 in 2004). This gives us around a 45% turnout - high for a local election but maybe not high enough to save Ken.

If Ken has lost, then it is a massive blow to progressive politics. It makes me question whether a majority of Londoners really do believe in green issues, peace and equality. Londoners may say they dislike George W Bush, but it seems, like Americans they are just as prone to elect someone in his image. Heres hoping Ken can still do it, but I know I am increasingly clutching at straws.

9 comments:

  1. "they now have to try and win back some of the readers they have disgusted with their lies."

    If they were lies then presumably we can look forward to a court case and seeing a victorious, and very rich, Ken standing next time.

    "What the ES and YouGov have proved is that any product, no matter how bad, can become a best seller if you throw enough advertising and propaganda at it"

    We have know this for 13 years. Don't you remember the election of 1997 that brought NuLab to power?

    BTW, I don't really care for Boris either but being, like you, an outside observer I feel it isn't for me to criticise the people of London for their choices. However I find you attitude very typical of the left in general, you love democracy as long as the people vote for your candidate, otherwise they are stupid gullible dupes who can't be trusted.

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  2. BARNBROOK ON THE GLA!!!!

    Get in there!

    Fantastic!

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  3. Hi Neil this is Katrina Anon...

    Looks like Boris won by over 100,000 votes.

    For us in the US, why did Boris do so well? What was it that Londoners liked about Boris? Can you capture what the main issues were?

    Also for us US folks, can you explain what the principal differences are between Conservative and Labour? In the US most of us think that there is little difference between Conservative and Labour save that Labour is far more to the left than Conservatives are.

    What I am looking for is an honest appraisal not a rhetorical or party one.

    Thanks Again on one very raining evening here in Tickfaw...

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  4. Katrina Anon: Sorry not got back to you on the gun issue yet, will do so I promise.

    The difference between Tory and Labour?

    I believe there are big differences, much bigger than between Democrat and Republican.

    Despite a move to the right, the Labour party still passionately believes in redistribution. Despite its critics, this government has helped the poorest more than any other. Over £100bn has been sent their way over the last ten years. Not anywhere near enough in the face of the Tory years. Inequality was expanding rapidily and poverty tripled after 18 years of Thatcher and Major and Labour have reversed this.

    Then there is universal healthcare - probably the best thing about living in Europe compared to the US. If you get ill here, you may have to wait in line, but at least you don't have to be very rich to be assured health cover. Under the Tories the average wait was 18 months - disgraceful and it was looking as if the end of the NHS was a real possibility. Labour have reduced this to 9 weeks - still too long but in England no-one has to bankrupt themself to get basic health provision.

    I could go on, Labour have transformed the inner cities - brownfield land has been built on providing much needed homes, education budget doubled and public transport - especially in London is transformed when it was in terminal decline under the Tories.

    It looks as if, the right-wing press have finally worn down the electorate and Labour leaders. Gordon Brown has been too cowardly in facing them and now it looks as though the Tories will once again be running this country in 2 years. It is a frightening thought - because it is pretty obvious that that party is still full of unreconstructed Thatcherites.

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  5. It looks as if, the right-wing press have finally worn down the electorate and Labour leaders. Gordon Brown has been too cowardly in facing them and now it looks as though the Tories will once again be running this country in 2 years

    This is not about 'the right wing press' but about policies. During the fag end of John Major's administration, his government's apologists calimed that his government was 'badly presented' as though the only thing that was wrong was its news management and how the press chose to portray it. Well I've got news for you. Labour lost yesterday because it deserved to. Labour supporters have taken a lot of shit from this government and it would appear that a very large number of them have had enough. If the penalty is a few years in opposition to remind the party leaders what being a *Labour* government is all about, then so be it. What it should be about is improving the lot of the poorest in the country, It certainly isn't about fighting the US's war of imperialism in Iraq, forcing ID Cards down our throats, retaining the DNA of innocent, jailing those who look at adult 'extreme' porn, etc, etc. None of this bullshit betters the lot of working people. And until Labour gets this, it is fucked and deservedly so. A massive election defeat in 2010 is the only way that the smug non-entities in charge of the party are going to get it.

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  6. Stephen,

    "What it should be about is improving the lot of the poorest in the country,"

    No. This is where Labour has made its fatal mistake. Wealth isn't a zero sum game and the first priority of all political parties should first and foremost be to increase the overall wealth of the country. How that increase in wealth is then distributed should be a secondary consideration for without an increase in wealth we all lose out.

    The second mistake, and Cameron is falling in to the same trap, is to continue blathering on about "hard working families" as if nobody else exists. IMHO part of the reason for the anti Labour vote is because people who pay those taxes that you want to redistribute to the poor, whether they deserve it or not, have had enough.

    By all means arrange for the poor to get richer faster than everyone else, but if you think beggaring other people for the benefit of the poor is a vote winner forget it.

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  7. Hi Neil, This is Katrina Anon,

    Reading what you and others have written, I doubt the press had much to do with it per se. Read on because I will have a comment about Reps and Demos, but continuing, the press has changed so much and the public is lagging in the change.

    Before when there were only a few media outlets the press could regulate the flow of information. With the Internet the press can no longer do this.

    Whether the information is correct or not is really only important in the long term. Once any blogger or Internet correspondent starts to develop a legacy everyone will be able to evaluate the veracity of that person.

    Politicians have yet to adapt to this new media either. They are so panicked by winding up on YouTube they try to confiscate cell phones at door of their meetings. If they would just stay true to their stated platforms they would not get themselves into trouble.

    On this press stuff, despite the fact that I am conservative, right wing US talk radio (as opposed to tax payer supported left wing radio [NPR for example]) only has influence over me. I do subscribe to everything and reject plenty. I am hardly unique, most of the people I know on the right will listen, but hardly obey.

    What citizens need to be able to do is to pull the facts out of any news story and perform their own analysis based on their own mores. That has been why the press has failed because they are trying to change society instead of report on it.

    Now back to Tory/Labour and Republican/Democrat similarities...

    In the US the reason the Republicans lost Congress two years ago was because they forgot who elected them and what they were elected to do. When they became as corrupt as the Democrats and became big government Republicans they were turned out.

    I as a conservative Republican do not think the leadership has learned that. Its looking pretty good that McCain will take the White House, one has to remember it is easier for liberal to vote for McCain than it is for a conservative to do the same.

    After reading the comments from some of your fellow countrymen (or is it people?) it seems they are facing the same problem. Government seems to be sticking its nose into everyones' daily life. When the government uses security cams to determine whether a child can be legally enrolled in a particular school district government should take a deep breath and step back.

    It also seems like the tax bite is getting too extreme. Redistribution has always been a pretty dumb idea. One only has to look at Russian central planning to see how stupid it was.

    The better solution is to guide the wealthy to make money in ways to benefit the population. Just like grades in school there will always be someone at the top and someone at the bottom. It is better to work on ways to get the person off the bottom than just taking points off the top to do so.

    Anyway Neil, thanks for the feedback. I guess I should have said everything above since what I wanted to do was get a little understanding GBR politics. You did succeed between yours and other posters.

    I can see that there is less difference between Europe and the US Democrats and RINO Republicans than I thought.

    BTW, I will also post an interesting link today in the gun control thread. It has to do with hobby my wife & I participate in.

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  8. No. This is where Labour has made its fatal mistake. Wealth isn't a zero sum game and the first priority of all political parties should first and foremost be to increase the overall wealth of the country. How that increase in wealth is then distributed should be a secondary consideration for without an increase in wealth we all lose out

    It is quite possible to do both at the same time. In point of fact, Labour has presided over a massive widening of the gap between rich and poor, or should I say, between the rich and everyone else. This has been highly damaging to democracy as great wealth brings political power and influence. Why the hell do you think so many plutocrats have been lining up to pump money into Labour?

    IMHO part of the reason for the anti Labour vote is because people who pay those taxes that you want to redistribute to the poor, whether they deserve it or not, have had enough

    As it happens it would appear that those who were enriched by the dropping of the 10p rate were as outraged about it as those who lost money. So perhaps your pessimistic, atavistic view of the electorate isn't the whole story.

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  9. Hi, this is Katrina Anon...

    I watch this with great amusement. I don't see how you can tax or fee your way out of poverty. There will always be someone who is richer and someone who is poorer.

    My daughter who is receiving public assistance, is getting very upset about the taxes she is having to pay.

    I know Neil likes Doctor Who. So in honor of this election and to reflect on onerious taxes, I will watch the episode call The Sun Makers.

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