Sunday, April 27, 2008

An Appeal to Ken Livingstone and the Left List. Stop putting stuff through my door.

I have decided to vote Lindsey German 1 Ken Livingstone 2 for Mayor, Left List for the GLA. I have no enthusaism for doing so whatsover, and bitterly regret that the left and the labour movement did not get their act together to run a decent, socialist slate standing up for working-class demands. But, you know, I can't be indifferent between Livingstone and Johnson, the only two candidates who can win and between whom every vote counts; and the preference system allows me to vote for a no-hope candidate first and Livingstone second, thus registering in some weak, insipid way that I do actually thing privatisation is bad, striking Tube workers are not the devil incarnate, and it is not OK for the police to bully and kill innocent people. And I can't abstain on the GLA vote because that will help the BNP get elected (amongst other reasons).

Problem is: every time I get a leaflet through my door from either of my two preferred candidates, it makes my decision even harder to stick to.

Ken's card popped through the letterbox yesterday, pleading with me to Imagine Boris in charge of running London. Suddenly he's not so funny. Good point, but a candidate chasing after my vote should really do more than point out that the other geezer is a clown. Ken's card damns Boris for, amongst other things, voting against automatic five-year sentences for people caught illegally carrying guns. In the pamphlet of candidates' election addresses that the Post Office kindly put through my door, Ken boasts of increasing the numbers of London coppers, without so much as suggesting that they should be more accountable or behave a bit better. Strangely, none of his election material that I have yet seen says Vote for Ken - Privatising the East London Line was a stroke of genius.

The Left List's election material appears to have had the words 'socialism' and 'working-class' surgically removed - totally absent from the leaflet they put through my door yesterday. Although Lindsey does manage to mention in her election address that she is a socialist, her vision of the agency to change society is "a new movement of Londoners", rather than the, erm, working class. Need I really go into why this is both unprincipled and counter-productive? Indeed, wasn't it embarrassment at the S word and the W word that marked the start of Labour's swing to the right under Kinnock in the 1980s (not that it had been exactly 'left-wing' before then!)? The Left List's election material is really lukewarm and uninspiring, a list of worthy slogans about housing, transport etc and bland statements about London's wealth.

Independent working-class representation and principled socialism is more important - but, sadly, seems more remote - than ever.

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