Thursday, March 19, 2009

So will Labour try to take London backwards?

Ken Livingstone has announced what's been an open secret for ages now - he's going to run for Mayor in 2012. And if he can't get the Labour nomination he's going to run as an Independent. (BBC News: Livingstone seeks return as mayor)

Just imagine what the return of Livingstone would mean for London. It would mean London would no longer be run for the benefit of all Londoners but instead for a coalition of clientalist groups leeching funds whilst pretending to be representing sections of the community, in harness with a handful of select inner London boroughs. It would mean ever greater taxes on using a car, with no serious attempt to provide alternatives in outer London boroughs. It would mean directly insulting communities and countries. It will mean deals with dodgy dictators. It would mean proliferate waste at City Hall. It would mean a return to corruption investigations. It would mean taxes going up. It would mean needless fights with central government purely for the point of it. It would mean endless tokenism. It would mean promoting community division, not unity. It would mean disaster for London.

Last May Londoners voted to put an end to all that. To their credit the Labour Party leadership got the hint and are doing their best to stop it. (Evening Standard: Labour heavyweights plan mayoral bids to 'stop Ken') But will the London Labour Party members realise get the hint as well? And can't Livingstone get it?


Wolfie said...

Ken is delusional, always has been but the same can be said of the Labour party; it was simply masked from the public by rhetoric and spin. However, don’t underestimate the demographic explosion happening still in our London boroughs who can still bring this undead anachronism back to [political] life.

Dingdongalistic said...

Could this be said to be something of a rant? Particularly when considering that the run of Boris Johnson's administration has hardly been particularly smooth, either, with multiple resignations, nor his interaction with communities any more congenial.

Of course, Livingstone running for election again would be a mistake. But with regards to things such as taxes on car usage, it's certainly not fair to say that London's transport infrastructure didn't benefit from taxing congestion in the first place, and I personally would prefer improved public transport to easier use of a car in Inner London (having cycled in London, I can't comprehend why so many people still insist on driving. You average around twice as fast).

Mustafa Arif said...

Was there not conflict between the demands of the inner and outer boroughs for decades back in the days of the GLC?

The doughnut shape of the election results last time shows that the differences in public priorities have yet to be bridged. It was striking that Boris was elected off the back of several pledges that appealed to outer London but whose impact will be felt primarily in inner London.

Tim Roll-Pickering said...

Depending on which definition one uses, Livingstone carried four or six outer London boroughs (Ealing, Brent, Waltham Forest, Barking & Dagenham and, if they count as outer, Haringey and Newham), whilst Boris Johnson carried four, five or six (Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea, Hammersmith & Fulham, Wandsworth, Greenwich if it counts as inner and also the City of London if it counts as a borough).

The effect of the map is a bit less of the doughnut of popular myth and somewhat closer to a sandwich, which was also how it looked in the 1970 and 1977 Conservative GLC victories - see David Boothroyd's maps.

You're right there are inner/outer issues although not every issue aligns as such (for example the bendy bus has been seen in outer London boroughs) and on some such as tube the real divide is north/south.


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