Labour Party,  London Citizens

Ken’s manifesto is a social democratic one

By Hinoki

Of late Ken Livingstone appears to have taken the place the late Saddam Hussein once occupied on this blog.

Ken’s gaff-fuelled engagement with the Jewish community and invitation to a conservative Muslim cleric seem to be the key focus of loathing, along with accusations of cronyism and his rather stupid remarks about tax. The polls are grim, his errors highlighted with gusto by the right-wing London Evening Standard and its stable-mates. Relax all you haters – you will probably not wake to a Livingstonian London.

Yet Boris Johnson could be equally vilified. He has been accused of “political interference in operational policing” and cronyism cropped up when he hired one of his supporters as Head of London Arts, described by the Head of the Arts Council as “manifestly less qualified than three of her competitors” with “almost no arts credibility”.

Johnson has also been criticised by Doreen Lawrence who said if people read his views there was no way he would win the support of the black community. Hardly surprising, given this is a man who described overseas visits by Tony Blair and the Queen as populated by “piccaninnies” and folk with “watermelon smiles”. He also pronounced the London Irish Awards as a “£20,000 on a dinner at the Dorchester for Sinn Féin”, added to which Liverpudlians have a “deeply unattractive psyche” according to the Spectator leader for which he took responsibility.

Presumably there are HP equivalents elsewhere on the web dominated by supporters of the black, Irish and Liverpudlian communities which are even now calling for Boris’s immaculately-ruffled (shock – he apparently has perfectly tidy hair) head.

Eton-educated, former Bullingdon man (current battle cry – Buller, Buller, Buller! Buller, Buller, Buller! We are the famous Bullingdon Club, and we don’t give a fuck!) Boris, is a man for whom a £250,000 cheque for a Telegraph column he turns out as “a way of relaxation … on a Sunday morning” is “chicken feed”.

Boris Johnson, like his schoolmate David, is not someone who has probably ever had to worry about the gas bill, dressing the kids, or paying the bus fare.

Little surprise then a single bus journey under Boris has risen by 50 per cent since he came to power.

As David Lammy says: The only consistent campaign he has waged is scrapping the 50p top rate of tax which affects 1% of London taxpayers. He hasn’t lifted a finger for the rest of London.”

One can quibble – what about the bikes? The busses? But compared to Ken’s accomplishments – the congestion charge, massive improvement in transport links, Oyster, the Olympics, his response to 7/7 (compared with Boris’s to The Great London Looting) – they are indeed “chicken feed”.

Ken’s manifesto pledges include:

  • Cutting fares by 7% this year – saving the average Londoner £1,000 over four years
  • Working to reduce rents, improve homes with a London non-profit lettings agency
  • Tackling heating bills – through insulation and an energy co-op to reduce prices and help households save more than £150 a year
  • Reinstating a London EMA of up to £30 a week to help young people stay in education
  • Providing more support for childcare with grants and interest-free loans

Both Boris and Ken can be caked by the mud of their own making, yet at its heart Harry’s Place should be a social democratic site. Ken may be many things that it does not approve of, but his Manifesto is manifestly a social democratic one. As such it should support him for Mayor.

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