Tuesday, April 01, 2008
Left List for London posted by Richard Seymour
Londoners will face an important choice over the future of their city in the elections on May 1. Ken Livingstone's supporters have been quick to remind us of the threat Boris Johnson poses (Report, March 26). But we cannot give Livingstone a free pass to City Hall. There is much to agree with Ken about, including his strong stand against racism and his international policies. However, we should not ignore the important disagreements. From supporting the police when they killed Jean Charles de Menezes, to insisting London's millionaire non-doms pay no tax, Ken Livingstone has too often forgotten about the hopes of those who voted for him. He was elected in 2000 as a principled opponent of New Labour, campaigning against the privatisation of the London Underground.
Eight years later, he is the official New Labour candidate, supporting the privatisation of the East London line. His 15-year strategic plan for London focuses on the City's needs above all other considerations. And every trade unionist in London will have been shocked at Livingstone's call to cross tube workers' picket lines. Lindsey German is standing for the Left List in the mayoral election to represent a real alternative in London. The Mayoral contest gives everyone two votes. To keep Boris Johnson out, vote second preference for Ken. But to give working-class Londoners a real voice in the city, vote first preference for Lindsey.
Michael Rosen, Nick Broomfield, China Mieville, Haifa Zangana, Baljeet Ghale Ex-president, NUT, Jane Loftus CWU, Craig Murray Ex-ambassador to Uzbekistan, Professor Sebastian Balfour LSE, Professor Alfredo Saad-Filho SOAS, Professor Colin Sparks Westminster University and 20 others
You can see the full list of signatories here. I must say I'm quite impressed by the concise political arguments contained in the letter as much as by the range of signatories. Livingstone's recent pact with the Green Party candidate Sian Berry, in which both asked their supporters to give second preference to the other candidate, actually proved that one can vote for a candidate who isn't Livingstone and still keep the Tory out. So there is actually no longer any excuse for his propaganda machine to pretend that casting a first preference vote for someone other than him is going to risk letting Boris Johnson in. It was always a pathetic argument, but it should be dead now.
Respect is, of course, standing both Lindsey and a list of candidates for the Greater London Assembly as the Left List. You can see some videos of the candidates here. There will be a manifesto launch next week, which you're invited to attend. And all being well, I shall be reporting from the NO2ID hustings, where we'll get to see all the candidates lay out their arguments with a particular emphasis on civil liberties. The Left List will be standing in all areas, so everyone will get the chance to vote for a principle left-wing candidate, even if you live in one of those posh areas where people will vote for a jam jar if it has a blue rosette attached. We were just short of getting someone on the Assembly last time, so even if you are stranded in Toryland or whatever, you could help put us over the threshold. And if you're not, you've no excuse.