Friday, September 03, 2010

Good luck Ken

Many Londoners, at least members of certain unions and the Labour Party, will be receiving their ballot papers for Labour's Mayoral selection today. I'd just like to take this opportunity to wish Mr Livingstone the best of luck as I'm looking forward to voting for him (second preference) in 2012.

An identikit politician like Oona King simply doesn't have what it takes to beat the Conservatives, and although she may well keep the loyal Labour vote no Mayoral election has ever been won on first preferences alone. Labour needs second preferences to win and Oona is just too uninspiring and, if I'm honest, shifty to win them in sufficient numbers.

I wouldn't vote for her and she'd stand a cat in hell's chance of getting an official Green Party endorsement the way Ken did in 2008.

In her campaign video (produced by the excellent David Schneider) she claims to have a solid record of political achievements, but you just can't compare Ken's uniquely radical record over the last three decades to Oona's neoliberal pottering about.

Ken is probably this country's most successful politician alive today and even when he lost the Mayoralty he did it with more votes and second preferences than he'd ever had before - he lost because the Conservatives hoovered up vast amounts of the Lib Dem vote after they ran a terrible candidate with a useless campaign.

If you care about diversity in politics, if you care about London having a left of centre Mayor and if you care about London's green policies - I'd ask you to consider selecting for Ken.

h/t Ken's video via Socialist Unity. Oona's via Liberal Conspiracy.


Derek Wall said...

Ken's not perfect (who is) but he has a long and honorable relationship with the Green Party, hope he gets the nomination.

He is also a stout ally of the political process in Latin America, again this is rare on the left and very rare in the Labour Party.

modernity said...

The problem being, no one really explained why Ken failed before, why people threw him out and more importantly why he would win *this* time.

Why would he win *this* time?

Jim Jepps said...

Mod: people say things like he lost because "people were sick of him" but it's just not backed up by the facts - more people voted Ken (both first and second pref) than had ever voted for him before - even when he ran as an independent... on the back of a declining Labour vote that was an amazing achievement.

Boris won it by being a charismatic and independent character that attracted many of the less politically committed voters. The Lib Dems ran a piss poor campaign and lost much of their vote to Boris plus UKIP's vote bottomed out from the time before (when they'd won 2 AMs) and that vote, naturally enough went to Boris.

The next assembly election will probably be on a rising Labour vote and falling Tory one with many left leaning Lib Dems voting Labour instead this time. You need someone who's proved they can win the loyalty of Londoners to win it, which Ken has done and Oona has not.

modernity said...


So basically you're saying Boris won it, Ken didn't lose it.

Fair enough, so we'll see next time won't we?

I doubt he'll make it and Londoners will be stuck with Boris, again.

I say that as an ex-Ken voter.

Jim Jepps said...

I think the figures back me up.

There's absolutely no guarantees that Ken will win it - but - he showed he was able to increase the Labour vote while it was in decline nationally. That's impressive. Oona has never, and probably will never, demonstrate that kind of metal.

Put simply it's my belief (and I might be wrong) that Oona cannot win and Ken can... will he? I don't know.

Jonathan Buckner said...

Whatever Ken's faults, he is a decent Left-of-Centre politician, even not as 'red' as he was in the 1980s. That is still a hell of a lot more Left-wing than Oona King, who seems to be acepting the 'logic' of public sector cuts. Ken has made it clear he will resist those cuts. That's enough clear red water for Ken to earn my second preference and (hopefully) the official backing of the Green Party for second preferences in 2012 - although we should obviously run as strong a campaign as possible firmly from Livingstone's Left (assuming he's nominated).

I also agree that Oona will struggle to win. Boris has a very large personal vote, and may be able to present himself as somewhat distant and independent from David Cameron and the Coalition, just as Livingstone did regarding New Labour. Even if we see a swing back to Labour in 2012 (which I think we almost certainly will), Labour need a candidate who can compete with Boris in terms of having a genuine personal vote and following, and who can also present themselves as an 'independent' candidate. Ken can do all of this, Oona cannot.

If Oona is nominated I suppose I'll be voting for Lembit as my second preference - I've always wanted asteroid defence for London.

Jonathan Buckner said...

Sorry...that should have read "even IF not as 'red' as he was in the 1980s."

Barkingside 21 said...

The thing with Ken and Boris is that you either love them or hate them. That coupled with the two-way run-off polarises the vote so that any third way candidate doesn't stand a chance. Just look at the second preferences for the Green candidate last time out.

Could Oona be the best Labour candidate for the Greens?

Do the Greens have a candidate in mind for 2012?

Jim Jepps said...

I think Ken has the marmite quality, but Boris (among normal people) doesn't bring out the same levels of hate or love. I think this is mainly because he doesn't do very much...

Anyway, the selection process for the Greens Mayoral candidate takes place later this year and there will be a number of candidates to choose from... you can rest assured I'll be blogging copiously on the contest!