The Thick of It


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ken launches Progressive London

Ken Livingstone was never going to go quietly. Not content with a regular slot on LBC radio and newspaper columns, Livingstone has now formally set up Progressive London.

The stated aim of Progressive London is to keep together the coalition of anti-Tory votes that Livingstone sought to keep him in office. Uniting politicians and activists across party lines is ambitious. There will be some who see this as Ken's declaration of candidacy for the 2012 elections. Mobilising a campaign for 2012 it might be, mobilising a campaign for Ken, I'm not sure. Ken might want that, I don't think it is that feasible. Labour will need to make a new choice and do so in two ore three years time.

For any alliance to work will require a common enemy. Boris Johnson will therefore need to keep antagonising those who didn't vote for him. Increasing transport fares in January will help, as will the bungled handling of Sir Ian Blair's stepping down as head of the Metropolitan Police. If BJ hadn't exercised powers he didn't hold in making Blair's position untenable, there would be no row over how much he is being paid to quit. I'm confident that the common enemy will remain, however an alliance also needs common solutions.

Common solutions stem from a shared vision. So far Ken's alliance looks like one that can run. It should do because so far the backers are predominantly Labour, with a smattering of Lib Dems and Greens. I'll be interested to see if the alliance can really take on a cross party feel. If it does, it will stand a chance of being listened to as something more powerful than simply Ken Livingstone's mouthpiece.

Further reading:
Pippa Crerar's Evening Standard blog
Tory Troll: one of the speakers at the Progressive London conference in January
Dave Hill
Liberal Conspiracy


Matthew Cain said...

I think their website could do with some work if it's to make a positive impact on their online campaign

Timmymc said...

I agree. The site looks like it has been thrown together very quickly from a free website programme.

I also find the site too wordy, meaning the key messages get lost.

I also noted that when I searched for London Progressives in Google, blog posts came ahead of the official page. This needs to be rectified. A website is the first point of reference yet this one is hard to find in the first place.

Emma-Jane Cross said...

While it’s great to see an attempt to build a broad alliance online to build a better London, it’s really disappointing that this alliance is not broad enough to include the young people of London.

"Social justice, environmental protection, good community relations and cultural innovation” are all issues that affect young people in the capital but nowhere on the Progressive London website are young people mentioned and there is no sign whatsoever that Progressive London has any policies to help them and to be honest it really isn't good enough Ken.

Emma-Jane Cross, Chief Executive of Beatbullying

Timmymc said...

Emma-Jane: I agree that young people are not properly represented here. However, the site is a work in progress and I'd hope that iportant stakeholders such as yourself would be included in any policy making process.

By looking at the list of people involved in Progressive London I did note that Dawn Butler MP is taking part. She has made a fantastic contribution to young people's issues. She is the Labour Party's Young Peoples' advocate and Honorary Vice President of the British Youth Council. Have you had any dialogue with her?

emma-jane cross said...

Thanks Tim - We would certainly consider working with them. My college met with Dawn Butler yesterday and she is very interested in working with BB so thanks for the advice!