The Thick of It


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

London Mayor

I find the comments on Dave Hill's post yesterday detailing Oona King's proposed transport policies quite interesting though I feel many are missing the point. The policies of Labour's candidate matter only as much as their potential to win the election. My feeling is that King could win for Labour and my worry is that Ken Livingstone might not.

In 2008 I desperately wanted Livingstone to win the mayoral election. If he was Labour's candidate in 2012 I would want him to win. Above it all though I want Labour to win. If there was a re-run of 2008, Ken versus Boris, I fear Labour would lose. The same old mud-slinging could be brought up again. 

For Labour to win any election when the Tory vote has re-awakened after going dormant between means bucking the national trend. In the recent general election Labour managed to achieve that, also taking several councils from the Tories, such as Enfield. I would be interested is seeing London opinion polling showing the potential voting if we were faced with another Ken versus Boris contest. The key questions would be: whether a drab and rather pointless term in office from Boris Johnson will put Tories off enough to vote for him again; and whether this would be enough for voters to back Ken again? Has he simply made too many enemies of voters? I don't know, but it is an important question and one that needs to be answered before the London Labour Party makes its decision on the candidate for 2012. 

Anyone but Boris. I'm sure of that.


Anonymous said...

Hi Tim,

What makes you think Oona is more likely to win than Ken?

She supports privatising the post office. She managed to lose one of the safest Labour seats in the country by supporting an illegal war for the sake of her career. And the new Labour dogma she is still wedded to has been rejected by the electorate.

We need someone principled and on the side of working class, low and middle income Londoners - those who have been largely left behind by the economic growth celebrated by Oona and her new Labour backers.

There is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that Oona (or new Labour for the matter) are winners. Even less to suggest that they would be good for Labour, London or the country.

Tim McLoughlin said...

Hi there anon

It is my feeling that a new candidate is needed for Labour to be taken seriously about offering a positive manifesto for the future. I don't want the next mayoral election to be fought over past battles.

At the same time the mayor has nothing to do with post office privatisation. Why is this subject repeatedly brought up?

I don't know Oona King but I have seen her speak at hustings. She didn't support the Iraq war for the sake of her career. She spoke, quite eloquently, recently of her feeling at the time that human rights abuses needed to be stopped in Iraq. She has also said that if she knew then what she knows now, she wouldn't have supported the war.

This selection and election has nothing to do with the war though. Both candidates have made mistakes in the past.

King has a strong trade union background and has worked tirelessly for those that need Labour.

The evidence that Labour can win is that Labour gained more votes than the Tories at the general election. Organised and active in London, Labour has done very well recently.

If you are a Labour supporter you'd be well aware of that.

Anonymous said...

I'd say support for privatisation and the war, while the Mayor has no responsbilities in these areas, are fairly good indicators of the principles a person holds.

I would argue that support for privatisation and for a war that has killed hundreds of thousands of innocent poor people are not the actions of someone who "works tirelessly for those who need Labour".

Maybe it's just me but I thought Labour lost the election? And has lost 4 million votes since 1997. As soon as the Tories became electable, we lost. We need to think long and hard why that is (slavish devotion to the City, de-regulation, laying the groundwork for privatisation of schools and hospitals, widening the gap between rich and poor, not building council houses to name but a few) and people like Oona King are a large part of the reason.

I agree we need to look to the future but King and New Labour are the past. And as for her positive campaign, it has so far consisted of attacking Livingstone over "cronyism", suggesting he didn't do enough to appeal to outer London and saying he failed on knife crime. Really positive, that!