Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Greens make Livingstone second preference for London Mayor

Following an address by Ken Livingstone on Monday evening at the Federation of London Green Parties and a full, good-natured debate, London Greens voted to recommend a second preference vote for Livingstone by 45 votes to 19.

I am quite sceptical regarding Ken and totally disenchanted with Brent Labour's performance over cuts, but in the end was swayed by the argument that Ken's election would provide some political space for Green and progressive policies.

During the Q and A I asked Livingstone about the cuts and whether he would provide leadership for London councils in opposing them. He distanced himself from Brent Labour stating that he was opposed to the library closures and spoke about the disproportionate cuts to London council funding. I was not left convinced that he would lead a huge campaign on the Save the GLC model but would hope that the left of the Labour Party would put additional pressure on him during his mayoral campaign.

There was not time in the debate to examine in depth the financial implication's of Livingstone's policies and I still have to be persuaded about their viability - particularly the details regarding the funding of a revived Education Maintenance Allowance.

Among the arguments against endorsing Livingstone were the toxic impact of Labour's cuts in London, the public asking if we were giving Ken second preference and the Green's had no chance of winning why not make him No.1, his cosiness with the city in his previous administration, his continuing commitment to road building, and his questionable support for reactionary homophobic clerics. It was also argued that the Greens with their own MP and a Green led council, were strong enough to stand on their own record without reference to Labour.

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