Thursday, 21 April 2016

London Green Party's decision not to recommend a Mayoral second preference debated

George Galloway's battle bus was parked in Church Road today.  He could be heard bellowing to an empty street.
 Motion passed by London Fed, Monday 18 April
That the London Federation of Green Parties has great reservations about the policy positions on inequality, road building, airport expansion, and estate demolition of both so-called front runners for Mayor of London, and does not feel able to make a positive recommendation to Green voters in this election for a candidate who should receive their second preference vote for Mayor.
There have been a number of exchanges on Twitter regarding the London Federation of Green Parties decision not to recommend a second preference to voters in the London Mayoral vote. Here is the official statement following the decision:

The London Federation of Green Parties has announced that it cannot make a positive recommendation for either Sadiq Khan or Zac Goldsmith as an option for green voters‘ second preference in the election for Mayor.

Last month, the Party set out four ‘red lines’ on road building, airport expansion, estate demolition and inequality, against which they have now assessed the Labour and Conservative candidates’ policies and campaigning.

Neither candidate has provided guarantees against taking backward steps on air pollution and congestion by building new roads and expanding airports, and neither has made clear how they will take effective steps to stop the loss of thousands of council homes through estate demolitions.

No Mayor of London has ever won a majority vote on first preferences and in three of the four previous elections London Green Party decided to recommend its supporters back Ken Livingstone – as an Independent in 2000 and as the Labour candidate in 2008 and 2012 – as the best choice for the second preference votes of its supporters.

In a statement following its meeting last night, the Federation said:
Greens in London want positive change and a Green Mayor is the best way to deliver that. But Londoners will be able to give two candidates for Mayor their support, and to elect more Greens to the London Assembly.

The next Mayor could do a lot to tackle air pollution, housing and inequality, but he or she could also make the situation far worse. Unfortunately, neither Zac Goldsmith nor Sadiq Khan have ruled out major road building, which would create more congestion and pollution. Nor have they ruled out airport expansion which will make noise, pollution and climate change worse.

Despite their promises to act on London disastrous housing market, neither Sadiq Khan nor Zac Goldsmith are offering specific promises to reverse the proposed loss of 7,000 council homes from demolition schemes already in the planning pipeline. These backward steps are unacceptable.
Sian Berry, Green candidate for Mayor of London said:
The Greens have grown in strength and experience over 16 years and our policies stand alone as the best ideas for London in this election. We are the only party that will say no to big road building, airport expansion and forced estate demolition.

I know my supporters will have their own thoughts about who will get their second preference vote. But Zac Goldsmith and Sadiq Khan have both failed to provide the guarantees that they will not make a bad situation worse in London either by increasing pollution with new roads and expanded airports or making the housing crisis even worse with the loss of thousands of council homes in estate demolitions.

I want Londoners to have clean air and a decent, affordable home. The only guarantee of that is a Green Mayor and a strong group of Green representatives on the London Assembly.
 End of statement

Readers may be interested to know that the previous decision to back Ken Livingstone was made after he accepted an invitation to meet with the London Federation and I remember the lively Q&A and subsequent discussion that took place before a decision to back him as our second preference was made.

I understand that Sadiq Khan has not responded to a similar invitation.

A YouGov poll for the Evening Standard today puts Sadiq Khan (Labour) on 31% and Zac Goldsmith on 20%. Khan's lead has increased from 7% in March to 11% now.   However 25% still 'don't know' and 8% do not intend to vote.

Sian Berry is supported by 6% ahead of Lib Dem Caroline Pidgeon on 5%. UKIP is marginally in front on 7% while George Galloway for Respect is 'hardly troubling the scorer.'

 The Standard says the poll suggests that the mayoralty will be decided on second preference votes
Once included, without 'don't knows' and 'would not vote', and weighted by likelihood to vote, the Labour contender is on 60% and Richmond Park MP 40%
I would be cautious about that in the light of recent failings by pollsters and with the 'doughnut' effect of voters in the outer London boroughs favouring the Tories (Brent and Harrow excluded).

There is a lively debate going on inside and outside the Green Party on the Federation's decision.  Here are some of the positions I have since the announcement of 'no second preference'.
People are capable of making up their own minds. It would be patronising for the Green Party to tell people how to vote.

The election of a Tory mayor would be a setback for ordinary Londoners. The Labour Party should see how important this is and talk to the Green Party to seek agreement on its 'Red Lines'

There is a big difference between a Khan and a Goldsmith victory and its impact on London and nationally, and on the current struggle between the Blairites and Corbynites in the Labour Party.

The Green Party decision will backfire as the Tory's racist campaign against Khan continues and intensifies.  We will be accused of not being serious about class politics and a progressive alliance.

The suffering imposed on Londoners by Labour councils implementing cuts, as instructed by Corbyn and McDonnell,  explains why they don't want a Labour Mayor either. Nobody said there is no difference between Goldsmith and Khan but it may be academic if you are a council tenant being socially cleansed by a Labour council.
A defeat for Khan will be seen as a defeat for Corbyn and will undermine any hopes of a progressive alliance to take on the Tories.
Only the Greens have the policies to make real change in London on these vital issues and a vote for a Green Mayor and Green Assembly Members is the only guarantee that such policies will be implemented.
The London Green Left blog on second preference can be found HERE


  1. Tory Old-Etonian non-dom millionaire's son v Labour state-educated immigrant-bus-driver's human rights lawyer son.
    Hard to choose really, isn't it?
    Mike Hine

    1. What have their parents got to do with anything?
      Nobody gets to choose that.

    2. What's choosing got to do with anything? It's a question of the effect those various factors have on the suitability of the candidate for the job in question. Do you think that not paying tax because you've inherited non-dom status from your not-paying-tax-non-dom dad is a good qualification for a man tasked with the collection and spending of other people's taxes?(Yes, I know he renounced non-dom status when he wanted to stand as an MP in 2010). Is inherited wealth in the billions a good basis for understanding the needs of ordinary Londoners? Is being sent to Eton by your old-Etonian dad the way to achieve a broad social empathy with your fellow-citizen? Is never having had a proper job (ok, he edited The Ecologist for a while) a good preparation for the position he’s standing for? Is having acted pretty much as standard lobby-fodder for 6 years in this appalling Etonian-infested government a good recommendation for a future mayor of London?
      Of course you don’t choose your parents. But you could hardly argue that Osborne, Cameron, Johnson etc are unaffected by the tiny social milieu which spawned them and which has spent the last 6 years (at least) making sure that the massively disproportionate share of the country’s riches that they already owned was not eroded by even one penny but was rather added to and augmented at the expense of the rest of us.
      By comparison, and as a candidate for this particular office, Sadiq Khan is blameless.

      Mike Hine

  2. I think the Greens' decision not to recommend a second preference is disappointing. Clearly they have their "red lines" but the argument that Sadiq Khan has failed to meet the London Federation of the Green Party has a whiff of petulance. The decision also looks foolish tactically. If Sadiq loses, the strategy of the Green Party will be partly held responsible. If he wins, Greens won't be able to say that it was partly due to their support and he won't feel remotely beholden to the Greens' agenda. How does that help them?
    It comes hard on the heels of a Green Party election broadcast whose basic message was "They are all the same." In case you hadn't noticed, the Labour Party has a new leader who has worked very closely with advocates of Green ideas over decades. In the process, Labour's membership has doubled in under a year. The Green strategy of keeping equidistance between Labour and the Conservatives in this election feels out of date, to say the least.

  3. Sadiq Khan was former chair of the campaign organisation Liberty and then when elected as a Labour MP (like other Labour MPs in the same situation) voted opposite to the position he formally proclaimed.

    The man is of the worst type of politician - plastic.
    Its why he has also tried to have it both ways with airport expansion opposing 'Heathrow' whilst supporting Gatwick.

    Sadiq also spoke out AGAINST the Junior Doctors
    & he is for HS2 which equals yet more infrastructure for London and increasing the pressures on the city around pollution and housing.

    The other day Sadiq started slandering muslim families by suggesting that something 'insidious' must be going on in their homes if the woman wore a niqab.

    Then he pretends to be passionate about 'council estates' but is happy to see them all demolished.

    What does Sadiq stand for when?
    Nobody knows - there is no difference between him and the worst of the Conservatives. He may as well join UKIP.

    Scott Bartle.

    1. Why stop there, Scott? Englsh Defence League or Britain First is Sadiq's natural home surely .......

    2. You may jest but last week Labour Cllr Aysegul Gurbuz in Luton was suspended after an investigation that found she called Hitler 'the greatest man in history' amongst other things.

      Scott Bartle

    3. Scott,
      1. What connects Aysegul Gurbuz with Sadiq Khan?
      2. What is the point you are making by citing her?

    4. Britain First are from Luton. Perhaps Labour signed up to a progressive alliance.

    5. Happy to update my analogy today re far right truths underpinning the jests about Labour mayor candidate Sadiq joining Britain First. From Labour Cllr Aysegul Gurbuz to Labour MP Naz Shah who resigned as John Mcdonnells aide today with reference to more hitler talk.


  4. Anon: 22/04/2016 @ 20:20,
    You appear to having difficulties following the thread. If you read my original comment followed by Anon: 22/04/2016 @ 13:16,
    followed by my reply at 15:51 the progression is quite clear.

    Scott Bartle

    1. You appear to be having difficulty clarifying why you mentioned some Luton Labour anti-semitic dimwit in relation to Sadiq Khan. How about making your point explicit rather than trying to smear by association?

  5. What about George Galloway and Caroline Pidgeon? Will Greens back them?

    1. We only get first and second choices in the vote for London Mayor.

      After all the first choice votes are counted, any candidate with more than 50% of the total votes cast would be elected (which is unlikely to happen).

      Only the two candidates with the most votes from the first round go forward to the second round. Second choice votes for those two are then added to their first choice totals, from the ballot papers of all of the other (ten) candidates who are eliminated in the first round. The candidate who has the most first and second choice votes at the end of the second round is elected as Mayor of London.

      As the two candidates who survive the first round are most likely to be Sadiq Khan and Zac Goldsmith (as most people still seem to believe - wrongly, I feel - that Labour and Conservative are the only parties who can govern), so a second choice vote for George Galloway or Caroline Pidgeon would probably be wasted.

      Despite this analysis, please DO vote for whoever you wish to on 5 May, rather than not vote at all!


  6. When people join a political party,
    in this case Labour - it is because they wish to be associated with it.

    Given the majority of the public don't give a fig about party politics & don't join political parties the association is a valid one. Especially given the original anon, possibly you who fails to give your name says in jest, that perhaps Sadiq should join Britain First. Given Cllr Aysegul Gurbuz is the most recent nazi sympathiser within the party to be outed, the truth is apparently closer than you can accept.

    Scott Bartle

    1. Still not sure I follow your reasoning, Scott, so I think we'll just have to agree to disagree on this one. However, if finding anti-semites and extreme right-wingers is your thing you might spend a more fruitful time looking at the history of the environmental and ecological movements than at the Labour party. Try, for example, Malthus, G.K Chesterton,Hilaire Belloc, Jorian Jenks, A K Chesterton,Martin Heidegger, Rudolf Steiner, Konrad Lorenz, Henry Williamson, Major C.H.Douglas,various oddballs associated with the Soil Association,Green NF man Joe Pearce and not forgetting dear old David Icke.

    2. Not sure the point you are trying to make with all this smoke-screening and how this relates to the voting pattern and political stance of Sadiq Khan in the here and now?


    3. I suppose my question is - how do any of those people have the potential to oppress me or others like Sadiq does?

      We know through Sadiq's support of increased infrastructure spending in London (e.g. Cross rail / HS2 / Gatwick) that he will contribute towards greater issues around housing, greater pollution and damage to the physical environment not just in London but up and down the train line. At the same time he refuses to speak out against Labour demolition of council estates across London pushing people out of their homes.

      We know from Sadiq speaking out against junior doctors that he is not on side of the NHS. Yet we know that from Labour's marketisation of the NHS through PFI and foundation status.

      We know that Sadiq is reactionary and will contribute towards increased marginalisation and stigma of people by his comments suggesting something 'insidious' was going on in the homes of Muslim women who choose to wear a Niqab. I recognise these play from the book politicians through at people of Irish decent.

      I've previously mentioned his actions to infringe civil liberties and it wouldn't surprise me if he got the water cannons out in London if elected.

      On the 26.09.2014 Sadi voted for air strikes in Iraq which has directly contributed to the death, destabilisation of an entire region. Exactly the policy Labour was promoting over a decade previous that led to people dying in those countries and here. The red of Labour can only be viewed in the light of blood red due to the death of Dr David Kelly remaining on their hands. We are all still awaiting Chilcott.

      I reject that Labour or Conservatives are the only options we have, despite pseudo-polling enabling media to try and portray something different. Scotland proved that you can make progress by rejecting both Labour and Conservatives and given Labour does not have a chance of winning a majority ever again, we may as well embrace change now rather than ticking a 2nd preference for a man who has the record above.



    4. So we can still rely on your vote for Sadiq as 2nd choice then .......