|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.Sian Berry, Green candidate for Mayor of London said:
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.
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.End of statement
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.
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