LibLink: Paddy Ashdown – I understand why many voters on the progressive wing of politics are struggling with voting for Ken Livingstone

Writing in the Evening Standard, former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown says:

I understand why many voters on the progressive wing of politics are struggling with voting for Ken Livingstone. His campaign has been sad, desperate and divisive. He has just one big idea — a seven per cent cut in Tube fares. It’s a perfectly decent policy at a time when fares have risen for years on end but the problem is he can’t do it and he knows it.

Transport for London knows it too, having worked out that if it implemented such a cut, the money would run out and in three years’ time your fares would have to be hiked up by an eye-watering 38 per cent on top of inflation…

Ken Livingstone knows exactly what he is doing when he describes the Conservatives as “riddled” with homosexuals. He knows what he is doing when he connects Judaism and wealth. I do not believe for a second that Ken Livingstone is an anti-Semite or a homophobe but he knows what gallery he is playing to.

Some people say this is disreputable. Perhaps it is. But it’s certainly desperate and divisive. Londoners deserve better and progressive voters are right to think twice about backing him.

And that’s without even going into the row about his personal tax arrangements…

In Brian [Paddick] we have a liberal progressive of the utmost integrity who has dedicated his life to public service and bringing Londoners together. From social house building and targeting fare cuts on the low paid to tackling racism in the police and giving young people a positive alternative to gangs, he has the ideas to bring some social justice to the capital.

Those of you who consider yourself on the Left do not have to hold your nose and vote for Ken. Not when Brian Paddick offers such a positive alternative.

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This entry was posted in LibLink and London.


  • This has Camerons and Cleggs fingerprints all over it.

  • Very good article which has the advantage of chiming with what many are thinking….

    One point which I think was missed was to remind people that they can vote Paddick without any concern about letting Boris in because they can put Ken down as second preference. I guess Paddy might not have wanted to give the impression he was advocating that position….

  • Foregone Conclusion 27th Apr '12 - 1:46pm


    Presumably they’re behind similar comments from Lord Sugar and Lord Winston, then? Face it, Labour have a deeply unappealing candidate who has made some terrible mistakes. Don’t blame the Lib Dems for that.

  • Richard Dean 27th Apr '12 - 2:05pm


    Interesting strategy. But will it end up making Ken get in? Would it not be better for voters to pick their second preference randomly, or only from one of the other parties?

  • Daniel Henry 27th Apr '12 - 2:52pm

    You’ll be pleased to know that Paddy was on the ball. While it wasn’t quoted in the snippet, in the full article Paddy said:

    “You can cast your first vote positively for the person you would most like to see in charge of London. If that person does not receive enough support then your second preference will count instead.

    If you want to prevent Boris winning you can vote against him twice, with both your heart and your head.

    And if the thought of backing Ken and his brand of opportunistic and divisive politics leaves you cold, you can cast your first preference vote for Paddick instead.”

  • Daniel Henry 27th Apr '12 - 2:56pm

    Although we perhaps shouldn’t have limited this appeal to “the left”. I’m sure there’s plenty who would prefer a more serious candidate to Boris but are voting to keep Ken out.

  • Alex Macfie 27th Apr '12 - 3:49pm

    @Alex Agius: Your comment makes no sense. Any “Cleggeron” conspiracy in relation to the London mayoral election would surely be about encouraging preference sharing between Brian and Boris. Paddy’s article goes in the opposite direction, stopping just short of recommending that left-leaning voters vote Brian1, Ken 2. BTW I think it’s an excellent article.

  • Did paddy say nothing about Boris? I think we should be told!

  • Terry: The post links to the full article so you could always click on the link and take a look 🙂

  • Yes I did thanks, Mark. I was drawing attention to the anti-Ken focus in the part LDV chose to highlight, which might leave a casual reader, like Alex above, to infer that senior party figures wish second prefs should be cast for Boris Johnson.

    To save anyone else looking, Paddy barely mentioned Boris, beyond saying ‘I would never recommend voting for a Conservative’. I suppose that’s something! 8-).

  • Londonliberal 28th Apr '12 - 12:33am

    Could LDV tell me why you deleted my post?

  • Stephen Tall 28th Apr '12 - 1:03am

    @ Londonliberal – if you accuse people of being ‘mandacious’, ‘pathetic’ and ‘rubbish’ in a comment it’s very unlikely we’ll publish it. Disagreement is welcome, but we do ask for some common courtesy in our comments section.

  • Londonliberal 28th Apr '12 - 8:42am

    The only thing I’ll apologise for there Stephen is my poor spelling. Paddy deliberately misrepresented what ken said about gays in the Tory party. I used to admire paddy- indeed I joined the party in ’92 cos of him- so seeing him write this very negative distortion of the truth is extremely upsetting. I’ll say again that if I could pluck my postal vote out of the royal mail I’d scratch out my vote for paddick and vote for ken just out of anger at paddys article. Is this really what our party has become?

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