Official: Vote Green, Get Brown

Ken Livingstone was a busy beaver last week. On Wednesday 19 March he held a joint press conference with Sian Berry to announce the formation of a Labour-Green coalition. The next day, on the anniversary of the Iraq invasion, he stood shoulder to shoulder with the man who signed all the cheques, Gordon Brown. So many gigs, so many faces…

Livingstone himself has always made great political capital out of the fact that he personally opposed the war. What seems to have been forgotten is that he decided to rejoin the Labour Party when he didn’t need to when Tony Blair was at his most triumphalist. It is a confusion over foreign policy that has brought us things like his trysts with misogynist homophobic cleric Yusuf al Qaradawi and his shameful defence of the Metropolitan Police over their execution of Jean Charles de Menezes.

Vote Green, go BrownMany Green Party voters will no doubt be appalled at this turn of events. Vote Green, Get Brown is now the party’s unofficial slogan.

Livingstone is a mere figleaf of respectability, something which he tacitly admitted to in his revealing interview with Thom Yorke over the weekend in which he revealed he was powerless to stand up against the Brown government’s relentless hostility to anything even resembling a legitimate environmental policy.

Livingstone may well pay lip service to his opposition to expanding Heathrow airport for example, but every vote in the London elections this year will be taken by the Labour government as an endorsement for pro-airport policy. It will be treated as a vote of confidence in their opposition to tighten planning regulations over the building of environmentally friendly homes and their support of nuclear power. Now, thanks for Berry’s blunder, every vote for the Green Party will effectively be an endorsement of these policies.

But the most shameful thing about this Green-Brown alliance is the fact that the actual policies they have formed their coalition over aren’t actually that green. The current Congestion Charge has run into the buffers – congestion is no longer going down. Anyone who has tried travelling across London by bus can tell you that. Yet what they are proposing is a plan to make a whole swathe of people exempt from the congestion charge while a minority of SUV drivers will be taxed even higher (perhaps Sian has not been paying attention but Alastair Darling already imposed an SUV tax in the budget earlier this month). That’s great for the sackcloth and ashes brigade but it won’t take any more cars off the streets of London; rather it will lead to higher congestion, poorer air quality and more CO2 emissions. Meanwhile, they have lined up in opposition to the Lib Dem policy of a Greater London congestion charge (from which Londoners themselves will be exempt), which is specifically designed to discourage people from commuting into the capital.

This isn’t an example of two parties coming together to promote environmentally friendly policies – it is yet another example of how the left of British politics has fundamentally lost the plot. The Green Party lining up in solidarity with a pro-war, anti-green party is simply beneath contempt. Liberal Democrats should be emboldened by this and seek to remind the electorate of this unholy alliance at every opportunity.

Peter David is a Liberal Democrat member in North London.

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64 Comments

  • It appears that the “Greens” have too brown tongue to be green.

  • Geoffrey Payne, you might want to read this article by Nicholas Blincoe to see that everybody working for environment doesn’t agree that Ken (or Siân) is greener than Boris.

  • Geoffrey – it isn’t simply a case of urging people to give Ken their second preferences. Labour and the Greens have formed a formal coalition and electoral pact. You can’t pick and choose which parts of a political party you want a formal coalition with – it is all or nothing.

  • Mark Wright 29th Mar '08 - 1:47pm

    “Vote Green get Labour” is true in Bristol too, where they teamed up with the Tories and Labour last year to remove a largest party Lib Dem minority administration and install a Labour minority administration.

    The Greens have been stupid to take the short term poll boost coming from allowing leftist entryism – they will regret it in the long term.

    What is the history of that photo?

  • David Morton 29th Mar '08 - 4:02pm

    I think this is a bit of a silly thread demonstrating the kind of really petulent tribalism that you get in Election periods.

    I imagine this will hurt the Green Party but is what they have done really any different to countless coalitions/arrangements in council chambers across the country?

    Are we responsible for the war because we sat in coalition with Labour in Scotland and Wales?

    Are we responsible for Boris because we did a deal with the Tories over scrutiny arrangements on the GLA?

    Are we responsible for eco marxism because Green Councillors have kept a Lib Dem/Tory coalition in power in Leeds ?

    Haven’t we in extreme circumstances stood down candidates in Wyre Forrest and Tatton ?

    hasn’t the party taken part in almost every kind of rainbow coalition in Council Chambers across the country?

    The great flaw/strength of a mayoral system is you are electing a single individual. I think its a little odd for a independent political party to endorse another but it is the kind of judegement the voting system asks people to make. You could just as easierly say that they have at least been open and transparent about there intentions before the election.

    In any case didn’t ken endorse the green list when he was Independent and haven’t they cooperated over passing his budget on numerious occassions hardly news.

  • greengirldavies 29th Mar '08 - 4:30pm

    Dear anonymous:

    The idea that Boris Johnson has anything to do with green politics is ridiculous. He is one of the few remaining politicians in the world who praises George W Bush for refusing to sign the Kyoto agreement on climate change. On BBC London the other night he still refused to support Kyoto.

    Here is what Jonathon Porritt had to say on his blog yesterday: “The prospect of Boris as Mayor of London is just so scary. Either he is a genuine, out-and-out buffoon, in which case London becomes a laughing stock alongside its Mayor, or he is a pseudo-buffoon, in which case his true ideological nastiness will soon be revealed. The prospect of Boris taking over London’s Climate Change Action Plan is even scarier. He may have learnt not to reveal his full contrarian bigotry on climate change, but he really doesn’t get it, and would rapidly scale back or completely get rid off the ambitious targets in the Action Plan. And that would be a massive set back. Internationally, London is widely recognised as one of a handful of cities showing real leadership on climate change. And Ken Livingstone has driven that personally… just as he has driven a host of other environmental and sustainability priorities. The surreal site of Boris on the TV castigating Ken for his “lack of environmental vision” was almost too much to cope with.” http://www.jonathonporritt.com/pages/

  • DarrenJohnson 29th Mar '08 - 5:20pm

    Peter David comments that “You can’t pick and choose which parts of a political party you want a formal coalition with – it is all or nothing.” This is really quite ridiculous and patently untrue. The Greens have agreed to co-operate with Ken Livingstone over second preferences in order to try and keep out the right-wing eco-disaster Boris Johnson. Greens have not entered into any agreement with Labour over the Assembly elections and, as you can see, both Labour and Greens are standing against each other in every constituency and competing with one another for votes and seats on the Assembly List. I certainly expect that there will be Livingstone supporters who cannot stomach New Labour choosing to vote Green for the Assembly. Further, I do expect that there will many Lib-Dem voters who cannot stomach the Lib-Dem campaign to privatise the tube, scrap the Low Emission Zone and cancel emissions based congestion charging to switch to the Green Party this time.

    I honestly thought, too, that many of the contributers to this blog would have a more mature approach to political co-operation. When Labour in Lewisham embarked on its outrageous plans to close the local leisure centre Lib-Dem councillors were only too keen to co-operate with Green councillors to successfully reverse the closure. And both Greens and Lib-Dems were right to do so.

    Darren Johnson AM
    Green Party Assembly Member

  • I think the Greens have been unwise and appear unprincipled in their support for Ken, but Darren is correct when he ridicules this: “You can’t pick and choose which parts of a political party you want a formal coalition with – it is all or nothing.”

    You can pick and choose, but the public might well not listen to your nuances.

  • greengirldavies 30th Mar '08 - 3:25pm

    Alix, the difference between Ken Livingstone’s record on the environment and Boris Johnson’s is totally clear. Boris Johnson was called by Geoffrey Lean one of the “least environmentally friendly politicians in the country”

    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/geoffrey-lean-today-the-plastic-bag-tomorrow-even-more-words-790212.html

    But don’t take it from me, look at the issues in London. This is what Geoff Pope, Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member had to say about the CO2 charge when he was chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee:

    “I am glad the Green Party are catching up with us on this side. After all, it was my predecessor some two years ago who proposed that there should be an additional charge in the central zone for 4x4s and sport utility vehicles (SUVs). This is really a development of that policy” (Mayor’s Question Time, 21 June 2006)

    He also drew the analogy with Lib Dem Richmond council: ‘It’s great to see the Mayor following in the footsteps of Richmond Council and bearing down on gas-guzzlers.’

    The Low Emission Zone (which already covers the whole of Greater London), and CO2 charge enjoy the support of the mainstream environmental groups.

    Friends of the Earth say “The LEZ is exactly the kind of initiative Londoners need to end decades of needless threat to their health from dirty vehicles.”

    http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/press_releases/londons_low_emission_zone_01022008.html

    The Campaign for Better Transport (formerly Transport 2000) said of the £25 a day CO2 charge on gas guzzlers that they “applaud the new emissions-related congestion charges.. London’s reputation as a pioneer of progressive transport will be further enhanced by the introduction of a congestion charge related to a vehicle’s climate change emissions.” http://www.bettertransport.org.uk/node/924

    Greenpeace responded to the Climate Change Action Plan, which set out a programme to cut London’s emissions 60% by 2025 by saying:

    “Ken Livingstone is showing how the largest city in Europe can combat climate change. No other leader is on the same page.

    ‘The Government talks about cutting emissions, but is unwilling to confront the vested interests in the power sector, the building industry, the aviation lobby and the motor industry. Ken Livingstone is prepared to lead and take risks in responding to the challenge of climate change.”

    http://www.london.gov.uk/view_press_release.jsp?releaseid=11011

    To equate a monstrously backward politician on the environment such as Boris Johnson with Ken Livingstone is just not serious.

  • Mark Wright 30th Mar '08 - 3:33pm

    The problem with the Green party’s stance is that the real issues with Ken are nothing to do with the environment: they are that he is corrupt, an abuser of power, and should not be in any political office. He is not excused of those things just because he is more environmentally minded than Borris.

    And if the Green Party is seriously suggesting that we should ignore corruption for the sake of a piece of environmental benefit then they demonstrate why they should also never be in positions of power.

  • One thing that the Green Party supporters on this thread seem to have forgotten is that typically Lib Dems don’t choose their candidate only depending on how green s/he is, but another probably more important factor is how liberal s/he is. Siân and especially Ken has shown little evidence that they would support any kind of liberal views (and believe me, liberalism is not the same thing as socialism, though the American misconception tends to spread across the Atlantic).

    Siân is claiming, that Brian isn’t a Lib Dem, but why should anybody trust a Green Party member trying to define what is a Liberal Democrat? She hasn’t even singled out what is the criteria of being Lib Dem that Brian doesn’t fullfil.

    At the same time that the Green Party has been taken over by Trots, Lib Dems have been more and more embracing a policy that combines free market with social justice. I see little common between Siân and the Lib Dems. Even if her claim that Brian wouldn’t really be a Lib Dem would be true, she certainly isn’t.

  • John Phillips 30th Mar '08 - 5:13pm

    Re Mark Wright’s last blog:

    Boris Johnson is not only bad on some environmental issues:
    – He is one of the few politicians to defend George W Bush’s refusal to sign the Kyoto treaty on climate change;
    – He supported the launching of the Iraq War
    – He opposed repealing the anti-lesbian and gay Section 28 law but last week admitted he paid so little attention to the issue he didn’t even know what it was
    – He proposes to abolish the 50 per cent target for affordable housing which would price young people off London’s property ladder;
    – He proposes to close down London’s representation in the new economies of India and China, which has been condemned by every serious business organisation in London;
    – It has taken him eight years to understand that it is not acceptable to refer to black people as picaninnies;
    – He supported railway privatisation
    – He opposed the national minimum wage
    – He opposes the ban on smoking in public places;
    – He supports stag hunting, fox hunting, and seal clubbing

    And the Lib Dems still say they can’t make up their minds whether they
    support these positions or Ken Livingstone after Brian Paddick in
    London. No wonder they are losing the support of progressive minded people to the Greens.

  • Alix Mortimer 30th Mar '08 - 5:19pm

    “And the Lib Dems still say they can’t make up their minds…”

    No such trouble here, John. My second preference was going to Berry until this. Now it’s going to Mr Nobody.

  • Hmmm, let’s see. Would I choose as my second preference a thoroughly corrupted socialist, who cosies with muslim fundamentalists who are against the rights of homosexuals and women, and with the socialist dictator Chavez, or with a Conservative, with whom I at least agree about railway privatisation, opposing national minimum wage (as opposed national minimum income) and opposing the ban on somking in public places?

    It seems that I can’t make up my mind…

  • I don’t see anything progressive about voting for old Trots. The communist ideals were already tested, and they didn’t work.

  • Any voter sees gay rights as an issue in this election – and I imagine Brian Paddick does – will not seriously consider Boris Johnson.

    I think Johnson’s most illuminating quote is ‘if gay marriage was OK – and I was uncertain on the issue – then I saw no reason in principle why a union should not be consecrated between three men, as well as two men; or indeed three men and a dog.’

    Ken Livingstone meanwhile has championed civil partnerships.

  • Peter David 30th Mar '08 - 6:55pm

    Lots of stuff to get my teeth into here. Neither Darren Johnson nor the other half-hearted green cheerleaders make any mention of a) the Lib Dem proposal for a Greater London C-Charge or b) the new CO2 rules, which they endorse, which mean that thousands of cars which were previously paying the C-Charge are now exempt. Instead, they just throw ephemera around.

    I’m not surprised since the Lib Dem policy would clearly do more to reduce both traffic levels and CO2 emissions than the LEZ policy (which love it or hate it will only scratch the surface). It’s very easy to demonise SUV drivers – I’m not so fond of Chelsea Tractors myself – but the fact is the CO2-charge policy is pure populism. It is the Lib Dems, not the Greens, who are arguing that everyone will have to change their behaviour in order to tackle climate change. The Greens are simply arguing that we can blame it all of SUV and Porsche drivers. That is simply irresponsible.

    Secondly, a number of commentators have objected to my lumping Livingstone in with the rest of the Labour Party. It wasn’t my decision to have Livingston rejoin the Labour Party, nor did he need to. If he’d stood in 2004 as an independent no-one seriously believes he would have lost. Rather, it was a decision on his part to put party loyalty above principles. Similarly, he knows Labour ministers will block any attempts at radical environmental policy. His platform is a policy to simply shrug shoulders and claim “not me, guv”. It is that attitude to environmental policy that the Green Party are explicitly endorsing and I fail to see why it is unreasonable to point this out.

    Finally, there is a lot of flummery on this thread about Brian not endorsing Ken as his second choice means that he is effectively pro-Johnson. This is simple nonsense. It is the job of the Liberal Democrats and the Liberal Democrat candidate to promote the Liberal Democrats, not other parties. The public can make its own mind up – it isn’t as stupid as the Green Party seem to believe.

    Intriguingly though, it should be pointed out that you could level the same argument at Livingstone himself. It is, admittedly, highly unlikely that Livingstone will not make it to the final run off of top two candidates. It is even less likely however that Berry will. So, by calling on his supporters to give Berry his number two choice, Livingstone is stating that in a run-off between Paddick and Johnson he would prefer to abstain. Nonsense? Unfair? Less so than it is to say that not supporting Livingstone makes voters objectively pro-Boris.

    As for how I personally would vote between Livingstone and Johnson, I have to admit I’m finding it difficult. For some reason, Livingstone supporters seem to think that when it comes down to personality, their candidate has the edge. But Livingstone’s strengths are as an administrator (both the C-Charge and Oyster schemes were rolled out relatively gaffe-free and no-one can take that way from him) not as a diplomat. Gay voters will question his uncritical support for Al Qaradawi. Anti-war voters will question why Livingstone chose to spend the 5th anniversary of the Iraq War glad handing the man who signed all the cheques. Civil libertarians will question why he endorses banana-republic-style executions by the police on London’s streets.

    Of course Johnson is equally unsound. It’s a tough call. Thankfully though, who I give my second preference vote is between me and the ballot box and I can express a positive choice by giving my first preference to Brian Paddick.

  • Jenney Craig 30th Mar '08 - 7:37pm

    Just the list of what Boris Johnson supports and doesn’t support is enough for me to know that Ken will absolutely have my second preference after Paddick. Fellow Lib Dems here are being totally self indulgent and selling out London children’s future by even to even contemplating Boris Johnson. I was very pleased to see Ken launch his green manifesto in Richmond. This is grown up politics. He is promoting the best of Lib Dem, Green and Labour policies. I consider myself part of the progressive left and the thought of Johnson wrecking London’s progresson climate change is too much to bear.

  • Alix Mortimer 30th Mar '08 - 7:44pm

    Hmm, it’s a point of view, certainly. Oh, see how I sway like a reed in the wind!

  • Peter David 30th Mar '08 - 7:53pm

    How is it “self indulgent and selling out London children’s future” to not endorse either Livingstone or Johnson? That’s just sheer lunacy.

  • Paddick lost any credibility for me on green issues when he attacked BMW for “dodging” the gas-guzzler tax in the Guardian’s blog. Disgusted that thy could do such a thing, I read the piece to find they were doing it by making greener cars.

    In other words a London tax will have an impact on cars used across the UK. Well done Ken – and well done anyone (Greens or LibDems) who use their second votes to keep him ahead of Boris.

  • DarrenJohnson 30th Mar '08 - 10:15pm

    I agree with all the Lib-Dems on here who say the Low Emission Zone in its current form will not do enough to tackle air pollution in the capital. That is an argument for strengthening the LEZ and widening its scope – not for scrapping it. That is why both Green and Lib-Dem Assembly members welcomed the introduction of the LEZ but pointed out more action was needed. Of course, most party activists are not going to want to publicly rubbish their own party’s mayoral candidate, but private conversations I have had with both Lib-Dem AMs and Lib-Dem councillors reveal that a number of them are very embarrassed by Paddick’s posturing on scrapping LEZ and Emissions-Based Congestion Charge.

    Paddick’s record on policing is second to none and if we had direct elections to choose Police Commissioners in this country he would certainly get my vote. But given the importance of climate change his stance as a potential mayor is shocking and appalling.

    Darren Johnson AM – Green Assembly Member

  • The one thing which can be said about the ‘Green’ party with some certainty, is that they are politically very green.

    Brian is probably just a bit too pink not to clash with their prefered shade of colour on the political palate.

  • Darren, good to see you here again. What do you make of this quote:

    ‘Cut away Livingstone’s radical rhetoric and you find a bog-standard New Labour politician in the pro-business mould. Red Ken’s radicalism is reserved for issues over which the mayor has no influence whatsoever.’

    That was the last Green candidate for London mayor. I don’t know if you remember him, he went by the name of Darren Johnson. Remember him?

    I also note that you have again failed to explain why your party opposes a Greater London congestion charge and supports extending the range of cars that should be made exempt from the C-Charge. Why is that?

    As for the LEZ, you may personally prefer a stronger policy but your party has now tied its colours to the mast of a party that is championing the existing policy. Bit late to start getting radical on us now, isn’t it?

  • Meant to include a link to reference the above quote:http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2004/feb/22/governinglondon.comment

  • greengirldavies 31st Mar '08 - 12:15am

    Alix – happy to engage. Indeed I am doing so precisely because there is more that unites Greens, Lib Dems and Ken Livingstone than that which divides us from Boris Johnson – and these are important questions.

    That is why I am surprised at the stances Brian Paddick is taking on the environment – they are so different to those normally advocated by the Lib Dems.

    I think you considerably understate the benefits of the Low Emission Zone. But the real point is this – if Brian Paddick doesn’t think Ken’s plans go far enough why doesn’t he say he’d keep the zone but strengthen it, instead of proposing to scrap it altogether? Under Brian Paddick’s plans, lorries, buses and coaches – the most polluting vehicles on the roads – wouldn’t face any fines at all for the pollution they cause.

    It’s the same with the CO2 charge on gas-guzzlers. If the problem is that the charge doesn’t go far enough, why not support but say it should be levied 24 hours day, rather than siding with Boris Johnson, Porsche and Jeremy Clarkson in opposing it?

  • Peter Davies 31st Mar '08 - 12:57am

    Greengirldavies, I’ll try to explain it to you one more time.

    Of course each individual lorry emits more CO2 than each individual car, but there are vastly more of the latter and as a whole they are making a greater contribution to climate change. You don’t seriously question that, do you?

    The Lib Dem position is that we all need to do our bit. The Green position is that people with relatively fuel efficient cars (under Lab-Green proposals that is a much wider definition than Priuses and other extremely efficient vehicles) should get off scot-free while the small minority of very inefficient vehicles will pay the lion’s share. Even TfL accept that will have very little impact on overall CO2 emissions, but that’s okay because we have a scapegoat to blame.

    That isn’t environmentalism, that’s green chic. Telling people they don’t have to do their bit is not what a true green party would be saying.

    The sad thing is, you aren’t even adopting this stance to be popular but rather to cover up for a candidate from another political party whose chickens have finally come home to roost.

  • I’m amused by Peter David’s comment “Anti-war voters will question why Livingstone chose to spend the 5th anniversary of the Iraq War glad handing the man who signed all the cheques.”

    Having organised public meetings and coaches to demonstrations since 2002 I have to say I don’t know anyone who is concerned by Livingstone’s activities on the fifth anniversary of the war. I think the fact that he opposed the war and continues to oppose the disastrous occupation is what people understand to be Livingstone’s position, he wrote a very good article on it for the fifth anniversary which I’m sure you’ve read.

    Out of interest, what was Paddick’s position on the war once it had begun? Was it different to the LibDems official line to oppose the missiles going in, but supporting the ‘job being done’ once the first few had rained down?

    Whatever it is, it must be closer to Livingstone’s clear opposition than Johnson’s gung-ho support for Bush on this…

  • Peter David, even considering voting for BORIS JOHNSON is self indulgent considering what the stakes are on potentially losing London’s groundbreaking work (under ken Livingston) on climate change. This is why I sometimes wonder whether I made the wrong choice in becoming a Lib Dem. We believe in PR, we believe in coalitions, Ken (as a second preference) offers way closer to anything Boris Johnson does in terms of our policies. I believe the Lib Dems who are thinking about endorsing Boris Johnson over Ken Livingstone are irresponsible and if Johnson wins I will seriously have to reassess my support for the Lib Dems.

  • greengirldavies 31st Mar '08 - 10:23pm

    Re: Geoffrey Payne plea for an independent assessment of the Low Emission Zone, which Ken has introduced, the Green’s support, but Brian Paddick says he would scrap. Here are a few independent assessments:

    Greenpeace: “Greenpeace strongly supports the proposal for a Low Emissions Zone in London. By addressing the severe environmental problems caused by road traffic, Transport for London is showing commendable international leadership. As well as improving air quality, a LEZ is likely to encourage the use of less polluting, more fuel efficient vehicles. Over time this will help reduce climate changing carbon dioxide emissions and build on the progress already made with the Congestion Charge, which has led to a 20% reduction in carbon dioxide from traffic in the zone.”

    http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/tags/congestion-charge

    Friends of the Earth: “We congratulate Ken Livingstone on this initiative. The LEZ is exactly the kind of initiative Londoners need to end decades of needless threat to their health from dirty vehicles. But to protect the health of all Londoners the whole of the capital must be brought within legal air quality limits.”

    http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/press_releases/londons_low_emission_zone_01022008.html

    The Campaign for Better Transport made exactly the kind of comment Brian Paddick could make if he simply thinks the Low Emission Zone doesn’t go far enough:

    “London’s low emission zone (LEZ), which comes into force today, is sorely needed. London’s air quality is the worst in the UK, causing an estimated 1,000 premature deaths a year.. But while the LEZ is welcome, it isn’t enough. The Mayor admits that even after it’s fully implemented, hundreds of thousands of Londoners will live in areas where air pollution levels are dangerous to health.

    Cars are responsible for much of London’s pollution and aren’t included in the LEZ rules. Londoners must be given better alternatives to driving, particularly in outer London where traffic levels are growing.”

    http://www.bettertransport.org.uk/campaigns/traffic_reduction/blog

  • This is all going round in circles. Make a reasoned argument in favour of the GL congestion charge or against the LEZ, and the Brown-Greens just parrot some quote at you. Ho hum.

    I will correct Jenny Craig on one thing though: I am not contemplating voting for Boris Johnson. I’m not contemplating voting for Ken Livingstone either. I’m only contemplating voting for Brian Paddick – who I give my second preference to is frankly none of your business.

  • DarrenJohnson 31st Mar '08 - 11:18pm

    Livingstone’s performance

    I stand by the criticisms of Ken Livingstone I made in the 2004 campaign. I was extremely disappointed by his delivery on the environment, in particular. In the past 4 years, however, there has been a dramatic improvement across a whole range of areas at City Hall – Green Homes Service, cycling and walking budgets trebled, Climate Change Action Plan, abandonment of pro-airport expansion policies – much of this as a result of the co-operation between the Greens and the Mayor over the GLA budget. There is much, much, more to do and there are still key areas where we disagree and many areas where we still think the Mayor needs to be bolder. But I am prepared to give credit where credit is due and have no doubt that Livingstone is much more preferable than Boris Johnson.

    I did not advocate a second preference vote for Livingstone in 2004 and actually left my second vote blank. But things are different in 2008. Firstly, as I said, Livingstone’s performance on the green agenda has greatly improved. Secondly, Boris Johnson poses a much bigger threat to progressive politics in London than Steve Norris ever did, both because he stands much more chance of winning than Norris and because he is much more rightwing than Norris.

    It will be a slightly odd feeling on May 1st, however, given that this will be the first time my “X” has gone anywhere near a Labour Party candidate (even as second preference!) since the 1984 Euro elections.

    Darren Johnson – Green AM

  • You can’t argue sensibly with people who are ideologically programmed against admitting they aren’t 100% correct in all circumstances, even if hindsight provides a different answer.

    I think it is funny that however much consensus there is over what is required, there is so much bickering over how to go about achieving it.

    I also think it is dangerous to politicise issues of practical relevance out of partisan motives – nobody ‘owns’ environmental issues, because it is something that we all share equally and all have a stake in looking after.

    To base a political movement on the exclusivity of intellectual means to address these shared concerns (as the Greens do) strikes me as unreservedly retrograde – it is scandalous that they can get away with painting themselves either as progressive or that they are interested in creating alliances rather than self-promotion and biased subversion to their own ends.

  • greengirldavies 2nd Apr '08 - 7:26am

    LEZ failed, Alix? What is your evidence?

    The Low Emission Zone started in January this year, was delivered on time and on budget, and has delivered exactly what it set out to do in its first phase – stopping the most polluting lorries over 12 tonnes, buses and coaches coming into London and damaging Londoners air quality.

    If Ken Livingstone or Sian Berry are elected as Mayor on 1 May, the zone will almost immediately be expanded to cover all lorries over 3.5 tonnes.

    In all this will mean over 55,000 of the most polluting vehicles on London’s roads no longer clog up our lungs with their emissions.

    TfL’s estimate is that that the Low Emission Zone, along with other policies like the congestion charge, cleaner taxis, and moving to a hybrid bus fleet, will mean that by 2012 nearly one million Londoners will no longer live on streets with dangerous air pollution.

    We obviously have a different definition of failure!

  • Do the atrocious air conditions in central London stem from vehicles emitting high levels of pollution in that part of the capital, or is the fact that it is more noticable there just the combined result of accumulated concentrations of pollution?

    Anyone who lives near major arterial routes, the north and south cirulars or any of the nation’s motorways will recognise the pollution that has a huge detrimental impact on their lives will be completely unaffected by the imposition of a single (if staged) LEZ.

    In other words the general reduction of pollution resulting from an LEZ is trivial in comparison to the scale of the real problem (3% in LEZ areas, I hear you say!), and by tackling it piecemeal in this fashion not only fails to address the real issue, but may also hinder any prospect of tackling the wider problem.

    Instead of taking unilateral action for limited groups of people, the politicians ought to engage in concerted multilateral decisions that work with neighbouring authorities outside the capital in order to force the hand of government. Despite holding the positions of power at multiple levels Labour has conspicuously failed to indulge in any sort of joined-up thinking.

    The LEZ policy is more about image than substance – it is worthy, but is still a mere sop to the environmental lobby for the clear political aim of appealing to ‘green’ voters. This is policy tourism of the worst sort.

  • I dunno, I was pleased to vote Brian 1 Boris 2. THere’s been too much obsession witht he environment and not enough on security and crime. Let the Greens and Red Ken get their knickers in a twist abot climate change and we’ll be the ones working with the Tories to get policing right and fix the economy come the next general election.

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  • User AvatarMichael 1 13th Dec - 7:11am
    Sadly I see the SNP have ended up on 48 seats depriving us of the sight of Ruth Davidson taking a cold dip! Good to...
  • User AvatarRichard S 13th Dec - 6:54am
    There are comments asking why the results have changed since the Euro elections. They haven't changed. Past experience shows that UKIP general election performances didn't...
  • User AvatarMartin Land 13th Dec - 6:34am
    Very much as I expected. Time to bring back the King over the Water?
  • User AvatarPaul Walter 13th Dec - 6:28am
    Paula Ferguson was 985 behind in Winchester.
  • User Avatarfrankie 13th Dec - 6:26am
    There will be going forward many comments stating " The Tories went low they lied, we played nice and went high" yes very true but...
  • User AvatarDan M-B 13th Dec - 6:20am
    In the wash up I'd like to see some thought given to the way we have been misrepresenting some of our polling positions. Take NES...
Tue 7th Jan 2020