Tag Archives: ken livingstone

Sincerity on both sides of air strike vote

For me, the arguments for and against air strikes against Daesh in Syria are finely balanced, and there is no surprise that reasonable people have come to different views. I am stunned that with the SNP against, Labour split down the middle, and (the BBC predicts) 15 Conservative rebels, we might be the most hawkish party.

I am very glad that Erbil was saved in August 2014 with help from US air strikes when Daesh were rampaging across northern Iraq. Had the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, population 1.5 million, fallen, the death toll and consequences for the region would have been horrific.

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Vote for change in London – Ashdown, Steel and Williams

Tomorrow those of you in London have the chance to make your voice heard by voting in the mayoral and assembly elections. It is vital that you do. We have an opportunity to do something to bring real change to London.

Throughout the campaign it has been clear that huge numbers of Londoners are undecided and unenthusiastic about voting for either Boris Johnson or Ken Livingstone. And the more they have seen and heard Brian Paddick the more they like him and believe he will bring real change. It is only now that election day is upon us that most of …

Posted in London and Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 3 Comments

Poll shows Labour’s vote up but Livingstone’s vote down

When phone polling was first introduced in the UK it attracted flak over its accuracy (least remembered about those ASL polls the better), but also gained popularity through both its lower costs compared to the then dominant face to face polling and also its greater flexibility. The same pattern has been seen again with the spread of internet polling the UK. Just as face to face polling used to be the gold standard and phone polling the upstarts, now phone polling is the gold standard and internet polling the upstarts.

The merits or otherwise of YouGov have been much debated elsewhere …

Posted in London and Polls | Also tagged | 6 Comments

The Weekend Debate: Who’d get your 2nd preference after Brian in the race for London Mayor?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

This Thursday, millions of voters will go to the polls to cast their votes in local elections. And although London is only one of those elections, its electoral size and the colourful prominence of its candidates means it has got the lion’s share of the media coverage.

For the Lib Dems, Brian Paddick has fought a terrific campaign. The former Metropolitan police chief only narrowly squeaked ahead of Mike Tuffrey for the party’s nomination following what Brian himself has acknowledged was a tricky first outing as a Lib Dem candidate in 2008.

This time round, however, he has more than held his own in the televised debates, while his advertising, social media and online presence has achieved real impact. As I reported last month, the Lib Dems’ London fundraising has been a huge success, allowing the party actively to compete at this election in a way that’s not previously been possible.

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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

Posted in LibLink and London | Also tagged and | 14 Comments

The Independent View: how London Mayoral candidates shape up on cycling and transport

The way that we travel and the places we live in have a massive impact on our lives, going well beyond what’s traditionally considered transport policy. Increased car use is driving up levels of obesity, polluting our cities and leading to more accidents. As London’s population grows, the demands on our transport system make it an ever tougher nut to crack.

Sustrans wants to see a London, and a country, where everyone is able to get around, to work, school, shops and leisure facilities. Making it easier and safer to walk and cycle for our short …

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Labour peer Alan Sugar: don’t vote for Ken Livingstone

From the BBC:

Labour peer Lord Sugar has urged people not to vote for his party’s candidate Ken Livingstone.

The peer defied Labour leader Ed Miliband by telling his 1.8 million followers on Twitter not to back the former mayor’s bid for re-election.

“I seriously suggest NO ONE votes for Livingstone in the Mayoral elections,” he wrote.

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Why election candidates shouldn’t have to publish their tax returns

Remember all the stuff Liberal Democrats such as Vince Cable have been saying for years about how our tax system catches too much income and not enough wealth? You know what – I believe that, and I haven’t suddenly forgotten it in the last few days.

So the idea that somehow getting people to publish their tax returns really gives you a sense of how well-off they are is as flawed as the idea that the tax system those returns illustrate manages to catch how well-off you are. For the same reason that the tax system is out of kilter, so …

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The Weekend Debate: Should election candidates have to declare their tax records?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

The race to be London mayor took a fresh twist this week when the leading candidates pledged on BBC Newsnight to release their tax records. Lib Dem mayoral candidate Brian Paddick declared himself very happy to publish full details, which appear here on his website:

Brian Paddick has nothing to hide and is very happy to be open and transparent about his income and tax returns as a registered sole trader. His figures show he has never attempted to use any complex

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Did Ken Livingstone break tax rules over Labour donation?

The Evening Standard has reported:

Ken Livingstone was under fresh pressure over his alleged tax avoidance after he was forced to admit using his private company to make a sizable political donation.

Mr Livingstone had previously claimed to have personally made a donation to the Labour Party of £19,202 in December for “staff costs” during his election campaign.

But he has now confirmed to the electoral commission that the donation came from his private company Silveta Ltd, through which he allegedly avoided at least £50,000 in tax by benefiting from corporation tax at 20 or 21 per cent rather than paying income tax

Posted in London and News | 4 Comments

Tax controversy and flash cars – that’s life in the modern Labour Party

We’ve heard lots about Labour mayoral candidate “Red Ken” Livingstone’s tax affairs recently, as this Telegraph article reports.

Then we have Labour leader Ed Miliband turn up in a Rolls Royce to a football match. Leaving aside the clear communications ineptitude about his diary for that day, it’s not the best look for the leader of a party which claims to be all about social justice.

Especially when he has such a strong record of standing up to rich and powerful media moguls whose operations are under investigation at the moment. 

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Ken Livingstone definitely needs an accountant if he can’t count to five

Remember last week at PMQs, Nick Clegg commented on Ken Livingstone’s rather complex tax affairs:

It is worth dwelling for a minute on the explanation provided by Ken Livingstone for his exotic tax arrangements. I quote from an interview that he gave just this weekend:

“I get loads of money, all from different sources, and I give it to an accountant and they manage it”.

That is modern socialism for you.

Well, no wonder the Labour mayoral candidate needs an accountant if he can’t even cope with numbers less than the number of fingers on one hand, as this leaflet, spotted at Lib …

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Livingstone and Johnson: a record of unsavoury comments

Funny, pointed and relevant: this is one of the best pieces of campaign artwork I’ve seen put out by the party this year.

Posted in London and News | Also tagged and | 25 Comments

LibLink: Brian Paddick – London is increasingly policed by force not consent – thanks to its mayors

Lib Dem London mayoral candidate Brian Paddick had a piece on the Guardian’s Comment Is Free website yesterday on what is his undoubtedly his strongest issue – policing.

Here’s a sample of what Brian had to say:

Crime will be far more of an issue in the election of the mayor of London on 3 May because the mayor is now the elected crime and police commissioner for London. He alone sets police priorities and the police budget and he alone will hold the Metropolitan police to account. Far from holding the police to account, to date

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Ken Livingstone attacks Boris Johnson for, er…, agreeing with Ken Livingstone

Ken Livingstone has me a bit confused.

Hearing him attack Boris Johnson is certainly not a surprise.

But hearing him attack Boris Johnson for saying what Ken Livingstone himself said previously? That’s a bit odd, shall we say.

Compare and contrast now and then.

The now:

Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone were engulfed in a war of words today over whether Londoners are too “lazy” to find work. The Mayor claimed some young people in the capital lacked the “energy” to go out and get jobs which were instead going to immigrants. His Labour challenger Ken Livingstone immediately accused him of branding Londoners “lazy and workshy”.

And …

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Ken Livingstone ‘cannot win’, says top Labour official

News from the troubled Labour campaign for Mayor of London:

The official in charge of the London Labour Party has been removed after saying that Ken Livingstone, Labour’s candidate for the mayoralty, “cannot win” next year’s election if he continues as now.

Hilary Perrin, Labour’s London regional director, has been moved back to her previous role overseeing all the regional directors after Ken and his chief of staff, Simon Fletcher, appealed to Ed Miliband’s office. Another London Labour official, Paul Harrington, has also left his job. An awayday to plan the campaign, supposed to take place last Friday, was cancelled. (Daily Telegraph)

You …

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A tale of two holes – and a £39m price tag

In principle, I have no objection to people digging holes in the ground. Even very expensive holes. Potholes? Bad. But lift shafts, underground tunnels and other such excavations? Good. A big hole that loops back on itself and could* end the universe? That’ll do nicely. The combination of a hole, Bernard Cribbins and Lego? Excellent.

If I had to postulate a general theory of holes, I’d say that a hole that is not used is a bad hole. And two holes that are not used are doubly bad.

Which brings me to the question of the £39 million spent …

Posted in London | Also tagged , , , , and | 13 Comments

Ken Livingstone: mine won’t be a grassroots funded campaign

It was Ken Livingstone’s poor taste joke about Boris Johnson, Hitler and people who don’t vote for him being sent to burn and flayed for all eternity that got the most attention following his interview in Total Politics.*

Taking a look at the printed version of the interview (and forcing my eyes to move past the awful shirt and dreadful trousers) there was one other comment from Ken Livingstone that stood out: “80 per cent of my funding will come from the trade unions”.

Livingstone made the comment in the context of having a go at the sources of Conservative Party funding …

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Opinion: Leading Labour figures guilty of the worst kind of opportunism

London burns and communities reel from successive nights of violence and looting, rumour is rife, facts are scare. All we know that peaceful vigil held for Mark Duggan, who was shot dead by police on Thursday night, somehow was hijacked by an angry mob and his death became the catalyst of nights of violence, which have now spread to other parts of the capital and country.

What do we hear from Labour politicians? Calls for calm? Space for the IPCC to carry out their investigation into the shooting? No, instead we have them lining up to link the violence to the …

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Mike Tuffrey writes… Why I’m serious about London

Yesterday I launched my bid to be our party’s candidate for Mayor of London and I started as I mean to go on: working with a large team of experienced colleagues from across London (see photographs here) and talking about the urgent change our city needs.

As a campaigning party, we must focus – pun intended – on the really big concerns Londoners have about living in this city. And as our candidate, I want to work with our campaigners to get out and listen to those concerns and what must be done.

I believe that it is time for serious solutions to the big challenges we face if London is to remain a great city to live, work and raise a family in over the next decade. With new powers coming from central government, we need a GLA – Mayor and Assembly – that is ambitious for London.

At the launch I issued my five point action plan, based on my experience of eight years serving on the London Assembly. These are priorities than can – and must – be delivered:

  • More, better and cheaper housing
  • Investment in transport to keep London moving
  • Action for jobs and a challenge to big business to pay fair wages
  • Protecting neighbourhood policing and promoting youth opportunities
  • Clean air and a healthy London

Posted in London and Op-eds | Also tagged | 16 Comments

Opinion: Why you should be taking Lembit Opik seriously

It’s hard to raise the subject of Lembit Opik without somebody cracking a joke. He’s certainly not loved by our own party’s leadership and many see him as more of a celebrity than a politician. I can, however, name two other people who are hated by their party’s leadership and seem to be two parts celebrity, one part politician, and they’ve both held the position of Mayor of London.

Lembit has great recognition among people. My own unscientific polling leads me to believe that he isn’t far behind Ken and Boris in who knows who he is, which is quite a …

Posted in London and Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 63 Comments

Boris Johnson’s funny money

With a year to go to the London Mayor and London Assembly elections a strange debate is underway about the huge part of London loosely described as “outer London”.

Remember the last election? One of the strongest attacks on Ken Livingstone was that he was just a “Zone One Mayor”. He was accused of having visited Havana more times than the London Borough of Havering. Three years on and the London Labour Party have decided that no speech, press release, letter or comment can go out without the words “outer London” repeated ad nauseam.

Posted in London | Also tagged | 1 Comment

Opinion: Debating AV with the Evening Standard

Last Wednesday saw one of the few debates on the issue of AV that are taking place in the run-up to the referendum. Vince Cable paired up with Ken Livingstone to speak for the Yes side, and for the No position Lord Michael Howard teamed up with Olympic Gold Medallist and prominent Labour supporter Martin Cross (with a very humorous Clive Anderson in the Chair).

After Vince opened the debate with a brief overview of the issue, Lord Howard made a good and impassioned speech. However, there seemed to be a contradiction in what he said which thankfully Clive Anderson picked …

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London Liberal Democrats postpone Mayoral candidate selection

London Region Liberal Democrats have postponed the Mayoral candidate selection, possibly for up to a year – although it’s hoped that nominations will be reopened much sooner.

The Local Government Chronicle said this week:

A selection had been due this autumn after which the party hoped it could get its candidate well enough known to take on incumbent Boris Johnson (Con) and Labour’s Ken Livingstone in May 2012. But regional chair Jonathan Fryer said the process had been halted because an insufficient number of approved applicants were available to put before party members.

“There will be a reopening of nominations in about

Posted in London and News | Also tagged and | 6 Comments

John Leech MP: The door is not shut on Labour

Manchester Withington MP John Leech is due to speak at a Fabian Society fringe event at the Labour Party conference on Monday.

Titled “Is the Lib/Lab coalition Gone Forever?”, the event will also feature former Lib Dem MP Evan Harris, Labour Mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone and former Labour cabinet minister David Blunkett.

According to the Press Association, John Leech has said,

The door is not shut on the Liberal Democrat and Labour parties working together.

Labour need to re-think the mistakes they made over the last 13 years and get out of this immature opposition mentality that they appear to be so

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Peddling myths over London’s bike hire scheme

In London one of the most exciting developments this year has been the long awaited launch of the bike hire scheme.

Despite its launch being associated with quite a number of problems – including a highly complex registration process, and a number of cyclists being overcharged – no one can deny that the scheme is proving incredibly popular.  And let’s be realistic, no major scheme ever starts without at least some minor teething problems. Of course I will be chasing hard until these glitches are resolved, and they certainly …

Posted in Local government and London | Also tagged , and | 10 Comments

Opinion: Do Labour pick Ken and their bedrock, or win back the centre ground?

There’s been some interesting discussion on LabourList about whether Labour should – yet again – pick Ken Livingstone as their candidate for London Mayor. Declan Gaffney has made use of some very interesting research into the demographics of London elections (published here).

That demographic analysis deserves a long second look; and once you do, the picture isn’t pretty for anyone who wants Ken Livingstone to be elected as Mayor of London.

The most striking feature in the demographic facts and figures is the polarisation of London politics between 2004 and 2008. The study looks at the election results, ward …

Posted in London and Op-eds | 1 Comment

‘It’s not what you say about the issues, it’s what the issues say about you’

I’ve recently stumbled across a piece by Lynne Featherstone MP which I’d forgotten about. Written in 2006, the points it makes about political campaigning still read well:

Vietnam war vet and Republican John McCain and London mayor and former restaurant review Ken Livingstone are probably not often bracketed together politically! But I have been thinking recently about them both and their own rather different political personas.

Both have had periods of great popularity – though McCain still seems to be basking in it whilst Ken’s has well and truly worn off – and it has not been for their stances on particular

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Looking beyond the Lib Dem ghetto

The Lib Dems have always selected their candidates by “one member one vote” (OMOV). It has always seemed the most logical and transparently fair system, and it is certainly better than having candidates hand-picked by an inner cabal. It still does a fairly good job at selecting candidates for the House of Commons, although as membership levels drop that is becoming less true. But it has been quite inadequate for selecting candidates for larger constituencies, particularly for the European Parliament and London Assembly.

Here’s the fundamental problem: a significant proportion of our members are concentrated in our held and target constituencies. Target seats become target seats because they have a larger pool of activists from which to draw. In turn, in order to become winning seats they have to recruit more activists. The more tightly we focus on target seats, as the Lib Dems certainly have for the past two decades, the more the gap between target seat and what we sometimes euphemistically call “development seats” widens.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 24 Comments

What is it about London Conservatives and expenses?

London Conservative Assembly Member Brian Coleman’s huge expense claims are nearing the stuff of legend, hiss free travel card notwithstanding.* Even when the figures last year showed he had cut his taxi claims by a fifth, they still came in at over £8,000 in a year, compared with £685 on average for other London Assembly members.**

However, he is by no means alone when it comes to expense bills that, shall we say, don’t exactly leave the impression of someone taking care over taxpayers’ money.

Boris Johnson has a bit of form when it comes to

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