Peter Tatchell Says Vote Ken Livingstone #2

peter-tatchell.jpgPeter Tatchell wrote quite a critical piece recently about Ken Livingstone for Guardian CiF, so I am pleased to see that he has made a very clear statement arguing that people should vote Livingstone on 1st May.

Peter Tatchell writes:

“In reply to those who have queried how I will vote in the Mayoral elections:

“I will, of course, give my first preference to Sian Berry, the Green Party candidate. She is the most progressive, with the best policies on housing, transport, jobs, equal opportunities and the environment. Moreover, she is not sectarian. Sian is open, inclusive, fair, honest and democratic. In addition, it would be brilliant to have a woman Mayor – and someone young to lead what is a youthful city.

“I will give my second preference to Ken Livingstone. Boris Johnson would be a big mistake. He is clownish, disorganised, not well informed, has little grasp of policy detail and is on record as saying some pretty bigoted things about various minority communities. Based on existing polls, Ken is the only candidate who can stop Boris.

“In any case, Ken’s policies have been mostly positive and benefited Londoners. All in all, he has been a good Mayor. He should be judged
in the round. Despite the flaws I have outlined above, he is way better than Boris.

“I don’t hold personal grudges. I would never base my voting intentions on what bad things Ken may have done to me personally. The interests of all Londoners must come first. I do, however, hope that Ken will listen to the valid criticisms that I and other friends and allies have made and, if he is re-elected, that he will reform his administration to end the favouritism, personal vendettas, sectarianism, control freakery and unsavory alliances that have sometimes characterised City Hall.”

26 comments on “Peter Tatchell Says Vote Ken Livingstone #2

  1. Joepolitix on said:

    Whist Thatchell’s remarks are to be welcomed, its a shame he didn’t use his position as a prominent gay rights activist to draw more attention to Johnson’s appalling track record of homophobia:

    ‘Labour’s appalling agenda, encouraging the teaching of
    homosexuality in schools, and all the rest of it.’ (The Spectator
    15 April 2000) ‘the essence of that Tory case is unchanged… it
    is more sensitive to spare parents’ anxieties, than to allow Left-
    wing local authorities to waste taxpayers’ money on idiotic and
    irrelevant homosexual instruction.’ (Daily Telegraph 3 August
    2000)

    ‘Slowly Labour is winning the battle it really cares about, the
    Kulturkampf, adjusting what can be said, and what cannot be
    said… Homosexuality is to be taught in schools.’ (The Spectator
    29 April 2000)

    ‘I first met the Bishop [of Liverpool] a few weeks ago at a
    gloomy convocation of top clergy and journalists in Windsor
    Castle. The hacks were thin on the ground… I can say that the
    clerics gave us a wigging for being so mean to the Church of
    England… Why did we draw attention to tricky subjects like
    homosexuality, aka the Pulpit Poofs issue?’ (The Spectator 16
    December 2000)

    ‘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.’ (Friends, Voters, Countrymen
    p96)

    ‘When the [hunting] ban is blocked in the Lords, as it surely
    will be, Blair will have his excuse for another attack on the
    Upper House. If Labour wins the election, Blair will invoke the
    Parliament Act to sweep aside the opinion of the peers, as he
    did over homosexual sex at 16, making a mockery of the Lords
    and consolidating his elective dictatorship. (Daily Telegraph 18
    January 2001)

    ‘More important, I am not sure how widespread this new right-
    on mood really is. Metropolitan opinion was wrong-footed over
    Section 28, where the public thought differently from New
    Labour; and three days after the event it was clear that the
    country did not agree with the editorialists on the verdict
    passed on Tony Martin. You can say that William Hague is
    opportunist to see the gap between the polite view and the
    public view. But you can’t deny that he is right to go for it.’
    (The Spectator 29 April 2000)

  2. Gurn Francis` on said:

    PoliticalHackUK Monday, April 07, 2008
    Bright Sparks

    On The Stirrer, John Hemming innocently asks if it is proper for the Respect candidate in Sparkbrook to be a council employee – as it has been rumoured. A good rule in politics is never to ask a question unless you are sure of the answer.

    My sources suggest that the gentleman in question has handed in his resignation, but the rules state that you have to have served your 30 days notice AND cleared the council payroll by the time nominations closed – which takes a further 30 days. His consent to nomination form includes paragraphs confirming that he is a valid candidate.

    Just to explain for civilians – you cannot stand for a council that employs you, although you can run for a different council. A Birmingham City Council employee could run for Solihull council. Anyone can run for parliamentary or European election – with an exception. The exception would be a politically restricted post – a council employee of significant seniority is prohibited from holding posts within a political party or running for any election. That’s a complex piece of legislation simplified, but you get the general idea.

    Now, here’s the clever bit. John Hemming knows the rules exceptionally well and knew about this some weeks ago.

    Leaving it until now means that the candidate has a choice. He can withdraw before Wednesday, but Respect can’t nominate a replacement as nominations closed last Friday, leaving a run off in Sparkbrook between the Lib Dems, Labour and Talib Hussain (the former Bond baddie, turned Liberal, turned Independent). I know other parties are standing, but I’m not going to bet the ranch on the BNP, the Tories or the Greens coming through the gap and winning.

    The alternative is even more entertaining – say the candidate decides to tough it out and goes into the poll and IS ineligible. He doesn’t have to win, he just has to get enough votes to potentially make a difference to the result. In that case, the patented John Hemming Acme Election Petition Generator will whirr into action and produce a legal document. When this gets to the election commissioner, he – or she – can not only void the election but can also demand that the party fielding the ineligible candidate covers the costs of the rerun.

    Anyone know how deep George Galloway’s pockets are? We could be about to find out.

  3. I have no idea whether candiate is in this position or not, but I do know that where a candidate has clearly acted within the spirit of the law by resigning from the council in advance, then any such petition to void the election is very likely to be regarded as mischevious and against the public interest.

  4. Jim Monaghan on said:

    The headline is misleading. Tatchell is votng for the Greens, not Livingston, who gets his second vote.

    I would still imagine that all non-sectarian socialists will vote German first and Livingston second and I would hope that the sectarian ones will too :)

  5. Adamski on said:

    One of our selected candidates for Pontypridd, Rhondda, Wales, a leading member of the PCS was unable to stand because union rules dictated that she had to get permission from her employee who didn’t give it!

  6. Adam #7, are you sayng that Lindsey German has this position? “In any case, Ken’s policies have been mostly positive and benefited Londoners. “

  7. Adam #6, I see you Cardiff Respect web page, last updted 20th March 2008, still says:

    CARDIFF RESPECT
    Wales needs an alternative to the 4 main parties. RESPECT is a radical, internationalist coalition of grassroots activists against war, racism, sexism, privatisation, poverty & destruction of the environment. Launched in 2004, we already have 1 MP & 20 local councillors. To get involved e-mail: respect_yourself_cardiff@hotmail.co.uk

    I see you are still trading off of george galloway’s reputation?

  8. Dave Festive on said:

    Here’s an interview from the BBC website:

    Interview: Lindsey German

    LINDSEY GERMAN
    Lindsey German
    Age: 56
    Family: Lives with partner
    Education: Vyners grammar school, Hillingdon. Law degree at LSE.
    Lives: Hackney
    Career: Edited Socialist Review, campaigning, Stop the War Convenor. Respect mayoral candidate 2004

    Profile: Lindsey German

    Housing would be among Lindsey German’s priorities as mayor – but she would be no friend to developers looking to make a quick profit.

    The Left List candidate – a socialist campaigner best known for taking on the government as convenor of the Stop the War Coalition, which helped organise a march by one million people before the war – says Iraq remains a “very big issue”.

    But for the London mayoral race, she is happy to turn her sights on those she blames for draining the capital’s resources.

    No fan of skyscrapers and luxury flats, she would instead concentrate on low-cost housing and says there should be an emergency council house building programme to ease “chronic” overcrowding.

    She thinks Marks and Spencer boss Stuart Rose hit the nail on the head when he said there were so many rich people in London the West End had run out of diamonds.

    She says London is a city of “great inequality” and sees it as her mission to make it a more caring place to live.

    Symbol of wealth

    “If I were mayor then I would campaign extremely hard to say I’m not having any property developing unless it is tied to a tax on property development and unless we get proper housing.

    “I don’t really see why there’s any justification for building more offices or new luxury flats when there is such a shortage of non-luxury flats and residential accommodation,” she said.

    “I wouldn’t be saying ‘should we build another skyscraper to rival Hong Kong’…What for, really? It’s a symbol of wealth and power, that’s why we are building it.”

    TOP PLEDGES
    Council house building programme
    Lower Tube and bus fares
    More investment in youth facilities to help cut crime
    An end to the war in Iraq – money to be spent on public services
    Combating racism and inequality

    She says the amount of affordable housing is “absolutely inadequate” while luxury flats are cropping up on every available bit of space.

    “One of the legacies of the Olympics should be a giant amount of public housing which can benefit some of the poorest and most needy people in London.”

    Ms German, 56, who lives with her partner John in Hackney, was born in Hillingdon where she went to a grammar school, Vyners, before going on to study law at the London School of Economics.

    She also edited the Socialist Review and believes there are votes available for a left-wing mayoral candidate.

    Current mayor Ken Livingstone has done a lot of good things for London – but he’s also made some mistakes, she believes.

    ‘A terrible day’

    She says development he has allowed in east London is not benefiting “ordinary people” and she opposes handing the operation of the East London Tube Line to a private company once it is upgraded.

    She is also critical of his relations with the Metropolitan Police over the shooting of the Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes, something she describes as “an absolutely terrible day in London’s history”.

    “I thought [Met commissioner] Sir Ian Blair should resign and I couldn’t understand why Ken went out of his way to defend him,” she said.

    They are dangerous, uncomfortable, crime ridden sardine cans, nobody likes them
    Lindsey German on bendy buses

    Public transport in London is “the most expensive and worst in the world”, she argues – she would prefer that the Tube be brought back into public ownership.

    And she would like a return for the old Routemaster bus – redesigned to accommodate disabled access – a platform she shares with an unlikely ally, Conservative candidate Boris Johnson.

    “I also feel that what replaced the Routemaster is an absolute disaster – bendy buses – hell on wheels. They are dangerous, uncomfortable, crime ridden sardine cans, nobody likes them either.

    “I know that this is a policy on which I agree with Boris, but I can’t help that really – unlike him I have actually been on a bendy bus so I know what they’re like.”

    Bus conductors

    She also thinks Mr Livingstone was wrong to rule out a return to bus conductors on grounds of the £350m annual cost, arguing that police are now increasingly used on buses.

    “You can’t just measure it in profit and loss. Obviously the fewer people employed by Transport for London the better for them but is it better for people who need help on the bus, who feel more secure if there’s someone with them? No it isn’t.”

    She is strongly opposed to the use of stop and search powers by police saying it penalises boys from ethnic minorities and would rather see more investment in youth facilities.

    There’s plenty of money in London – it’s not going to the right people, that’s the problem
    Lindsey German

    She would like London to become a more caring, more community-based place, with more park keepers, caretakers on estates and other figures in a “caring or custodial role” to help stop misbehaviour spiralling into yobbish behaviour.

    “We have to ask why those things happen – it’s not just that kids are born bad or suddenly become more unruly than their parents or grandparents, there’s a social reason for this.”

    She ran as Respect’s candidate for London mayor last time round – in 2004 – and came fifth. This time she’s also running for a seat on the London Assembly and hopes the publicity from her mayoral bid will give that campaign a boost.

    Windfall tax

    Despite some differences with Labour mayor Ken Livingstone, she asks those who vote for her to choose him as their second preference, to head off the “serious threat” from Tory candidate Mr Johnson.

    “It will be a contest between him and Boris in the end and I would much rather have him in City Hall,” she admits.

    “These are the candidates from the two main parties. Short of a very big political upheaval they will be in the final run-off.”

    At the time of the interview, her position as the official Respect candidate was under question – as the party itself had split into two factions – and the party chairwoman who had to sign off Ms German’s candidate had gone to George Galloway’s side. Now she is standing under the Left List banner.

    But she seems certain about who she would target – in addition to property developers, big business would not escape unscathed.

    “We have one of the lowest corporation taxes in the world, we also have one of the lowest personal rates of tax on top earners,” she adds.

    “So I think a combination on taxing top earners to a much higher rate, raising the level of corporation tax and also you could look at a special tax for London businesses over a certain size.

    “For example, Shell has just announced a profit of £13.9bn. Now a windfall tax, it seems to me, would not be inappropriate in this context.

    “We should look to all these. There’s plenty of money in London – it’s not going to the right people, that’s the problem.”

  9. George T on said:

    Adamski 6 – I think you’ll find that PCS has no such rule but the candidate was stopped because as a Civil Servant they had to get permission from their boss under Civil Service rules – this has been an issue for a long time that has not been addressed by the SP/SWP/CP PCS leadership. Ridiculously in Council elections, the vast majority of council workers can canvass in elections for councillors to their own council without asking their boss, but any civil servant (Executive Officer and above) must ask permission to canvass in the same elections. Its not the first time someone has been turned down and the Union has been asked to address it – but to my knowledge they’ve done nothing.

  10. all points north on said:

    If I lived in London I’d probably also vote Green first, Livingstone second but I don’t see many people here denying what Peter Tatchell calls Livingston’s “favouritism, personal vendettas, sectarianism, control freakery and unsavory alliances”. From Labour Herald and Gerry Healy to the current Socialist Action lash up Livingston seems to be have an addiction to the unsavoury. Can anything be done?

  11. Birmingham Respect Member on said:

    Re #2 There is no issue with the validity of the nomination of the Respect candidate in Sparkbrook. Just another smear from the Lib Dems. In accordance with the law, his contract of employment ended before he submitted his nomination papers, and he has the evidence, in writing, to prove it.

  12. Ian Donovan on said:

    This is actually a classic bit of opportunism by Ken Livingstone, loving up to Tatchell and admitting to a non-mistake ‘mistake’ (refusing to capitulate to an anti-Muslim outcry over Qaradawi) in order to seek votes, not from gays as such, but from Tatchell’s political followers.

    A step to the right by Livingstone, putting together a bloc with pro-imperialist liberals on the right of the Greens as a ‘lesser evil’ to Boris Johnson. Highly significant – it could presage Livingstone joining the pro-war liberal maintream if he is re-elected with this kind of support. After all, it is worth remembering Livingstone’s support for the NATO attack on Yugoslavia in 1999. This apparent new alliance with Tatchell could presage something similar in his third term, if he gets one.

    There is a real, if only incipient, element of popular frontism about this little bit of unprincipled realpolitik. It may, of course be short-lived and involve ‘pragmatic’ hypocrisy on both sides. I doubt those who bizarrely try to portray the militant anti-imperialism of Respect as ‘popular frontist’ will have anything critical to say about this, however. It shouldn’t in itself deter us from seeking the defence of Livingstone as mayor from Johnson’s challenge, but it points to a possibly much more right-wing, ‘New Labour’ Livingstone mayorality next time. Be aware of that possibility.

  13. Ian is right (Shock horror!! lol) Livingstone is pandering to the right.. of course u can still argue for a vote for KL as no 2 but I very much doubt RR will be highlighting the point Ian has made in his contribution.I also understand he is for more police on the street and cracking down on cheeky youth……really is scrapping the barrel a bit. The sad fact as Ian intimates is that RR reaction to the mayoral election is driven by a sectarianism and not the intrestds of the wotrking class.. this may indeed be the last time I agree with Ian but it was nice whilst it lasted

  14. Ian Donovan on said:

    “Ian is right (Shock horror!! lol) Livingstone is pandering to the right.. of course u can still argue for a vote for KL as no 2 but I very much doubt RR will be highlighting the point Ian has made in his contribution.”

    A bit hypocritical from JJ, given that his attacks on Galloway have echoed those of Tatchell on Livingstone (and Galloway) over similar questions – alleged homophobia through pandering to Muslims, and similar crap. The logic of the SWP’s ‘communalist’ smear against Respect leads to reconcilation with the likes of Tatchell, as did SWP hacks joining in Tatchell’s recent attack on GG.

  15. ah come on Ian don’t be mean spirited!!! U know in your heart that this loving up to Ken is going to end in tears and I feel a little bit of worry in your contribution.
    My criticism of GG was the exact opposite of what u allledge.. there was no problem in going on the gay pride demo and relating to the radicalisation of the muslim commuity.. I repeat no problem.. it was GG that had a problem with it.. but lets not that stop us agreeing that this tailing of Ken is a real problem and doesn’t bode well for the future of RR. I think we should agree on this and leave the rest to another day

    g’day

  16. victor allen on said:

    Avoid taking Peter Tatchell at face value. Hes states that his only gripe with Livingstone was the Qaradawi visit, even though the Green Party participated in that too and stated afterwards that you had to talk to people.
    In addition, perhaps for factional reasons, I do not know because Livingstone has worked with Stonewall, Tatchell ahs had a vendetta for Ken. What was his role in the Standard reporter affai when Ken made the remark suggesting that the reporter was like a concentration camp guard? This happened at an event to clebrate 20 years since Chris Smith came out as an MP.
    Tatchell played no small role in making that a bigger issue, as I recall. It seems there was indeed a vendaetta, but by whom and why?
    Why is Tatchell making these sounds now, having been part of Martin Bright’s channel 4 assault on Ken? Maybe the Green Party who have been sincere throughout all this are embarrassed by him?

  17. Ian Donovan on said:

    “My criticism of GG was the exact opposite of what u allledge.. there was no problem in going on the gay pride demo and relating to the radicalisation of the muslim commuity.. I repeat no problem.. it was GG that had a problem with it.. but lets not that stop us agreeing that this tailing of Ken is a real problem and doesn’t bode well for the future of RR. I think we should agree on this and leave the rest to another day.”

    A bit slippery, if you don’t mind me saying so. One key reason a whole load of Muslim groups signed a letter in support of Ken a few months ago is because of his standing up to the witchhunt over Qaradawi. If he goes back on that, as seems to be the case, this is grounds for criticism of Ken for backsliding.

    You can’t really make that criticism, however, since you attacked Respect for taking up the positive aspect of this in the first place – the fact that KL does have a left face and this was most sharply posed over standing up to Islamophobia from the likes of Tatchell.

  18. Dustin the Turkey on said:

    “anti-Muslim outcry over Qaradawi”

    Tell me, Ian; is it possible to be critical of al-Qaradawi without being considered Islamophobic?

  19. Ian Donovan on said:

    Critical in what sense? Qaradawi is hardly a raving progressive. He is however an Islamist who is an opponent of nihilistic jihadism. He is a representative of religious trends that happen to coincide largely, not completely but enough to make it a reasonable approximation, with peoples whose national self-determination is under attack from imperialism, notably British and US imperialism. Hostility to this form of religion, unscruplously and ignorantly equated with nihilist jihadism, is also a key ideological tenet of the war drive against those peoples’ right to self-determination.

    ‘Criticism’ that lines up with imperialism, that poses Qaradawi and similar people as alien to ‘our democratic traditions’, ‘our traditions of tolerance’ or similar crap, as Tatchell did in outspoken unison with other more mainstream (and homophobic) imperialist mouthpieces and organs such as the Daily Mail et al., is reactionary criticism and quite definitely is Islamophobic. It makes Tatchell a liberal shill for imperialism.

  20. Dustin the Turkey on said:

    “‘Criticism’ that lines up with imperialism, that poses Qaradawi and similar people as alien to ‘our democratic traditions’, ‘our traditions of tolerance’ or similar crap, as Tatchell did in outspoken unison with other more mainstream (and homophobic) imperialist mouthpieces and organs such as the Daily Mail et al., is reactionary criticism and quite definitely is Islamophobic.”

    So if an imperialist happens to use a particular topic for criticism, it’s veroboten for any socialist to use it? That goes well beyond “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. If imperialists – even cynically – criticise someone as homophobic, it’s imperative for socialists not only to _not_ criticise that person likewise, but denounce people (like Tatchell) who do?

    It’s a sorry day when a primary task of the English left is shilling for a man who thinks Pokemon is a Jewish plot.

  21. Ian Donovan on said:

    Well, the British left (the best elements of it, that is) have a long history of supporting Muslim peoples against imperialism, notwithstanding the often conservative religious views of their leaders. Going back to William Morris’ outspoken support for the independence struggle in Sudan led by Mohammad al-Mahdi in the late 19th Century. The Mahdi, by the way, made today’s Al Qaradawi look quite tame by comparison. It contrasts nicely with Tatchell, who wants armed force used against Sudan today over Darfur to enforce ‘no fly zones’ (shades of Iraq).

  22. An extract from today’s interview with Peter Tatchell on Hagley Road to Ladywood – http://www.mymarilyn.blogspot.com

    “As a critic of Ken Livingstone over his courting of al-Qaradawi, do you actually support him in the mayoral election?

    PT: I will give my first preference to Sian Berry, the Green Party candidate. She is the most progressive, with the best policies on housing, transport, jobs, crime, equal opportunities and the environment. Moreover, she is not sectarian. Sian is open, inclusive, fair, honest, accessible and democratic. In addition, it would be brilliant to have a woman Mayor – and someone young to lead what is a youthful city.

    My second preference will go to Ken Livingstone. Boris Johnson would be a big mistake. He is clownish, disorganised, not well informed, has little grasp of policy detail and is on record as saying some very bigoted things about various minority communities.

    Based on existing polls, Ken is the only candidate who can stop Boris. In any case, Ken’s policies as Mayor have been mostly positive and benefited Londoners. All in all, he has been a good Mayor. He should be judged in the round. Despite his flaws and policy misjudgements (such his fondness for high-rise office blocks, closeness to big business, promotion of bendy buses etc), he is way better than Boris.

    I don’t hold personal grudges. I would never base my voting intentions on what bad things Ken may have done to me personally (he unjustly denounced me as an Islamophobe in 2004 because I criticised the fundamentalist cleric, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi). The interests of all Londoners must come first.

    I do, however, hope that Ken will listen to the valid criticisms that I and other friends and allies have made and, if he is re-elected, that he will reform his administration to end the favouritism, personal vendettas, sectarianism, control freakery and unsavory alliances that have sometimes characterised City Hall.”

    READ THE REST on: http://www.mymarilyn.blogspot.com