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Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Simon Heffer: Why treat the London election as a joke?

Even Simon Heffer of the Telegraph has come out against Boris, have a look at what he has to say:

Mr Johnson is not a politician. He is an act. The same stricture could fairly be applied to Mr Livingstone. Mr Johnson's act is, though, more finely wrought.

The act is calculated and it has required serious application and timing of the sort of which only a clever man is capable. For some of us the joke has worn not thin, but out. Yet many less cynical than I am find it appealing. It conceals two things: a blinding lack of attention to detail, and (though this might seem to sit ill with the first point) a ruthless ambition.

Mr Johnson is the most ambitious person I have ever met. That ought to be a commendation for high office, since ambitious people normally understand they will go further only by doing their present job well. Mr Johnson's scattergun approach to life will not allow this.

In his superb biography of him, my colleague Andrew Gimson outlines the practice that has allowed Mr Johnson to get so far in life: he has used his charm, to which only a few more seasoned hands are immune, to enlist at every stage what Mr Gimson calls "stooges" to help him advance.

There were stooges when Mr Johnson was en route to be president of the Oxford Union. He has had stooges all through journalism, who did significant parts of his various jobs for him, usually with little thanks or reward. And now there are stooges in politics.

If Mr Johnson became Mayor tomorrow, he would be the front man for nameless others who would run London. That may well be better than more of Mr Livingstone. It would not be what people think they are voting for.

I agree with Mr Livingstone on one thing, which is that running London is not a comic spectacle (though it is a pity that he didn't see fit to live up to that precept more often).

What is there in Mr Johnson's past to suggest that his mayoralty would be anything but that? Where is the evidence of his adroitness in administration, his sense of responsibility, his ethic of public service?

As Mr Gimson makes clear, one of Mr Johnson's failings is a belief that the public is there to serve him, not vice versa. He has given much pleasure to millions over the years, but will that cause the Underground to work better, the Metropolitan Police to catch more criminals, or business to thrive in London? Or would a Johnson mayoralty be yet one more chapter in an epic of charlatanry - perhaps, since it is so serious a job with potentially no hiding place, the last chapter?

Mr Johnson will regard the job as a stepping stone to a Cameron cabinet (I have always expected Mr Johnson, in great old age, will befriend the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury, covering all bets about a better place in Paradise).

Oddly enough, given how acute he is, that won't persuade him to do it properly. The guiding theme of his life is the charm of doing nothing properly. His sins themselves are charming in that they are the sort of failings that upset the Edwardians, and few others since.

He is pushy, he is thoughtless, he is indiscreet about his private life. None of this matters much to anyone these days, which is why he has gone so far in spite of them, and tomorrow may go further still.

Lynton Crosby, the Australian public relations genius who has kept Mr Johnson out of trouble during his campaign, returns home after it.

Then what? Who will guide the unguided missile? Who will support the figurehead? Who will ensure he turns up on time, or at all? How will they be accountable? Once, a man became mayor of Hartlepool dressed in a gorilla suit. Is what the main parties offer Londoners tomorrow any better? Or is London just a bit of a laugh?

Johann Hari: It's the policies that count – and that means Londoners should vote for Ken Livingstone

When Londoners stream into the polling booths tomorrow, they won't just be picking between Boris and Ken. They will be picking between two different ways of doing politics.

Do we want to risk having a mayor elected by the white outer suburbs who has repeatedly called black children "piccanninies" (and not just in spoof articles), tells a black presenter "you can't out-ethnic me", and responded to the 7/7 massacres by attacking the Koran and announcing "the problem is Islam" because it is "the most viciously sectarian of all religions"?

Ken Livingstone – with his adenoidal, amphibian populism – is the most successful left-wing politician in Europe today. Born into the white working class in the rubble of post-war London, he has helped steer the transformation of this city through an amazing flourishing of sexual freedom and immigration – and faced down Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair on the way.

At a time when most politicians cower beneath a lightning-storm of opinion polls and focus groups, he pushes politics forward in quantum leaps – on talking to the IRA, on gay equality, on the environment. Whenever he has the power to, he ploughs money into services – like buses – used by the poorest. If Londoners replace him tomorrow with the political love-child of Margaret Thatcher and Billy Bunter, we will have four long years to stop seeing the funny side.

To read the rest go to

New Statesman: Livingstone - why vote for me on Thursday

Ken Livingstone explains why Londoners should re-elect him on 1 May arguing Tory rival Boris Johnson just isn't capable of running the UK capital

For many Londoners, the mayoral election appears as a choice between my record of delivering for London and Boris Johnson's affable TV personality but evident lack of competence to run one of the world's largest cities.

This has been epitomised by the contrast between the transformation of London’s bus services over the past 8 years, and the utter chaos of Boris Johnson’s flagship policy to introduce new Routemaster buses with conductors, which he now admits would cost over £100m, not the £8m he originally claimed.

Tory cuts in police numbers in the 1990s led to a crime wave, with a 70% increase in murder and rape. We started to reverse this with 10,000 additional uniformed police officers, which allowed us to put the police back on the local beat. This has cut London's crime for five years in a row, reduced murder by 28%, and allowed a realistic target of continuing crime reduction by 6% a year. Racist attacks have been cut by over 50% in eight years.

My policy that 50% of all new housing in London must be affordable is working, with house-building almost doubling. London's climate change action plan is the most advanced in the world. The £25-a-day charge for gas guzzlers entering central London is another groundbreaking environmental policy.

To read the rest go to

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Want to help get the vote for Ken?

Join Ken's Campaign Team handing out leaflets to voters.

Teams are planned for a number of tube stations all over London, including Seven Sisters, Whitechapel, Angel, Finsbury Park, Wood Green and Westminster

No experience is required, and all materials will be provided.

To sign up go to

Seumas Milne: The national fallout from London will be felt for years

For all Ken Livingstone's accommodations with the City of London and Boris Johnson's jokes and floppy hair, the dividing lines could not be clearer. This is a battle between a veteran radical who has used his powers to redistribute, to protect the environment and help make London one of the most successful multicultural cities in the world, and a Thatcherite privateer and opponent of the Kyoto treaty who backed the Iraq war and has managed to alienate almost every one of the ethnic minorities who make up 40% of the capital's population.

To read more, go to

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Irish back Ken to stay Mayor

THE IRISH community across London is coming together to back Ken Livingstone’s campaign to be re-elected as Mayor of London.

The move comes as polls show he is neck-and-neck with rival candidate Boris Johnson for the post. Londoners go to the polls on May 1 — with Livingstone bidding to be elected for a third term.

A coalition of Irish groups in the capital has now formed an alliance to back the Mayor — citing his record of work for the Irish community over the years. Irish Londoners For Ken spokesman Gerry Ryan said: “Irish Londoners For Ken will be campaigning up until May 1 to ensure Ken is reelected.

“We think it is of utmost importance that the Irish voters and those of Irish descent come out and vote for Ken who has done so much as Mayor to ensure that our community has been recognised for its contribution to the city."

“Ken’s policies such as championing public transport, promoting equality and tackling climate change, has benefited all sections of our community."

“He has always been a strong friend to London’s Irish community — building links with Ireland, supporting peace and not least ensuring our St. Patrick’s Day celebrations are enjoyed by tens of thousands of Londoners every year."

“We need Ken as Mayor and we urge everyone to make sure they turn out in numbers to vote for Ken.”

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: Londoners would be mad to vote for Boris

Who will make the more disastrous Mayor of London? That is the only question. For anyone who knows the metropolis, the answer should be clear. Don't vote for the clever and cute Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson. He does not have the sensibility of a Londoner; he is not one of us, even though, poor chap, he is putting up a good show.

To read the rest go to

Who would you trust to run London?

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Jonathan Freedland: Why Livingstone gets my vote

Excellent piece by Jonathan Freedland in this week's Jewish Chronicle - some extracts:

"Sure, we may not like the way Ken Livingstone speaks about the Middle East — thought the mayor has taken an admirable stance against the academic boycott of Israel — preferring the emollient words of Boris Johnson. But this is not about choosing a speaker for the annual Jewish Care dinner. Rather, we need to weigh up a record that has seen a congestion charge implemented and now copied around the world, put thousands more police on the streets and which has seen racist crime fall in the capital — even as it has been rising in the rest of the country — and ask whether that record would be continued or jeopardised by electing a man who, yes, pens a lively column and does a funny turn on TV but has done nothing to suggest he could run a major world city...

In the week after the July 7 bombings, Johnson wrote a piece which described the Koran and Islam itself, not merely Islamic radicalism, as “viciously sectarian” and “medieval”, accusing it of “disgusting arrogance”, and adding that Islamophobia was a “natural reaction” to Muslim holy texts.

Now ask yourself, as a Jew, how you would feel if someone who wrote that way about Jews and Judaism was leading in the polls for the London mayoralty. Then ask yourself, as a Londoner, whether that was the message we needed to hear in the immediate aftermath of 7/7 when every other public figure, including our own Chief Rabbi, was urging people to come together and not to turn on a religious minority because of the wicked actions of four murderous individuals. Do all that — and then vote."

To read the whole article go to

Evening Standard scare-mongering report carries blatant lies

The Evening Standard has in the past year transformed itself into chief cheerleader for Boris Johnson's mayoral campaign, using spin and hyped-up allegations to goad Londoners into voting for the Conservative candidate.

However, today's front-page headline allegations have gone a step too far and are riddled with outright lies. The Muslims for Ken campaign is a group of Muslim individuals who have come together publicly from all over the Muslim community and who are working with various other communities to support Ken Livingstone's bid to remain Mayor of London. It is totally untrue that the campaign was either founded by Dr. Azzam Tamimi or is "run" or "led" by him.

It cannot possibly come as a shock to Boris Johnson nor the Evening Standard that many individuals from the Muslim community would choose to support Ken Livingstone for Mayor, just as countless members of the black, Afro-Caribbean, Asian, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh and other communities have vocally done. The reasons for this are easily apparent to any individual who understands London and the basic qualities required from its Mayor – a record of successfully managing a hugely complex city, an ability to engage with political and economic leaders from across the world and an understanding of London 's complexity and diversity.

The Evening Standard's inaccurate allegations are a clear attempt to distract attention from the fact that Boris Johnson's own record suggests he does not possess these qualities.

Anas Altikriti commented: "The Evening Standard has really demeaned itself by stooping to such lies. Its allegations that we have tried to "vilify" Johnson are curious given that we have merely referred Londoners to Johnson's own writings. It appears that Londoners - and particularly minority communities - are now not allowed to examine Johnson's own record without being vilified and falsely accused."

Guardian Comment: A skin-deep tolerance

What a difference a mayoral race can make. Only two years ago, Johnson's writings - readily available in the online archives of the Spectator and Daily Telegraph - were peppered with talk of the "paranoia of the Muslim mind", of Islam's "medievalism", "heartlessness" and "disgusting arrogance". Islamophobia was, he maintained, "a natural reaction" to "any non-Muslim reader of the Qur'an". We must, therefore, dispose of the "first taboo", he counselled, and accept "that the problem is Islam. Islam is the problem."

Johnson's inflammatory comments may be turning into a load too heavy to be borne by one aspiring to lead Britain's most ethnically and religiously diverse city. So, in his desperation to ward off the charge of Islamophobia, the Tory candidate has suddenly discovered a distant Muslim family root, in which, he assures us, he takes much pride. It is as if the invocation of a Muslim lineage magically absolves one of moral and political responsibility for airing bigotry and prejudice.

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Anas Altikriti interviews Ken Livingstone

Anas Altikriti hosts Mayor of London Ken Livingstone on his weekly show "Bridges" on Al Hiwar Channel

Part 2

LBC debate - Boris Johnson tries to deny Islamophobic comments

To listen to this morning's debate, go to


Nick Ferrari: Whatever you think about Ken Livingstone after the tragedy of the London bombings he said the following: "nothing you do or how many of us you kill nothing will stop that flight to our city London where freedom is strong and people can live in harmony whatever you do however many of us you kill, you will fail." Like him or loathe him that's leadership. What would we have got from Boris Johnson?

Boris Johnson: I think you would have got exactly the same. I think what Londoners want in the event of a tragedy of that someone who will speak for the city and give a voice to our defiance and our unwillingness to submit to that kind of terror. What a cowardly attack.

Ken Livingstone: I know what Boris would have said because he wrote it in the
Spectator or the Telegraph the following week - very different. I said this is a criminal act by a handful of men. It doesn't define a faith or an ideology – what you said boris was Islam was the problem -

BJ - No I did not. That is an absolute -

KL: - and the Koran is inherently violent. I actually made certain we were looking at individuals, you smeared an entire faith.

BJ No I did not. Can I tell you what deep offense I take at that. I think you …traduce what I said. My view is that Islam is a religion of peace and indeed I am very proud to say that I have Muslim ancestry my great grandfather knew the Koran off by heart, Ken Livingstone. I really wish you would leave off this kind of tactics which I think demean this race and demean your office

KL: There is nothing demeaning about reading what you've been writing for 15 years, you were writing it!

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Latest MORI poll shows Ken Livingstone in the lead

Muslims for Ken welcomes the latest poll results by IPSOS-MORI showing Ken Livingstone leading in the mayoral race. It seems debates between the two in the past few weeks have played to the Mayor’s advantage, with Johnson showing a weak grasp of facts and policy.

Taking the 48 per cent who said they were 'absolutely certain to vote', the MORI poll shows that first preference results were 41% for Ken Livingstone, 40% for Boris Johnson, and 14% for Brian Paddick. When second preference votes were included, Livingstone’s lead rose to 2 points.

Taking all those expressing a voting preference (85%) the results were 45% for Ken Livingstone, 38% for Boris Johnson, and 11% for Brian Paddick – a lead for Ken Livingstone of seven points, indicating that the more Londoners turn out to vote, the greater the lead for Livingstone.

MORI’s results appear to be far more credible than other recent polls, due to the fact that MORI’s data is specifically weighted to match the profile of the London population by gender, age, working status, region, ethnic group, housing tenure and social class.

To see the results go to

Newsnight Mayoral Debate

To see Tuesday's Newsnight mayoral debate, go to

Highlights: Paxman questioning Boris on his picannies" and "watermelon smiles" comments, to which Boris replied in a very un-Borisesque way on the need to move from a "politics of division to politics of unity" (stolen straight from Barack Obama) ; Boris getting his figures wrong on his replacement policy for bendy buses (his "core policy").

BNP gives second vote to Boris, now it is not a joke

The British Muslim Initiative took up an advert in Tuesday's London Paper, highlighting the serious consequences of the decision of the fascist, racist British National Party's to give its second preference vote to Boris Johnson.

The advert states: "BNP gives second vote to Boris, now it is not a joke".

What does the unprecedented BNP's decision tell us about what the two have in common? The BNP has a long history of promoting xenophobia, hatred and division. Boris Johnson has never taken any steps to tackle either. While seeking to become the representative of all Londoners, he has insulted various communities, calling black people 'picaninnies', referring to Africans with' watermelon smiles' and claiming the Chinese have made no original contribution to culture.

When London was under attack on 7 July 2005, Ken Livingstone urged Londoners to stand together, not to be divided. His words united Londoners and brought pride to this city. What did Boris Johnson say in contrast? Boris Johnson declared "Islam is the problem", "[Islam] is the most viciously sectarian of all religions" and "To any non-Muslim reader of the Koran, Islamophobia…seems a natural reaction".

No surprise then in the BNP's endorsment to Boris, since their hostility to Islam and Muslims is at the core of their campaign. Their leaflets urge supporters to make May 1st a "Referendum on Islam". The BNP Lndon Manifesto pledges:

"No new mosques. Britain is a Christian country, not an Islamic one. There are more than enough mosques in London already and we would therefore prevent any new mosques from being developed."

London needs a mayor with a cohesive vision for London that all Londoners can be proud of, not one who has drawn the support of the most bigoted party in British politics.

Anas Altikriti, spokesman of BMI, commented: "It is unacceptable that a city as diverse and tolerant as London could have its direct representative decided by a neo-fascist, racist, xenophobic party. Allowing this to happen would be disastrous for London and for all those who have worked to unite all Londoners, whatever their background".

Ken's Election Broadcast

'No one can say at this election it doesn’t matter who gets in. It will completely determine what sort of London we have in the in the future’ – Ken Livingstone.

Monday, 7 April 2008

Ken Livingstone vs Boris Johnson

MPAC's video on Ken vs Boris

Boris Johnson in his own words


"To any non-Muslim reader of the Koran, Islamophobia…seems a natural reaction... Judged purely on its is the most viciously sectarian of all religions." (The Spectator 16/07/2005)

"The proposed ban on incitement to "religious hatred" makes no sense unless it involves a ban on the Koran itself." (Telegraph, 21/07/2005)

"When is Little Britain going to do a sketch, starring Matt Lucas as one of the virgins? Islam will only be truly acculturated to our way of life when you could expect a Bradford audience to roll in the aisles at Monty Python's Life of Mohammed." (Telegraph, 21/07/2005)


‘It is common ground among both right-wingers and left-wingers that racism is "natural"’ (Guardian, 21/02/2000)

‘They say [Tony Blair] is shortly off to the Congo . No doubt the AK47s will fall silent, and the pangas will stop their hacking of human flesh, and the tribal warriors will all break out in watermelon smiles to see the big white chief touch down in his big white British taxpayer-funded bird.’ (Telegraph, 10/01/2002)


"We must begin...the re-Britannification of Britain" (Telegraph 14/07/2005)

“There seems no reason to behave respectfully towards that little old woman coming out of the Post Office if you feel that she belongs to a culture that is alien from your own.”


‘The chicks in the GQ expenses department – and if you can’t call them chicks, then what the hell, I ask you, is the point of writing for GQ.’


“If we know the Pentagon, there must be a very good chance that this will be an outstandingly successful and stress-free war."

"I am an ardent neocon."


‘Whenever George Dubya Bush appears on television, with his buzzard squint and his Ronald Reagan sidenod, I find a cheer rising irresistibly in my throat.”

‘Not only did I want Bush to win, but we threw the entire weight of The Spectator behind him.’


‘We seem to have forgotten that societies need rich people, even sickeningly rich people, and not just to provide jobs for those who clean swimming pools and resurface tennis courts.’


“Do you really mean to say the empire wasn’t a good thing? ... The problem is not that we were once in charge, but that we are not in charge any more… The best fate for Africa would be if the old colonial powers, or their citizens, scrambled once again in her direction; on the understanding that this time they will not be asked to feel guilty.”


"If I were an Israeli, I would be astounded that any member of the British Government or Opposition felt able to criticise Israel at all."

"If we were Israelis…we would dispatch an American-built ground-assault helicopter and blow the place to bits. Then we would send in bulldozers to scrape over the remains, and we would do the same to all the other houses in the area… this is the best way to deter Palestinian families from nurturing these vipers in their bosoms, and also the best way of explaining to the death-hungry narcissists that they may get the 72 black-eyed virgins of scripture, but their family gets the bulldozer."

This man is well on his way to becoming the next Mayor of London, with £10bn and one of the world's most diverse cities under his control

To register to vote by 16 April, go to

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Is Boris Faking It?

In what could be called a postmodern joke by the Conservatives, a man with a lurid history of verbal incontinence is playing the 21st-century election game, with all its gaffe-traps and correctness tripwires - and he is winning.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Volunteers needed

Call for Volunteers for Telephone Campaign

Help get the vote out for Ken

Identifying Ken supporters and ensuring they come out to vote will be crucial in this election. The Ken campaign is organising telephone campaigning sessions in Manor House to call local residents and ensure they are registered to vote and will turn out on May 1st.

They are specifically looking for speakers of languages other than English, particularly Arabic, Urdu, Bengali, Somali, etc. No experience is required, and team leaders will be on hand to talk you through the simple process.

The phone bank is near Manor House Tube (Zone 2). For more details please call 0207 783 1573 or e-mail Full details will be emailed as soon as you sign up.

Vote KEN on May 1st

Vote KEN on May 1st

The stakes could not be higher. Polls show Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson almost neck and neck, it's going to be a very close race. Every vote matters. Use your vote on 1 May.



"The attack on Muslims threatens freedoms for all of us. Every person who values their right to follow the religion of their choice or none should stand with the Muslim communities today."


"I am proud of London's reputation as the most diverse city in the world where the contribution of all communities is celebrated"


"It is evident that the war in Iraq was not justified. It has made the situation worse. The illusions with which it was launched are collapsing."


"The hypocrisy towards the Palestinian people is breathtaking. Repeated United Nations resolutions against the illegal occupation of Palestinian lands are not implemented and horrendous crimes against innocent civilians are systematically ignored. Without justice for Palestine, there will be no lasting settlement in the Middle East."


"All racist and anti-semitic attacks must be stamped out. However, the reality is that the great bulk of racist attacks in Europe today are on black people, Asians and Muslims - and they are the primary targets of the extreme right."



"To any non-Muslim reader of the Koran, Islamophobia…seems a natural reaction... Judged purely on its scripture - to say nothing of what is preached in the mosques - it is the most viciously sectarian of all religions."

"The proposed ban on incitement to "religious hatred" makes no sense unless it involves a ban on the Koran itself."

"Islam will only be truly acculturated to our way of life when you could expect a Bradford audience to roll in the aisles at Monty Python's Life of Mohammed."


"Racism is natural"

Referred to black people as 'picaninnies' 'with watermelon smiles'


“If we know the Pentagon, there must be a very good chance that this will be an outstandingly successful and stress-free war."


"If I were an Israeli, I would be astounded that any member of the British Government or Opposition felt able to criticise Israel at all."

"If we were Israelis…we would dispatch an American-built ground-assault helicopter and blow the place to bits. Then we would send in bulldozers to scrape over the remains, and we would do the same to all the other houses in the area…After decades of deranged attacks the Israelis have come to the conclusion that this is the best way to deter Palestinian families from nurturing these vipers in their bosoms, and also the best way of explaining to the death-hungry narcissists that they may get the 72 black-eyed virgins of scripture, but their family gets the bulldozer."


"We must begin…the re-Britannification of Britain…"

Make your voice heard

Ken for all Londoners

Your London, Your Vote

A crucial choice faces Londoners on May 1st

There are now fewer than 30 days to go until the London Mayoral and Assembly elections

These are, without a doubt, the most significant elections for Londoners, and particularly Muslims, in recent years. With Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson almost neck and neck in the polls, Londoners are facing a choice between an open-minded Mayor with a proven track record of successfully running London and engaging with all communities, and an intolerantcandidate who has a history of repeatedly insulting London's black and Muslim communities. Who will you choose?

This blog is about urging all Londoners to make sure their voices are heard in these elections. The elections will determine who will take decisions affecting the daily lives of every Londoner, from policing and education to road safety and gun crime. But equally importantly, they will determine what direction we want to see London going in the next 4 years, and whether it will continue to be a leading model for co-operation and respect between different communities.

Make sure nothing stops you from making your choice on May 1st.

You can register anytime until 16 April by simply filling in and sign a short form.
Find your borough's registration form here

NB To register you must be over 18, live in London, and a British, Commonwealth or EU citizen.

For more info, visit