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Camden New Journal - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Published: 7 February 2008
For and against mayor?

• I AM not sure why the Tory press have been bothering to run their recent systematic campaign to smear Ken Livingstone – however hard they try they can’t make Boris Johnson look anything other than a right wing fool.
Your editorial supporting Ken against these attacks provoked a flurry of letters last week, headed You’re for mayor Ken or against him. However, the situation is more complicated. Many will back Livingstone against Johnson and support many of his policies. His stance against the war is popular.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t be critical as well. When he was first elected, he got massive support for standing up to Blair and opposing Tube privatisation.
Now he wants to privatise the East London line himself. His transport policy seems more geared to big business than those who use it.
The press claim he got drunk at the World Economic Forum at Davos. The real question is why he was inside drinking with the richest bankers in the world, rather than joining the protests outside?
And then, of course, Ken is back in the party of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.
The biggest political force in this country are disillusioned ex-Labour voters who don’t know where to turn.
They hate the Tories but are not conned that the Lib Dems are any better.
The electoral system for the elections on May 1 for mayor and the Greater London Assembly means that in fact you can be both for and against Ken, and have the possibility of electing at least a few people who are trying to build an alternative to New Labour.
Lindesy German, the convener of the Stop the War coalition will be standing again for Respect. If you vote for her, you can give your second preference to Livingstone, but in the process get her elected to the GLA.
If you are interested in debating how we can build an alternative to New Labour join the forum in Camden with Lindesy German and others on February 19 at the Peckwater Tenants Hall, Islip Street, at 7pm.
Candy Udwin
Camden and Barnet Respect
Ossulston Street, NW1

There too long

• READING the letters in defence of Ken Livingstone’s “achievements and successes in office” is a remarkable example of how people can be so easily blinded.
Initially a supporter of Livingstone, the rose-tinted spectacles fairly quickly fell from my eyes, as well as those of my once supportive friends. Always an opportunist, Livingstone in his GLC days eagerly supported any kind of cause for which he could claim to be on the side of “progress”. We lost the GLC via Margaret Thatcher as a result of his excesses. Since being in power at the GLA, where he is almost unaccountable owing to the way the assembly is set up, he has happily abandoned his left wing stance as Red Ken to support any kind of huge capitalist venture which is filling up London with hideous (capitalist) tower blocks. These seem to be something he loves, and he wants more and more.
His term of office should have been cut short by a two term maximum – which should apply to all subsequent mayors. Sadly, whatever one’s politics, one has to say Boris Johnson has a poor showing while Brian Paddick will sadly probably simply split the vote. We need to get Livingstone out of office. He has been there too long, and another term of office would only entrench his sense that he is London.
Roger Payne
New End, NW3

Send your letters to: The Letters Editor, Camden New Journal, 40 Camden Road, London, NW1 9DR or email to The deadline for letters is midday Tuesday. The editor regrets that anonymous letters cannot be published, although names and addresses can be withheld. Please include a full name, postal address and telephone number. Letters may be edited for reasons of space.

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