How Will I Vote?

The question of how will I vote may be answered by the absence of a polling card and lack of clear info on actually where to vote – I found the polling station address eventually and it gives me an excuse to examine the architecture of the Connaught School for Girls first hand.
I’ve only had one discussion on which way to vote in these elections and it happened by chance in the Director’s Bar at West Ham FC stood right next to Mike Ashley, owner of Newcastle FC. It was with my mate Eddie De Oliveira who I suspect will vote for Ken. He challenged my belief that Ken wasn’t the automatic choice and fired off a “what’s he done wrong?” line. I spluttered for a bit in the way that a computer does when you press too many buttons. “What has he done right” would be a better question and one I still can’t answer.
But the simplest answer for Eddie may come this Saturday when/if Fulham lose to Birmingham (I hope they win incidently) after their stirring fightback against Man City – because should they fail now they will have offered their supporters hope then robbed them of it – that it what Ken has done wrong above all else. Above the crime of making London a developer’s paradise (I shall never forgive him for surrendering Spitalfields to the City barons) – everybody who has ever fought against an unpopular planning decision endorsed by the mayor may well get their revenge tomorrow. Also above the fact that he has resolutely avoided the issue of housing until this election – until a credit crunch that has wounded his City pals – housing, this city’s biggest issue, an issue he built his early political career on -that alone is enough not to give him our vote.
That said, anyone who even considers for a blink of an eye voting for Boris Johnson should be expelled from the city and made to go and live in Stevenage or maybe Slough.
I could go on but I shall stop because when I go out tomorrow/today I want to vote For something not Against something.


Note to all London Mayoral Candidates

“The London County Council is probably the most remarkable attempt of modern democracy to build a local governing machine which will produce a highly expert staff of bureaucratic specialists controlled by a general council elected by practically every class of the community. The achievements of the London County Council are the results of this great experiment in scientific democracy; whereby we often put in an illiterate slum elector at one end of the machine and turn out an expert administrator at the other.
So complicated has the art and science of government become since men ceased to be wandering hunters.”
G.R. Stirling Taylor, The London County Council (published in ‘Wonderful London Vol 3circa 1920))

the photo shows the Council Chamber at County Hall (before it was turned into an amusement arcade with a McDonalds


If Voting Changed Anything….

So the official Mayoral Campaign has begun. What you’ll read about in the newspapers and see on the telly is the cartoon contest between ‘Not So Red’ Ken Livingstone and ‘Barmy Bouncy Bonkers’ Boris Johnson with a cardboard cameo appearance from ‘Stoner Gay Copper’ Brian Paddick.
This isn’t the real election.
Ken launched his campaign with a warning that this wasn’t Celebrity Big Brother. He’s quite right because Celebrity Big Brother presents voters with a reasonable choice of candidates representing a diversity of race, gender and neuroses. This is possibly why more people vote in Big Brother evictions than in local elections.
This week saw the pitiful sight of Boris and Ken squabbling over how many ‘unaffordable homes’ they wouldn’t build – between the ineffective 50% minimum introduced by home-owner Livingstone and the scrapping of that by multiple home-owner Johnson (Canonbury and Henley at that – two of the most sought after locations in the South East) who merely wants 50,000 “cheaper” homes. What both targets miss is whether these mythical dwellings are “affordable” or “cheaper” they are both still far too expensive for the vast majority of Londoners.
I shall try to track the election on this blog and although I jest a bit I’m saddened by the lack of any kind of viable candidate who aims to speak for Londoners rather than the City, the developers, and the two main parties. This election is being transformed into a phoney war between the Tories and Labour in the tussle for the bigger prize of national power – London as a third world client state over which the super-powers fight.
Where’s Rainbow George when you need him.