|Until Victory, Always!|
We face a choice between Boris Johnson, Ken Livingstone and Brian Paddick. But really we just have two choices: more Mayor BJ or a return to Red Ken. There's no point pretending that the third party matters anymore after this government. Voting may not just be a right, but a civic duty that demands of us and makes us participants. And yet it is impossible to be enthused at the prospect of the same choice we had 4 years ago. Ultimately, the London Mayoral is a test for the Coalition and victorious Boris would certainly provide a much-needed symbolic vindication for this government. If the glass testicle fell into the hands of Ken Livingstone, once again, then we might hear talk of a coming Labour administration in 2015. The rejection of a softened version of what we're getting will be interpreted as a loving embrace of what we're enduring already. Only less or more austerity are viable, no real yes or no for us to choose from on the question of cuts.
|The Genital of Patronage.|
With all of this in mind Ken Livingstone is not the worst of Labour, far from a disgraced Blairite, even if we take into account his most cynical and opportunistic moments. Putting aside the hysterical attempts by the Right to vilify Ken. He remains one of a precious handful of politicians, like Tony Benn, who understand what is at stake when social democracy is being eviscerated before our eyes. And it is the preservation of social democracy which we, as citizens, should be concerned with most at this juncture. We have to keep in mind what this country could have been had it been kept out of the hands of people like Margaret Thatcher and her loyal successors. The welfare state won't save itself and the liberals have proven incapable of defending it. This is a time for pragmatism, not a detached anti-political purity of character.