Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Jen, then Ken: But not an endorsement for Labour

It's been announced this morning that the Green Party suggest voters give Ken Livingstone their second preference vote in the mayoral election, after our Green candidate Jenny Jones. This follows Ken Livingstone's own endorsement of Jenny Jones as his second preference.

I was at the meeting with Ken Livingstone on Monday night where this was decided, and what was interesting was that all parties agreed (including Ken) that this was not a second preference for the Labour party, but only for him personally. Indeed, he was quite openly scathing of the kind of New Labour politics being displayed by Lambeth Council and Streatham MP Chuka Umunna (who suggests that Blair was 85% right).

It is interesting to note that in 2008, Livingstone got 36% of first preference votes. However, when it came to voting for the Labour party, this dropped off significantly by around 10% when it came to vote for the Labour party list.

For the Greens, the reverse was true. The Green Party list got around 6% more votes than for our mayoral candidate, meaning that we got two London assembly members elected - Darren Johnson and Jenny Jones. It would seem that many people who vote for Ken, when given a preference where their vote will count under a proportional system, vote Green.

Putting the electoral maths to one side for a moment, what was very positive about the debate at the meeting on Monday was its level of political maturity. There was a feeling that the most important thing was values and policies, rather than tribal politics. There was an acknowledged risk that Labour might try and pretend that they were somehow being endorsed by the Greens, but it was also felt that this was a risk worth taking if we want a better, more grown-up type of politics and policy-making.

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