Posts Tagged ‘Zac Goldsmith’

Goldsmith’s campaign was a disgrace but not for the reason many in Labour think

08/05/2016, 11:59:38 AM

by Atul Hatwal

Zac Goldsmith’s campaign was a disgrace. But not for the reason many in Labour think and the party is about to learn the wrong lesson as a result.

The consensus is that Goldsmith’s attacks on Khan’s links to extremists and innuendos about his radicalism – a barely coded insinuation about Labour’s candidate being an Islamist – backfired.

Londoners resiled from the evident racism and prejudice

That much is true.

However, there is a distinction between the principle and practice of Goldsmith’s campaign strategy.

Several within Labour are busily convincing themselves that the principle of raising Khan’s connections to unsavoury characters was itself an inflammatory act (just a few examples here, here and here.)


It is legitimate to hold a Mayoral candidate accountable for their connections. As a voter, I would want to know if Zac Goldsmith was linked in any way with fascists and far right agitators.

A Labour campaign that publicised these links would only be doing its job.

The work of all the main parties to expose the racists, reactionaries and fantasists that populate Ukip’s ranks has been a public service.

Voters need to know who is asking for their mandate.


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This is Khan’s triumph – but Labour must be more than the London party

06/05/2016, 06:01:30 PM

by Jonathan Todd

Keir Hardie in Merthyr Tydfil and Richard Bell in Derby were Labour’s first MPs. The Jarrow March arrived in London 36 years later. Another 45 years on and the first People’s March for Jobs arrived in the capital from Liverpool.

Historically, London has been the epicentre of the forces that frustrate Labour. Now, however, London is Labour’s citadel.

Third place in Scotland. Losing to Plaid in Rhondda. Far short of the gains of 400 council seats that the likes of Chris Leslie put down as a benchmark. But Labour is set to return to City Hall in London.

This is Sadiq Khan’s triumph. Elections are x-rays. Zac Goldsmith’s revealed that his heart wasn’t really in it and he was prepared to acquiesce with demeaning nastiness. He might be as posh as Boris Johnson but he lacks his restless hunger to seize power by imposing his personality on events.

Khan does not. His x-ray found all political functionalities in full working order. He wasn’t expected to beat Tessa Jowell to the Labour nomination. He has seen Jeremy Corbyn as sufficiently unhelpful that he distanced himself from the leader during the campaign. None of this stopped Khan, a whirl of dynamic energy.

You might have heard that he is a Muslim. If you’ve really been paying attention, you’ll know that his dad was a bus driver. The back story is now ubiquitous. We should not, though, become glib about its significance.

Khan’s win – and it does feel to me a gain in which the seal of the candidate is particularly sharply embossed – is a victory for London’s openness, tolerance and decency. Bravo.

But Labour must be more than this. We need a 650 seat strategy. To deliver openness, tolerance and decency across the UK.

Brexit would knock all this spectacularly backwards. The EU referendum provides an opportunity for Labour to unite and campaign with the verve that Khan has personified.

I’m confident that London will vote Remain. But Labour must make ourselves heard beyond London. Our membership and campaigning capacity is skewed toward the capital, and while these have helped secure Khan’s success, Labour must be more than the London party.

Jonathan Todd is Deputy Editor of Labour Uncut    

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The Tories are about to swiftboat Sadiq on terror. How he responds will determine the Mayoral result

27/01/2016, 10:16:23 PM

by Atul Hatwal

The conventional Westminster wisdom is that this is Labour’s year in London. Labour thrashed the Tories in the capital at last year’s general election by 44% to 35% and in a recent poll, Sadiq led Goldsmith by seven points.

However, the conventional wisdom is about to be tested.

In the next few weeks, the Tories are going to roll out their main attack on Sadiq Khan: terror.

Lynton Crosby is running Zac Goldsmith’s campaign and he is nothing if not politically obvious.

The Mayoralty is not a role where conventional attacks over economic issues will resonate.

The public, and Crosby, know that the Mayor cannot crash the economy so the Tory line on what Corbyn’s Labour would do to jobs, growth and taxes, will not be effective.

Neither is the Mayor going to make a profound difference to the state of London transport – no-one can wave a wand and create the extra tube lines or rail services that the capital desperately needs.

Identity and personality not policy will determine voters’ choice.

The Mayoralty is overwhelmingly a symbolic and representative role. Who sits in City Hall says something about how Londoners’ see themselves.

As the son of a migrant, from a working class family, who rose to run a high profile legal firm, Sadiq Khan’s biography is London’s story told best.

Sadiq has also moved deftly to buttress the independence of his brand by pitching himself against Jeremy Corbyn with a range of centrist, business-friendly positions.

He is doing all that’s required to pass the Mayoral threshold in an increasingly Labour city.

The Tories need a game-changer. Something that irrevocably redefines Sadiq in the eyes of Londoners and casts him as Jeremy Corbyn’s candidate.

Cue the impending attack over terror.


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Rumours of Lammy vs Mensch for the London 2016 mayoral election

01/05/2012, 06:53:17 PM

After a long and bruising London mayoral campaign, what is the last thing that anyone on either side should want to think about?

Hint – the operative word here is ‘should’. But after all the vitriol, the debates and the wilful sacrifice of thousands of activists on both sides to the grip of the perma-cold – the sniffling hallmark of day after day knocking doors in the rain – thoughts are turning to the next cycle.

Difficult as it maybe to believe but already senior figures on both sides are beginning to wonder who will be the mayoral contenders in 2016.

Come what may, next time round, Ken and Boris will not be involved and potential wannabes will be manoeuvring for prominent London roles in the 2015 general election.

Within Labour there is a working assumption that David Lammy will move early to establish front-runner status. Having seriously considered throwing his hat into the ring this time, he eventually opted to chair Ken’s campaign and inherit the campaign organisation.

His political calculation is that in 2016, most of the 2010 intake of London Labour MPs will be either in government or battling over the future direction of the Labour party. Allying with Ken minimised his risk of losing the selection this time and maximised his pool of support within the party machine for 2016.

One former party aide, who worked on the London mayoral candidate selection process and advised Lammy to run was phlegmatic, “He would have killed Boris if he had been the candidate but the politics made sense to wait”.


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Thursday News Review

23/12/2010, 07:48:21 AM

Telegraph strikes again

David Heath, the deputy Leader of the House, said the Chancellor had the “capacity to get up one’s nose” and did not appreciate what it was like to lose £1,000 a year – the value of the cut in child benefit for higher earners. Paul Burstow, the care minister, told reporters from The Daily Telegraph: “I don’t want you to trust David Cameron.” And Andrew Stunell, the local government minister, said he did not know where the Prime Minister stood on the “sincerity monitor”. Norman Baker, the transport minister, even privately compared the Conservatives within government to the South African apartheid regime, claiming that it was his job to campaign from the “inside”. The disclosures come on the third day of this newspaper’s investigation into the true feelings of senior Liberal Democrats towards the Coalition. – Telegraph

Mr Baker is a minister in the transport department, working closely with the Conservative Secretary of State, Philip Hammond, and a junior minister, Theresa Villiers. “But what you end up doing in the Coalition, as much as we can is we play them off against each other. You try to get the Tories [to] do things. For example, telling you more than I should be telling you, in the Department for Transport, the rail minister, Theresa Villiers, is actually pretty sound on railways, the Secretary of State is more sceptical, so you know I’ll get Theresa Villiers to argue with him about that, because she can persuade him from the side of the Tory party, because she wants to deliver effectively what is Lib Dem policy.” – Telegraph

David Heath, the Liberal Democrat MP for Somerton and Frome, said that “the awful thing” about the General Election result was that it left his party with “no alternative” but to join forces with its Conservative rivals. He said his party would have been “wiped out” at the next election if they had refused to enter the Coalition, because voters would have asked, “What’s the point of the Liberal Democrats?” The former optician also said that some of his Tory colleagues “have no experience of how ordinary people live”. – Telegraph

Ed on the attack

Talk about a Christmas miracle: Ed Miliband has set about the task of Opposition with ruthless efficiency today. As both Guido and Nicholas Watt have noted, the Labour leader is all across the broadcast news this afternoon, after upping the heat on Vince Cable and the coalition. His party’s attack comes in the form of a letter sent by the shadow business secretary, John Denham, to the Cabinet Secretary, Gus O’Donnell. It asks, mischieveously, whether Vince Cable has broken the ministerial code by promising to wage war against Rupert Murdoch, and whether Jeremy Hunt is impartial enough to step into the breach. And while nothing is likely to come of these exhortations, they have already done their work in terms of grabbing Labour, and Miliband, some rare attention. – The Spectator

Ed Miliband’s new media advisers appear to be making their mark. Tom Baldwin and Bob Roberts have only been in their jobs for a few days but already the Labour party appears to have sharpened up its act. Miliband, who had struggled recently to develop a clear message, is dominating the headlines after outlining a sharp two-pronged attack on the government after the downgrading of Vince Cable’s position in cabinet. So far the signs indicate that Miliband is winning the media battle today but making no progress on substance. But Miliband has made a decisive mark in perhaps the most significant part of his intervention today – sharpening a broader strategic attack on the coalition. Miliband now wants to ram home a very simple message: Britain has a Conservative government, enacting Conservative policies that will alarm progressives by, for example, increasing child poverty. – Guardian (more…)

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Is it because I is forgetful?

21/07/2010, 04:07:45 PM

So, the Electoral Commission have decided to investigate Zac Goldsmith’s election expenses. This follows a Channel 4 investigation into his campaign in Richmond. Goldsmith came onto Channel 4 News to discuss the allegations and had a go at refutation by rant – just like his Dad, the late Sir James Goldsmith.

Maybe he’d have been better off pleading forgetfulness. This morning at Scottish Questions Labour MPs were surprised by a newcomer on the Opposition benches. It was none other than Zac Goldsmith. The Labour MP he was sitting beside tactfully nudged him. Goldsmith looked up, looked around and fled with a horrified look on his face.

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