Posts Tagged ‘Helen Godwin Tiege’

Last night’s mayoral debate was a train wreck, today’s tax developments make things worse

05/04/2012, 12:54:16 PM

by Helen Godwin Tiege

Wasn’t last night’s mayoral debate depressing?

A quick look through my twitter feed during and after the debate confirmed my view that it was disorganised, poorly chaired, petty and wholly uninspiring.

Brian Paddick and Jenny Jones were largely ignored, or at best drowned out by the two front runners and the chair, Jeremy Paxman, and when there was opportunity for them to speak their points were interrupted or left unanswered.

Where was the real discussion on social housing, irresponsible landlords, youth unemployment, Olympic legacy? These are the issues that I want to hear about, but there was no time amongst the petty sniping about anti-semitism and tax avoidance and general airing of personal slurs.

I’m Labour so Ken Livingstone will be getting my vote on May 3rd and I will be out campaigning for him this weekend. I am in agreement with his core policies of fare cuts, more police and reintroduction of the EMA. London needs a Labour mayor at a time when there is so much poverty and inequality in this, one of the worlds richest and greatest cities.

But I can’t help but think that Labour made a crucial error in nominating Ken for Mayor. I know I am not alone. He was a terrific mayor and I would defend his record to anyone but this election should not have been about personalities, it should not have been an excuse for people to air 30 year grudges against ‘Red Ken’.

And with this morning’s furore over disclosure of taxes, and Ken’s less than helpful statement on why he won’t release his tax returns, the whole campaign is dragged ever further from the real issues. For the next few days the news will be dominated by this one issue, to the exclusion of all else.

London in 2012 is in a challenging place and we needed, and deserved, a serious, issues led campaign which should have given Labour an opportunity to reveal its post-New Labour agenda with a serious, fresh and passionate candidate who could lead the debate away from blustering Boris.

We could have mobilised our army of incredible grassroots activists to send a message to the coalition by turning not only Lib Dem votes to Labour, but Tory ones too.

That just won’t happen now.

Instead I fear that this tit for tat approach from both front runners and running distractions like tax returns will continue until polling opens, and we reds might end up feeling blue on May 4th.

Helen Godwin Tiege is a Labour party campaigner

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