Can you blame Sadiq Khan for wanting his cake and eating it?

Sadiq Khan facing two waysSadiq Khan was a former radical human rights lawyer and doing a good job as shadow secretary for justice when he also became shadow minister for London, and responsible for running the general election campaign in London. Perhaps it is too much to expect any politician who wants to be London’s mayor to turn down such an opportunity just because it would give an unfair advantage.

But if you take the opportunity and are the approved candidate of your party’s still-well-oiled political machine, you might choose to get someone else to deliver lectures to other candidates for mayor about focussing on the general election campaign rather than diverting resources from it. But not if you’re Sadiq Khan. Is that honest, or foolish? Continue reading

London Labour conference exposes democratic deficit

London Labour Biannual Conferemce 2013The London Labour Party conference meeting on Sunday revealed a serious democracy deficit within the London party.  Ed Miliband promised to make Labour “a living breathing party of which people are proud to say they are members and proud to call their own.” He promised that members should have more say in policy making. It’s about time it happened in London.

Eighteen months from the election for London’s Mayor and Assembly and there was no place on the agenda for discussing the policies on which London Labour will fight that election, nor even a process for deciding it. It is said that there will be a conference next year which will do so, but on what basis? Unlike in Scotland and Wales, there is no London policy forum and so far, no plans to create one. Continue reading

Why I am running to be Mayor of London

Diane for MayorI have recently announced my firm intention to run to be Labours candidate for Mayor of London. It is not a formal declaration. The contest does not start officially until June 2015. So my current priority is Labour’s campaign to win the 2015 General Election. But it is not too early to think about  issues in relation to London. I am still working on my policy offer to London, but certain things are already clear.

So  one reason why I want to run as Mayor is to lead the fight to make London affordable again. London is a wonderful city. But it is also one of the most expensive cities on earth. We in London have our own distinct and ballooning cost of living crisis. Recent government statistics reveal that thirty something Londoners are leaving the capital in unprecedented numbers apparently because of  living costs. Continue reading

Diane Abbott is Labour voters’ choice for London Mayor says YouGov

DIANE AbbottIn a YouGov poll for the London Evening Standard today, Diane Abbott emerges as Labour voters top choice for London Mayor with 29%, beating Tessa Jowell who topped a similar poll eight months ago but now has 24% (figures exclude don’t knows and those without preference). Sadiq Khan who is said to be Ed Miliband’s preferred candidate (hence his additional Shadow Cabinet responsibility as ‘shadow Minister for London’) emerges in fourth place with a disappointing 14%, behind David Lammy.

Although there is a year before the campaign will seriously get underway (and voting not until Autumn 2015), this does seem to consolidate Diane Abbott’s position as the candidate of the left. She was the keynote speaker at the London political conference of Unite the Union ten days ago and has strong support for their backing in the election. Continue reading