The Party's Over unless Boris can revive its fortunes
Send the Tories a message they will never forget by Tony Benn,
The stakes at the London election are not at all about the personality contest that the media prefer. They are much more important than that. If the Conservative Party win in London on Thursday there is a very real risk they will conclude that they can intensify their assault on working class people, trade unions, public services and the welfare state.
I have watched the Conservative Party for the whole of my life. They take every opportunity to improve the lot of the rich against everyone else. They are utterly ruthless. They need and want a victory in London and if they get it they will make lives worse for everyone.
Already the Conservative candidate in this election is making a direct appeal to his party’s core values, presenting himself as a “tax-cutting Conservative”. It indicates what would happen under a second Tory term in London. The office of the Mayor of London will be a right wing outpost, pushing the Conservative Party in ever more radical directions – opening up conflict and worsening the social divide in the capital.
Throughout this London campaign Ken Livingstone has been the subject of a ferocious character assassination attempt. For as long as I have been involved in politics the right wing media and the Conservative Party have tried to divert attention from the real issues in politics onto personal attacks and the soap opera of the Westminster bubble. That is all designed to get people to vote against their own interests.
In a few days time London voters have the chance to reject this and vote to make themselves better off, and get a Mayor who will stand up for them as a Conservative government attacks them from all sides – from student fees and the privatisation of the NHS to ripping off pensioners and cutting Education Maintenance Allowance.
A Boris victory is the only thing that can save the Tories now By James Forsyth
An awful month could turn into an awful year in the next few days. If Boris Johnson, who the Cameroons are now describing as the Prime Minister’s firebreak, loses in London on Thursday, the Cameron premiership will suffer a devastating blow.
All of his critics, internal and external, will be emboldened.
But even if his party holds the capital and Ed Miliband fails to make the 700-plus gains in the local election that his friends admit – in private – he needs to show he’s a serious political player, Cameron’s troubles will not be over.
Lord Sugar: Ken’s a power crazed egomaniac TV figure & tycoon hits out at record of Labour's candidate to be next London mayor
I’M at a total loss as to why the Labour Party has decided to back Ken Livingstone in the mayoral election.
He’s made some undesirable statements before now that surely make him an ineligible candidate to be taken seriously by most Londoners.
In my opinion he is a driven, power-crazed egomaniac who will do anything to regain the power he once had.
It seems myself and my noble friend Lord Winston (who last week branded him a “tricky customer with extremely unhealthy views”) are the only ones with the guts to say what many others may be thinking.
One cannot ignore his litany of unfortunate comments about Jews. One has to ask why he is so consistently vociferous on this subject.
Whilst he denies being an anti-Semite, it would be reasonable for anyone to assume he has an issue with Jews by the number of comments he’s made.
Boris Johnson on why 'Brand Boris' is so successful
Many in his party, however, currently see the successor to Mr Cameron coming from a shortlist of two – Boris and Mr Osborne. How are his battles with the Chancellor for cash for the capital?
“Look, my job is to fight for London, and to borrow a metaphor from the only sport in which I remotely excel, to wrestle the ball out of the scrum for London when I think it’s necessary.
“I’ve shown, repeatedly, that I can do that. We saved Crossrail from the jaws of death, aka George Osborne, we got £3 billion for housing budgets in London, I’ve been able to get the budgets to keep police numbers high and we’re going to do this for the foreseeable future.
“I don’t mind having a row in Whitehall, I don’t mind how much plaster comes off the ceiling, providing it’s done in a robust and sensible way and London gets the money it needs.”
Tories' unpopularity among black and Asian voters is not simply a matter of class, says Lord Ashcroft
My research, the biggest project of its kind ever conducted, found that the political outlook of many ethnic-minority voters is often closely connected to class. Their parents or grandparents came to Britain to do working-class jobs, lived in working-class areas, and often joined unions, so Labour was their party. If Labour was for people like them, the Conservatives were for the better-off middle classes.
This is a familiar complaint. But the Tories' unpopularity among black and Asian voters is not simply a matter of class and geography. For many, though by no means all, there is an extra barrier directly related to ethnic background. If Labour helped their families to establish themselves in Britain and passed laws to help ensure they were treated equally, the Conservatives, they felt, had been none too keen on their presence in the first place.
Enoch Powell was often mentioned in evidence. The failure, on the Conservatives' watch, properly to investigate the murder of Stephen Lawrence was also cited, as were other incidents.
Most thought the Conservatives had changed in recent years. But many – particularly people from a black Caribbean background – felt the Tories were still indifferent or even hostile towards them. Some felt the Tories, and David Cameron in particular, had unfairly blamed minorities for last summer's riots. Many thought Conservative policies hit minority communities especially hard, and the Tories seemed unaware or unconcerned about their impact.
Ethnic-minority voters (perhaps uniquely) think the Conservatives have kept their promise to toughen immigration laws. Some saw this as a good thing. But they saw that since the Government could not restrict migration from within the EU, greater controls were being placed on immigration from outside Europe, most of which originated from Africa or South Asia. This made the distinction between EU and non-EU immigration look like different treatment of white and non-white immigration.
The dearth of ethnic-minority Tory MPs or spokesmen was also a factor, but not a straightforward one. Many black voters in particular could not imagine anyone from their background becoming a Tory candidate. Their first reaction to seeing a black Conservative MP would often be to assume that he or she must be quite rich and posh, and so no more able to understand or represent them than any other Tory. There was a suspicion that when parties give prominent positions to individuals from ethnic minorities, they often do so for show.
Many felt that Tory values tended towards rugged and even selfish individualism, and that Labour better embodied the principles of community that they tried to practise. Conservatives would argue that this philosophy has more in common with Tory tradition than it does with Labour's statist approach. Nevertheless, Asian voters were twice as likely to say Labour shared their values as to say the Tories did; black voters were more than three times as likely.