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Archive for the ‘London’ Category

London, 2008

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

A ward map of the 2008 London Mayoral election;

There’s so much that could be said and written about many of the patterns in the map and of the causes of Livingstone’s defeat. But here’s something written a quarter of a century ago that sums things up quite well;

“The danger, especially on the left, is not only that activists may be unaware of their and the party’s isolation from ordinary people, but that they may not care. They may actually give up the struggle for the workers as a whole, not to mention other sections of the people who do not happen to agree with the ‘correct’ policy or the way the party is run. They may choose their supporters to fit their convictions, in which case it is likely that others will look elsewhere. For instance, they may see their most congenial constituency as ‘the dispossessed’, ‘the centre of a big decaying city’, cosmopolitan and racially mixed, and look for a parliamentary seat in preference in such a place. ‘It would be a mistake to stand in a safe seat with a solid white skilled working class… I wouldn’t be happy there anyway’ (Ken Livingstone). Would it be surprising if the sort of people who have formed the ‘historic spine of the Labour Party’ would not be happy with such a candidate either? The strength of the labour movement has always been that it could represent all parts of the working class – both Stepney and the Fife coalfield – and it did not discriminate against any. If Ken Livingstone, who is one of the ablest, most prominent, most attractive and strategically placed figures in the party, feels really at ease with only some kinds of the inhabitants of Greater London – is it not reasonable to fear that it will be difficult for him to realize his own and his party’s political potential in Britain’s greatest city?”

Eric Hobsbawm, Labour’s Lost Millions, 1983