Londoners go to the polls tomorrow to elect a mayor whose realm stretches from Enfield and Romford in the north and east, to Biggin Hill and Uxbridge in the south and west. Greater London is a vast metropolitan area, home to some eight million souls. Also to be elected are 25 members of the London Assembly, who do little more than sit around a circular table in an odd-shaped building on the south bank of the River Thames, listening to the all-powerful mayor wibble on about various matters of greater and lesser import.
The mayoral contest is effectively between two ridiculous characters, one of whom cut his political teeth as London leader during the UK-wide reign of the Wicked Witch of Grantham, and the other a glorified after-dinner speaker who has his longer-term sights on the position currently occupied by fellow nob David Cameron. The names of the principal candidates are, respectively, Livingstone and Johnson, though in this age of personality politics they wish us to know them as “Ken” and “Boris”. So Livingstone and Johnson it is then.
While a man of the left, I cannot in all conscience vote for the Labour Party candidate Livingstone. It has been said by some of my comrades that one should, if unwilling to give Livingstone a first preference vote, give the newt fancier the second preference. This is the old ‘voting with a peg on the nose’ argument, and, while I feel for my comrades’ genuine angst, I am not at all convinced.
Ken Livingstone is an odious creature, and the charge list against him is as long as I am tall. I shall not go through Livingstone’s rap sheet here, but will mention his brazen and repeated use of antisemitic tropes for political purposes. For example, Livingstone hosts a show on the Iranian propaganda outlet Press TV, which should be enough to disqualify him from holding public office in a free country. But it isn’t, apparently. With the aid of Press TV, Livingstone can get away with slandering the Jews by accusing them of racism in their conversion policies…
“Is not the problem here that when Zionism was conceived of back in the 1880s, the world was one that accepted racial division… The Germans talked about anyone of German blood, even if it had been a thousand years since they left, able to come back. The world broadly accepted this racism at all levels, and that was the origin of Zionism – ‘every other group is racially selective, we will do it’.”
“[I]t’s very difficult to convert into Judaism. I think it’s a real problem, there’s this racial exclusiveness that has its origins in that dreadful time… 1880s, when all nations suffered from it.”
While those wishing to convert to Judaism are made by Orthodox rabbinic authorities to jump through a number of hoops, conversion is certainly not premised on race. To say otherwise is an outrageous slur, and not only when the words are uttered on the platform of what one could legitimately argue is a racist if not downright genocidal regime. It is a particularly sick irony.
This leaves me in a bit of a quandary. For whom should I vote, if not Livingstone, or a man whose soul is given to one of the most malevolent political entities in Christendom? I was minded to give my first preference vote to Green Party candidate Jenny Jones, but now I am not so sure. Jones has been exhorting her followers to give their second preferences to Livingstone, and on Monday responded thus to those who questioned her sanity…
“I trust Ken. I don’t trust Boris.”
Ah, that would be the promise from her friend “Ken” of the position of London Cycling Supremo following his coronation as mayor. Aim high, Ms Jones, aim high!
Never mind pegs and noses, I wouldn’t vote for Kenneth Robert Livingstone if I were wearing a nuclear, biological, chemical suit.
Judy K provides an informative Jewish perspective.