I’m very aware that by writing about the London Mayoral Elections I will be alienating all those who don’t actually live in London and I apologise in advance for that. There are some issues that are solely ‘London’ and some which are more general about the voting that takes place tomorrow across the country in local elections.
I’ve already voted and posted my ballot so it’s done and any option to change my mind is dispensed with but I really struggled over this election.
The Mayor matters in London. I never thought very highly of Livingstone nor Johnson. I felt they each had and have their own agendas and with their so-called ‘personalities’ seem to want to use politics as an extension of ego.
I am reminded of the line from King Lear
‘As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods,
They kill us for their sport’
Perhaps that’s overdramatic (it is Shakespeare, after all) but it indicates the way I perceive we, as the general public who aren’t necessarily engaged in politics are seen by those who play on the political stage.
This class of politician who feels the inherent right to ‘rule’ does not have a true understanding of the influence that they have on our life.
There’s an interesting article from Politics.co.uk which talks of the scale of disengagement from politics and that it is a real danger in the current climate.
For me, I can see that. The ‘class of politician’ that comes from privilege and middle class ambition via Oxbridge and being a ‘special advisor’ (whatever that is) and learns about the world from the television without ever having actually experienced it is likely to be unattractive to people who struggle on a day to day basis due to the decisions made in their ivory towers of democracy.
Politics is dominated by egos. To an extent it always has been but until the faces, colours, backgrounds, classes and genders of those who seek to represent are more representative, this disengagement will only grow.
The fallout of the phone hacking/MP expenses row is that I see politics/press/police – all tenets of the ‘establishment’ colluding to act in their own interests and against those of the general public – against people like me. The world they all inhabit is so vastly different from mine that I feel that detachment but I can’t quite (fortunately) shake off the desire to vote – it does though make me hold my nose when I think of all those who seek to enter political processes in order to serve the needs of their own egos – and while it is possible to identify some notable exceptions, it is clearly now the exception rather than the rule.
But back to the elections.
I can’t vote for Johnson. I resent him. He had no interest in London when the riots started and continued his holiday overseas but that’s just indicative of the man and his true attitudes. He has raised the bus fares in London disproportionately compared to over fare rises which has adversely affected those who have the least (buses being the cheapest possible way to travel around the Capital).
Johnson has shown no interest in people who are not ‘like him’ and anyway, I could never vote Conservative.
And so to Livingstone. His arrogance is no less that Johnson’s that’s for sure. He did have a record though of keeping fares down (transport is a crucial issue and one I am swayed on). He plays games of ‘divide and rule’ among communities across London – look at the different ways he courts or castigates Muslim and Jewish voters in the city and we can see how he polarises communities in a way that isn’t helpful to building a city of which we want to be proud.
He’s the Labour candidate and I have difficulties with some policy drives of the Labour party – particularly their willingness to stigmatise people who need to claim benefits and the speed with which they jump into bed with the government on the benefit reform agenda however, their real benefit to me is that they are neither Conservative or Lib Dem.
I voted for Paddick last time but I’ll not vote Lib Dem again. I’m not saying I never will in the future but firstly I doubt the party will exist in the same form in the future and secondly it will take a many years, possibly decades until I would even consider it. They betrayed my vote in the General Election and I don’t forgive easily.
I considered voting Green (I actually voted Green on the ‘list vote’) and i considered voting for the Independent Candidate, Siobhan Benita - who really impresses me and has fought a fine campaign but I know it would be a battle for the second preferences and in the end plumped for Livingstone – yes, with my nose held a little – because it is to be a battle between Livingstone and Johnson – and anyone is better than Johnson – even if its Livingstone.
I don’t think he’ll win. A victory for Johnson is predicted and most likely. Even though I feel disengaged from the process, I felt, as political nurse mentioned last week, it’s important to make my voice heard.
And as she said, if there is an election tomorrow, use the vote. It’s the most effective voice we have.