Understandably, when it comes to the forthcoming mayoral elections the gaze of the media has thus far largely been directed towards London, the place where the concept of a directly elected mayor was put to the test for the first time in 2000. It is and will be a contest dominated by the personalities of Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone, the only men to have held the office to date. Already it has proven to be an exceptionally bad tempered race, with personal animosity boiling over into the well-publicised “fucking liar” incident in which Johnson lost his rag with Livingstone during a live radio debate. Although Johnson is a rich man, the subsequent publication of his personal earnings and tax details for the past three years, when compared to Livingstone’s, shows that he has paid his way whereas Livingstone, thanks to a little creative accounting, most certainly has not. Johnson’s fury therefore possessed some justification.
Livingstone was a trailblazer of divisive multiculturalist identity politics, helping to create an ethnically and culturally fragmented capital that whilst in our country is largely no longer of it; a city defined by geography rather than by people and community. Having nurtured the emergence of distinctive self-conscious ethnic blocs, it is to them that he now largely appeals, championing ‘minorities’ over the indigenous population. Andrew Gilligan and others have noted Livingstone’s poisonous embrace of Islamists in recent years, as well as a succession of remarks that indicate an apparent antipathy towards Jews. Having witnessed Galloway’s successful mobilisation of the Muslim bloc vote in Bradford West, it is a certainty that Livingstone will tap into this same demographic in London, appealing to the electors of Tower Hamlets and other such areas, using the Islamic Forum of Europe to help deliver the “community” votes that he requires. Galloway’s victory was to a considerable extent founded upon the willingness of Muslims to vote and the apathy of the non-Muslim indigenous population. Given that neither Johnson nor Livingstone enjoys a commanding lead in the opinion polls, Livingstone’s ability to tap into the growing Muslim bloc vote could provide him with the advantage that he requires to edge ahead of Johnson. This is the ugly political reality that characterises our capital today.
For all of the metropolitan media’s obsession with London, life and politics do exist outside of the capital, and mayoral elections also will be taking place elsewhere on 3 May, notably in Liverpool and Salford. Doncaster, which produced something of a surprise in its mayoral election of 2009 by returning the English Democrat Peter Davies (quite why a man would praise the Taliban for their “family values” is puzzling), will be holding a referendum over whether it should retain or abolish the office of elected mayor. With none of the mainstream political parties igniting voter enthusiasm, the time would seem to be ripe for other parties to make a breakthrough, so perhaps either of these elections might produce a surprise result. However, the personality and background of each of the candidates is as likely to be just as influential as any party label.
In Liverpool a mayoral debate will take place on Thursday 19 April, with the opportunity being open for all candidates to contribute. However, given their antipathy towards free speech and democracy, the self-styled “Liverpool Antifascists” have stated that their supporters are planning to hold a demonstration outside of the debate’s venue – Mountford Hall – because they claim that “three fascist candidates” will be present, with one from each of the following parties: “the British National Party, English Democrats and National Front.” The recent demise of the BNP has resulted in groups and campaigns describing themselves as “antifascist” seeking to find new targets for their activities so as to justify their ongoing existence, and it is thus unfortunate for the English Democrats that they are but the latest to be singled out for stigmatisation by Liverpool Antifascists, Hope Not Hate and UAF.
Contemporary politics, in England in particular, has grown stale and offers prospective voters no real choice. This fact is reflected in the dismal approval ratings of the leaders of the main political parties and low voter turnout. Clearly, there is room for a new party that seeks to provide a credible and moderate nationalist programme aimed at improving the lot of our citizenry as a whole, and our people in particular. Although such a party does not yet exist, a decision has been taken to bring it into existence, and work is currently underway with respect to its organisation, structure, constitution and policy. A team is being brought into being and an announcement regarding its launch will be made within the next couple of months. The next set of local and mayoral elections therefore, should be rather more interesting than those scheduled for this May.