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THIS IS NOT A BEAUTY CONTEST

 

By The New Black Magazine Team

 

Wednesday, April 30, 2008.

 

These are troubling times in Britain; an economy at the threshold of recession, a growing migrant population and a subsequent tightening of immigration rules. Add anti-terror laws and the introduction of identity card to the mix, and you can see that the May 1 London mayoral contest is a truly important affair.

 

Indeed, the capital has become a proxy battleground for all the three main political parties. A win for for Mayor Ken Livingstone would lift the embattled Prime Minister Gordon Brown; whereas a win for the Conservatives in London could add further boost to their standing across Britain.

 

London represents everything that is good about Britain. From its cosmopolitan composition to its numerous arts, education and entertainment facilities. It has also played a very significant part in Black history.

 

London played a very important role in the Trans-Atlantic slave trade as its merchants, clergies and politicians provided the financial and moral backing for strives and human trade in Africa from the 17th Century to the abolition of slavery.

 

It’s here that several African and Caribbean countries were administered during colonial rule. It’s also here that the first Pan-African conference was organised in 1900 by the Trinidadian lawyer, Henry Sylvester Williams and the African American scholar W.E.B. Du Bois; bringing together people from the West Indies, Africa, North and South America, as well as black people residing in Europe.

 

We could go on and on about London’s contribution to Black life. But what we are most concerned about is the present. For eight years, Ken Livingstone has served this great city with candour and energy.

 

He may not be a favourite among the chattering classes – the media clique that sees itself as the only keeper of mores. Ken, however, is a man of the people and ordinary Londoners relate to him and trust his judgements.

 

Corrupt? No. Ken is a simple man with simple taste. He is not into the celebrity culture that seems to grip many in the political class. He has, and will always continue to fight for London.

 

               

Ken: A simple man who has done a lot for minorities in London 

 

His record on racial harmony, diversity, transportation and the arts is exemplary. While we do not agree with his support for the national Labour government’s ID card project, we more than welcome his support for amnesty for undocumented migrants, subsidies for the poor and the fact that he has been far bolder on the environment, long before green issues became the fad. Has successfully lobbied to get £78million for youth projects focused on gang culture.

 

Additionally, Ken has been able to make London the number one city for businesses, big and small. The fact that businesses from Lagos to New York are seeking to enlist on the London Stocks Exchange more than attest to this. The City, the financial hub of London, has given him kudos for seeing off both Frankfurt and New York as competitors.

 

Ken now faces the biggest test of his political career in Boris Johnson, the media-savvy Tory MP for Henley. Boris has been touted as epitomizing the modern face of the Conservative Party; with its new emphasis on inclusiveness.

 

The Conservatives are doing an excellent job in reviving their image before a public that has grown weary of New Labour’s 11-year hold on power. With several opinion polls suggesting Boris and the Conservative Party are surging ahead, we must look beyond the façade of modernity and see the Tory Party for what it is - a bunch of people who will say anything to win power.

 

Boris, the Conservative Party candidate may have apologised for calling Africans “pica ninnies” and for justifying the horrors of colonialism. But he lacks substance and has struggled to answer questions about transport policy and his commitment to diversity.

 

Despite all the excellent PR work, Boris is a very unserious man who should not be given the task of managing a world-class city like London. He is not and will never be the London version of New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

 

The Conservative Party candidate has never shown any real interest in the city’s affairs nor does he has any administrative experience apart from editing the elitist right-wing Spectator magazine. Beside, his policies throughout this campaign have been mere mambos-jumbos and offer no real solutions to bread-and-butter issues that ordinary Londoners are concerned about.

 

Unlike Ken who made his own way in life, Boris got his first job as a journalist through his parents' connections on Fleet Street and rose through the rank the same way. From Eton to Oxford University to the Conservative Party front-bench, Boris' failings is a belief that the public is there to serve him, not vice versa. 

 

He has used buffoonery to entertain millions over the years, but will that cause the London Underground to work better, the Metropolitan Police to catch more criminals, or business to thrive in London? Or would a Johnson mayoralty be yet another chapter in an epic of banality?

 

Meanwhile, Brian Paddick, the former police officer, carrying the torch for the Liberal Democrats has looked very unsure of himself.

 

That is why The New Black Magazine is backing Mayor Ken Livingstone for another four-year term.

 

A vote for Ken is a vote for competence and experience rather than banality and flashiness. London is what it is today because it has always been a city that embraces people of all colour, race, sexuality and religious affiliations. A vote for Boris is not only a vote wasted, but a vote that will jeopardize all the strides that London has made under Ken’s stewardship.

 

As you enter the polling booth tomorrow, Thursday, May 1, 2008, make sure you choose wisely, as this election is more than a personality contest, but about the future of the great city of London.

Boris Johnson in his own words

The wannabe mayor on race, sex and politics

On homosexuality

"Gay marriage can only ever be a ludicrous parody of the real thing."
· Daily Telegraph, 2005

"If gay marriage was OK - and I was uncertain on the issue - then I saw no reason in principle why a union should not be consecrated between three men, as well as two men; or indeed three men and a dog."
· From his book, Friends, Voters, Countrymen, 2001

"We don't want our children being taught some rubbish about homosexual marriage being the same as normal marriage, and that is why I am more than happy to support Section 28."
· Daily Telegraph, 2000

"The clerics gave us [journalists] a wigging for being so mean to the Church of England ... Why did we draw attention to tricky subjects like homosexuality, aka the Pulpit Poofs issue?"
· The Spectator, 2000

"I'm not bisexual so far ... not that I would condemn myself if I later discovered I were."
· Daily Telegraph, 2008

On Africa

"No doubt the AK47s will fall silent, the pangas will stop their hacking of human flesh, and the tribal warriors will all break out in watermelon smiles to see the big white chief touch down in his big white British taxpayer-funded bird."
· In 2002, on Tony Blair's visit to the Democratic of Republic of Congo, Daily Telegraph

"Right, let's go and look at some more piccaninnies."
· Reported remark, while visiting Uganda, to Swedish Unicef workers and their black driver, the Observer, 2003

On the Commonwealth

"It is said that the Queen has come to love the Commonwealth, partly because it supplies her with regular cheering crowds of flag-waving piccaninnies."
· Daily Telegraph, 2002

On failing to recognise his Filipina housekeeper

"When our housekeeper appeared on stage in her hot pink strapless number [as a finalist of the Mrs Philippines 2005 contest in London], I failed at first to recognise her, surrounded as she was by 10 other Filipina mums, each shimmering in every shade from fuchsia to Germolene ... Was that Luz, the No 6, the one with the cleavage? Or was she No 5, with the smile? Surely she wasn't No 11, the one with the legs. No: wait - that was her, with her hair up. No 8! 'We want eight,' we screamed, and waved at good old Luz, a woman who has been exposed to the full horror of the Johnson family washing and yet contrived to look little short of $1m.
· The Spectator, 2005

On his prospects

"My chances of being PM are about as good as the chances of finding Elvis on Mars, or my being reincarnated as an olive."
· The Independent, 2004

George Bush and Iraq

"He liberated Iraq. It is good enough for me."
· Daily Telegraph, 2004

"The Americans were perfectly happy to go ahead and whack Saddam merely on the grounds that he was a bad guy, and that Iraq and the world would be better off without him; and so indeed was I."
· Daily Telegraph, 2003

On Islam

"The most viciously sectarian of all religions in its heartlessness towards unbelievers."
· The Spectator, 2005

On race

"I'm down with the ethnics. You can't out-ethnic me, Nihal ... My children are a quarter Indian, so put that in your pipe and smoke it."
· To Nihal Arthanayake, BBC Asian Network, 2008

On cannabis

"It was jolly nice. But apparently it is very different these days. Much stronger. I've become very illiberal about it. I don't want my kids to take drugs."
· GQ, 2007

On sex

"I've slept with far fewer than 1,000."
· On whether he has slept with fewer than 30 women, like Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, Daily Telegraph, 2008

"An inverted pyramid of piffle."
· The Mail on Sunday, 2004, on allegations that he had an affair with Petronella Wyatt, later confirmed.

On obesity

"Nothing but their own fat fault."

On transport

"I don't believe [using a mobile phone at the wheel] is necessarily any more dangerous than the many other risky things that people do with their free hands while driving - nose-picking, reading the paper, studying the A-Z, beating the children, and so on."
· Daily Telegraph, 2002

"The whole county of Hampshire was lying back and opening her well-bred legs to be ravished by the Italian stallion."
· GQ, while in a Ferrari

On Liverpool

"A society that has become hooked on grief and likes to wallow in a sense of
vicarious victimhood."
· A Spectator editorial, 2004 (Johnson didn't write the editorial, but he approved it)

On his arts role

"Look, the point is ... er, what is the point? It is a tough job but somebody has got to do it."
· On being appointed Tory Arts spokesman, 2004

On stag hunting

"I remember the guts streaming, and the stag turds spilling out on to the grass from within the ventral cavity ... This hunting is best for the deer."
· From his book Lend Me Your Ears

How to keep out Boris ... whatever your politics

If you passionately want to keep Boris out

1st Choice Ken
2nd Choice Anyone except Boris

If you don't like Ken, but want to keep Boris out at all costs

1st Choice Not Ken or Boris
2nd Choice Ken

 

© 2008

 

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