Letter: Mayoral manifesto

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The Independent Culture
Sir: So Ken Livingstone thinks he is setting the record straight about Neil Kinnock's claim that Livingstone's GLC drove away Labour voters ("Forget this `loony left' nonsense. When I ran the GLC, it worked and was popular", 17 November) by comparing voting in the 1983 general election with opinion poll figures from the following years.

He studiously avoids comparing real votes with real votes. At the next (1987) general election, it was only in London, along with the adjoining zone of the South-east, that there was an actual swing from Labour to Conservative. In consequence, Mr Kinnock had three fewer Labour MPs from London after 1987 than he'd had when he took over as leader, whilst gaining 23 more in the rest of Britain.

This may well have been more to do with the Lawson boom than with Mr Livingstone's popularity. But if he wants the record straight, he should check real votes (as opposed to hypothetical survey questions). This record is inconsistent with his own memory but quite consistent with Mr Kinnock's claim.


Department of Politics & International Relations

University of Kent at Canterbury