Ken Livingstone: Why you should vote tactically to keep out the Tories

'Many Labour supporters would rather vote for their own party, but Labour cannot win in some seats'

Share
p>This election poses a straight choice for London. There are two governments on offer on 7 June. Only one of those ­ a Labour government ­ offers any possibility of extending the exercise of devolution to London voters. Only a Labour government can provide the basis for improved public services. Only the election of a Labour government would permit the conditions for the future prosperity of the capital. A Hague government would be an unmitigated disaster for London.

I will be devoting my energies in this election to stopping a Tory revival in Greater London. A Conservative government would oppose the progress that my administration is making on public transport, and would set itself against the new political culture that is emerging to celebrate London's diversity.

London faces massive infrastructural problems. Economic growth and a rising population have combined with the absence for 15 years of strategic citywide government. As a result there are too few police, the Tube is bursting at the seams, roads are gridlocked and there is a housing crisis. Faced with the scale of these problems, the Tory manifesto for London published last week would actually reduce my limited powers to address these issues.

On policing the Tories say they want to increase police numbers. But the Tories on the Greater London Assembly voted against increased resources in my budget for an extra 1,050 police officers. The Conservative manifesto proposes to do nothing to cut congestion ­ they actually want to remove the city's bus lanes. Their ludicrous plan is the opposite of what is required.

On the question of Europe, the implementation of their hardline anti-euro stance in the London manifesto would be a disaster. By ruling out entry to the eurozone the Tories would jeopardise London's position as the financial centre of Europe.

However, my view is not simply that the Tories are worse and voters should therefore opt for Labour. It is clear that the Labour Government, despite all my political conflicts with it, offers the best conditions for the functioning of devolution in the capital.

Since my election I have had an excellent working relationship with Labour ministers. Working together with Keith Hill, the minister for London, my office has agreed a package of transport expenditure for London, which will ensure a programme of £3.2bn for improvements to public transport.

One issue has divided my administration from the Government ­ public-private partnership for the Underground. The joint announcement between the Government and Bob Kiley, the Commissioner of Transport for London, that Bob will now negotiate the contracts for the Underground provides an opportunity to win the unified management control that is a prerequisite for a safe Tube network. The issue is by no means resolved, but it is a basis on which to move forward.

Whilst arguing strongly for a Labour vote, I will also be putting the case for what London needs after the election. London puts far more into the national accounts than it gets back and public expenditure is lower here per head than in Scotland. I will continue my campaign to rectify this disparity.

The re-election of a Labour government is best for London, and I will be voting Labour in Brent East. I will be out campaigning for Labour candidates across London, starting on Friday morning in Hendon, where Andrew Dismore is defending a Labour marginal seat, and in Harrow East. In addition to these key seats, I will also be canvassing for my mayoral cabinet member Diane Abbott in Hackney North and Stoke Newington.

It would be a gross distortion of the political and social composition of London for the Tories to make gains here while William Hague's Tory party has moved so far to the right. For that reason I hope that in Kingston and Surbiton, where the Liberal Democrat Ed Davey is defending a majority of 56 against a particularly right-wing Tory, Labour supporters will vote to keep the Tory out. In seats which are straight fights between Liberal Democrats and Tories, I urge Labour supporters to vote tactically.

Many Labour supporters would rather vote for their own party, but Labour cannot win in these seats. I would say to them that where such a choice exists, it is better that there is an intelligent debate in Parliament between a Labour government and the Liberal Democrats, who will argue for increased public spending and the retention of the Tube within the public sector funded by bonds.

The alternative is to let in Tories who will seek to use their increased numbers to set the terms of the debate firmly against asylum-seekers, against Europe and against public services. This political terrain runs against the interests of the electorate in London.

Fundamentally, the choice for London is clear ­ in the argument between two potential governments, London should choose Labour.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Year 5 Teacher

£80 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Year 5 Teacher KS2 teaching job...

Software Developer

£35000 - £45000 Per Annum Pensions Scheme After 6 Months: Clearwater People So...

Systems Analyst / Business Analyst - Central London

£35000 - £37000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst / Busines...

Senior Change Engineer (Network, Cisco, Juniper) £30k

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Senior Change ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: A huge step forward in medical science, but we're not all the way there yet

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
David Cameron has painted a scary picture of what life would be like under a Labour government  

You want constitutional change? Fixed-term parliaments have already done the job

Steve Richards
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album