Two very positive statements today from Respect party heavyweights George Galloway MP and leader Salma Yaqoob. Both are calling for Respect supporters in London to work for and vote for a win for Ken Livingstone in the London mayoral election next Thursday.
This is progressive politics in Britain at its best: non-tribal, non-sectarian and emphasising unity in the face of an emboldened Tory threat in the present guise of Boris Johnson.
Here is George Galloway’s statement:
London faces a big choice on Thursday. Nowhere is the choice bigger choice than in London’s East End. The election for Mayor of London next Thursday, 3 May, matters.
There are some who don’t want you even to know that there is an election taking place, or who are encouraging the falsehoods that the result doesn’t really matter or that it is all something of a lighthearted personality contest.
That’s not true. On the one side stands Boris Johnson – a Tory who campaigns to hand over money to the rich through tax cuts, someone who has supported every war over the last decade, someone who seeks out the company of bankers, rather than people like you.
On the other is Ken Livingstone – a real Labour man who when he was mayor of London prioritised the people – especially the poorest people – not the millionaires. He has opposed unjust wars abroad and racism and discrimination at home. The right wing media think it is a mark of shame that Ken stands opposes the wave of hatred directed against ethnic minorities and Muslims. In fact it is a badge of honour. If Boris Johnson scrapes to victory on Thursday – perhaps because people forget to vote for Ken or don’t think the election is important – the same papers that bash the poor, the immigrants and the Muslims will be strengthened. So will David Cameron and the coalition government, which is slashing welfare and public services. There will be no point a few weeks later wishing you had voted for Ken.
I’ve known Ken for 30 years. You know that he is a man of principle, who won’t bend what he says to suit the powers that be. London needs him as the city faces an onslaught against the majority by those who don’t care about ever rising fares and prices – because they don’t live in the same world as the rest of us.
So tell your family, friends and neighbours – vote Ken Livingstone for mayor of London on Thursday.
MP for Bradford West