Ken Livingstone always hits the spot. Speaking at the London Labour Party biennial conference today, Ken was utterly convinced that if Boris wins another term as London Mayor he will seek to become the Leader of the Conservative Party. Watch your back David Cameron!
Ken was as good value as ever promising to keep fares lower than Boris Johnson should he be elected in 2012. He told us that London could show the way for the rest of the country during the next few years if a Labour Mayor worked with the Leader of the Labour Party in much the same way as Herbert Morrison’s London County Council had led social reform in the 1930s.
Opening the Conference, Regional Director Ken Clark paid tribute to Karen Buck MP and Andrew Slaughter MP, both of whom held on to their seats despite the onslaught of the Ashcroft millions. In a powerful speech came up with the appalling statistic that the average 21-year-old in London today will be 52 before she or he can afford to buy a home in the capital such are the effects of the Coalition’s housing cuts. She also put her success down to very hard work over a lengthy period of time.
This was very much the message from Margaret Hodge, MP for Barking, in another strong contribution from the platform. The BNP have been completely annihilated in Barking as a result of the superhuman efforts by Margaret and the local Labour Party. Margaret, in addition, stressed that she and her team had listened to people and acted on the concerns raised, and they always resisted racism.
We were treated to a wonderful knock about by Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham, who described his borough as being free of the Tory smell. GLA Member and Chair of the London Labour Party Len Duvall was more restrained making it clear that he did not want to return to 18 years in opposition. I also lived through those years and I heartily agree with Len. The other main speaker was Shadow Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell MP who gave a rousing speech about rebuilding our relationship with local communities.
Over the lunch time we were given a fascinating presentation by the Labour Party Director of Targeting and Election Organisation Patrick Henegan. The main conclusion was that we must treat London as a whole for mayoral elections as every vote counts in all parts of the capital. I would echo this as far as European elections are concerned.
I would particularly like to congratulate Charlie Mansell on his excellent work with the conference arrangements committee, never an easy job.
And finally ………. I had a stall with my annual review and EU literature. Colin Ellar, George Carr and Ruby Thompson from my office gave up their Saturday to look after this stall. My thanks to all three of them.