Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Ken for Deputy

I know this will horrify some people (a fair number of whom will be Labour Party members), and I also know it will not happen. I was reading the piece in The Guardian today about Ken Livingstone and climate change when I thought, I wonder why Ken doesn't stand for the Deputy Leadership of the Party? Jon Cruddas has indicated he would like to disconnect the Deputy Leader and Deputy Prime Minister's role, so there is no reason why the Party's Deputy Leader should be an MP. Nor am I sure whether the Party rules state that the Deputy Leader has to be an MP... but there are so many rule book anoraks out there that someone is bound to let me know soon.

Ken would provide a political counterbalance to a Leader from the right (I'm assuming we will not get a left Leader), and he would provide the Party outside of Parliament with someone to put forward alternative views. Also, he understands local government and local politics, which seems to be something sadly lacking in the national leadership these days. Yes, Ken seems (a bit like Thatcher) to have people who either love him or loath him, but judging by the London elections there are more in the former category. Over the years his support for unpopular causes such as gay and minority rights and talking to Sinn Fein, should have meant, with the London-based media spitting out bile against him, that Ken was dead and buried, politically... but he is a survivor. His support for subsidised public transport and the congestion zone also means that unlike the boy Dave on his bike, Ken has been in the environment game for the long run, not short term political expediency.

On the downside there are some who have never/will never forgive Ken for standing as an Independent against Dobbo for London Mayor (Luke Akehurst would be apoplectic if the Party chose Ken) and there are those who think he overstepped the mark with his offensive comments to the Standard journo. But hey, shouldn't the right have to make compromises for victory too?