The battle over what kind of London we need is taking place across the capital in the run-up to the crucial 1 May elections.
While the media is focusing on the battle between Labour mayor Ken Livingstone and Tory Boris Johnson, Lindsey German’s mayoral campaign is pointing to a radical, alternative vision for London.
Lindsey is the only socialist candidate putting forward a message of opposition to war, racism and privatisation. Her message is getting a good hearing.
Lindsey attended a boisterous hustings with around 100 students at the London School of Economics on Thursday of last week.
Neither of the two front runners could be bothered to attend. So Lindsey debated John Biggs, a Labour London Assembly member who represented mayor Ken Livingstone, and Edward Vaizey MP, who represented Boris Johnson. Also there was Green mayoral candidate Sian Berry.
There was a heated debate as students questioned the candidates and their representatives over low pay, the environment, transport, crime and other issues.
Lindsey was cheered when she said, “We live in one of the richest cities in the world but the gap between the rich and the poor is getting wider.
“London has one of the worst and most expensive transport systems in the world. The only way to deal with this is to increase investment. It shouldn’t be only pensioners who get free travel, it should be students too.”
Lindsey was also one of only two mayoral candidates to show up at a young people’s event about the future of London’s open spaces.
The mainstream parties snubbed the discussion at City Hall on Friday of last week, leaving just Lindsey and Sian Berry to talk with the young people.
The audience expressed their desire for no space to be left derelict, for young people to be involved in decision-making and for more trees, pools and fountains in the capital.
Lindsey has been taking her campaign out to the grassroots, talking to campaigners and activists and speaking at hustings meetings. Last Saturday she spoke at an event to mark International Women’s Day in central London.
She told Socialist Worker, “The key issues that keep coming up everywhere are housing and transport. People are really concerned about them.
“People are living in overcrowded homes and travelling to work in terrible conditions. They don’t want the low wage, flexible and agency work that makes up much of the employment in London.
“They want proper jobs, with decent wages and full trade union representation. There are also real concerns about the destruction of the environment and the extension of Heathrow with a third runway – which I oppose.
“There is a general discontent among people about what they have to face on a day to day basis.
“With prices going up, by the time people have paid for food, housing and transport they have very little left.
“There is also a perception that crime is increasing. Young black and Asian people are being stopped and searched and generally treated as potential criminals. Yet there are hardly any facilities for young people across London.
“People are looking for an alternative. They want something a bit radical. That’s why I’m getting a good response everywhere I go.
“There have been a lot of allegations and innuendo about the London Development Agency. The Left List opposes any corruption.
“But there is a racist agenda behind the attacks on Lee Jasper, Ken Livingstone’s former race advisor. There is massive corruption in big business and the City. But when they don’t pay taxes there’s no scandal about it in the media.
“Black and ethnic minority organisations are under pressure to cut back on services. Young black people are likely to be denied facilities – it’s an absolute disgrace.
“Everyone gets two votes in the mayoral election, so I am asking everybody who votes for me to give Ken Livingstone their second preference. This will help to make sure that Boris Johnson doesn’t get elected.
“If I am elected as mayor or to the assembly I will make a real difference. I am a fighter and a campaigner, and will continue to be that in the assembly.”
With just seven weeks to go to the election, Lindsey is urging all her supporters to hit the campaign trail to ensure the biggest possible vote for the left.
Lindsey German is standing as Respect’s Left List candidate for mayor of London and heads its list for the London Assembly.
For a full list of Left List candidates or more information about the campaign go to » www.lindsey4london.org
To get involved in the campaign, send an email to [email protected] or phone 020 8983 9671