Socialist Worker

Lindsey German stands up for civil rights in London

A London mayoral candidates’ debate last week over the introduction of ID cards proved the need for the Left List’s campaign, writes Patrick Ward

Issue No. 2097

Lindsey German debated Boris Johnson at last week’s No2ID hustings (Pic: http://www.guysmallman.com/» Guy Smallman )

Lindsey German debated Boris Johnson at last week’s No2ID hustings (Pic: » Guy Smallman)


Lindsey German, the Left List’s candidate for mayor of London, showed why her message is winning support when she debated other mayoral candidates at a No2ID hustings on Tuesday of last week.

Hundreds of campaigners heard Lindsey lock horns with Tory Boris Johnson, Brian Paddick of the Liberal Democrats, Gerard Batten of UKIP, and Green Jenny Jones.

The panel was asked a series of questions about the roll-out of ID cards and other issues.

Despite a large turn out and heated debate, incumbent mayor Ken Livingstone refused to attend the hustings due to his support for ID cards.

This was mocked by organisers as they brought out a cardboard cut-out of the mayor to stand by the platform.

The Nazi BNP candidate, Richard Barnbrook came to heckle the meeting in protest at being barred from the platform. After several incomprehensible interjections he left the room.

Position

Most startling about the debate was the way in which most of the candidates tried to position themselves to the left of Livingstone – with the notable exception of the right wing ramblings of Batten.

This included even Boris Johnson, who argued that buses needed “fewer CCTV cameras, and more conductors”.

Livingstone’s handcuffing to Gordon Brown’s government is allowing even reactionaries like Johnson to talk like some sort of progressive radical compared to what was once “Red Ken”.

Lindsey, however, stood out as the only candidate to argue that it would be the poor of London who would be targeted by the ID card scheme.

She challenged the commonly held assumption on the panel that an increase in police numbers would reduce crime and be beneficial to the city.

“The only way to defeat this is to do the same as we did over the poll tax,” Lindsey added, arguing that protests and non-compliance are the best route to defeating the plan.

She also argued that police stop and search policies are increasing crime, as innocent young people are often stopped – before being arrested for getting into an argument with police officers.

Jenny Jones from the Greens argued that confidence in the police is increasing across the capital, as seen from her position on the Metropolitan Police Authority.

But even former top cop Paddick countered this by saying that most complaints regarding the police are ignored.

Encourage

Johnson attacked ID cards for being ineffective in combating illegal immigration.

“I don’t think it’s right to talk about immigrants as Boris has done,” said Lindsey. “This city was built by immigrants, and I think we should encourage policies to promote multiculturalism.”

Lindsey’s arguments showed the importance of having a genuine, and consistent, left alternative in this election.

To help with Lindsey’s campaign go to » www.lindsey4london.org or phone 020 8983 9671


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