'THIS JUNE we have the opportunity to turn the elections into a referendum on Tony Blair's government, especially its policy of backing George Bush's war on terror.' So says anti-war movement leader Lindsey German.
Lindsey, national convenor of the Stop the War Coalition, has been selected by the Respect coalition to be its London mayoral candidate on 10 June. Lindsey will also head up Respect's list of candidates for the Greater London Assembly elections that day. 'In Spain, the millions who opposed the war went from marching to voting,' says Lindsey. 'They rejected their warmongering government, and instead elected one which had opposed the war and which immediately announced it would pull Spanish troops out of the occupation of Iraq.
But the elections are about much more than the war. Why does one of the richest countries in the world have such terrible public services? Why is our experience of privatisation held up as one to avoid throughout the world? Why are we denying our young people a free education and our old people a pension linked to average earnings? Why are all these things happening under a Labour government from which many people expected so much? I am standing as the Respect candidate for mayor of London and on the list for the Greater London Assembly around these and many other issues. London has been the centre of one of the biggest anti-war movements in the world. It is a world city with a diverse and multiracial population.
But it suffers from huge differences between rich and poor, a housing crisis of dreadful proportions and a transport system which was effectively in place before the Second World War. I have lived in London all my life, and believe that it would be an even better place if the people who live and work here could do so in decent housing with decent transport, leisure facilities and quality of life. That means challenging the priorities of big business and ensuring that more of the wealth produced here goes to the people who need it.'
Alongside Lindsey will be anti-war MP George Galloway, who heads Respect's list of candidates for London's European Parliament seats. Across the rest of England, Respect will be standing impressive lists of candidates in the European elections on 10 June. New candidates selected this week include Anas Al-Tikiriti, former leader of the Muslim Association of Britain, leading the Respect list in Yorkshire & Humberside.
Both the European Parliament and London Assembly elections are conducted on a proportional representation system. That means those heading lists of candidates can win seats with between 5 and 9 percent of votes.
The proportional system means no vote is a wasted vote, and a vote against New Labour and for Respect cannot help the Tories, Liberals or anyone else get in. Even better, in the London mayoral election everyone has two votes, with votes transferring to your second choice.
That means voters in the capital have the marvellous opportunity of voting for Lindsey, the Respect candidate, as first choice and Ken Livingstone as second choice. That ensures that Respect gets the maximum vote, while also ensuring there is no way for a Tory or Liberal to sneak in. Every vote for Respect on 10 June, wherever you live, will be a vote to punish Blair.