Ken hitches himself to the wrong bandwagon


Much of Ken Livingstone's historic electoral success has been his ability to put himself across as a man of the people, in touch with the concerns of everyday folk.

Why, then, did he put climate change at the centre of his campaign?

Only 21% of respondents to a March Yougov poll thought that climate change should be in the top three priorities of the Mayor. Respondents considered issues like crime, transport, housing and tax to be of far greater importance.

For most Londoners, it seems, the promises of a candidate with regards to climate change is of marginal importance compared to things that are affecting their lives here and now.

Quite right. After all, is it a sensible use of the Mayor's budget to spend millions of pounds addressing a threat that may or may not impact on the children of our great-grandchildren, when there are pressing concerns that need to be dealt with today?

The people of Peckham, for instance, need better policing far more than subsidised low energy lightbulbs.

Meanwhile, Ken's initiatives to tackle climate change – such as raising the congestion charge to £25 for 'gas guzzlers', and implementing the low emission zone – achieve little except making London even more expensive than it already is.

Moreover, if the economy continues to grow, it is highly likely that future Londoners will be sufficiently rich and technologically advanced to deal with whatever the climate throws at them – hot or cold.

Ken's decision to campaign hard on climate change was a strange lapse of political judgment. He may have won the dubious honour of being selected as the ‘greenest’ candidate by Friends of the Earth, but this has little resonance with the ordinary, cash-strapped Londoner.

Still, Ken will not let electoral defeat stop him from contributing to the climate change cause. His retirement will mean hot air emissions from City Hall will instantly plummet by around 95%.