As London goes to polls, Jews aren’t only ones fearing return of ‘Red Ken’ (TIMES OF ISRAEL) By JOSHUA DAVIDOVICH 05/03/12)
TIMES OF ISRAEL
TIMES OF ISRAEL Articles-Index-Top
While important for Jewish community, election also seen as
referendum on David Cameron’s policies
Londoners will go to the polls Thursday to pick a new mayor, as a
hotly contested race between a former mayor and the man who ousted
him comes to an end.
The election between incumbent Boris Johnson and Labour’s Ken
Livingstone, who led the city from 2000 to 2008, is widely seen as a
preliminary referendum on Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron,
which has lost much popular support as Britons deal with a recessions
and austerity measures meant to temper budget overruns.
But Cameron may be more worried about a win by party rival Johnson,
which could catapult him over the prime minister’s head as the
party’s No. 1 if the party fares poorly, as it is expected to do, in
local elections across England.
Cameron isn’t the only one fretting over today’s vote. A win by
leftist Livingstone, known as “Red Ken,” for his views, would put the
city’s Jewish community once again under a mayor who has repeatedly
bashed Israel and Jews while embracing political Islam.
Speaking in March at the North London Central Mosque, which was
formerly the base of the radical Muslim preacher and terrorist
recruiter Abu Hamza, Livingstone vowed to “educate the mass of
Londoners” in Islam. “That will help to cement our city as a beacon
that demonstrates the meaning of the words of the Prophet… I want to
spend the next four years making sure that every non-Muslim in London
knows and understands [the prophet´s] words and message,” he said.
Livingstone has drawn no small amount of ire from non-Labour
Londoners for his outspoken statements and left-wing views, but he
also managed to alienate the Jewish flank of his own political base
over his campaign, reportedly calling them rich Jews who won’t vote
for me anyway.
In the end, the Jewish Labour faction reluctantly decided to endorse
Livingstone, saying he may “irritate, upset and annoy,” but would
still be an improvement over Johnson, the Jewish Chronicle reported
Johnson has consistently led in the polls, pushing Livingstone to
abandon the identity politics approach that served him in the past
and cast the vote as a referendum between the Conservative and Labour
“Some of us may find one of us funnier than the other, but in the end
there are two parties, two sets of policies, two sets of values. That
is what matters. A vote for the Conservative candidate in such a
vital election is, in the end, a vote for what the Tories are doing
to our country and our city,” Livingstone said, according to the
Johnson is still expected to win a second term Thursday, according to
polls. The results will likely be announced Friday.
Miriam Shaviv contributed to this report (© 2012 THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY