Martin Bright, political editor of the New Statesman, has a fine post on his blog about the London mayoral election (and note the angry interventions in the comments threads by what appear to be fraternal correspondents from the Church of Scientology). This is what he says:
"Interesting to read the full text of the "Unite for Ken" letter that appeared in the Guardian earlier this week with 100 prominent signatories giving their support to the mayor. I have always thought Boris Johnson was a peculiar candidate for the Conservative Party to choose, but it seems that he really has got City Hall running scared. I must say I find it amusing that Livingstone, who stood against the Labour Party in 2000, is now the darling of tribalists within the party. There was a time when such treachery would not have been tolerated. The letter, sponsored by the think-tank Compass, is emblematic of the muddle-headed "lesser of two evils" argument that has bedevilled the left for so long.
"One apocalyptic phrase I do agree with, however, is this: "This isn't just about the politics of London but a battle between the forces of progress versus reaction in the nation as a whole". For me, this is true whether Johnson or Livingstone wins. The progressive answer to this conundrum would be to find a genuinely progressive candidate to represent Labour."
There are many reasons that Ken Livingstone is unfit for office, but the most fundamental is that he lacks a sense of public service. Few recall that Livingstone became leader of the Greater London Council in the 1980s without any reference to, or consultation with, London's voters. Labour fought the election campaign for the GLC in 1981 under the leadership of the moderate Andrew (now Lord) McIntosh. Immediately after Labour had won that election, a cabal of the Labour group on the GLC replaced McIntosh with Livingstone. As GLC leader, Livingstone dispensed patronage and intervened in national politics without accountability and with much public largesse. As mayor, he has merely resumed these inglorious practices, as - I briefly preen myself - I was one of the first to predict. (The day after Livingstone's election in 2000 I was strolling through the Broadgate Circle at lunchtime when I was accosted by a BBC television crew. Evidently they were seeking reaction from some braying City toff, but for some reason alighted on me instead. I was delighted nonetheless to give them my opinion on Livingstone for a couple of minutes without drawing breath, but I fear that only the initial assertion rather than the supporting evidence was broadcast.)
It is, as Martin says, a matter of shame to many figures of the ostensibly radical wing of politics that they're prepared to sign up to Livingstone's campaign where "anyone who has a progressive bone in their body should have run a mile". (The signatories to the pro-Livingstone letter include, I note, Kate Hudson, chairman of CND and a member of a party that explicitly declares solidarity with the totalitarian nightmare-state of North Korea.) I strongly endorse Martin's view that there should be a progressive candidate against the discredited Mayor and his plainly unserious Tory opponent. I can only repeat: Oona is the obvious candidate. I plead with her to run; I urge you, if you have a vote, to write her name on the ballot paper.