As the dust settles after the dramatic general election and a new government takes its place in Westminster, I’ll belatedly having a look at what the general election means for London.
Dave Hill had a couple of good roundups of campaigning and the results and ramifications of the national and local elections on his blog. Basically, Labour did quite well, or less worse, in London than they did in the rest of the country. Like in the European Elections last year, London was to the left of most of the rest of the country. The BNP, who put their leader up for Election in Barking and Dagenham, were annihialated, losing both the national election and all their councilors. Well done to everyone involved in the campaign against them!
Simon Jenkins has an interesting take on the election and hung parliament, arguing in the Evening Standard that London should move for more autonomy from the rest of the UK and ‘rise above’ the chaos in parliament.
London has its Mayor, its assembly and its boroughs with their leaders and their councils. It is by far the most democratic zone in the UK. It has an alternative vote for its Mayor and a modified list system for its assembly. What need has it of the scheming, twisting, self-serving party bosses milling about Parliament Square? Let them hang their parliament, draw it and quarter it as they wish.
London politics is now way in advance of Westminster. Its Tory leader, Boris Johnson, has had to negotiate his programme with a separately elected assembly. Until last Thursday, London has had hung borough councils galore, most of them working smoothly, as at Camden, Brent and Southwark. In places such as Barnet and Hammersmith & Fulham, there is two years’ experience of the sort of spending restraint that is still a bad dream in Whitehall.
In Bethnal Green and Bow, which I discussed on this blog before the election, Rushanara Ali triumphed, bringing the Respect party’s reign in the constituency to an end.
The election did not go without problems, there were widespread allegations of fraud, including in Tower Hamlets, and many voters were prevented from voting due to high voter turnout in places such as Hackney and Lewisham.