Thursday, 3 April 2008

Don't do it, London.

Now this is scary. (The Guardian/ICM poll, not the picture, I mean. The picture is courtesy of Beau Bo D'Or. Pure Brilliance.)

On the (very) off chance that anyone who is eligible to vote in the London mayoral elections is reading this blog, I feel compelled to inform you that, apparently, you are totally fucking mad. I mean screaming, head bashed around with a toxic stupid stick by a day-glo gorilla in a leisure suit MAD.

Well, no. Some of you think it would be a jolly good idea, that Boris Johnson is just what the City needs to push onward and upward into this brave new century of global financial challenges and enterprise. You are lost, and I have no hope of changing your mind. But for those of you that are thinking it would be a joke to vote for Boris Johnson for mayor, a real hoot, a rip-roaring laugh to have a floppy, dopey stuttering clown in such an important job, I appeal to you.

Incidentally, I'm calling him Johnson and not Boris because I think he's getting away with too much with this cutsie little 'Boris' moniker, like he's not really a dangerous, right-wing nut but only a harmless little cartoon character with a funny accent. Well he's not and Johnson can't be allowed to get away with it any more.

(What do you mean, 'What about Ken?' Ok, well... but he's earned it. Especially after that whole Thatcher-undermining-democracy thing. Apparently. I wasn't here for that. And besides, if you don't want to vote for Livingstone, for God sake's vote for one of the other real politicians in the race.)

But let me be clear: This is not fucking Eurovision, where you select some shit act who sing off-key about fast food to represent Britain so that you can have fun listening to Terry Wogan cringe and laugh as your nil point just shows again how you so get irony more than everyone else in the world. Johnson will not do irony when he gets into office, just shit policies.

If you want to know just how bad a decision electing Johnson would be, please let me share with you the case of my home city, Toronto. When Premier Mike Harris (proto-neo-con right-wing anti-democratic villain, for those of you that haven't had the pleasure) devolved more power to municipalities and created the Megacity of Toronto, Torontonians for the first time had the opportunity to elect a real mayor with critical importance in their lives. And we elected Mel Lastman, a former furniture store owner, because he was, I think the saying goes, 'a character'. And what was his first act as mayor of this Great City of Toronto? he launched a public plea for Geri to re-join the Spice Girls in time for their Toronto show on their World Tour.

Hey, don't laugh. That was about as good as it got. And Toronto suffered for a very long time. So now you know why you don't elect novelty candidates for important jobs. Johnson would probably pull the same Spice Girls stunt, given the opportunity (and might just), but he would also do much, much worse.

It's one thing to elect a monkey for mayor of Hartlepool, but this is London we're talking about. (Nothing against Hartlepool, of course.) Not only is it the capital, and the hub of the country, no, it's not just about being embarrassed by a charming gaffe. London is a vibrant, multicultural, modern city. It is also the home of the City, the financial juggernaut that, left unchecked, would force not only London but the whole country into a laizzser-faire, deregulated nightmare.

And Livingstone serves as a buffer again that. It's not just that Johnson would be a joke and an embarrassment -- though he would be that too, make no mistake. It's that he would bring disastrous policies that serve only that one part of London, that elite (an impressive, shameless,.... filthy elite it is too), but a tiny minority nevertheless.

If in doubt, ask the BNP: they've told their supporters to give their second choice vote to Johnson. And that's only part of the problem. Johnson would not only privilege his white constituents, but also the rich ones, as he'll inevitable turn out to be one of those lizard-faced capitalist masters of the universe (or a cross-dressing Thatcherite clown, which amount to much the same thing, surely).

It seems to me, looking at those polling statistics from the Guardian, that Ken draws more support from non-whites and women, and Johnson has more support from white males... so, if the white males want to have their little joke, or actually like the idea of a City-friendly Tory in the mayoral chair, then there's a simple solution: disenfranchise them. Take the vote away from white men. They've had it too long anyway, and if they're going to piss it away on a practical joke, they obviously don't appreciate it any more.

In the nineteenth century, when only white men had the vote, they used to argue that they couldn't extend suffrage to all women, because then they would use their votes irrationally, in their silly, feminine, childish way, and vote for sentimental causes, like welfare and education for all. I'm not kidding. (References on request.) So now, we can use the same logic -- the defence of our values -- to deny white men the vote: clearly, if we keep letting white men vote, we'll keep getting bureaucratic, sphincter-tightening politicians forming governments that represent only the narrow interests of capitalism and patriarchy.

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