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ka-os|theory supports Ken Livingstone for London Mayor

LONDON TODAY FACES a simple choice between good and evil: on the one hand, former Mayor Ken Livingstone, and on the other, the incumbent Tory Boris Johnson. ka-os|theory urges all our London readers to vote for Ken Livingstone.

Prior to taking office - a mere diversion for a millionaire playboy steeped in privilege - Boris Johnson made various racist statements, referring to "piccaninnies" and the "watermelon smiles" of black people. He axed anti-racism music festival Rise, and slashed funding for Black History Month.

On the subject of the GBLT community, Boris Johnson has branded gay men "tank-topped bumboys". On taking office, he pulled Transport for London out of the Stonewall equality index, and refused to appear at London gay pride events, as Livingstone did when in office. Boris Johnson won't release a GBLT-specific manifesto, despite repeatedly promising one.

Boris Johnson has overseen a staggering increase in public transport fares, whilst Transport for London - of which he is chairman - sits on a massive cash surplus. Over the last four years, he has campaigned tirelessly to cut the tax rate for the super rich.

Knife crime has soared. Housing costs have surged by as much as 75% in some parts of London, with overcrowding and homelessness the outcome.

Ken Livingstone, during two terms in office (despite a relentless, dirty smear campaign by London's right-leaning, Tory-controlled daily, the Evening Standard), was a beacon for tolerance and social equality.

Livingstone oversaw Britain's first civil partnership register, supported Pride and Soho Pride, worked with Stonewall against homophobic bullying in schools, and unlike Johnson ensured the Greater London Authority took a leading place in the Stonewall Employers' Index.

The anti-racist festival Rise - axed by Johnson - was a key Livingstone achievement. Racist attacks were halved.

Real attempts to tackle London's air quality problem - the capital's second biggest killer - came in the form of the Low Emission Zone and a comprehensive programme to cut Greenhouse Gas emissions, as well as setting up the C40 group of world cities to share knowledge. Plans to tax polluting 4x4s were cancelled when Johnson took office.

But these facts and figures are largely ignored by huge numbers of Londoners, who are turned off by a serious and dedicated Livingstone - perceived as old and grumpy - and utterly seduced by the empty spectacle of Boris Johnson's scruffy hair, bluster and "colourful language".

The personalities are irrelevant. This isn't Big Brother, it's real life. You might not like Ken Livingstone, but he's the best man for London, because he truly loves London. Boris Johnson hates Londoners, and loves only himself.

Use your vote wisely.

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