Thursday, March 10, 2005

Letter published in South London Press

Last Friday's (4 March) South London Press published the following letter from a member, edited and under their title of "Ken's been quangoed":

The incident between Ken Livingstone and an over-insistent journalist has revealed the existence of an unelected quango with the power to suspend or ban from office any elected councillor deemed to have brought their office into disrepute. Two Lambeth councillors have already fallen foul of the "ethical standards officers" (what next!) of the so-called Standards Board for England ("Two councillors are rocketed for 'misleading' election propaganda", South London Press, February 18). This was for printing "misleading" information on an election leaflet (don't they all do that?). If the board bans Livingstone from office simply for expressing a view -- it's not as if he's been caught with his hand in the till -- it would go against all principles of democracy and freedom of speech. That would, I believe, turn them into thought police.
In a real democracy, it would be up to the electors and no one else, and certainly not some unelected board of appointees with pretentious titles, to throw out an elected official."

But still no mention that the Socialist Party will be standing a candidate in Vauxhall. Perhaps it'll be in tomorrow's edition. Meanwhile, the Gang of Three parties including the sitting (Labour) MP -- sitting on a horse at the Duke of Beaufort's hunt -- get twice-weekly local publicity.

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