Last week Labour's election chief Tom Watson
told Labour members to ‘hold your nose’ and vote for Ken Livingstone. But there really is no need. They should all support 'independent' candidate Siobhan Benita (presently running third) because she is New Labour to the core. According to The Spectator
, the delightful Ms Benita is a former civil servant
endorsed by more celebrities than Ant and Dec can drag into the jungle, including Sir Richard Branson; Tom Conti, Martin Bell and former civil service head Gus (now Lord) O’Donnell (who 'was her boss for much of the 15 years she spent in Whitehall'). So, we have a New Labour apparatchik who spent most of her time 'dreaming up new diversity projects or producing politically correct propaganda'. Leo McKistry continues:
Benita has nothing to offer London but platitudes. Her every utterance reflects the boring groupthink of the metropolitan chattering class. What’s her response to the London riots? ‘We should encourage young people to engage with the police.’ What about gang violence on the streets? ‘Gang members need care and support,’ she says. What’s her favourite thing about London? ‘Its diversity.’
Her campaign slogan is ‘A Mum for London’ and, like Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, she is concerned with 'People not Politics’. She is mortified by inequality and social exclusion. And she herself states: "I’m definitely on the left." Moreover, her career path would delight all supporters of Ed Miliband - educated at Warwick university (which happens also to be Lord O’Donnell's alma mater), joined the civil service ('fast stream'), joined the Cabinet Office, and then became deputy director at the Department of Health.
We are told that Ms Benita's campaign team includes Giselle Green (former BBC radio producer who is her ‘head of news’), Paul Charles (former communications director for Virgin Atlantic), and Paul da Gama (formerly head of organisational development at the Post Office). So, her mayoralty won't be short of stardust, spin and big-state bureaucracy. Her policies speak for themselves:
Her manifesto, launched this week, is full of bureaucratic expansionism and procedural tinkering. Her whole mindset is geared towards regulation and intervention rather than freedom and responsibility. She wants a youth assembly, a youth mayor, an education commissioner, an office of budgetary responsibility, a network of City Safe Champions, a 1,000-strong Young Londoners’ support team, liaison committees in all 32 boroughs, a ‘comprehensive and external’ review of the Metropolitan Police, a housing needs survey, a central team ‘to prosecute rogue landlords’ and a new department for the capital called ‘Homes for London’.
Siobhan Benita is as Socialist as Ken Livingstone, but far, far prettier. So Labour supporters have no need at all to hold their noses and vote Livingstone; they should walk proudly into the booth and vote Benita - the real Labour candidate.