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March 22, 2011

Jenny Jones: Green candidate.

Jenny Jones was yesterday announced as the Green Party’s candidate for next year’s London mayoral election. She doesn’t have a chance of winning, of course, but she still has a relatively big role to play as the candidate for the party that finished fourth in 2008. She will shape parts of the debate, influence other candidates’ policies and possibly even challenge the Lib Dems for 3rd place, depending on the credibility of their candidate. At the very least, she should aim to beat the BNP candidate, something Darren Johnson failed to do in the 2004 contest.

The level of Jones’ success could also impact significantly on the outcome of the winner. She’s a pretty extreme leftie, and is far more supportive of Ken Livingstone than Boris. She was his deputy-mayor for a year when he was an independent and recently said she would be “very cross” if he fails to beat Boris next year. As such, it’s not unreasonable to expect that she will be encouraging her supporters to put Ken as their second preference (as Sian Berry did in 2008) and that, therefore, a wave of Green support would benefit Ken more than Boris.

The public will need to be made fully aware that despite the Green Party’s apparent harmlessness, Jones herself has some truly crackpot plans which she’d like to enforce on Londoners. She said in January that she’d like to expand the congestion charge zone to all parts of the capital, and increase the charge to £50 a day. But, you may argue, surely such policies are irrelevant when she’ll never be elected? Not so. As James Cleverly, Tory member of the London Assembly, points out:

“If Livingstone gets back in he will need the votes of the Greens to get his budgets through, just like he did in his first two terms. Jenny has presented us all with her bargaining position for that electoral support.”

So, just as a vote for the Greens will be a vote for Labour, so a vote for Labour will indirectly be a vote for £50 a day congestion charges. Londoners have been warned…

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