Thursday, 3 April 2008

A response to the Time Out editorial, issue 1963 - 3 April

I wonder how the Time Out editorial team think that political parties are run in this country?
You quite rightly took the decision to stand down your candidate Michael Hodges from the London mayoral election. We agree that standing a candidate on the popular ideals of Time Out readers is the basis for a politically confused campaign (and don't get me started on Boris Johnson...).
But where on earth did you get the idea that political parties can pay their members to go out and campaign on their behalf? I've been a member of the Labour party for the last five years, and I can't remember a single occasion when a cheque dropped through the door for my Sunday morning efforts leafleting on a Lambeth council estate. Political parties are made up of people who care about politics and have a shared set of ideals about how they want to see a country or a city like London run. And, apart from a relatively small number of full-time staff, they certainly don't expect monetary renumeration for their efforts.
(Incidentally, political parties get access to the electoral rolls because they are democratically accountable to their members, unlike fringe loony magazine candidates who are accountable to whatever decisions you take over a cosy cup of tea in your editorial meeting!)
One more thing - what are the discriminatory barriers standing in the way of anyone wanting to run for election as Mayor? There is at least one genuinely independent candidate standing in the election this year - as well as representatives from every other major party. In democracies, people naturally join together to form common associations of like minded people. The 'people's manifesto' which you champion exists in every single one of the manifestos promoted by this year's candidates, no matter how much I disagree with the people in other parties. That's genuine democratic choice.
Yours sincerely
Paul Prentice

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