Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/429/5037
Ken Livingstone removed from office
The Standards Board for England, an unelected body set up in 2000, have removed Ken Livingstone, an elected politician, from office for a month.
Chris Flood, Socialist Party councillor, Lewisham
I would not support Livingstone’s remarks to the Evening Standard journalist and more importantly I would not support his Blairite, pro-big business policies. However, this board could equally be used against elected representatives or MPs who are fighting cuts and privatisation.
In the 1980s, 47 Liverpool councillors were removed from office for the ‘crime’ of building houses and improving services by the District Auditor and the courts. They had forced the Thatcher government to retreat and the votes for these councillors had increased in every election that they stood.
Contrast that with the treatment of Tesco heiress Dame Shirley Porter who lied to auditors in the ‘homes for votes’ scandal of the 1980s. Porter was found guilty of gerrymandering - altering the electorate in eight marginal wards by selling council homes cheaply to people more likely to vote Tory. It took seven years to complete the inquiry and then she pleaded poverty!
These unelected bodies will naturally act against working-class people’s interests and in favour of society’s elites. Moreover, there is no doubt that such bodies would not hesitate to act against socialist councils or pro–working class political organisations in the future.
And what now of most councils? The main political parties seem to have happily handed power over to unelected, highly-paid chief executives who make the real decisions over cuts and privatisation. Seems to be a bit of a consistent theme in society at present doesn’t it?
In The Socialist 2 March 2006: