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Monday, 30 April 2012

Never has so much negativity been used by so few

The Labour candidate for mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, said on the 3rd April 2012: "All candidates should close their attack websites to concentrate on the positive issues for Londoners. We are closing our attack site now and call on Boris Johnson’s campaign to do the same. We are closing ours and we want to concentrate vigorously on those issues that can make Londoners better off over the next month of this campaign. The candidates are still going to have ‘dividing lines’; we are still going to try to win the argument; we are still going to have sharp exchanges and we are no doubt going to use humour and satire to promote our arguments and criticise our opponents". 

This morning Ken Livingstone did exactly the opposite of what he said less than a month ago. Releasing a poster depicting the Prime Minister, David Cameron, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, and the Conservative mayoral candidate, Boris Johnson, as aliens from a "different planet". 

Ken Livingstone unveiling his new campaign poster this morning
However the Livingstone campaign aren't the only ones guilty of using negative campaigning in this campaign. A conservative attack site was launched on Friday called vote4ken which is a litany of negative comments and quotes attributed to Labour's candidate Ken Livingstone. They have also started has ken released his taxes yet site. The Not Ken Again website is still running despite the challenge to Boris Johnson to close it. 

As I quoted Ken saying he'd close his attack site I can confirm that the chicken feed attack site was closed by the Livingstone campaign on April 3rd. However Labour activists also contribute to the sack Boris website despite Ken saying he doesn't want negative campaigning. Liberal Democrats also comment on the sack Boris site. 

The Greens don't tend to indulge in negative campaigning and I can find no evidence of negative campaigning by UKIP either. The Independent candidate Siobhan Benita told me "I don't want to be part of the macho mud-slinging. I've been running a very positive campaign and tried to focus on the issues that really affect Londoners - housing, education, transport, crime and business, as well as the day to day local issues that matter to people. I hope on polling day my strong, credible and wide-ranging policies will be the reason why Londoners give me their first preference vote."