We’ve got our polling cards – do you have yours? If not it might be worth checking if you’re registered to vote. The deadline to register is 18 April and you must be 18 or over on 3 May 2012, live in London and be a British, Republic of Ireland, Commonwealth or EU citizen. Just fill in this form, print it off and send it to your borough’s election office (address will be provided).
If you’re going to be away on 3 May you have until 18 April to apply for a postal vote or until 25 April to apply for a proxy vote (where someone else goes to the polling station for you). There’s a local helpline number on your polling card.
And once you’ve registered you get to decide which of these candidates to vote for. Yes, this is the final list!
Siobhan Benita (Independent)
Carlos Cortiglia (BNP)
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Jenny Jones (Green)
Ken Livingstone (Labour)
Brian Paddick (Liberal Democrats)
Lawrence Webb (Fresh Choice for London – UKIP to the rest of us)
Here, it’s more a case of looking at the parties (you can see full lists of candidates for each constituency and the lists of Londonwide, or ‘top up’, Assembly candidates on the London Elects website). What’s interesting is that instead of the usual stereotype of the left, with its People’s Front of Judea / Judean People’s Front tendencies, putting up a bunch of candidates, this year it’s the far right that are offering plenty of choice / splitting their vote.
In 2008, left-leaning Londoners could opt for Respect, Left List and a variety of socialists as well as the larger parties. This year, although there are some candidates in constituencies, the left has formed a Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition for the Londonwide section of the ballot, presumably hoping to gather all their votes into one basket. In contrast, the right is offering the BNP, National Front and English Democrats as well as the more centrist options of UKIP and Conservative. The Christian People’s Alliance is also in the mix; though their economic policies are centrist and they champion social justice, their tagline of “Supporting Traditional Marriage” isn’t likely to steal votes off the left.
In the constituencies it’s generally the usual suspects but there’s also some local diversity. City and East sees BNP and Communist parties up against incumbent John Biggs (Labour), plus a candidate from the new Communities United party; the BNP and National Front are standing candidates in Ealing and Hillingdon; Merton and Wandsworth has an independent (Thamilini Kulendran) and a Socialist Party candidate; there’s another independent, Ijaz Hayat, standing in the North East; Greenwich and Lewisham have candidates from the BNP and National Front but also People Before Profit; but it’s in Havering and Redbridge where the real far-right battle seems to be, as the BNP, National Front and English Democrats all field candidates. There’s also a resolutely local Residents’ Association of London candidate.
We’re at a slight loss trying to find out who The House Party – Homes for Londoners are; the best we can do is to discover that their one, Londonwide, candidate, seems to be a former Green. But while we’re talking about party swapping, we did spot that two National Front candidates, Tess Culnane and Ian Edward, have both returned to the NF after spells in the BNP.