Bob writes: I have been promising to give you my endorsements for the candidates standing in my local area in the upcoming elections. We are very privileged to have this guest post by Not Jones on one candidate you definitely shouldn't vote for.
Greenwich and Lewisham is a constituency represented by the London Assembly. Residents who are eligible to do so will be casting their votes at the coming elections on 1st May. It’s beyond this author’s capactity to comment on all the candidates, but among them is somebody who deserves to be commented on. My sources are friends, acquaintances and direct experience.
This is Left List’s Jennifer Jones. Jennifer Jones has just, after a delay while electoral irregularities were investigated, been permitted to take up a sabbatical post as Campaigns and Communications Officer at Goldsmiths, University of London. The irregularities, incidentally, related to the exploitation of voter apathy by touring halls of residence with a laptop, requesting ID cards (sometimes even waking up sleeping students, it is reported) and using them to mop up e-votes - a practice that Goldsmiths Student Union in all its e-innocence had failed to anticipate and could not discipline. Jennifer Jones won, even after all her hard work, by a slender margin of 18 votes. A candidate with an extreme agenda, the turn-out was thin, she gained from it - this is your first lesson, voters. Her election means that Goldsmiths is saddled with a turn-off year of divisive campaigning and bad blood - as a member of the irrelevant, broken and misleadingly-named RESPECT Coalition it goes almost without saying that she’s leader of her local Stop the War gang and consequently pursues a steady course of doing anything but (Iraqis say they want troops to remain because they detest Al Quaeda even more? I’m sorry, but Jennifer Jones knows better).
She campaigned at Goldsmiths on a Stop the War Coalition and Free Palestine ticket and is best known there for running an aggressive anti-Zionist campaign disguised as a Palestinian twinning project. This project, in the best Stalinist traditions, rewrites Israeli history, hosts SWP polemicists and has stifled at least one courteous but persistent critic of this unpleasant local twist on Palestine twinning, who found herself demeaned, ridiculed and finally locked out of the Facebook group where the discussion and arrangements take place, with her public posts expunged.
Jennifer Jones, an LBGT rep, sticks up grotesquely for Hamas because, like all pro-Palestinian activists on the confused post-Left, she mistakes it for an anti-imperialist resistance. If she’s capable of discerning its homophobic, misogynistic, murderous and despotic nature, she doesn’t bother herself about it because for her, the culpability lies with you, me and above all the Americans. The reason Democratiya’s Alan Johnson can paint her portrait so deftly without even knowing she exists is that Jennifer Jones is a kitsch left cliche. Look in vain for her manifesto - it’s almost as if the Left List is fielding robots. Don’t be fooled by the anodyne election pledges, though - they’re cosmetic, as any Harry’s Place reader would guess.
The Left List, by the way, is RESPECT. When - and this is indicative - RESPECT squabbled and split last year their nominations officer Linda Smith flounced off with Galloway to found RESPECT Renewal. Despite being voted out that November, Linda Smith wouldn’t sign the requisite form and consequently remains the only nominations officer recognised by the Electoral Commission. If she won’t let the RESPECT candidates put RESPECT next to their name - which she won’t - RESPECT can’t do a thing about it. How embarrassing, how inept. Who would vote for this party and its dirty washing?
Back to Jennifer Jones. At Goldsmiths, the community she is supposed to represent is split by her campaigns. Large tracts of the student body recognise that the Palestine twinning is anti-Israel activism cynically masquerading as concern for Palestinians. Their resulting proposal to mitigate the conflict exascerbation by extending the twinning to an Israeli institution fell by only 2 votes - the turn-out at this debate, as is disturbingly usual where the Israel-Palestine conflict is concerned, was large. The debate was unpleasant, as a previous debate on the same issue had been.
Jewish students at Goldsmiths who are not inclined to condemn Israel’s very existence are feeling less than comfortable these days but, when criticised about this, Jennifer Jones evinces a rumplestiltskin-like defiance, retorting on more than one occasion that the only Jews who object to the twinning are the Zionist ones and it’s not her business to cater to racists. Like many in the SWP, she is comfortable with applying political tests to Jews in this way. And like many in the SWP, she can only recognise racism on the right and has a blind spot when it comes from her own quarters on the hard left.
Residents at one Goldsmiths hall of residence know that, as of last year, she’s banned from the premises for aggressive behaviour - inappropriate enough for a university Campaigns and Communications officer, let alone a London Assembly candidate. If Jennifer Jones is the best the Left List can muster they’re onto a loser. And in fielding such a poor candidate the Left List reveals itself as no more than a pastiche for political pygmies.
Greenwich and Lewisham, here are your candidates. Vote wisely, for London and for yourselves, and pass over Jennifer Jones.