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Why London needs an anti-war mayor by candidate Diane Abbott MP

London needs investment to promote jobs, housing and public services instead of constantly siphoning off money for foreign wars.

IN 2003 London hosted the biggest demonstration in our history when over a million people came on the streets to oppose British involvement in the war upon Iraq. 

That day was the expression of what the majority of people in the country felt about the military adventure.  But it was also what Londoners felt particularly keenly.

London is one of the most diverse cities on the planet.  With over 300 languages spoken in London, we have a practical expression of the necessity of the peoples of the world to co-habit in peace.

According to GLA figures from 2014, over 22% of Londoners are non-UK nationals.  This brings many different perspectives to bear when Londoners discuss Britain’s foreign policy.

The continuous military action by NATO, including UK forces, against Muslim majority countries has a particular resonance in London.  According to GLA figures for 2013, nearly 14% of Londoners are Muslims, over a million people.

Generally, young people tend to be more anti-war.  Despite its millennia long existence, London is a young city.  According to ONS figures for 2013, London has the lowest age profile of any region in the country.  The median age in London is 34, against the UK average of 39.7 years.

London’s diversity is most obvious in the proportion of Londoners who are from black and minority ethnic communities – 44% according to GLA 2015 estimates.  That means that 3.8 million people can trace their family connections to countries which were on the receiving end of British colonialism.  Such histories are a part of any consideration on the justice of British military actions today.

These distinctive features of London go some way towards explaining Labour’s higher vote in London, and why the population is supportive of the struggle against foreign military adventures.

London needs a mayor who understands that wars are easily undertaken, but only ended with terrible difficulties.  There is currently more military activity in Afghanistan than in 2001, in Iraq than in 2003, and in Libya than in 2011.  Britain’s involvement in these wars has been expensive in both “blood” and “treasure”.

As the region providing the largest single share of the UK economy, London needs government investment to promote jobs, housing and public services.  Living standards cannot be raised if money is constantly being siphoned off for foreign wars.  Not only is it wrong to suggest that Britain should decide who governs other countries.  It also prevents government from addressing the long term development of the economy.

In standing for Labour’s mayoral selection for the 2016 election I can highlight my contribution to opposing unjust foreign wars.  I have a record of campaigning and voting against such mistakes.  In 2013, my threat to resign from Labour’s Shadow front bench prompted Ed Miliband to take a clear stand against the Coalition Government moves to bomb Syria.

I also have a clear and consistent record of opposing a nuclear replacement for Trident.  Every community in the country, and particularly London, will bear the £100 billion cost of Trident’s replacement. 

City Hall needs a leader who says “No” to such lunacy. I stand as a committed anti-war activist, an anti-racist campaigner and an opponent of austerity. 

I am supporting Jeremy Corbyn for Labour leader, and have shared many platforms with him.  I seek the support of the anti-war activists in London. 

You can take part  in the selection of the Labour candidate for London Mayor. The election is not restricted to Labour Party members but open to the new category of Labour supporter. Registration as a supporter costs just £3. Register here »

Source: Stop the War Coalition

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