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Peter Tatchell / Human Rights Activist News Wire


London's Mayoral Election

Peter Tatchell says vote Green


"Sian Berry, the Green Party's London Mayoral candidate, is the best
hope for London's LGBT community," said Peter Tatchell, human rights
campaigner and Green Party parliamentary candidate for Oxford East.

"She's got the best policies by far," added Mr Tatchell.

"The Greens are the only party that officially endorses the repeal of
the ban on same-sex marriage. All the other parties back the ban,
which is homophobic and discriminatory.

"Sian has spoken out against 'murder music' which advocates the
killing of gays and lesbians. She wants police action against record
companies, stores, concert venues and radio stations that promote
incitements to murder LGBT people.

"She will use her position as Mayor to campaign for refugee status to
be granted to LGBT people fleeing persecution in homophobic countries
like Jamaica, Iran, Uganda, Sudan, Nigeria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

"Sian is backing mayoral funding for the Proud Heritage LGBT museum
project, and for the gay football world cup in London in August. She
also wants funding for Pride London to be on a par with the funding
for St Patrick's Day and the anti-racist Rise festival.

"The Greens also have a range of progressive policies on transport,
housing, crime and culture that will benefit all Londoners – gay and
straight.

"Sian Berry is different from the other mayoral hopefuls. She's blonde
like Boris, but that's where the similarities start and end. First,
she's a woman in a field of candidates that is almost entirely male.
Second, aged 33, she is by far the youngest mayoral contender – a
young fresh spirit in a contest overcrowded with tired middle-aged
men.

"While age and gender are not sufficient reasons to vote for a
candidate, wouldn't it be wonderful for the Mayor of London to be a
young woman? London is a youthful city and half the population is
female. It's time for change. Sian is the face and politics of the
future.

"More importantly, she is the most progressive candidate, with the
best policies on housing, transport, crime, jobs and equal
opportunities, as well as on the environment and on LGBT rights.

"Unlike Ken Livingstone, Sian won't cosy up to big business and she
never defended Sir Iain Blair over the shooting of Jean Charles de
Menezes at Stockwell tube station. She wants an end to the
Metropolitan Police policy of "shoot-to-kill" terrorist suspects;
believing that deliberately killing people merely suspected of
involvement in terrorist plots is a threat to civil liberties and the
right to life, and is tantamount to authorising summary execution.

"Of all the candidates, Sian is the only one with a serious,
comprehensive programme to combat climate chaos. But her greenery is
not by compulsion and diktat. She will encourage and empower Londoners
to go green, with free insulation for every home that needs it, which
will save energy, reduce London's carbon foot-print, and cut fuels
bills to the financial benefit of householders. She's also aiming for
the installation of solar electricity and heating on 100,000 London
business and residential roofs by 2015.

"Far from being a one-issue Green, Sian has put social inclusion and
social justice at the heart of her campaign, with a commitment to a
London minimum wage of £7.20 per hour, a 20p cut in bus and off-peak
tube fares, and a goal of ensuring that 60% of all new-build housing
is affordable. That's why so many disillusioned Labour voters are
flocking to the Greens – we now represent the hopes and values that
Gordon Brown has abandoned.

"Sian's agenda combines idealism with pragmatism. She is expressing a
positive vision of what London could be but, at the same time, her
feet are firmly on the ground – both radical and realistic.

"Sian would be a breath of fresh air at City Hall. She exudes
principles and integrity, with a lovely, warm-hearted, open
personality. There isn't a trace of arrogance or dogmatism about her.
She's a good listener and ready to change her mind if the situation
and evidence requires it. Those are the qualities we need in a London
Mayor.

"I have campaigned with Sian. Her friendly, engaging manner goes down
well with the public. If she could meet every Londoner, most would
warm to her. She'd win the Mayoral election hands down.

"Whatever your politics, use your vote this Thursday, 1 May. The
Chartists and Suffragettes fought hard to win the right to vote. Many
made huge sacrifices. Some went to jail. Don't take democracy for
granted.

"Your vote is also vital to help stop the British National Party (BNP)
winning seats. A high turnout will reduce the BNP's share of the vote
and lessen its chances of victory.

"The BNP is still a racist, anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim and homophobic
party. It may have swapped boots for suits, but beneath the new smooth
PR veneer its leaders remain wedded to the same old agenda of hate and
division.

"In the 2004 London elections, the BNP won 4.8% of the vote. It only
needs 5% of the vote to win a seat on the London Assembly. There is a
real danger that the BNP will achieve an electoral breakthrough on 1
May. But we can stop them, if large numbers of Londoners vote for
other parties. Use your vote to sink the BNP," said Mr Tatchell.

More from Peter Tatchell / Human Rights Activist News Wire
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