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End the negative campaigning

29 November, 2019

Gulcin Ozdemir will be a candidate in the St George’s by-election on December 12 

• I WAS pleased to read the Tribune coverage of Labour’s candidate for the upcoming by-election in St George’s ward, Gulcin Ozdemir’s inspiring account of her family’s beginnings in Islington, (By-election candidate: ‘Migrants need our help’, November 22).

I am proud to be campaigning alongside Gulcin, who is a passionate campaigner with deep roots in our community.

Sadly, on the same page, we once again saw the same negative campaigning by the Green Party’s candidate that people are so tired of.

Her attacks on the Labour Party’s record of action in tackling climate change were, once again, wide of the mark.

Carbon emissions have been reduced in Islington by over 40 per cent, we’ve seen the twelfth largest fall in emissions (per head of population) of anywhere in the country and we are leading from the front by decarbonising the council’s pension fund.

But the Green candidate doesn’t actually mention any local issues in her latest attack, instead focusing on issues the council has no control over.

I am also proud that under Labour’s leadership in Islington, the council is enabling a shift towards more sustainable transport across the borough with the removal of dangerous gyratories and the introduction of safer and more accessible routes for pedestrians and cyclists.

This is in addition to installing 400 more electric vehicle charging points and 400 more bike hangars across the borough.

The council has also introduced more “school streets” to cut emissions and improve safety than any other borough and is committed to rolling them out to all schools where it is possible to do so.

It is also right to note that the Labour Mayor of London’s pioneering Ultra Low Emission Zone and other bold measures will see the number of schools in London in illegally polluted areas reduce from over 450 today to zero in 2025.

Let’s also not forget that it was a Labour government that introduced the Climate Change Act in 2008 that set the basis for action in this country and was the first legislation in the world to set a legally-binding target for reducing emissions.

This impressive record and commitment to further action at regional and local level must also been seen alongside the Labour Party’s radical general election manifesto.

Labour’s Green New Deal will transform this country by rooting tackling the climate emergency firmly in the battle to achieve social justice, while creating a sustainable future for our planet.

So I repeat the call I made in the Tribune’s letters page a few weeks ago for all candidates to approach this election in the right way; with a positive debate about ideas, and not simply by trotting out attack lines that don’t stand up to scrutiny.

I would also like to call on the Tribune itself to apply more rigour to coverage of the election, rather than uncritically repeating unfounded and misleading statements by candidates who clearly don’t have anything meaningful to say about local issues.

Labour, St George’s ward


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