No, Mr. Freedland is not your typical Canadian mainstream pundit. In fact he’s a British pundit writing on municipal affairs for the Guardian, and today he was commenting on London’s mayoral elections.
And in that column space, he explains, by his own personal preferences, exactly why Canadian voters stay home in federal elections.
Understand that there are two major candidates for the London mayoralty: the incumbent, Mr. Boris Johnson, who’s a younger version of Ralph Klein, and Mr. Ken Livingstone, who held the job before Mr. Johnson and who wants it back.
Normally, Mr. Freedland would be a supporter of Mr. Livingstone. But the man, apparently, has an attitude that can be best described as a passive stereotypism when it comes to London’s Jewish community, much of which can be found in this letter which Mr. Freedland cites:
At various points in the discussion Ken used the words Zionist, Jewish and Israeli, interchangeably, as if they meant the same, and did so in a pejorative manner. These words are not interchangeable and to do so is highly offensive, particularly when repeated over and again as was done. For example, when discussing Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi’s extreme views on homosexuality, Ken said “one would expect the same views on homosexuality from extreme Christians, Muslims and Israelis” and using the word “Zionist” as an adjectival negative to criticise much more widely than what can be attributed to the ideology of Zionism. He also stated “I am not against Israel, I am against Zionists”, which we also find impossible. . . .
The real and more pressing issue is that of the strong perception that Ken is seeking to align himself with the politics of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Iranian regime, whilst at the same time turning a blind eye to Islamist antisemitism, misogynism and homophobia, even when overt and demonisation of Zionism and the derogatory use of the word Zionist and use of antisemitic memes.
We are concerned that this is more about infantile far left politics, being seen to take a stance against whatever the anti-establishment or anti-imperialism cause of the moment is. Boiled down, it’s hard to interpret this in any other way than Ken basically having no sympathy for those that he perceives as bourgeois , which is why he isn’t really attempting to appeal to, and perhaps why he is losing progressive as well as Jewish votes.
Mr. Livingstone’s attitude is certainly something that federal politicians here should be careful about, and it will almost certainly be an issue given the current PM’s political stance on Israel. But the point that I’m talking about comes back to Mr. Freedland’s conclusion:
People will wrestle with their own dilemmas. Some will conclude that only Livingstone’s policy positions on transport or housing matter. I’m afraid I’ve reached a different conclusion. I don’t want to see Boris Johnson re-elected, but I can’t vote for Ken Livingstone.
Do you see what I’m on about? Voters don’t stay home because of so-called “voter suppression.” They stay home because, no matter who bad the sins of their “opponent” may be, the need to cast a vote for an alternative still needs to be addressed, and most pols, especially those in our Opposition, aren’t all that good about that bit. Mr. Freedland likes Mr. Livingstone’s policy proposals, but Mr. Livingstone’s personal attitude puts him off. Substitute “Dion” or “Ignatieff” for “Livingstone” in that sentence and things suddenly get focused for that party, don’t they?