According to The Independent, Peter Hain has asked the Lib Dems to tell their voters in London to give their second choice votes to Ken Livingstone. He says that failure to do so will mean that Labour won't proceed with changing the voting system to AV.
I hope that Brian Paddick tells the perma-tanned one where to get off.
First of all, Hain no longer has any sort of power. He was laughed at by his Party's members when he stood for Leader and got sacked from the Cabinet by Gordon Brown. The idea that he could be a go-between between the PM and Lib Dems is just laughable.
Second, Labour has been floating the idea of electoral reform to the Lib Dems since 1995 (and it's often been Peter Hain doing the floating). We're a bit tired of that old routine. They promised to set up a commission to look at voting reform but they failed to hold a referendum on changing the voting system as promised in their manifesto. They failed to complete a review of the voting system in their second Parliament and they failed to make it open and honest even when it was held. If Labour were at all serious about doing anything more than stringing the Lib Dems along then they would move unilaterally.
Oh and they imposed a voting system for the Mayoral elections which creates huge amounts of tactical voting and spoilt ballots, ignored the Electoral Commission's demands for individual voter registration in order to combat fraud and reneged on the idea of a lower voting age.
If Labour want Paddick's second preferences then they should do something to earn them. Ken Livingstone has doubled his tax take for very little noticeable result. He refuses to consult properly with Liberal Democrats on the GLA and spends much of his time slagging off Lib Dem led boroughs. That is all very well for someone content to be a political opponent, but hardly the action of someone asking for second preferences.
If Labour really want our second votes then the least they could do is reciprocate. It may well be a token gesture if polls are to be believed, but if Labour were to openly tell all of their voters that their second preference should be cast for Brian Paddick and the Liberal Democrats then I think we could consider doing the same.