Hockney Confirms Mayoral Race Withdrawal

As exclusively predicted by Mayorwatch last week, One London Party Mayoral candidate Damian Hockney will formally withdraw pull out of the race tomorrow citing a “media blackout” of “so-called minor” parties and what he describes as “being banned from every Mayoral hustings”.

It’s understood that the party will put up candidates for the London Assembly list, hoping to make capital on some of the issues they have raised using their two London Assembly seats.

Speaking to MayorWatch last night Hockney said: “the last straw for us was the dismissive, patronising and anti-democratic attitude of the London First quango after we had asked some weeks ago to be allowed to speak at its Mayoral hustings which took place tonight.”

Hockney said it was important to gain access for to events such as hustings as they “are used as a basis for media comment and to be banned yet again in spite of being a pro business anti-regulation political group which reflects the views of London First members struck us as a final irony.”

“The fact that London First issued a statement saying that they “wouldn’t want to inflict issue fatigue on the audience” by having us there somehow typified the attitude and the correspondence between us and them… I think it speaks for itself. Failure to treat properly, failure to respond and a very bad attitude towards democracy – they should all be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.”

The part has also been unhappy at their treatment by the mainstream media and the limitations placed on campaigning by electoral laws, according to Hockney the party “was told by important London media that they were not able to cover our policy initiatives, we then tried another way and realised that it was impossible by law for us to even write to the whole electorate in London and tell them about what we stand for.”

“The tedious official election booklet bars you from putting in a number of things which are important in an election and your copy is censored. The legally allowed budget does not permit you to write even once to everyone who votes in London, so if you are barred from the media other than through tiny pre-arranged slots, and if you are not allowed to advertise on tv, then how precisely can you get your message across in an election like this which is entirely media driven?”

Hockney’s strongest words of condemnation are reserved for the broadcast media, “the broadcast rules are a disgrace and they effectively function as a maximum time allowed for small parties, because each time one small party in what they have decided is a second tier is mentioned, all the others have to be as well…and it is all too much for those who are producing the programmes”, he claims.

“If you look at the broadcast guidelines as well, you realise that they effectively bar any form of real journalism, and the acres of coverage for the ‘main’ candidates are nothing but patsy advertising based upon ‘balance’. If there were real fairness, it should be grasped clearly that the wall to wall solus advertising given by state radio and tv has a value which runs into millions. Which is being denied to the smaller parties. And which we are barred by law from trying to match by spending laws.”

Hockney says the decisions on which parties are covered and invited to participate in broadcast coverage is informed “on the basis of flawed polling which is skewed against small party and ‘minor’ candidates.”

“The situation is entirely different for the print media – if the Standard or others wish to campaign for one candidate and black others like ourselves, then that is their prerogative – even if I think it unwise and unhelpful – but they are private companies and have a right to do as they wish. We can take advertising in them, but political advertising in newspapapers is massively less effective than short tv spots at all hours of the day which many countries have.”

Predicting “another low turnout” election Hockney warns “the policy-free smear and counter smear campaign between incumbent and ‘main’ challenger will go ahead, will dismay the electorate (who are too intelligent for this charade) and will result in another low turnout”, an outcome he described as “a victory for non-inclusive, out-of-date politics and an attack on diversity of views.”


  1. Mark says

    Just heard a cracking interview between Hockney and Vanesa Feltz on her BBC London show who was clearly very defensive about the BBC. He made a great point. “The media guidelines mean endless patsy coverage for the big parties. In the name of balance. And we get nowhere.” They had a good old barny about it and it was interesting from both sides.

  2. Damian Hockney AM says

    Fascinating that the BBC’s defence to all this is that I “must be pulling out because of the £10,000 deposit” (eh?!, total rubbish, do they have any idea how elections work and how you raise cash from supporters/donors?) and that they have “invited me on programmes and I’ve not taken up the offer”. This is the whole point. They invite you onto these set piece programmes at a time of their own choosing, tick the box saying “we’ve been fair” and then that’s your lot. That’s your maximum coverage done, period – unless you marry Ginger Spice or set fire to the 8th floor of City Hall. Why should I be forced to use my ‘ad allocation’ 8 weeks before the election?

    As far as I was concerned the BBC order to me to take my statutory coverage on Vanessa came at a very inconvenient time, so I made clear I would like the coverage they are forced to give me at a more convenient time. They wouldn’t be having me on – or any other small party candidate – unless they were forced to anyway. It might be inconvenient for them to have to arrange a suitable time for me, but twice they cocked up and called me an hour before the programme saying “are you coming in today?” when none of us on my team had heard anything about it.

    Let me just tell you a funny postscript that just this second happened. After hearing that I’d pulled out of the Mayor race, a London radio station called to get me on for interview. When I said that we were still standing for the Assembly List, he demurred and said “Oh, the guidelines say that if I invite you on I have to invite everyone else on…so let’s not do it right now.” Same guidelines? Interpreted differently? Who knows? They never fully explain them to you anyway. But the bottom line is they can’t actually do their job of covering news about what you are doing because of these setpiece guidelines.

  3. jon says

    I’m not a supporter of Hockey but he has a point! I can understand the media blanking the fascists like the BNP, but why all the others? I suggest its because both Ken and boris are funny.

  4. JV says

    As a UKIP supporter, I have to say that this sums up the frustrations we too experience. You can have unique policies and ideas which are supported by the majority, yet the media base all on polls which have always been wrong on small party support. In 1999, UKIP was showing as Zero in the polls but won 3 seats at the European Elections in spite of being completely excluded from all BBC coverage. Indeed the only story they ran was a false one which clearly stated that our then leader had advised voters to vote Tory – of course it was an ex leader who gave this advice and someone who had left the party. So the state media like the BBC are prepared to slag you off in the few mentions you get, but then give all the main parties slavish coverage based on the balance that Damian talks about. Shame you didn’t stay with us Damian, you’d have made a superb Mayoral candidate for the party!