Quite apart from the odd idea that the best way to bury an embarassing position is to put it into a press release, it proved impossible to find such a release anywhere on the London Authority site, as several Indymedia users subsequently commented.
However, since opposing the arms fair is so central to the work of Campaign Against Arms Trade, we decided it would be useful to clarify the Mayor's position. He has just replied to us, stating his opposition to the fair and his preparedness to speak publically about this. The letter reads:
"Thank you for your emails regarding the DSEi arms fair, planned to take place at the ExCel centre in London’s Docklands this September.
"Even though I have no powers to prevent it, I wholeheartedly continue to support your opposition to it. It is wrong for police resources to be diverted to this event and a travesty that the cost should be borne by Londoners and not the event organisers. Such events are a disgrace and ought to be denounced by all Londoners.
"I am happy for you to publicise my total opposition to this event, and I will be taking up opportunities to press the venue and event organizers to ban future events. I will also be issuing a statement on my website, www.london.gov.uk, voicing my opposition.
"I am also very happy for members of the public to send me their thoughts by postcard, but unfortunately, I regret that due to ongoing diary constraints it will not be possible for me to accompany you to the Ministry of Defence and present them.
"Again I wish to reiterate my strong support to peaceful protest against this disgraceful event.
"Yours sincerely, Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London"
We thought it was appropriate to publicise this response, given the discussion on Indymedia about it. You can help show the strength of public opposition to DSEi by signing our online petition at http://www.caat.org.uk/campaigns/dsei/petition.php if you haven't already done so.