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London Mayoral Elections

Last week I sent an email to the candidates under the umbrella of the Woodland Trust, asking about policies for trees in London. Today I have read the Guide to the Candidates. I've covered them in the order they appear in the Guide, which was determined by drawing lots.

Sophie Walker - Women's Equality - Grand aspirations, unrealistic promises, including some I'm fairly sure aren't actually anything the Mayor can do much with. Good to see her on the ballot, but not credible.

Lee Harris - Cannabis is Safer than Alcohol - Duh? About what you'd expect from a back room conversation fuelled by pot.

Zac Goldsmith - Conservative - Good relations with Government, experience as MP, minimal greenery, minimal transport, nothing about business/employment. Nothing to object to here, but not much distinctive or ambitious either. Looks like a credible candidate.

David Furness - BNP - Blame everything on immigration, and immigrants. Against everything that is not for the mythical British, very little for the city I actually live in.

Caroline Pidgeon - London Liberal Democrats - Support for young people in several areas, and flexible support for people in work across several areas, experienced in the London Assembly. Offers specific measures that appear sensible in some areas. Nothing green in the leaflet, but replied to my email on trees with a good story. Credible.

Paul Golding - Britain First - Blame everything on immigration, and immigrants, except what can be blamed on political correctness. Vague aspirations that ignore the actual business of running a city.

George Galloway - Respect - The man who would be god. Or at least all things to all people. Big on aspiration, short on actual policies. If he's like this in person I can see why people might vote for him.

Peter Whittle - UKIP - Support from Nigel Farrage - the only one who mentions his party leader. Immigration is a problem but it's one we can do something about, and (interestingly) not actually blaming immigrants. Some specific proposals very much focussed on managing the effects of immigration on housing. Nothing on business, transport, greenery. A very narrow platform, not terribly credible even within its limits but not terribly offensive either.

Sadiq Khan - Labour - A very personal platform from someone concerned to show himself as a Londoner across a broad base, with experience from the bottom to the top of politics. Does "all Londoners" better than Galloway. Mix of aspiration and specific measures that match Goldsmith point-for-point, more-or-less, with some extras. Feels quite joined up. The leaflet though the door said the same things. Credible.

Sian Berry - Green - Experience as Londoner and local councillor. Nice mix of visionary policy and specific measures that address business, transport, greenery (though not trees), security, housing. Feels quite joined up. Replied to my email with a good story on trees. Credible.

I am looking for recognition that the city state of London supports the livings of more than eight million people, at work and at home: running and working for commercial and non-commercial organisations, raising and caring for families, providing support for other people's lives and requiring other people's support to live their own. These things are not independent of each other, but I'm not seeing that in most of these platforms, which are isolating out particular concerns for particular constituencies but not recognising that we all have interests in all of them.

Who to vote for? Realistically, the competition is between Goldsmith and Khan, and from this leaflet only a matter of personal taste to choose between them. Pidgeon and Berry are credible, but their parties have relatively little support. The rest are nowhere. I'd like it to be between Khan and Berry, but it won't be. Berry offers more than Khan who offers more than Goldsmith for the kind of thing I want to see happen.

Who to vote against? On these platforms there's not much to say against any of Berry, Goldsmith, Khan or Pidgeon. I could respect support for Galloway, Walker or Whittle. But I have had two leaflets through the door, one from Sadiq Khan and one from Zac Goldsmith. Khan's leaflet gave the same messages as his platform above, not adding or subtracting. But Goldsmith's leaflet was a racist attack on Khan that completely destroyed my faith in him as a candidate. I do not want the person who originated or sanctioned that leaflet as Mayor of London.


Caroline M

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October 2017