Thursday, November 02, 2006

Mayoral Hopeless ?Turn again Newman.

Good old Coucillor Stefan Kasprzyk , well half of that is true , is trying to get Dick Wittington some sort of shrine ,in the new Archway development . It is an inspiring story isn’t it . A man arrives in London with nothing but his wits and , possibly , a cat , makes a fortune, and becomes Lord Mayor of London. There really was a Richard Wittington, but the pantomime character probably accounts for most of his continued fame . What is Stefan up to then . Just the usual Lib Dummery I `m afraid ;advertising some vague niceness with no substance behind it . The real Dick Wittington , an independent small businessman , would have loathed the sort of politics Stefan believes in with its high taxes, busy bodying and anti individualism .

I `m afraid the way to become Mayor now is rather different . A career starting in Lambeth Council and avoiding economically productive activity at all is the way the current incumbent chose . I `m not all that keen on the Tory suggestion either, at the moment . Nic Boles is absolutely not what we need and it was as a protest I submitted my own application . I really don’t take myself that seriously but who knows , it might be interesting seeing what they have to say.
Here is what I wrote ( I had really no idea how to do it so no laughing…)

In no more than 600 words state what you consider to be the most important challenges facing London, and explain how you would approach them in your role as Mayor

The legend is that Margaret Thatcher said "There is no such thing as Society". but in fact she added "Only Community" My vision of London is not of a Grandiose single entity but as a series of communities. These communities may be geographical, religious or virtual for example but it is London’s ability to include difference that I would like to re -emphasise. This would have a number of implications only some of which I have room for here.
In my own Borough we have recently been the subject of GLA bullying over the number of new and Social accommodation to be inflicted on Islington. The Mayors targets are nothing short of a new Hells Kitchen and this is repeated throughout the Capital. I do not agree with much our locally elected Liberal Council do, but I deplore the Mayors creeping influence over planning and strategic decisions. My vision of London is of one that has a less important Mayor. I am entirely happy with the paradox.
The acceleration of net migration into the Capital for example is not sustainable and to pretend it is, is to sacrifice all commonsense in order to dance around the politically correct maypole. As many who worry about immigration, unfortunately, are racists, those who worry but are not, must be crystal clear about their ground. It is quality of life within communities for Londoners, all Londoners, that is a stake. My own family will, I hope, demostrate, this is a workaday problem for us all.
The effects of Home Office blunders and Policy in this area are felt disproportionately in London, we have little control. The role of Mayor is highly plastic however, as we well know, and my ideas for a new type of Mayor would enable him to speak effectively for London against Central Governement when required.

The use of any Regional authorities has been chiefly to confuse the voters, esepcially with regard to national planning strategy. I would like to unravel the Central Government, Regional Authority, Local Authority knot and engage in continual transparent debate. This debate would include, vitally, a direct, formal and strong decision making role for London’s Boroughs. It may be counter intuitive, but increasing the Mayors paper powers leaves him powerless to affect London’s real problems which to a large extent are the remit of national Government. A population the size of Scotland with much larger tax revenues should be able to wield political power. We call Ken Livingstone "King Ken" but he is a King of America, a nonentity in representing us to the outside world . To speak for London the Mayor must be more Presidential, a conduit for democratically expressed wishes. Not a Dictator or worse still an apologist for New Labour mistakes.
The Mayor is currently too powerful, we know. That he is, as a consequence, isolated and powerless is a problem that deserves our attention as well.
The problem, encroaching state coercion. Measures? For example, I would remove the pointless congestion charge and press hard for less draconian and anti car local policy, where possible. I would try to work with Local Authorities in adjusting their increasingly intrusive policies on the use of CCTV and I would leave cyclists alone. The logic of public safety is capable of infinite extension.
William Pitt "Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the arguement of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves".
I have the space for a mention of crime. Until such time as the police are properly accountable to the "local" people they serve I would use the position to apply whatever pressure I could for greater value for money. It is my belief that of all the institutions we rely on this is the worst performing and local Councils are currently fobbed off without proper information or any real input . Again my imagined City is locally empowered. Improving trust and performance here is a vital balancing strut to the Libertarian agenda but we should not forget the role of strenth in earning respect.
A politically powerful but formally weak Mayor will about face to represent all of London against Central Government policy not to its liking. My London would have been recognisable in some ways to its Medieaval citizens, free, plural, local, independent and on occasion a nuisance to its National Rulers.

How much time could you give to the role as Conservative Mayoral Candidate? Please be as specific as possible.

I have full time job. Other than that all my time. In many ways this is the heart of what is partly a protest application . David Cameron has encounterd the problem a lot of reformers do . Unitl he mentioned it we hadn`t noticed how bad things were . ...... ( I call it "Now you`ll have to do the whole thing syndrome").

1 comment:

vikki said...

"Lord Mayor of London." ?

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