I’ve already written at length about my dislike of Boris Johnson in a previous post. I think his bumbling persona masks a heart of naked ambition and basically don’t think he deserves to have what must be one of the greatest jobs in the world – namely being Mayor of London.
Seriously, I can’t think of a better job? Can you? For Boris it’s just the consolation prize – he thinks he should be Prime Minister. Look at him here (if you must):
Anyway. I’m not going to bore on about Boris. I want to talk about Ken.
For me, Ken is the natural mayor of London. He may be knocking on a bit, but his policies are spot on. He understands this city and cares about the people who live here. He introduced the Oyster card to make it easier to get about and brought in the Congestion Charge to make our city less congested.
Boris is known for the “Boris Bikes” but anyone who knows anything knows that the scheme was actually brought in by Ken (who also brought us the Olympics). Ken did a brilliant job of calming down London after the 7/7 terror attacks – he was in Singapore but flew home immediately.
Contrast this with Boris’s pathetic performance during the 2011 riots. He was away on holiday when the riots kicked off and finally showed his face during the Clapham clean-up a few days later. It would be fair to say he got the welcome he deserved:
As a Labour party member, I helped select Ken back in 2010. His only challenger was the dreary Oona King, known for her slavish devotion to Tony over the Iraq War. Oona may be younger and prettier than Ken but she is a lightweight to his heavyweight. At our party meeting only a couple of people voted for her; in my mind there was no contest.
Ken is a pioneer; his Fare’s Fair policy to slash transport costs back in the days of the GLC was revolutionary, while the work he did to recognise the rights of women, gays and ethnic minorities changed our society for the better. David Cameron and co may currently be trumpeting their plans for gay marriage, but let’s not forget that only a few years ago, Cameron was voting to defend the toxic Section 28. In 2001 (the year Cameron became an MP) Ken introduced civil partnerships for same sex couples in London – his progressive credentials are streets ahead of pretty much any living politician in the UK.
This time round his policies are no less impressive – cut fares, bring back the EMA, help women on low incomes with childcare and help Londoners access cheaper energy. He also wants to introduce a London wide’s letting agency to make it easier and cheaper for Londoners to rent property. All brilliant, brilliant policies.
A few moments ago I was phoned by Ken’s campaign people to remind me of tomorrow’s tube station leafleting campaign. I’ve done it before and I’ll be doing it again – see you in Kentish Town tomorrow.
I’ve been out over the weekend and will be canvassing again this evening – basically doing all I can to hammer home the message. What’s especially heartening is that the campaign seems to be working – the latest YouGov poll puts Boris on 51 per cent and Ken on 49 per cent. Since there is always a 2 per cent margin of error in opinion polls this means Ken and Boris are effectively head to head. Neck and neck. It’s a real photo finish.
What is especially wonderful about this news is that it comes in the wake of what can only be described as a total character assassination on Ken. Most of this poison drips from the pen of Boris toady Andrew Gilligan – responsible for the “Ken is a tax evader” stories.
As a self employed person I find this very. very hard to care about – what Ken did is totally legit and fair enough. Big bloody deal. It does not make him a hypocrite or whatever else the right want to call him.
Then there is the anti-semitism stuff. Again did anyone find any real evidence of Ken’s alleged comments about the Jews? Ken is known for his support of Palestine; to turn this into anti-semitism is just nonsense. Next!
Finally, the furore over the campaign video, which Gilligan and co claimed contained actors. Another slur that was proved to be nonsense. What next – Ken eats babies for breakfast? You might think I’m being ridiculous but I genuinely believe that the right will do everything it can to stop him. Remember all the loony left stuff back in the 80s – later proved to be utter fiction? And we think times have changed…
Why is this? Basically, Ken is one of the few mainstream politicians who is still properly left-wing. He wants to represent all of London not just the 1 per cent. Boris is backed by big business, finance and private equity – which may explain his persistent defence of bankers to an incredulous public.
Ken has a cast iron track record – at the GLC he stood up to Thatcher, who saw him as such a threat that she scrapped London’s local authority. He also stood up to Blair, standing against the official Labour candidate Frank Dobson in 2000. Next to opponents like this, Boris Johnson seems like small fry.
I have every faith in Ken and will spend the days up until May 3rd doing all I can to bring him back. I think he’ll do it. How bloody brilliant would that be?