Wednesday, 25 April 2012

The ITV London Mayoral debate - 24th April 2012

Did you watch the Mayoral debate last night on ITV. Due to personal commitments, until now, I've not seen anything. To be honest I've not been that interested. We all know Boris and what he stands for and we all know Ken and what he stands for. As to everyone else, why bother?

Last night, having watched Chelsea's thrilling victory over Barcelona (yup I was cheering for Chelsea for the fist time in a long time), I thought I'd see what our potential Mayors had to say. To be honest, I'm disgusted with what I saw. Firstly only four out of seven candidates were allowed to appear. Whilst two of them are right wing looneys, who decides who we can or cannot see? Where do we draw the line? Whilst I pretty much know what the BNP and UKIP stand for, I've  no idea what the Independent candidate stands for or who she is. Everyone seems to be saying an Independent cannot win, but the first London Mayor was an Independent. How quickly we have forgotten that Ken Livingstone was an Independent Mayor in his first (and most successful) term.

But that isn't what disgusted me. It was the performance of Boris and Ken. It is clear that neither have anything new to offer London. The constant back biting and bickering over dodgy statistics was ridiculous. Boris looked smug, Ken looked tetchy. If these two really are the choice, lord help us.

Brian Paddick (Lib Dems) and Jenny Jones (Green) had something positive and interesting to say. I am not a fan of the Lib Dem role in the coalition, but the more I see of Paddick, the more credible a candidate he seems. He exposed Boris for telling porkies about Police numbers. Boris claimed that there were 2,000 more police. Paddick pointed out that these are Specials and work 8 hours a week. They are also unpaid.

Jenny Jones gave a good account of herself as well. She is in the unenviable position of being both patronised and ignored for much of the contest. I think she deserves better.

Londoners seem to have a short memory. Boris claims he's doing well on crime. Less than a year ago, the streets of London were on fire and he wouldn't come home from his holiday. The coalitions cuts are devastating London, people are being driven out of London in their droves. This is fairly and squarely down to Tory policies. Boris talks of all these savings and tax cuts he needs to make. He's had four years, how come there is still so much fat in the system? If he said "look I've cut it to the bone, this guy will ruin it" that would be credible. Saying, "I've been mayor for four years and I've not made cuts that I have identified" cannot inspire confidence. We know what the Conservative policies do, the Conservatives have lead us into recession (just announced) and Boris is an uber Tory  - check this - Basically Boris is a politician for the politics of economic failure.

The truth is that London deserves better than these two. I doubt they will get it. I doubt I will watch another one of these tiresome shows.

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