As there are no Conservative councillors in Newham the odds must be stacked against a Conservative winning the race to be the directly elected Mayor in the borough on May 22nd. However the Conservative candidate Stefan Mrozinski is fighting an impressive campaign.
Mr Mrozinski is a corporate lawyer in the city but his backrgound was rather less affluent. He is the grandson of a Polish immigrant who came to the Scotland after escaping from a POW camp in 1943 – with no more than the clothes in which he stood and with no English.
Stefan is the eldest of the children and remembers his mother working night shifts in a supermarket and his father working long hours in the office to bring in extra money for the family.
In terms of polices Mr Mrozinski stresses the importance of immigrants being able to speak English to achieve integration:
We need more English language training so that all newcomers are able to lead more fulfilling lives. But at the same time, we need a Mayor who will listen to all those who live in Newham, no matter where they come from, no matter what the colour of their skin, and no matter what religious beliefs they hold. And yet we’re still waiting for such a Mayor.
On education he is concerned about “the 35 per cent of children who don’t even manage to leave Newham’s schools with five decent GCSEs” advocating “partnerships with companies in the City” for local schools.
So far as housing is concerned he would “prioritise social housing for those in work, key workers, carers, volunteers, foster carers and the armed forces.” He would ensure those involved in anti social behaviour face eviction and adds that we must “learn the lessons of the 50s, 60s and 70s, and reduce the number of tower blocks being built in Newham.”
He would “work with grassroots groups to open up Newham’s waterways.” All council spending over £100 would be put online, the Council’s magazine would close, the Mayor’s salary would be cut and the cost of the council Cabinet halved.
That campaign has made a conscious effort to reach out to all ethnic groups and sections of the community.
So in one of the poorest parts of the country a strong, unapologetic Conservative message is being vigorously put across.