Cllr Peter Golds is Leader of the Conservative Group on Tower Hamlets Council
Arabella Weir, the actress, is a regular on the BBC. This is surprising, for in 2008 she said in The Guardian (where else) that in the event of Boris Johnson being elected Mayor, “I will go on hunger strike and throw myself in front of the next horse at Ascot if he wins.” Well he did win and she did neither. She also described Boris as “loathsome upper class,” which was a somewhat strange use of words for the daughter of a titled diplomat who commenced her education at Bedales. Needless to say, she is alive and resident in one of the areas of north London, where The Guardian is a major selling newspaper.
This is an example of the personalised campaign that is the hallmark of the London Labour Party and exemplified by Ken Livingstone, whose many recent observations on his own party colleagues show that his invective has not modified with age.
Between now and May 7th, we can expect extraordinary personalised attacks on Zac Goldsmith, allegations of a scorched earth London and parades of “luvvies” trying to justify their fees from BBC appearances by making anti-Tory attacks.
Those of us who have met and campaigned with Zac Goldsmith know well that he has charm, ability and firmness that will make him an outstanding Mayor of London. He is not a career politician and how he made his once marginal parliamentary constituency into a safe seat in five years is the proof of this.
Housing, transport and security are the prime concerns of Londoners.
If there is one group, even more narcissistic than theatrical “luvvies” it is their equally out of touch supporters within the architectural community. Historians of the ’50s and ’60s fill pages of books about the prize winning monstrosities that were inflicted on towns and cities throughout this period.
Ronan Point in Newham, Chalkhill in Brent and the Ferrier Estate in Greenwich, to give three random examples, have all been and gone. However, the memories remain of Labour councillors and fashionable architects who thought that “brutalism” was a good idea, and that those who actually ended up resident in these nightmares were simply wrong.
Government policies to finally end these disasters are welcome. There are enough examples of failed estates remaining in the capital to show Londoners from east to west and north to south what can and will be done to improve their home environment.
Three more tube strikes have been announced, coincidentally by a union extremely supportive of the Labour candidate, regarding the “night tube.” The night tube is a brilliant idea and union opposition is luddite and politically motivated.
In addition, whilst reading through the Mayor’s budget, funds will be going to support the Metropolitan Police Service, whilst completing the promise for a year on reduction in the GLA precept on council tax. Labour, of course, will spin otherwise.
This is a genuine record of achievement from Boris Johnson, so different from the policies of cronyism and division which marked the crumbling end of the Livingstone regime just eight years ago. Livingstone’s was an administration where the Mayor had paid more visits to Venezuela than several outer London boroughs.
With a Labour candidate who nominated Jeremy Corbyn as leader and who has leading members of the Livingstone administration on his campaign team, a Labour victory in May will mean a future of division and distrust. It beggars belief that just as unreconstructed Labour are set to lose in Scotland and Wales that they should have any chance of winning the administration of the economic power house of this country, London.
Zac should ignore the personal attacks which will come thick and fast from Labour’s outriders and concentrate on the policy successes of the past eight years and how this will be taken forward into 2020. There should be no ”no-go” areas. Over the past weekend the campaign stretched across the capital including an excellent effort in Southwark’s Faraday Ward. Zac is a Londoner relaxed and confident within himself and determined to be a relaxed and confident Chief Executive of the world’s greatest city.