Probably when Tony Blair's government created the post of Mayor of London,
it was not expecting the mayor post holder to wield very much influence
or power - after all the cash available for the London assembly/mayor's spending
budget was not expected to amount to very much.
Ken Livingston, who is not my favourite politician, soon put paid to that expectation
by successfully setting up the London traffic congestion charging zone, the cash from
which swells the London mayor's coffers as well as those of the private limited company
contracted to run it. All credit then to Ken for that piece of political verve. The idea
of reducing pollution and congestion on London's streets is a good one too though
perhaps not as successful in practice, as the congestion zone's cash raising aspects have been.
London's mayor as a consequence now has real clout and cash and the importance of the
post has grown. Londoners should therefore vote on May 1st. For whom to vote, is the key question.
London needs a maverick, independent minded politician. However the post holder
is supposed to have regard to all of Greater London. What what are unnattractive about Ken's
political style are his focus groups and cash supported cronysim, mainly and
disproportionately, concentrated upon Inner Labour Boroughs.
His style is perfectly legal but as I am not really interested in the areas
he focusses upon, there seems little point in my voting for him. Also politicians of
all political shades tend to grey a bit or worse after a few terms in office,
so I'll be looking to Boris Johnson for political innovation and colour for London
from May 1st 2008.
Boris Johnson and Brian Paddick are both making reducing London crime
priorities, but the latter being an ex-policeman might be too concerned with discipline
and insufficiently attuned to the more colourful aspects of life which make London
so great a City.