Ken Livingston had his Fares Fair , which of course soon got bogged down in the Tory courts. Boris Johnston had his cycling revolution which also got bogged down, though this time through lack of conviction. Painting a few blue lines on the road maketh a revolution not. But at least both Livingston and Johnston had something of a big idea. But the current crop of Mayoral hopefuls really are a sorry lot. A chance to lead one of the planet's leading metropolises and not one of them can come up with an inspiring policy. Of course all the Labour candidates are mouthing the right sort of platitudes on housing, transport and the environment but you get the distinct feeling that none of them really mean what they say.


These New labour types, of the left and right variety, were in government for thirteen years and did next to nothing to deal with the rising tide of inequality and the growing housing crisis. In fact it could be argued they made it worse. Why should we believe they are going to put their career necks on the line and confront the vested corporate interests that rule the London roost? They won't. They might tinker around the edges but you can bet your last pound at the end of the next mayoral cycle London will still be building luxury apartments for foreign investment, the gap between the haves and the have-nots will still continue to widen, and the air in central London will still be unbreathable. Why, one of our hapless wannabe Mayors is even proposing not one but two new airport runways. Well done Mr Thomas. Now here's a man who really grasps the dynamic of global warming and catastrophic climate change. Well, that's New Labour for you, still in bed with the corporates.

What about our billionaire Tory, Zac Goldsmith? Well he does have a principled position on Heathrow expansion and he does have a vague commitment to cleaning up the environment but when push comes to shove you can bank on him towing the corporate line. It's in his DNA. Of course I'd love to be proved wrong but in the absence of any specific policies beyond opposing the Heathrow Third Runway, I'm not filled with optimism. He just doesn't strike me as a politician who's got the balls to stand up to vested interest. And why would he? He and his extremely rich family, complete with their offshore family trust, are an integral part of the corporate financial system and turkeys never, ever vote for Christmas.

So with Bob Crow untimely sent to his grave and Carolyn Lucas busy down in Brighton and Linton Kwesi Johnson out the country, who the hell have we got with the conviction and vision to put forward a bold plan for the capital? Nobody. So we are left with the current crop of mediocracy. Sadiq Khan and Dianne Abbot are by far the best of the crop but where is their big idea? Where is their vision to inspire the capital's weary citizens? A shopping list of worthy intent is just not good enough. We need something revolutionary in keeping with the tide of Corbynomics currently threatening the corridors of power. And the starting point must be a QE for the capital in order to tackle the endemic poverty and inequality that blights so much of the city.

What big ideas should we expect our mayoral candidates to come up with? How about free public transport for all? That would be the sort of incentive needed to get people out of their cars. That could be complemented with a fifty pound congestion charge for central London with exemptions only for electric vehicles. Or how about a totally integrated network of dedicated cycle tracks. No half measures. Give it the real Dutch treatment. Now that would be a policy worth voting for.. Or how about a cast iron pledge to build a million new council houses over a ten year period? That would equate to 100,000 per year which would reduce down to 3000 per London borough per year. Definitely doable and definitely worth voting for. Or how about a £12 living wage for every worker above the age of 18? Now that really would get the working population buzzing, young and old alike.

And, you can already hear the New Labour types whining, great ideas but we just can afford it. But the one thing that London does not lack is a shortage of capital. It is awash with the stuff. It is not for nothing that the CIty of London is known as the money laundering capital of the world. Got some dirty drug, weapons or people smuggling money you want cleaned up? London is the place for you. Sink it into some luxury river-side apartments and magically, you can virtually double your money before the thing is even built. No questions asked. Drug money from Central America? No problems. HSBC specialise in this field. Profits from currency manipulation? Perfect. Just give your friendly high street bank a call. They will do the rest. Dictators, oligarchs and oil rich sheikhs particularly welcome. Gangsters in suits are our speciality. Park your dirty money in the London skyline and you will be fated as royalty. Or how about buying yourself a football club. We can easily arrange that for you too. Oh, and we also specialise in corporate tax evasion should you be interested.

It's all as plain as the nose on your face but you won't hear this sort of narrative from any of the main Mayoral hopefuls. But without confronting this unsavoury reality there is little hope of funding the social programmes that London so desperately needs. As things stand at the moment, I think I'll give Russel Brand a ring and see if he's looking for a steady job for next few years. If not, perhaps Naomi Klein might consider relocating. There's no doubt about it, it's a great job, one of the best in the world, for someone with the political balls to take it on. Failed and discredited New Labour types need not apply. Faced with this depressing scenario the only positive option is to dream red and vote Green. Now, a Green Mayor for London  that really would be a big idea.


End JPK Copyright, 8/8/15

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Last Updated ( Sunday, 29 July 2018 16:41 )