Voters in London will have a great chance to kick the government when the mayoral election takes place in May. The incumbent, Labour’s great survivor “Teflon” Ken Livingstone, takes on Boris Johnson MP for the Conservatives, Former Lambeth police chief Brian Paddick for the Lib Dems and Sian Berry for the Greens.
Despite the mass of newspaper reporting of the election, particularly in the national press (I apologise wholeheartedly to those in the rest of the UK who thankfully don’t care about this), I believe the whole election at present is a waste of time.
The Labour government brought in a policy of introducing directly elected mayors, something which is alien to the British tradition. This was one of the many ill-thought- out plans to rejuvenate moribund local government in the UK.
The plans for the mayor and the assembly, which in 2000 replaced many of the government joint bodies which managed the capital’s affairs, were deliberately designed to stop one person from having too much power- namely Red Ken, due to his colourful past as a London councillor and the former leader of the late Greater London Council, before the Conservatives abolished it in 1986.
But the real issue is that the assembly has very few powers to start with. It has responsibility for the likes of strategic planning, transport and the police…. and very little else. Most of the services are run by the capitals 32 boroughs. If someone has a problem, they don’t know who is responsible for which service. There’s a lot of confusion…. and very little accountability.
I’ll still cast my vote for who I will believe should be the mayor, because as a democrat, it’s my right, and my duty…. but the endless rubbish that’s written and broadcast in the press is more likely to turn Londoners off.