It’s a Mayoral Election not a Beauty Contest

As Labour’s GLA candidate for the West Central constituency (which includes Hammersmith and Fulham, Westminster and my home borough of K&C), I am keen to run a campaign that focuses on issues that matter to the people of West Central. Between now and May’s election, I will be listening to the residents of West Central to find out about their priorities. I will also be promoting the issues high on my list, such as freezing public transport fares, promoting construction of more social and affordable housing in West Central, fighting Tory cuts to the number of police on our streets and promoting the London Living Wage.
Election outcomes matter. The choice that we make next year as Londoners will have a huge impact on public services in our city, and on the success of the Tory-led government in radically reducing the role of government. With Ken Livingstone, we can protect our public services and the number of police on our streets, freeze transport fares and promote the construction of more social and affordable housing. With Boris Johnson, we can protect the interests of the rich, cut public services and the number of police on our streets, pay higher transport fares and continue to see social housing in West Central disappear.
Like many thousands of Londoners, I’m an immigrant (I grew up in the United States). The last presidential election that took place while I was resident in the United States was the Bush-Gore contest of 2000. Though it seems hard to imagine now, many people said in 2000 that it didn’t matter whether Bush or Gore won because there was “no difference” between the two. Some people said that they were going to vote for Bush because he would be “more fun to have a beer with” than Gore. I think that history has proven that George Bush turned out to be a very different sort of President than Al Gore would have been. Bush’s disastrous administration demonstrates that the decisions that elected leaders make can have a profound impact on our lives. Likewise, many people are finding out that there is a great deal of difference between the Conservative and Labour administrations. If you want to find out whether elections outcomes matter, ask the students who have lost the support of Education Maintenance Allowances and are facing impossible university tuition; people who depend upon public services that are being cut; and people who are struggling to pay higher public transport fares.
And I’ve got news for anyone who plans on voting for Boris because they think he is the more likeable candidate: the chances of your ever spending time with Boris Johnson in a social setting are very small. If you think he is a fun guy, then maybe you should invite him to your next barbecue, but that doesn’t mean that he is the better choice for Mayor of London. Frankly, I find Boris’s Bullingdon Club background repulsive and I doubt I would have much in common with him one on one, but that is beside the point. I’m voting for Ken Livingstone because he has the policies, as well as the experience, that London needs in troubled times.
Todd Foreman is a Councillor for Notting Barns Ward in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, and Labour’s candidate for the West Central GLA constituency in 2012.

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