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I know the London Evening Standard are quite rightly closely watching exactly if/how Cameron delivers his clear promise of an open primary for the London Mayoral election.

If the end result falls short of the promise, and it would seem CCHQ filtering of candidates is inconsistent with the promises (when signature gathering should be the only filtering used), then there is likely to be a hostile media reaction in London harming the already slim chances of the Tory candidate no matter what their agenda.

This does appear to be another test of Cameron's word, but I wonder if the lack of any breadth of candidates is the best reality check that shows that most Londoners are in fact happy enough with Ken.

I sense a disappointing result for Ken rivals this time.


"Do Conservatives, for example, have anything new to say to London's Muslim communities?"

Such as? Why should they be treated any differently from anyone else just because they have a different religion? They're probably concerned about crime and education just as much as anyone else is.

John Moss

It has to be remembered that Norris underperformed the Conservative vote both in 2000 and in 2004, recording a lower first preference vote that the Conservative list vote.

This is despite a concerted focus on hot button issues for the "core vote", like crime. I suspect his reputation as a "moderniser" did him no good, despite lots of effort - mine included - to get him round and about.

James is correct that we need to look again at how we have presented "zero tolerance" or "broken window" policing. I suggest we have failed to take both the opportunity to criticise Livingstone and Stevens/Blair for the half heartedness of their approach, or to explain the "and" side of the policy.

The criticism is that 3 police officers and 3 CPSOs per ward, on a three shift system, means just two people at any one time, only one of which is a police officer. That this equates to less than 2,000 of the Met's compliment of more than 26,000 gives a lie to the claim that they are focused on "Community Policing". In my local nick on Saturday, I noticed five posters in the public reception, 4 were encouraging our sexually diverse friends to get in touch to report hate crime and the last was about a murder a year ago in Nottong Hill, which on closer reflection turned out to be a gay man and again the entreaties were then for other gay persons who had suffered to come forward.

My own borough has a team of 11 officers dedicated to hate crimes, they wait in the nick for somebody to report one, then go and investigate.

Now, this is not a rant against the efforts to eradicate prejudice, but like the efforts to convict more rapists, it assumes these crimes are being committed and not reported and that more effort needs to be made to be "fair" to the gay community or to women. It is heresy to suggest there may be a better approach, namely taking the 11 officers in the hate crime unit and the however many in the rape unit and putting them on the streets, in uniform, preventing crime.

Perhaps the Conservative line should be teams of 12 police offices per ward, one seargent and three pcs, per shift, plus a couple of CPSOs, patrolling on foot with a "cop shop" in the local high high street, library or school? This would still only require about 8,000 officers, leaving 18,000 for the task of catching criminals after they've committed their crimes.

The "and" part is a new prison in every borough, with 100 beds and a suite of classrooms to educate the lags while they're inside - which ought to be for a minimumn of 12 months for anything. That ought to reduce the reoffending rate dramatically, allow prisoners' families to see them more easily, be more humane and create local jobs.

These "prisons" would look like budget hotels, just have a bigger fence and could be built in about 12-18 months. I would suggest that the Conservative canddiate, whoever they turn out to be, should pledge that the only time they would direct a local authority to grant planning consent would be for one of these.

london tory

Oh dear. Where to begin? I'm hoping that Mr. Moss is not a member of the Conservative Party but I fear that he may well be.

First of all, the Mayoral election is not a traditional first past the post system. It was introduced by the Labour Party after we lost the 1997 general election. The object of a Mayoral campaign--and some would-be candidates have had trouble with this notion even at the selection board meeting--is to win both first and second preference votes.

This Mr. Norris did, winning 45% of total votes under this system in 2004 and 42% in 2000: considerably higher than the number of first preference votes cast for the Conservative members seeking election in constituency London Assembly seats. The latter in fact saw their vote drop from 33% in 2000 to 31% in 2004. Incidentally, his first preference vote rose by two points, on a higher overall turnout than in 2000.

Crime is a London-wide, not "core vote" issue but he may have missed the important way that Mr. Norris communicated his positions on this subject. The ability to win those all-important second preference votes would not have been helped by "a new prison in every borough" or by restricting planning applications to said prisons or by making comments such as "our sexually diverse friends."

And some people still say the Conservatives don't have to change...

london tory

"The next Mayoral candidate must reach out beyond our traditional comfort zone in the "London suburbs to build relationships and have things to say to London’s black and ethnic minority communities."

I think that Mr. Norris was good at this, although dragging an at times reluctant and somewhat unreconstructed party behind him.

James Morris has written an interesting article. Can he share the polling evidence that housing and the environment have become more important in the last 2-6 years?

Chris Palmer

I think this article is a little odd.

Mr Morris says that the last two Mayoral campaigns involved "what might be called the traditional Tory agenda in London"--anyone who observed them will tell you that they were very far from the traditional tory agenda in terms of issues--the party in London was obsessed with issues such as Section 28, asylum seekers, the euro and immigration while the Mayoral campaign focused on the key issues of crime and transport.

Also, William Hague and Iain Duncan-Smith hardly signed up to the liberal views that Steve Norris espoused on the campaign trail.

Steve Norris ran a highly inclusive campaign that reached out to London's many and varied minority ethnic communities as well as London's thriving gay and lesbian community in a way in which the party didn't know how and sometimes didn't seem to want to as well as addressing environmental, affordable housing and quality of life concerns.

Thankfully, times in our party have changed and the leadership have now embraced that actually non-traditional Tory agenda.

It's like the author is trying to make a point (not exactly clear what) but doesn't have facts to back it up.

James Morris

Chris, I was drawing a distinction between a 'traditional tory agenda for London' and a 'tradtional Tory agenda' which are two very different things.

Chris Palmer

"Chris, I was drawing a distinction between a 'traditional tory agenda for London' and a 'tradtional Tory agenda' which are two very different things."

Yes, I can see that. I'm just not sure that you are making any sense. People did not regard the last two Mayoral campaigns as a traditional Tory agenda for London--they regarded what the party nationally was doing and saying in London as that--the party has now moved into line with the London campaign nationally--neither is a traditional apporach---and both reached out beyond "the traditional comfort zone in the Londons suburbs."

You say that: "The next Mayoral candidate must reach out beyond our traditional comfort zone in the London suburbs to build relationships and have things to say to London's black and ethnic minority communities." That is precisely what Steve Norris did--he outpolled the party even on first preferences in Labour's heartland boroughs. Did you know that?

Your article makes assertions for which you don't appear to have produced any evidence. Perhaps you are trying to promote a candidate but you don't want to say their name? Sounds a bit like it.

James Morris

My article is not meant as a criticism of Steve Norris who, as I said at the beginning, did better then expected in 2003 and neither is is about promoting a candidate; it is about starting a debate about what the future agenda should be for London.

Martin Hoscik (MayorWatch)


You are of course 100% correct - no-one thought Steve was pushing a traditional Tory message in 2000 and 2004.

His public differences with party HQ over Section28, the frankly batty letter from some Epping Forrest Tories and the comments by Ceri Evans expressing discontent with the "racist and homophobic element" of the party all combined to tell Londoners that Steve was someone they liked and who felt like he was part of the modern London they knew.

london tory

It's a tough trick to pull off to convince Londoners that you are one of them while at the same time letting Tory voters know that you are enough of one of them that they can also vote for you.

That's a political tightrope walk that politically inexperienced K&C councillors and think tank wonks can't pull off.

Steve knows how to walk this walk with skill, charm and style. He's done it dragging a party stuck in the past behind him. Cameron and Norris would be an awesome combination, and show everyone that the Conservatives were back in London.

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