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Kevin Davis

This is an excellent dissection of the problem with Ken but is a little light on what Victoria would do. It's also a tough argument for the party to take the Mayor seriosuly and then argue that his powers should be returned to the Borough's. I agree that Councils should have mpore powers but I do wonder if they should be given to them from central Government rather than the Mayor. Control over their incomes is a case in point.

Selsdon Man

Kevin makes excellent points.

The ideal candidate is someone who has

a) Experience of dealing with London's media
b) Has a proven track record of delivering change, ideally within a major government organisation.
c) Has the ability to reach out beyond the core Conservative voter.

A local councillor simply does not meet those criteria.

kris F

It concerns me that Victoria states that she would put an end to Police patrolling in pairs. This is worrying because it weakens the power of the police. People are less likely to attack two police officers than one on their own. This would completely weakent their position. Also forcing officers to live in certain streets in London sounds crazy. I work for the VAT office and we make sure that an officer does not visit businesses near where they live in case of reprisals. I would say that many Police would be upset and deeply disturbed by her proposals.


The party should not shy from attacking the creation of a Mayor of London for what it is - another New Labour failure.

Creating a Mayor and GLA has only resulted in additional costs and additional restrictions on our liberty - its created nothing of either social or economic benefit. London's dynamism comes from the many varied individuals that live in it, not from a new tranche of bureaucrats. Its about time the party committed itself to abolishing this unnecessary layer of government.


Our best attack on Ken is that he is a "Zone 1 Mayor in a 6 zone city", so it's a shame that the only declared candidates are people who won't be able to use that line of argument.

I'm also not sure how Kensington & Chelsea councillors will appeal to people in Tower Hamlets, Lewisham, Lambeth, Ealing etc


Why do we need a Mayor for London when there is a Minister for London - or vice versa? If we need someone to speak for London in terms of 'selling' it to business and tourism, why can't the powers of the Mayor of the City of London be extended, bypassing politics altogether.

Is there a case for co-ordinating the London Boroughs? Well, just possibly, but then such an assembly could vote for its own Leader.

I still haven't read a convincing argument for the Mayor and Assembly since the whole stupid idea was mooted, way back when.


I wonder who is supposed to pay to accomodate police officers living in their streets in Mayfair and Belgravia?

Helen Thomas

Victoria is right to say we should take the Mayor's job seriously. A Conservative Mayor could make the kind of big New York-style improvements in policing that could reverse the rising tide of crime we've experienced under two terms of Livingstone. However, I don't think Londoners can take her seriously as a candidate, or as a potential Mayor. She has no business management experience--procuring party donations from wealthy friends hardly counts. And the only election she has ever won was last year--as a councillor in the most Tory borough in London. She tried and failed to secure even a nomination to represent the party for a seat on the London Assembly, a task which, to say the least, is not as difficult as unseating the man who has run London for11 years--13 by the time of the next Mayoral election. We need a big personality, whom Londoners know to take on the Mayor, someone who can connect with less affluent areas and London's many diverse communities.

Perhaps running for the GLA again might be a better idea?

Victoria Borwick

Thanks for the comments - I am not standing because I am a local Councillor although the political experience is useful. I was born in London and have lived in London all my life. I am standing because I have over 25 years business experience with multi-national companies, (and 2 interesting years at Central Office working for Stanley Kalms, the founder of Dixons - a great business man and leader.)

I believe that running London needs business brains - understanding budgets, strategic planning, teamwork and focussing on what is needed for London, rather than playing politics. The selection of the Mayor is political, but we need a chief executive who would work with the London Boroughs and deliver the right solutions for Londoners (reducing crime, improving transport, addressing the housing shortage, environment and so forth) This is not about posturing it is about action. Victoria Borwick

Selsdon Man

But what have you, personally, actually delivered, Victoria? What and how will you deliver as Mayor? You have not told us.

A Chief Executive can be appointed to deal with strategic plans and budgets. The Mayor must be a political leader with vision and innovative ideas on crime, transport, housing etc.

Your comments suggest that you are more suited for a management role.

Martin Hoscik (MayorWatch)


A couple of points on the Ken issue - you seem to have missed a few vital points about why he won in 2000.

When your party abolished the GLC in 1986 it allowed Ken to spend 14 years telling anyone who would listen that he did such a good job of opposing Tory policy that the only way Thatcher could silence him was to abolish his job.

People will hold differing views about the validity of those claims but because they were made at functions and via the airwaves no-one ever had the chance or inclination to challenge them.

The myth was strengthened when new Labour and Tony Blair nakedly and publicly rigged an entire selection process to try and prevent him from securing the nomination. Blair's apologists spent weeks claiming the fixed process was the same as the one which selected him - except it wasn't. Under the Mayoral selection unions didn't need to ballot their members.

This easy to spot difference added to the smell of vote-rigging and completed the myth of Ken as some form of Arthurian King over the water figure.

I recall asking one person to vote for Susan Kramer whose campaign I worked on in 2000. This normally LibDem supporting Londoner told me he "owed Ken" his vote in return for the policies he'd pursued in the 80s which saw his wife receive good pay at the GLC and have access to childcare so she could work and increase the household's income, improving their quality of life.

These were the policies many in your own party dismissed as 'PC gone mad' but are now accepted facts of mainstream politics and this this was someone who'd never had the chance to become disillusioned with Livingstone the man and vote him out because - I have to echo the point - of the decision to abolish London's government. Instead he voted for a selectively remembered myth.

That Steve Norris did as well as he did in 2000 and 2004 was in no small way due to the perception that he'd distanced himself from the central party.

Anyone looking to stand instead of Steve and who seriously wants to unseat Livingstone (and I don't think anyone from any party is going to do that) needs to recognise that the reason he looks so smug is because two very strong autocratic PMs have tried and failed to stop him running London.

Cameron gives every impression of burying Thatcherism and Old Labour look likely to bury Blair before long. Meanwhile sitting in City Hall with an enormous budget, increasing powers and growing international profile is that former Lambeth councillor.

No wonder we see so much of that smug grin. If any of us were he, we'd sport ours for the cameras 24/7 too.

Dawn Cole

As a party worker, I think our candidates sometimes allow spin to get the better of them in the presentation of their experience. Victoria says: "I have over 25 years business experience with multi-national companies" but being an employee of multi-national companies is not the same as having "business experience" or directing as a CEO of London vast budgets for a variety of public services that are much more challenging than simply working as an employee. Other candidates do this too, saying they're business people but neglecting to point out that they inherited the business or started with inherited money. Perhaps Victoria means that her husband runs his own business, for example, but he inherited it from his father. That kind of experience is a little different to building a business oneself, to say the very least. In this election so far, we've had people tout that being an employee for a large company is "business experience" (guess what? large companies have more employees than smaller ones because they are larger: their size does not give you "business experience" and most Londoners are employees working for companies that does not give them "business experience" either), we've had someone who used inherited money to start a business with a handful of clients described as a successful businesswoman, and someone who ran a DIY business, all try to claim that this experience is somehow comparable to making executive decisions about multi-million pound budgets. It isn't and they know it.

Martin Hoscik (MayorWatch)

I managed to miss something in your original post:

'Many of us remember with dismay the loony Left antics of the GLC until its unlamented demise in the mid-80s.'

Can you tell us which parts of the GLC's policies you consider 'loony left'? Was it the policy of equal pay for woman? for BME's? tolerance towards other expressions of sexuality or faith? access to childcare?

It's fine if the answer to any of those is 'yes' but I think you need to be clearer so that Londoners can make an informed decision.

As for the abolition of the GLC being 'unlamented' I think you're very wrong.

There were many people who lamented the vandalism which was the removal of London's government.

Perhaps not relying on the GLC for your home - and thousands did - or through ILEA the eduction of your children insulated you from the impact of what was an unwarranted act of vandalism.

Millions of the people you want govern weren't rich enough to be so insulated.

london tory

Martin is right about this. The policy of leaving London without a local government was a huge mistake, and, as Martin says enabled the current Mayor to prolong his political career far longer than if he had had to face the electorate every four years.

I think having an elected Mayor is a huge improvement over the old GLC, although the post really needs more powers over the police and transport especially to be made more effective. Ironically, by trying to unfairly cut Livingstone to size both Labour and Conservative parties have made him more popular, allowed him to play the victim, and provided a distraction from his many failings on crime and now even congestion.

Let's leave the outdated "loony left" rhetoric in the past where it belongs. The Conservative Party missed a trick when they thought racism, sexism and homophobia didn't matter. Our Mayoral candidate has been quite a bit ahead of our party in recognising that. I don't think the Conservatives are sufficiently strong that they can ignore that painfully learned lesson.

Graeme Archer

I shouldn't really post this - if you can't say something positive, don't say it really - but I thought Victoria's article was dreadful. It has no vision and is full of tiresome cliches. The opening paragraph makes my heart sink.

I'm sure she's a great woman & any Tory putting themselves forward is to be congratulated - but I think that a councillor in a safe seat in a safe council is probably not best psychologically equipped to articulate what needs to be done to get the Tories a solid majority across all the communities in London.

I thought Steve Norris was always very strong on this - OK I am more than a little in love with Mr Norris - but we need someone with a similar strength of vision about why London matters before we commit to a candidate.

Jill Murray

I think this statement of Victoria's...

"Jamie and I have four children and are “seven day a week Londoners”. We don’t disappear off at the weekends."

...demonstrates that she is out of touch. Most Londoners don't have holiday homes. Her neighbours in Kensington & Chelsea may disappear off at weekends but that is not something that marks out the vast majority of Londoners from their neighbours.

I think we need a candidate who can relate to the vast majority of Londoners for whom the option of disappearing off at the weekend doesn't exist and is not spoken of.

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