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london tory

We can't have a candidate who doesn't even believe in the office of the Mayor.

Tim Aker

Hallelujah...a conservative standing who actually believes in smaller government and is willing to do something about it.

I wish Dr. Rotherham all the best, and shall support him in the conservative cause of abolishing wateful government.

Opinicus

Of course we can

How many of us believed in the Mayoralty before Ken. How many of us think Ken has been an ornament to London

Abolish the Mayoralty (and the GLA) and see your council tax drop.

Tory Bunny

A Mayoral candidate on a platform to abolish the post would be a disaster. Cameron's acceptance of devolution has done the party some good and made us look more realistic in our outlook.

I fear such a candidate would not only led to a heavy defeat in London it would lead to much of the good work nationally being undermined.

Dr Rotherman, if you don't want the job, don't stand for it!

Serf

Lee Rotherham becomes the fifth Tory

Did I miss something. I make that 6.

Editor

You are right, Serf. Sorry!

Denis Cooper

Some clarity is needed here. I've always felt that it makes sense to have an elected body for London to take care of matters which span the whole of the conurbation. Once that was the LCC, then the GLC, now it's the GLA. However that doesn't mean that I want London to be classed as a European Region, or "city region" as it's now being called, with links to Brussels and playing at running its own foreign policy. And I've never been in favour of a directly elected Mayor. A Mayor chosen by Assembly members, who could therefore also be removed by Assembly members when he went off the rails, would be better.

Nadim

Interesting...

But doesn't this agenda sound something like the disastrous early policy of UKIP? Their very early aim was to stand in Euro elections but never take their seats out of protest. It was their 'dodo' pledge. They now not only take their seats (they had to change their policy to get any credibility at all), but they now indulge in the gravy train just like all the others.

Lee Rotherham is saying 'vote for me' (ie use your vote wisely), and I'll eliminate the devolved powers of the mayor (ie I will take away your power to vote directly on these local concerns). For all its (and his) faults, Ken has managed to achieve what decades of London MPs failed to achieve, and that is a political identity for London. People now know who to appeal to and who to blame about the underground, or congestion, etc.

Personally, I not only want the London mayoralty to stay, I want it replicated all over the UK. Powerful mayors in charge of real local issues - like policing or health - so that people know who is accountable and who to sack or re-elect. At the moment, councillors do little more than sort out rubbish and recycling, and some employed Chief Executive wields the power. Mayors should have the power the office demands, and chief execs should be abolished.

I think Lee Rotherham is on to a loser.

TaxCutter

Excellent, its about time that we had the debate about whether this level of government is needed at all. What has having a Mayor achieved? A brave move by Lee, and one that deserves to succeed.

Denis Cooper

"Lee Rotherham is saying 'vote for me' ... and I'll eliminate the devolved powers of the mayor ..." Well, I'm sure he couldn't do that, because those devolved powers derive from Parliament. He could say that as Mayor he wouldn't fully exercise his powers without referring decisions to the Assembly, but he couldn't abolish those powers for his successors.

As I say I think it's essential to distinguish between a system of London-wide government through an elected body (previously a "council", now an "assembly", as in "European Regional Assembly"), possibly with one of its members chosen to be a Mayor with some degree of executive power, and a directly elected Mayor with wide-ranging executive powers.

Personally I see a big difference between an elected body for the whole of the metropolis, or for other dense conurbations or cities across the country, and a Regional Assembly covering a sprawling and entirely artificial European Region with wide stretches of open countryside separating small cities and towns and villages, where the traditional county structure is more suitable for our purposes, if not for those of the EU.

For example, it makes a lot of sense to have a Metropolitan Police Force, with a Metropolitan Police Authority to ensure democratic accountability, but it makes no sense to have a South East England Regional Police Force with effectively zero democratic accountability. In fact I'd like to see police forces like Thames Valley broken back down to county, city and town forces.

But at the same time I think London covers too large an area with too many people for direct election of a Mayor, or for that matter a police chief. It's not like voting for somebody who lives just round the corner and who's fairly well known in the flesh. Everything the voters think they know about the candidates will have come through the distorting prism of the media - hence the search for celebrity candidates - so it's difficult for them to make informed decisions about how to vote. Maybe that's one reason why so few do vote.

sjm

Well, Lee's the guy to give a gutsy AND intellectual argument for his proposition, and why can't we have an examination of the need for yet another layer of bureaucracy (at our expense), now that we've had a few years of it?

Yes, let's have Executive Mayors of Boroughs in London who can then co-operate where necessary, but can we really say that London has been improved since this postion was inaugurated? As a Londoner, I'd need a hell of a lot of convincing this was so.

jane

Madness!

Richard

We always talk about devolving power from the centre to local authorities. How about local authorities devolve some of their power down to the people i.e. privatise local services? Then we could have cuts in council tax and smaller local government.

Denis Cooper

Privatisation of local services would do nothing to devolve power to local people, instead it's more likely to transfer power away from local people and their elected representatives to private companies and shareholders.

Jletwin

Wonderful, sound candidate with vast amounts of knowledge, enthusiasm and experiances. Spending six months in Iraq and a long standing commitment to ousting the wonker that is Red Ken.

If we can wrap him up and present him as a caring and genuine conservative with an instinctive drive to improve life for all londoners I think he would be a very, very attractive Mayor.

He has the intellect, the contacts, the approval from the right and I am certain the ability to wipe the floor with Ken in any one on onoe televised debate (what a good idea!).

If he fights a good, tough, local campaign - free from glitz and soundbites and in contrast to the national Conservative PR Strategy - he could be very successful.

There is an appetite for change, the local elections showed there is an appetite for Conservatism and who better to lead the fight to boot Ken from his Kremlin.

All the best Dr Rotherham..

dizzy

Is it me or has it all just gone a bit crazy with candidates in the last couple of days? At the end of loast week there were two Kensington and Chelsea councillors, now we have six potentials and by the sound of things there may be more to come.

Chad

Lee's candidacy will (most likely) actually highlight that the Tory candidate selection method is anything but an open primary.

If a certain number of signatures from eligible voters was the method of creating a sensible candidate list, then Lee would be free to make his case to Londoners and could only stand if he gained the determined amount of support.

However, what chance does Lee have of getting through the CCHQ filtering process? None, I wager and yet he is the candidate offering something different.

Justin Hinchcliffe

He's not got my vote. Boles, so far, has secured it.

James O'Shaughnessy

Abolishing tiers of government is all very well, but when planning something like Crossrail or the Olympics, or overseeing the tube or the Met Police, you simply have to have an organisation bigger in scope than the boroughs. The question is, therefore, should that be central government (or, even worse, its quangos) or a democratically London authority. Surely it has to be the latter?!

Andrew Ian Dodge

If you live in Westminster you can see how much Mayor Ken and his office cost you every year. What exactly the purpose of the mayor but to cost Londoners lots of money (and in Ken's case make an arse out of London) escapes me.

Nikki Bailey

Where is Steve Norris when we need him? He is the only Mayor-type personality we have.

I suppose Richard Barnes at least has some competence and experience and I can see that Nicholas Bols shares Steve's liberal views. But either of them will struggle to get taken seriously by the media as even a threat to Livingstone never mind defeat him.

Chris Gillibrand

"We can't have a candidate who doesn't even believe in the office of the Mayor."

So maintaining a bureaucratic, time-serving, yet-another-layer of government post, copiously spending but partially accoutable (to the London assembly- only worried over by political anoraks) become a part of the Tory credo.

Dogma is rightly left to religion, but free the people from socialism!

Denis Cooper

Ah, but London is a "world city" (as well as being one of the "cities and regions of Europe") and somebody has to decide London's foreign policy, convene important international meetings, entertain visiting dignitaries and be pictured with them signing solemn declarations on climate change or gender equality, whatever, see:

http://www.london.gov.uk/

plus lend his moral support to the leaders of terrorist organisations etc.

michael mcgough

Perhaps if the Conservatives don't adopt Lee then UKIP might usefully stand on this ticket!
Nice one Lee.

Mark Wheen

No candidate whom the media will regard as being a threat to Livingstone.

No candidate whom Livingstone fears for even one second.

This is turning into the biggest shambles since Lord Archer was the Tory candidate.

The deadline must be extended.

Carol Edwards

This blog is a meeting point for the rational and the irrational elements in the Conservative Party, out of power now for 9 years, on the most optimistic of views for another 3 or 4, and maybe for another 9.

Rational: Mayoral candidates have to support the office of the Mayor.

Rational: Provide incentives for big names to come to you, don't assume that they will.

Rational: Make your primary fit in with the schedule of good candidates, not the other way around.

Rational: Don't call people who don't know the first thing about running for Mayor or being the Mayor.

Rational: If your primary process produces a bunch of people whom the Mayor is not even remotely afraid of, and whom the media do not believe will win, then start again.

Geoff

"We can't have a candidate who doesn't even believe in the office of the Mayor."

I would hate to have to vote for any other sort of candidate. Campaigning for abolition is the way forward. The GLA building would make a perfect headquarters for a multi-national Bank, and the money made on the sale could pay for the redundancy cheques for ex-Congestion Charge enforcers when we hopefully abolish that too.

Actually, now where did I leave that Mayoral candidate application form again?

Martin Hoscik (MayorWatch)

Geoff

There would be no money from a sale of City Hall for the simple reason that the GLA doesn't own it.

It's on a 25 year lease from the developers, a decision taken by central government and forced upon the Authority.

Richard

"Privatisation of local services would do nothing to devolve power to local people, instead it's more likely to transfer power away from local people and their elected representatives to private companies and shareholders."

Then they would be able to choose whether they wanted to use those services or not instead of being forced to pay for them via taxation. I would consider that to be devolution of power (freedom to choose how to spend one's money).

Denis Cooper

Really must get away from this idea that privatisation is a panacea - it isn't.

Selsdon Man

The 25 year City Hall lease could be sold on. Mr Hoscik appears to have little commercial knowledge.

Martin Hoscik (MayorWatch)

Actually Selsdon I have a lot of commercial knowledge which I find pretty handy in running my business.

However I'm led to understand that the lease terms prevent it being sold on and that it has early termination penalties.

Of course I've never read the lease myself so I wouldn't go to the stake over the issue!

Opinicus

There's not a lot of subtlety on this blog, is there? The Tory message need not be abolish the Mayor outright but to let the people decide in a referendum whether they want to continue with it. In the meantime we offer lower council tax, Police told to pick on criminals and not motorists and a four year freeze on the congestion charge.
The legality of the referendum is secondary and would create a nice stick to beat Brown with in the run up to the general election - why wont Brown let Londoners speak (because he's only interested in Scotland) etc.
The functions of the mayor are either administratively automatic or politically symbolic. The actual person who is Mayor has very little real power to change anything. We can afford to oppose in a completely shameless manner. We do not need "to always play the game and always lose".

Richard

"Really must get away from this idea that privatisation is a panacea - it isn't."

I'm not advocating it on the basis of economic efficiency but on freedom of choice. I simply said it allows people to decide what they want to spend their money on instead of being compelled to part with it and have it spent for then.

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