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Comments

Phil Taylor

Aristeides is right to point out that safety, transport and the physical environment are issues for Londoners. It is facile to claim that the Mayor is not doing anything about these. The Mayor's Safer Neighbourhood initiative is popular and I am sure it will have an impact on the perception of crime if not the reality. That said to increase the precept by 175% while only putting on 5,000 extra coppers, half of whom are only PCSOs anyway, seems like a bad bargain. On transport the Mayor's investment is infrastructure is quite right but we pour £2 billion of subsidies into TfL and at the sames time have eye watering fares. TfL remains one of the most wasteful and inefficient parts of our broken state. The Mayor's main environmental impact seems to centre on a few big projects in the centre.

Aristeides is also right that London is a brilliant place. Sometimes we just need to remind ourselves that London is the only world city in Europe, ALL other European cities are just provincial backwaters compared to London. London is the most important financial centre in the world and the political centre of the fourth largest economy. How we can have an old school socialist running this city is beyond me. The Mayor's big tent politics though tends to take the motors for growth and prosperity in London for granted. The LDA spends £450 million per year, much of it misdirected on bread and circuses, rather than in bolstering our core skills in financial services or insuring London against a down turn in financial services.

Overall the Mayor has an influence over £10 billion of state spending. We need a mayor who can drive TfL and the Met hard and bolster London's unique position in the world.

Mark Wadsworth

This all looks very promising!

Nick Paget-Brown

Aristeides

What a shame that you don't reveal your identity!


You say that:-

"For a Tory Mayor, it means transforming those three areas where current performance is woeful: safety, transport and the physical environment. In each of these areas, there are no simple, quick fixes: there is a lot of work to be done".

Warwick Lightfoot's Campaign Team couldn't agree with you more. Competence, thoughtfulness and track record are essential qualities if London is to thrive. A Conservative Mayor needs someone who can work with the Boroughs - not against them.

A glance at www.lightfootforlondon.com
should reasssure you that Warwick has these qualities and has thought long and hard about what a Conservative Mayoral candidate needs to do to appeal to all Londoners without wasting their money.

Better policing, improved transport infrastructure, planning policy that respects local concerns and the establishment of a sustainable environment will all be key themes of Warwick's campaign.

The constant refrain for a "name" completely misses the point that Livingstone has a 30 year background in London local politics and therefore needs to be challenged by someone who also understands how London government actually works. Dipping into the celebrity circuit, or twisting the arm of someone who has established themselves in some other area is not going to lay the foundations for an effective campaign. I hope that "Mary Poppins" will realise this, will do his or her homework, stop flying kites and will then join Warwick's team as soon as possible!.

Regards.....Nick Paget-Brown

London Salmon

It's good to see something positive written about the, so far stillborn, contest to take on Ken in '08. The silence referred to is embarrassing, and re-inforces the negative perceptions of the Tory party as simply not caring.

I agree with the idea that our candidacy should be a 'big tent' one. Just because the Mayor has little power, doesn't mean we should have little ambition. I'm delighted to also see a positive idea, rather than the usual scrap this/scrap that argument. ( a brief glance of Mr Lightfoot's website is most depressing)

I am following this with much interest;
http://londonsalmon.typepad.com/london_salmon_small_fish_/2007/01/one_risk_too_ma.html

Londoner

I am surprised it is considered controversial to have the aim of "making London the best city in the world". There is always an element from the UK outside London which likes to rubbish it, but we real Londoners know, for all its faults, that it already is the best city in the world.

But "best" feels a bit subjective - "greatest" less so (whilst still maybe implying "best"). So I suggest the slightly amended slogan: "A Mayoralty fit for the greatest city in the world". This has the advantage of pointing up that the present Mayoralty isn't. However, whilst it might not require Mary Poppins, it does require someone capable of inspiring people as the public face of that greatest city. Whilst I am not saying that none of the present declared candidates could find that inspiration in them, just knowing about London local government is not sufficient.

Matt Davis

I am delighted to see someone, anyone, start to take our London Mayoral campaign seriously.Beating Livingstone is the single most important thing that Conservatives in London can do in the next 18 months and yet we have slid into a dreadful malaise caused largely by the ill thought through & failed rush to "early" selection of a candidate. The candidate is going to be vital and does need to be an individual with the existing public recognition and basic charisma to take on the incumbent. That however does not mean some faded ex media star looking for a good dose of attention to rebolster their ego.

We really do need to start to put together policies and a platform for the contest and start to set out an attractive alternative to Livingstone's high tax, high fares, high spend, limited results administration.In particular the Mayor's transport policies have manifestly adversely affected more people than they have benefitted; a dogmatic anti car obsession coupled with the highest public transport fares in Europe ought to be an open goal for the Conservatives.

So well done and good luck to Aristeides

Comstock

Are you actually gonna give us a name at the end of the week?

This could be interesting.

Martin (MayorWatch)

Oh come on. The last time the Tories "did something about transport" in London they starved the tube of cash and sold off the bus network.

It's the franchising of the buses to private operators which swallows the subsidies that Phil and Roger are right to bemoan, maybe a Tory Mayor should run on a platform of bringing them back under direct ownership?

As a group you might need to decide if you're against subsidy or - like Matt - opposed to high fares.

If you cut the subsidy fares will go up even more, if you slash fares you'll need more subsidy. Non-Tory voting Londoners can count you know!

Nick, "Better policing, improved transport infrastructure, planning policy that respects local concerns and the establishment of a sustainable environment" will all be key themes of EVERYONE's campaigns. Where's the USP?

As for the claimed "general dissatisfaction with the sheer inconvenience and discomfort of being in Ken Livingstone’s London" in the original post I just don't see this in the real world.

Yes, some people who opposed the congestion charge in 2000 still oppose it and some who voted for the Mayor without reading his manifesto didn't realise he was going to introduce it but this doesn't translate into widespread dissatisfaction by any objective measurement.

Roger Evans

Martin states that we face a tough choice between higher fares or a high subsidy. This assumes that the current system provides value for money - but the briefest glance shows this is not the case.

Fares go up beyond inflation, but the market is captive so the money keeps rolling in. TfL collects the cash and makes an embarrassingly large surplus, even before they pay the contractors.

The payment (subsidy) passes through the opaque contract mechanism on its way to the operators who make huge profits. Recently a couple of franchises were bought out leaving the operator with a huge capital return.

The headline financial results clearly show that savings can be made without cutting services if only the contracts can be unscrambled. Public ownership is not required or desirable.

John Moss

Jacqui Lait chairs a series of London Policy meetings and they are a worthy attempt to get the policy making moving, even without a Mayoral Candidate, though Boles and Borwick turned up last night!

The issue last night was the alternative to the London Plan vision of one huge hub, being the City, West End and Docklands, where all the jobs are - and an ever denser dormitory suburb-land at the end of longer and longer spokes.

Simon Milton gave a good analysis of this and there was a robust discussion, but general agreement that strengthening suburban economic growth, not just housing, was important to reduce commuting and reliance on cheap homes in East London where - to quote the Thames Gateway Interim Plan - most of the jobs will be in retail or the public sector. ("You want fries with that?" springs to mind).

I recall to 2000 elections when an unready Tory Party sorted itself out almost by accident with policy groups on the key themes and many of those young activists from back then went on to fight and in some cases win seats at London, EU and UK parliament levels.

Con Home can do its bit, but those activists interested in being more formally involved should get along to the next one in Feb and get stuck in!

paul Newman

Are you actually gonna give us a name at the end of the week?

This could be interesting


Its Nic Boles.

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