London goes to the polls this week. While the rest of the country has local council elections, London votes for its Mayor. It's the biggest directly-elected budget-holding post in the UK: £13 billion annually to spend, employing 103,000 people and a £39billion transport investment programme over the next 10 years.. And there are some massively key decisions to make which will impact on London for generations: the nature of the cross-rail project, the renewal of the contracts for the modernisation of the Tube...
And people are still seriously thinking of voting for Boris Johnson? Don't piss about London - this is serious.
Let's be clear - I really like Johnson. He's very funny, and articulate on TV. But he's simply no idea, or experience, of the complexity of running of major urban economy. The biggest job he's previously held is editor of The Spectator. While doing so he gave a lot of support and work to one Andrew Gilligan. Gilligan currently works on the Evening Standard, and has spent the past 17 weeks writing the most vitriolic attacks on the current Mayor, Ken Livingstone. The Evening Standard is the only proper London evening newspaper, and their hugely biased campaign has been disgusting.
Ken is no angel - he likes a drink, and a couple of his people have been less than perfect - but Boris would wilt in a day under the same scrutiny. Boris is:
- prone to terrible gaffes, mostly on the issue of race. Not what you need in the most diverse city in Europe.
- a political chameleon, who has u-turned his way through elections since his student days.
- a useless economist, who has screwed up the figures on his flag-ship transport joke policy.
- given to violence. It is well known he offered to sort out 'disposing of' someone who had offended a friend.
So, London, don't piss about here. If you live in London, explore the issues properly and I'm sure you'll Vote Ken, and put Green at number two. The Boris joke is over. We need more than a monkey in charge. And if you know someone who lives here, make sure you tell them to get out and do something sensible with their ballot.