Later this week the Labour Party will determine its shortlist of candidates for London Mayor. Ken Livingstone has published his self-nomination letter, which you can read below, so that we can all see whyhe is seeking to be Labour’s candidate and the big challenges that the next Mayor will face as a result of our changed political times.
Livingstone argues that it is is important for transparency that London Labour members see what the potential candidates for Mayor are saying ahead of the shortlisting on Thursday.
to Ken Clark
Greater London Labour Party
I am writing to seek the Labour nomination for London Mayor for the 2012 London elections.
I am enclosing a CV of some of my political experience which sets out my track record of working for Londoners and representing Labour’s values, from local ward councillor to Mayor.
I want to be Mayor for one overriding reason. If I am elected my focus will be to do everything I can to protect Londoners from the recession and the effects of the new government’s policies.
The situation facing us is very serious: because of the global economic crisis that has left us with a fragile recovery that may go double-dip; and because we have a government removing billions from our economy and planning cuts on a scale that we have not seen for decades.
The majority on middle and lower incomes will be forced pay, while a rich few will be protected. We can see it already, with child trust funds cut; employers’ National Insurance contributions held down but employees’ contributions to be raised; ten thousand fewer university places; hundreds of millions axed from spending on schools; and the uncertainty in London about the future of Crossrail.
If I am selected and then elected by Londoners my aim is to use every lever to make sure our quality of life is protected and improved. Not a mayor who spends his time defending bankers but instead one who will use Mayoral budgets and powers to protect ordinary Londoners. I would overhaul London’s budget priorities in favour of Londoners as a whole.
Instead of Boris Johnson’s wasteful projects we must concentrate on defending public services and holding down fares; we need to halt the present short-sighted policy of cutting police numbers – we should give a clear guarantee that all 640 neighbourhoods in London will keep their dedicated local team of beat police officers; I would redirect investment in skills and training to creating jobs and apprenticeships for school leavers and graduates; I would press the government for powers to raise money on the bond markets to build affordable homes including for rent; and I want to use the lessons of city mayors from around the world who are using smart technology to improve services.
Energy and environment policy must focus on helping household budgets. I want to cut energy bills by improving insulation in every building in London over ten years.
Just as the economic and political situation is changing, so is the world economy. Londoners’ future prosperity depends on relations with dynamic developing economies such as China and India. This work is neglected. I want to change that so that we fight to make London the gateway to Europe for the most important centres of new economic growth.
I will speak for the whole of London. Boris Johnson ripped up plans for better transport links like the extension of the DLR to Dagenham Dock, a new river crossing for south and east London, and the extension of Croydon’s Tramlink. Some of the biggest single tube fare rises were on Londoners travelling from outer London. His plans to slash tube ticket office opening hours and cut staff will hit stations in outer London hardest.
My focus will be on the day job. If elected I will only have one job, unlike Boris Johnson who works as a Daily Telegraph writer paid £250,000 a year, a salary he calls “chicken feed”. His mayoral salary rose in his first year by five per cent. His Chief Executive got a twelve per cent boost, crashing through the £200,000 barrier. I will take no pay rise during this four year term if I am elected mayor and I will institute a four-year pay freeze for all senior mayoral appointments at City Hall.
As I know from my weekly LBC radio phone-in, the opportunity to listen and talk to Londoners is invaluable. Unlike the current mayor who refuses to answer questions I will endeavour to answer the Assembly’s questions properly. A visit to the mayor’s website sums up the problem: in the last year only one or two webcasts of press conferences. I will reinstate a regular weekly press conference and give the London media more opportunities to question me.
One of my priorities for this campaign will be to help build on the work of the London Labour party to ensure it is in fighting shape for the full campaign. I want to use the time we will have after this selection to build up the Labour machine and work out how we can localise the Mayoral campaign message so that there is a real flow of information between the London-wide campaign and local activists.
To deal with the more difficult circumstances London faces we need the best possible dialogue within the London Labour movement to get the best for Londoners. If I am elected Mayor I want to see regular meetings that bring together London’s Labour Assembly members, trade unions, London Labour MPs, MEPs, and Labour local government leaders.
The breadth of support that my candidacy has so far drawn together – from local government, MPs, trade unions, Young Labour members, and CLP officers – demonstrates a strong desire from all parts of London Labour to fight and win in 2012. I have appointed as a vice-chair of my campaign a London Young Labour member – Veronica King – because I am determined to ensure that younger members of the party are not only treated as a great campaigning asset, which they are, but as integral to what we do and say.
I look forward to the opportunity to meet the short-listing panel later this month and, if short-listed, to make the case for a better London.
Serious times require serious solutions that protect Londoners. We need a Labour mayor of the capital: to protect public services in London, create new jobs, make the streets safer, hold down fares, and build more affordable housing.