Saturday, 5 May 2012

Election of Johnson a disaster for the excluded

As the dust settles on the GLA election results my main concern, despite the good news that Greens are now the third party across London, is the disastrous re-election of Boris Johnson as Mayor. In line with London Green Federation policy I voted second preference for Ken Livingstone as a progressive candidate with many faults but one who in terms of policies shares our concerns about social justice and the environment.

The domination of personality over policy involved in the Mayoral system means that at a time when London is facing unprecedented pressures over employment, housing, school places and deteriorating air quality impacting on the elderly and children,  we have a Mayor who has no strategy - just bluster and boorishness concealing a policy vacuum.

I ask anyone who voted for Johnson to consider what he has achieved for ordinary Londoners.

The message his aides are feeding to the media that he represents a more right-wing, muscular Conservatism that the Lib Dem infected Coalition government bodes ill for the future of London and its citizens - particularly the excluded.

There has been much discussion of the limited powers of London Assembly members in terms of scrutiny but they can reject the Mayor's budget. Labour with a gain of 4 places now have 12  assembly members against the Conservatives nine  (a loss of 2 including the reviled Brian Coleman) so now have an overall majority. Greens are unchanged at 2 on a par with Liberal Democrats who lost one seat.

How this pans out will be interesting.  Despite the policy vacuum it is possible that Johnson will be granted more powers by central government and given his lack of attention to detail there may be opportunities for the opposition to step in with well-researched suggestions on how these could be used.

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