Saturday, 30 April 2016

Zac Goldsmith should be Mayor of London

On Thursday May 5th London will choose its next Mayor.


"So what," you might say, "what does it have to do with me? I don't do politics."

Well, everything, if you live, work and commute to and from London. You see, you may not 'do' politics, but politics does you. Politics 'does' you for every aspect of your life: your business, your shop, the tax you pay for the privilege of renting a shop and employing people, your safety & security, your children's education, and the general environment you live, work & breathe in, how you express yourself and how much your hard work rewards you.


The Mayor runs London’s transport network – a thousand kilometers of tracks, tunnels and roads - the veins and arteries of this great city, with City Hall as its beating heart. If your trains are always late, or you can never get a seat, the buck stops with the Mayor. If the 3:00pm school run takes an hour, it's the Mayor that can sort it. If your local Borough isn't able to house you, it's the Mayor that can pull them up by setting housing and planning policy. The Mayor is in charge of the Metropolitan Police, not only the biggest police force in the country but also the UK’s counter-terrorism force. 

The Mayor is the face of London, our wonderful city's global ambassador, representing us the world over. The Mayor sets the tone for how London is viewed. London, I submit, is only as good, as business friendly, as flamboyant, as bright, as welcoming, as attractive, as sexy, as cool, and as classy as her Mayor is. The Mayor sets the tone for the rest of Great Britain. THAT is what it has to do with you, like I said, everything.

In addition to the above, what do we need in a Mayor? How about someone who, when the Chancellor is writing the country's budget, deciding how and where infrastructure and development spending is allocated, is in the room, sleeves rolled up, negotiating hard for the best possible deal for London.
Zac & Kawal


So who should be our Mayor? It's a fairly binary choice for us Londoners on the 5th of May - it's between the Richmond MP Zac Goldsmith and the Tooting MP Sadiq Khan. It wouldn't come as a surprise to readers of this blog that I am backing Zac Goldsmith. There are two ways I could go about this - I could talk about why Zac is right for London, or I could rabbit on about why Sadiq is wrong for London. I'll stick with the former, although for contrast I'll touch on Sadiq for comparison.

Here's my case for Zac Goldsmith...

Zac shows up. Over the last year Zac has been to just about every Hindu or Sikh event going: Janamashtmi at Bhaktivedanta Manor, Navaratri in North London, Rath Yatra in Stanmore, Diwali in Kingston.  He’s spoken at Gurdwaras in Southall, temples in Brent and just last week Zac addressed 3,500 people in London’s iconic BAPS Neasden Hindu Temple. He was also at the Modi rally in Wembley when Labour’s Khan was nowhere to be seen. I'm normally cynical of politicians that do this, but do this they must. These events are important to the communities concerned, I would EXPECT a Mayoral aspirant to turn up. I concede that some sections of the Indian Sikh and Muslim diaspora aren't too keen on Indian Prime Minister Modi, but how exactly DO you treat the leader of the world's largest democracy, elected with the largest mandate achieved by any leader anywhere in the history of the world? Modi's visit was about India talking to Britain. Sadiq made it about Hindus, versus Muslims, versus Sikhs. This is as petty as petty gets. Just the kind of politics we don't want to import.

Zac belongs to a party that takes communities seriously - all communities; Labour just take brown votes for granted. I have several historic blogposts on this subject, which I'll hyperlink here later. Instead of offering cheap platitudes and utterly pathetic virtue signalling, the Tories have been snapping up top British Asian talent, people like Sajid Javid, Priti Patel, Lord Dolar Popat, or Shailesh Vara. These aren't just little boxes ticked in the name of diversity - these are serious heavyweights within the Conservative party. And not just that, this engagement extends into foreign policy. David Cameron has made it his aim to build a special relationship between Britain and India. Barely a week goes by without a UK ministerial visit; the PM himself has visited the Indian subcontinent four times as Conservative leader.

London is already on the map, like it's always been. Zac will make sure we remain there, shining on the world stage like we have always done. You only have to spend a day in Sadiq's hood, and another in Zac's to see the difference between the two. Zac has been fierce in standing up for the people that elected him - all of which is a matter of public record. At the last election Zac increased his majority by more than any other MP in the country. You don’t get a result like that unless you stand up and actually deliver for the people you represent. Nothing speaks for Zac than his principled stance on the 3rd runway at Heathrow, which went against his party. I have no doubt he'll do the same for London. When Zac says he'll break the stranglehold of unions on TfL, and use the money saved to deploy another 500 police on the trains networks, I believe him. When Sadiq says he'll throw millions at the unions, while running a £1.9 billion deficit - I believe him too. Guess who's going to pay for that deficit eventually?

Zac has a plan. Read up on what he calls his Action Plan for Greater London: more homes better, transport, cleaner air and safer streets – all paid for while freezing council tax. Unlike his opponent he’s got a decent chance of actually delivering it. Not only because he can get a good deal from the Tory Government who ultimately hold the purse-strings, but because he’s that rare thing in a politician – someone who actually keeps their promises. 

Before I move on to Sadiq, I have to say this: Cack-handed as Zac's team was about threats of taxes on family jewelry, it was CORRECT - Labour DO have plans to tax family wealth, or bring it into the remit of means testing for benefits. This is nothing new, it's always been Labour policy. That they've done nothing about it yet is another matter. Now, with rabid socialists in charge... 


And now Sadiq.

While he may blow hot and cold with admissions or denials of his closeness or distance from the hard-left socialists (communists with cuddly PR) Jeremy Corbyn and Ken Livingstone, who seem to think the highest point of human achievement was 1970s union-run Britain. You remember that time, when corpses lay unburied? These people sneer at success, they think business is evil, they want to tax anything that moves and they have some highly questionable bedfellows. 

The Sadiq Khan leaflets that are shoved through my door scream "The Council Estate Boy" and "Son of a bus driver", and not much else. The way I see it, is has little to do with his background, but an indirect dig at Zac Goldsmith's family wealth. Cheap, below the belt and so very typical of the politics of envy.


Zac is the man with the record of engagement, the clear plan and the means to deliver it. Standing against him are Corbyn, Khan and their union chums, who if they get the chance, will grind this city to a halt.  Zac represents the London and the Britain most immigrants came here for. Sadiq simply is a path to turning this place into the very drudgery and dirty politics many of us escaped from and chose Britain as our home.

You may or may not agree with all I have said, and I urge you to do your own research. This election will be close, so if I have made a modicum of sense, please get out there on the 5th of May and vote. Ignore the polls, and we'll end up with Sadiq. Remember, last time Boris won by just 62,000 votes. Every vote counts. Yours more than anyone else's. 

Londoners, you hold the fate of the city in your hands.

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