Early next month, they will be asked to choose the Labour candidate for the 2012 Mayoral contest. I’m fighting for London’s future, not Labour’s past and I am the candidate with the best chance of beating Boris Johnson in 2012.
I started this campaign as the underdog against Ken Livingstone. Fighting a London-based contest, who wouldn’t be? But over the weeks and months my campaign has demonstrated time and again that I am the candidate with the ideas and policies to change London for good and the response of Londoners has been incredible.
When you to compare the ideas of Labour’s candidates you can see who’s taking London and Londoners more seriously: I’ve developed ideas that meet the challenges London faces, housing, crime, transport and more. Ken’s mentioned some ideas on Pubs and Music. Don’t get me wrong, our pubs and music industry provide jobs and entertainment; but not a single Londoner has said to me that these are their top issues – the challenges Londoners face deserve more thought, vision and energy to address them.
As Mayor I will help young people and those on low incomes get on the housing ladder through a ‘Mayor’s Mortgage’, help renters save for the future while they pay their landlords and provide an equity release scheme for pensioners. And I will reinstate the 50% affordable housing target for new developments.
My policies on crime, particularly gang crime have won the backing of Richard Taylor, Damilola Taylor’s father. Gang, drug and knife crime tends to blight our poorest neighbourhoods and we need to understand why young people get sucked in to this violent underworld and stop it.
Through my direct work with young Londoners affected by these issues, I get the causes and the consequences in a way that I think two successive mayors and two successive governments frankly haven’t. I will involve London’s young people in solving this pernicious crime that ruins too many lives, young and old.
Unlike London’s previous Mayors, I will take charge of the Metropolitan Police by chairing the Authority and taking responsibility for policing. Policing needs to deliver for local communities, and I am absolutely committed to fighting Boris Johnson and the Tory government’s attacks on safer neighbourhood policing.
We still need vast improvements on our transport system. As Mayor I will reintroduce the western extension to the Congestion Charge Zone and will be completely unapologetic about it. I will use the money to keep fares down and introduce more school bus services to reduce peak school-run congestion on our roads.
Boris has hit people in the pocket with unjustifiable rises on bus fares that have hit the poorest hardest. I will work with cycling groups to make London’s labyrinthine cycle lane system easier and safer to navigate both for cyclists and other road users and I want to massively increase the amount of safe cycle storage available in every Borough – the quid pro quo for cyclists will be a clamp down on pavement cycling.
London has suffered from the global banking crisis. People have lost jobs and our young school and university leavers have been hit particularly hard. I will reopen and renew London’s international offices, inexplicably shut by Boris Johnson, to encourage investment and jobs in to our city and I will open 10 new skills academies to provide people seeking employment with the skills and opportunities that London’s businesses need.
At the top of the tallest tower blocks in my constituency you can see the bright lights of two of the richest centres on earth in the old square mile City of London and London’s docklands, standing at either end of one of London’s poorest boroughs. Tackling injustice and inequality has been the driving force of my life and my politics – you can read more about my campaign, my ideas and get involved at www.oona4mayor.com My ideas for London will start to make sure everyone has a stake in London’s future and together we can change London for good.