Response to John Bird’s Evening Standard Interview by Alison Roberts, 21 March.
“Bird simply isn’t a credible candidate for Mayor of London and seems to have little understanding of the powers the job brings.
It’s all very well decrying what he terms “Londonmonoculture” but the
Mayor has no power to affect the mix of shops on the high street or
influence the economics which dictate that larger chains will naturally
dominate and it hardly seems credible for a man who decries dependence
on the benefits system to seek to prevent mass employers opening new
The idea of standing for election and then holding a referendum on the
future of the Congestion Charge is a sign of political weakness which
proves his unsuitability for the job.
The current Mayor showed real
political leadership in introducing an unpopular scheme and then
expanding it and this is the benchmark against which would-be Mayor’s
will be measured – it’s just not enough to limply seek “more consensus”
on an issue which by its very nature is deeply divisive.
It’s a common assumption by the politically inexperienced that the
public want to be continually consulted, in truth once they’ve voted
the electorate expect the victor to govern not continually seek
permission to implement individual policies.
Ultimately any candidate serious about standing and winning will
already have crafted a carefully thought out manifesto, as your article
makes clear Bird hasn’t done so.
If he hasn’t yet identified London’s problems why should Londoner’s look to him for the answers?”