For­get Ken, Boris and Brian — vote for me

The Jewish Chronicle - - FEATURES - SI­MON ROUND

This time next week, we will know whether Ken or Boris or per­haps even Brian is the new mayor of Lon­don. I have to con­fess the prospect does not ex­cite me. Ken’s voice is too nasal for my lik­ing, Boris’s hair is quite frankly a mess, and as for Brian — well call me prej­u­diced, but I don’t think a city the size of Lon­don should have a mayor named Brian.

The rel­a­tive un­pop­u­lar­ity of all three can­di­dates (I have yet to meet any­one who is whole­heart­edly in favour of any of them) leads me to think that maybe I missed a trick by not stand­ing my­self. True, I have no po­lit­i­cal ex­pe­ri­ence what­so­ever, but on the plus side, I have never called any­one “a con­cen­tra­tion camp guard” and I am not a lu­di­crous buf­foon.

And I have ideas for the cap­i­tal. So, rather too late, I’m afraid, here is my blue­print for Lon­don.

Trans­port is at the heart of my vi­sion for the city. Should it be bendy buses or Boris’s up­dated Routemas­ters? My pro­posal is to make Routemas­ters bendy. We can send as­tro­nauts to the moon so surely it can­not be be­yond us to take Lon­don’s fa­mous dou­ble-deck­ers and add a slight wob­ble to them. This would help bus driv­ers go around tight cor­ners and would un­doubt­edly be a boon to the tourist trade.

Next, con­ges­tion charg­ing. I have made a study of the con­ges­tion zone. The prob­lem ar­eas, it seems to me, are the main ar­te­rial routes from the south, the east and the west of the city. There­fore my plan is to ex­empt traf­fic trav­el­ling from North and North West Lon­don from the charge. Peo­ple from th­ese ar­eas al­most al­ways have more im­por­tant jour­neys any­way.

Other trans­port ini­tia­tives will in­clude the long over­due Palmers Green to Hol­born tun­nel, de­signed to ease the com­mut­ing mis­ery of those trav­el­ling be­tween two of Lon­don’s most im­por­tant lo­ca­tions. The fact that I hap­pen to live in Palmers Green has no bear­ing on this pol­icy.

Which brings me to one of my main ini­tia­tives. Lon­don, it seems to me, is too big and un­man­age­able. It has spi­ralled in all di­rec­tions un­con­trol­lably and now cov­ers a vast area. It there­fore makes sense to sep­a­rate Lon­don into two sep­a­rate ad­min­is­tra­tive ar­eas — a two-city so­lu­tion if you like — to be called Lon­don and South Lon­don. Lon­don will take in ev­ery­where north of the river plus nice places like Rich­mond Park, Green­wich and the South Bank. A se­cu­rity fence will be erected to keep un­de­sir­ables out of the me­trop­o­lis.

Polic­ing is also at the cen­tre of Lon­don­ers’ con­cerns. I will be at­tempt­ing to en­sure that the po­lice have a more vis­i­ble pres­ence on the streets — by giv­ing them flu­o­res­cent green uni­forms with a flo­ral mo­tif.

Good hous­ing is vi­tal to a city’s suc­cess. As far as I can see, in the cur­rent cli­mate the best use of our re­sources is to of­fer cheap mort­gages to Lon­don’s need­i­est peo­ple — the home­less, those on low in­comes, Jewish peo­ple, those work­ing in es­sen­tial ser­vices like jour­nal­ism, and peo­ple with two small­ish chil­dren and fairly high over­heads.

In essence, we need to be in­clu­sivist in our poli­cies. We need to reach out to all Lon­don­ers, at least those who live in parts of the city we are not scared to visit. We need a clean city, a safe city, one with slightly bet­ter weather and fewer peo­ple with leaflets. So if you want a warmer, softer and slightly more yield­ing Lon­don, then vote Round — and I will make all of my, I mean, your dreams come true.

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