Boris’s bus makes some popular stops
THE CONSENSUS among those who turned out to support Boris Johnson as his election battle-bus toured northwest London on Sunday was that London’s Mayor should be backed to prevent the return of Ken Livingstone.
Platters of bagels and Danish pastries were thrust towards Mr Johnson as the bus travelled through Stanmore, Edgware, Hendon and Golders Green. Cameras were readied for any photo opportunity and Boris T-shirts worn with pride.
Many were intrigued by the prospect of meeting “Boris the personal- ity” on the Conservative Friends of Israel-organised tour.
But although the Mayor attempted to focus on his key campaign issues — transport strategy, his plans for apprenticeships and affordable housing, and his hopes for the Olympic legacy — those on board and in kosher shops and cafes along the route were less concerned with policy.
Mr Johnson’s supporters — many who had never previously campaigned for a candidate — highlighted Mr Livingstone’s remarks about wealthy Jews not backing Labour.
They called for a mayor who would deal with the capital’s needs, not one who weighed in on the Arab-israeli conflict.
“Boris brings a type of security and vision that we need, as opposed to the other candidate,” said Hendon Synagogue chairman Marc Meyer. “It feels like we’re in safe hands, with a bit of excitement.”
Stanmore Synagogue’s Rabbi Mendel Lew said the Jewish community knew where it stood with Mr Johnson. “We know that he will continue to present us in a good light.”
“I don’t really like the alternative,” said Ollie Anisfeld. “Ken likes to divide people. He’s a man with a lot of baggage. He doesn’t seem to manage his image in a way that makes people think they are included.”
“When Boris is in the papers it is because he is doing something good,” added Mr Anisfeld’s friend, Nathaniel Greenwold. “I don’t see Ken in the public eye for positive reasons.”
Having recently met Jewish voters in Redbridge and Stamford Hill, Mr Johnson continued his campaign push among the community at a London Jewish Forum breakfast on Tuesday, where he was pressed on issues ranging from the Chancellor’s controversial plan to cap tax relief on charitable donations, to cycling provision in Barnet.
The Mayor pledged to improve transport links between Golders Green and Stamford Hill through a review of the 210 and 73 bus routes.
“I hear a lot of cynicism,” he said. “Did we not deliver [improvements] in Henly’s Corner?”
Reminding an approving audience about the “semi-reformed Marxists and bendy bus fanatics” he was up against, he asked: “Do you want to go forward with a mayor who believes in uniting the city or go back to a mayor who plays people off against each other?”
The forum is holding meetings with all the main mayoral candidates.
A lot on his plate: Boris Johnson is up for some refreshments at Buckingham Foods in Stanmore and models headgear appropriate to many he met on the campaign trail in north London