For years people have been telling me to stop shouting from the side-lines and get myself, and all my opinions, into politics.
I won’t say I haven’t been tempted, because some days my frustration meter goes way off the scale. But then I get speaking to members of parliament, decent people, who got into the game for all the right reasons, and I discovered they are usually feeling just as frustrated and powerless to make changes as me.
So I end up thinking – why bother? If these well-spoken, highly educated individuals can’t do anything, what the hell can a plumber like me achieve?
Well my thinking has changed and the reason behind it is that I have come to the opinion that my city of London, and its people, are being disgracefully neglected by the Government, and it’s got to stop. We are now experiencing a backlash against our great capital and its inhabitants, the first example being what happened in June 2016, and somebody has to stand up for London and make its voices heard. This is why I have decided to stand as an independent candidate for London Mayor, in 2020.
My decision is not all about Brexit, but with the most powerful economic force in the country, generating billions of pounds in revenue, and paying for services all over the country, having its point of view ignored, I feel it’s time I did something about it. The Mayor of London is supposed to be a cheerleader for the city, and quite honestly I do not think that Sadiq Khan is the right man for the job.
Sadiq’s a mild mannered solicitor by trade, and I just don’t think he has the personality to go out there and put the case for Londoners forcefully enough. To get things done as a mayor of a major international city like London you need to be a big character, like a Boris Johnson, or even, I have to admit, a Ken Livingstone, and the bloke we have at the moment just isn’t up to the job.
I reckon I have the credentials to do the job, and with the right team behind me I know I can make a difference at a time when there is every chance that we will need to fight, harder than ever, to retain London’s primacy, as an international trade centre, against huge opposition from cities like Paris and Frankfurt, to name but a few.
And while one of my first policies will be to put an ambassador for London in Brussels to fight our corner, I believe that keeping London’s pride of place is about making it a better place for all its diverse citizens to live. This for me has always meant that there needs to be jobs, good, skilled, well paid jobs for everyone who wants them, which is why I intend to build London into a centre of excellence for skills training, based on my years of campaigning for apprenticeships.
One of my first polices if elected will be to make travel for all registered apprentices under the age of 25 free on the underground and the bus network. This will not only boost real wages for apprentices, but it will demonstrate to Government that I am serious, and that all the policy suggestions I have made in the past are not expensive ‘pie in the sky’ dreams, but serious measures that can solve the UK’s skills gap.
I have plenty of other ideas, too numerous to share here, but I will promise to run London based on common sense. I will get a bloody airport built, and I will sort out the pollution, without killing off long-standing central London businesses, and I’m sure I can beat the utilities into not choking the road network with road works also.
The next mayoral election isn’t until 2020, and that might seem like an age away for some people, but already to me, as I think about all the things I want to achieve, it’s coming up very fast.