Natalie Campbell, founder, A Very Good Company, on the qualities the next London mayor should have
I wrote an article back in June about wanting an entrepreneur to run for mayor of London. I wished up a mayor that really knows how to get things done but understands that people are the core – and most important part – of any successful endeavor.
I wanted a mayor that understood business – not just the big city players but the designer-makers, independents, small business owners and serial entrepreneurs. It is important to London and the growing cry to improve the quality of living that our future mayor understands and doesn’t underestimate the power of this group. They have changed the landscape of our cities boroughs – Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Southwark to name a few. They are socially mobile, politically engaged (because they are socially curious) and they want to live in the best city in the world. They are diverse in terms of ethnicity, gender and socio-economic background, and they culturally open.
A mayor that is too focused on what seem to be big ticket issues like Heathrow or Cross Rail 2 or just housing in isolation from everything else, will miss the key topics that this group – of swing and undecided voters – actually care about.
The dinner table or coffee shop conversation isn’t – ‘oh, so do you think we should expand Heathrow’. It’s ‘I’m moving to a new area, I want to live somewhere with a sense of community and good transport.’
It isn’t, ‘I can’t wait for Cross Rail 2 to start’. It’s ‘I’m really feeling the strain of paying rent and business rates, I might need to start looking for another office space in a cheaper area’.
As much as I like Boris. It isn’t ‘Gosh, I’ll just vote for Boris Mark 2’- it’s for more sophisticated than that. People care about education, and having a choice of skilled employees or a great freelance network.
As anyone who reads my columns knows, I have been working on getting involved in politics, specifically being elected to the London Assembly – I care about London, it’s my home. I also care about people. It’s my nature. I really want to see the right person take the helm of City Hall to drive the change needed to keep London at the top of the world cities not just for finance and business but for quality of living where we currently rank 40th.
Over the past, couple of weeks I have had the pleasure of attending meetings chaired by Syed Kamall, one of the four Conservative nominations for mayor and I believe he is the man to make London great. When you meet him or hear him speak it’s blindingly obvious that he gets it. He gets everything I mentioned earlier – he is a Londoner, a family man and he is focused on creating opportunities for everyone to achieve their ambition. So, I think my wish for the sort of mayor I want to lead London has been answered.
What do you think? Drop me a line @NatDCampbell and tell me who gets your vote.
Natalie Campbell is the founder of A Very Good Company, Author of Starting A Business in 7 Simple Steps, and a trustee of UnLtd