For four days now Labour’s election broadcast for London Mayor has been making news. Our opponents are rattled by how our broadcast is setting the agenda on the things that really matter. It’s knocked the underwhelming Tory broadcast for six. So they have attacked it.
You may have seen that Labour’s opponents now claim that the people shown in our election broadcast were actors.
That’s simply untrue.
Today we are releasing a video of some of the people in the broadcast. They answer for themselves how they are the real deal.
In its own quiet way it says more than a thousand hysterical Tory attacks: real Londoners explaining why they chose to back Labour in this election.
Labour Party activists were out across Wandsworth today to take part in one of the most intense days of campaigning the Mayoral election has seen, with a series of activities aimed at focusing the debate firmly on Ken’s Fare Deal Pledge.
Under his Fare Deal pledge Ken Livingstone is promising to cut fares by 7% and slash a bus fare from £1.35 to £1.20 if elected Mayor of London on May 3rd, in a move that would save the average Londoner £1000 over the next four years. Ken has pledged that if he has failed cut fares by 7% by October 7% he will resign.
Ken Livingstone said: “This is a grassroots movement to make Londoners better off by cutting their fares, after years of above-inflation rises. With just one vote in the ballot box on May 3rd, Londoners have the unique opportunity to make themselves £1000 better off over the next four years. Today we are making clear to commuters across the capital the simple choice they face in three weeks’ time.
Londoners want a Mayor that will do everything they can to ease the squeeze that far too many ordinary Londoners are facing. My fares policy is symbolic of the way in which I will stand up for the 99% rather than the 1%.”
Ken Livingstone promised people in Wandsworth they will be £1,000 richer if they vote him in May.
He pledged to reverse cuts to the police and to freeze transport fares for commuters in Wandsworth.
Mr Livingstone also said he would bring back the Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA) for youngsters in higher education.
The mayoral candidate hoping for a third term in City Hall was launching his Better Off With Ken campaign outside Tooting Broadway station yesterday, delivering his manifesto while standing on a soapbox.
GLA candidate Cllr. Leonie Cooper turned the tables on the Tories during a live debate at Roehampton University between local politicians about who should be elected as London’s next Mayor in May.
The MP for Battersea, Jane Ellison (CON) spoke on behalf of the ‘Back Boris’ campaign, whilst local Councillor and candidate for the London Assembly, Leonie Cooper (LAB), put the case for the ‘Ken for London’ team.
Jane Ellison took the floor first and offered a personal touch, stating that both she and Boris have known each other since University. “Boris has been Boris for as long as I can remember,” she said. She went on to state that she believes that the Mayor has put the interests of his city ahead of his political party, that he has to see the sense in keeping the major banks within London: concluding with the tagline: “London needs a Mayor who believes that this city’s best days are ahead of it, not behind it”.
Councillor Cooper then spoke about Ken Livingstone’s achievements when in office, his proposals for changes in policy, and how these might benefit students and others on low income, before finishing with the challenge, “If you want to have an approach that is fair for all Londoners, you need to be voting for Ken Livingstone”.
Students cross-questioned both speakers about their candidates’ policies on transport, affordable housing, and, of course, Higher Education. There was even a debate sparked around the question of why the city needs a Mayor at all.
But the biggest surprise of the session was the dramatic change in students’ voting preferences after hearing the debate. Anonymous electronic voters used before and after the session showed that the percentage of students who would vote for Ken Livingstone jumped from 17% to 54%. Most of these ‘swing’ voters had previously been committed to voting for another candidate altogether, or didn’t know which way they would vote. The percentage of those who said they would vote for Boris Johnson would be their pick declined slightly from 38% to 31%.
I had the pleasure of introducing former London Mayor and this year’s Labour mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone to residents in Sudbury House
and Albon House yesterday evening. Here he is meeting Mr Amoah outside his flat.
Ken’s election takes place exactly five weeks after the Southfields by-election and it’s really important that Labour supporters go to the trouble to vote in both elections. Many of the issues Ken has placed at the top of his agenda: the huge increases in fares under Boris Johnson, the loss of police and the lack of affordable housing while the Tory council piles up luxury apartment blocks all around us are critical issues to Southfields and Wandsworth.
Ken’s visit is the latest example of how seriously we in Labour take this by-election, in stark contrast to the Conservatives. After all, it’s only because they are so disdainful of local residents that they couldn’t be bothered to find a local resident to stand for them; instead parachuting in a Tooting resident who’s far more interested in climbing the greasy pole than standing up for Southfields.
You get absolutely nothing from sending a 47th Conservative to the town hall but as Ken and I saw yesterday, the parts of Southfields and Wandsworth the council shamefully neglects urgently need an alternative. I will be that alternative.
Labour and Tory Councillors have approved plans to modernise and refurbish the adventure playground in Battersea Park with brand new equipment and keep play free.
The decision, taken on Wednesday, will now be subject to public consultation. If backed by residents it would mean the playground does not need to introduce an admission charge – and would remain free to use. Councillors want to spend £200,000 on providing modern new equipment for the playground, which would conform to all the latest safety standards.
This would replace the playground’s existing wooden play structures and mean that staff would no longer be needed to supervise activities. The plans would allow the playground to remain open for longer than is currently possible. It would be available for use at all times the park is open, seven days a week.
In a radio interview for Radio London Cllr. Leonie Cooper, Labour’s GLA Candidate for Wandsworth and Merton also got a promise that all Wandsworth’s playgrounds will stay free. But Labour continues to have concerns about safety and loss of jobs, so any future proposals will be scrutinised for their impact on these two vital aspects of the service. Cllr. Andy Gibbons said ‘We are pleased the adventure playground will stay free, but we believe there is a role for professional staff in ensuring children play safely.’