Monday, April 30, 2012

The Assembly Election - This Thursday

So Who wants a Coalition Mayor? 

That question highlights the importance of the Assembly Election on Thursday.

Publicity has focused on the high profile Mayoral contest but along with the pink ballot paper for the Mayor (allowing a first and second choice), voters will also be presented with a yellow ballot paper for the Assembly seat of Havering & Redbridge and an orange ballot paper which is used to elect 11 Assembly Members from party lists by a form of proportional representation.

At every London election we have voters who discard these two papers, or use them for a 'protest vote' because the Assembly is seen as unimportant - but that is far from the case.

The Budget

The Mayor needs to have his budget approved by the Assembly. This means that if fewer than 9 Conservatives are elected on Thursday he will have to do deals with other parties. With Labour opposing Boris and the Greens acting as an annex of Ken's campaign, this will most likely mean a Conservative / Lib Dem budget - a Coalition Mayor.

In 2004 only 7 Labour Assembly Members were elected and Ken had to do budget deals with the Green Party - deals which made his council tax rises even more expensive.

New Powers

New legislation makes the Assembly even more important. The Mayor will need to get his key planning policies, his Transport Plan and his Economic Development Plan approved by the Assembly. Again, with fewer than 9 Conservative members he will have to rely on other parties, probably the Lib Dems - more Coalition.

A Labour / Green outright majority whilst unlikely, could deadlock the Mayor's administration, leaving our city to drift for four years.

So I Am Seeking Your Support

If you support Ken you will probably vote Labour too.

If you back Boris then give him the support he requires to implement his policies. That is why you should vote Conservative on Thursday on both the yellow paper - for me - and the orange paper - for our excellent list candidates.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Boris at Barnabas

Yesterday Boris visited Ilford yet again - this time to look around the Barnabas Workshops and meet some of their volunteers. Barnabas does some really good work, helping people to find employment. They provide advice on CVs and interviews as well as putting potential applicants in touch with employers. Boris met some of their clients and got a briefing on their work.

Then it was off around Ilford Town Centre in the pouring rain. The weather meant that Boris enthusiasm was not running at the manic levels we had on our last visit but plenty of people wanted to speak to the great man, particularly in the Exchange shopping mall.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Celebrating St George

Boris joined us today in Romford to celebrate St George. The sun shone and we enjoyed the company of the Town Cryer and marching bands. Overall we had a very positive reception, much better than the Greens, UKIP and the BNP who also visited town today.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Boris in Romford

On walkabout in Romford today with Boris. There is a really positive feeling about the campaign and people were delighted to see the candidate. Before lunch we paused for Boris to be interviewed by waiting journalists and photographed with Ruby Cooke, the newly crowned 'Face of Essex'.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Barkingside 21 Hustings

On Wednesday evening local group Barkingside 21 arranged a hustings for the Assembly candidates. I'm grateful that we had this opportunity to make our cases and to hear from residents - at one time hustings were a common part of the election process but in recent years they have become very rare.

The debate was ably chaired by Ilford Recorder Editor, Chris Carter and featured myself, Mandy Richards for Labour, Haroon Saad for the Greens and Liberal Democrat Farrukh Islam, a former Redbridge councillor.

The other five candidates were not present but for the sake of completeness they are Malvin Brown of the Residents Association, Lawrence Webb of UKIP who is also their Mayoral candidate, Richard Edmunds of the National Front, Robert Taylor of the BNP and Mark Twiddy of the English Democrats.

We had a decent sized audience - around 40 people. Questions about planning, youth unemployment, education, policing and Olympic transport predominated.

The whole thing was filmed and can be seen over at .

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Royalty In Havering

The Queen's Diamond Jubilee tour has missed Havering but we have the next best thing - a Royalty In Havering exhibition at the Havering Museum in Romford Town Centre. This morning I visited the museum to hand over a painting of the old Royal Palace at Havering-Atte-Bower. The painting was presented to Boris when he unveiled the new village sign several years ago and it depicts the palace as it would have been at its construction, painstakingly recreated from the original plans and drawings by artist Susanna Small. The picture is on loan to the museum as the centrepiece of their exhibition which runs from 14 April to 23 June. In the photograph I am joined by museum volunteer Matthew Abel, who found out about the painting from this very blog! With just 29 days to the elections I kept myself out of the stocks on this visit...