In just a few weeks Londoners will go to the polls to elect a new Mayor and I am struggling to decide who to vote for. As a Labour member and supporter many would think that I would automatically vote for Ken Livingstone but I am finding it difficult to support him.
Most will admit that the Mayoral election is a two horse race. Current Mayor, Boris Johnson, who is seeking re-election and former Mayor Ken Livingstone will undoubtedly be fighting it out for the most votes.
In recent weeks the campaign has heated up and has boiled over in well documented angry exchanges. This has done neither Ken or Boris any favours in my opinion.
Liberal Democrat candidate Brian Paddick has conducted his campaign with more dignity but I doubt his chances of winning. Jenny Jones, who is representing the Green Party has fought a good campaign and has held her own amongst the big guns.
Here in Leyton the Ken Livingstone campaign has been the most visible. Several times in the past couple of months I have been handed Ken’s campaign leaflets at Leyton station. I have yet to see any from the other candidates.
I have only lived in London for a little under two years and therefore didn’t experience Ken as Mayor. The problem I have is that there is a certain lack of trust there amongst many Londoners.
Boris Johnson epitomises most of the things I dislike about the Conservative Party but he has done some great things for London. The “Boris Bikes” have been a great success (It’s not his fault that I fell off of one!). I did however felt disappointed with his handling of last summer’s riots. The city was being attacked from within and Boris remained on holiday for two days before returning.
All four main candidates have made some attractive pledges in their manifestos. Boris Johnson has promised a council tax freeze and an extra 1000 police officers on the streets.
Ken Livingstone’s whole campaign has revolved around his pledge to cut transport fares by 7 percent by October this year.
Brian Paddick promises a focus on gun and knife crime and to bring in a new “One Hour Bus Ticket”.
Jenny Jones has stated she’ll support small businesses and bring in safe cycle lanes.
As we know all too well, promises are easy to make and all so easily broken. It’s all about who we can trust the most. As I write this I am still not sure. I am a Labour supporter and proud of it but I feel this is not about party politics. It’s about which individual candidate we can trust to be the best person for London. I don’t think I will be sure where to put my cross until I am in the polling booth on May 3rd.