Keeping London Conservative
There is a verse in the book of Proverbs that says "Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counsellors there is safety".
In the context of this Mayoral selection this is apt. It goes without saying that we have four excellent candidates. I need to declare an interest in that Zac is one of my two Borough MPs and Syed is a friend who lives around the corner from me. He is someone I hugely admire for what he is doing for us in Europe and he works hard for Conservatives right across London - he has a forgiving and wonderful wife and children who surrender him to the party virtually every moment he is in London.
As the Leader of a London Borough I have a vested interest in ensuring City Hall remains Conservative because it provides a perfect platform for the London local elections two years later. But we also know that were Sadiq Khan to run London, with the Unions, then it is the Conservative Boroughs who will be robbed blind to fund pet Labour projects elsewhere in London. Conservative Boroughs have not always agreed with Boris, but I feel certain that we can agree that City Hall has been kindlier and more collaborative, especially in Outer London, than Red Khan will ever be.
Homes, transport and crime are clearly the themes on which any London election will be fought. As a Councillor the most difficult policy area at the moment is that of building homes. Like all London Councils, my borough struggles with house building. This is partly due to the fact that local people feel detached from the planning process, do not feel they have been engaged and Councillors feel powerless to shape what will inevitably happen on privately owned land through the might of the planning inspectorate.
We need a candidate who understands Localism and will help build more homes in a way that allows local Councils and local people more of a say in what happens in their area. Localism, through local engagement and the commitment to sustainable housebuilding, will win over many to the cause. But we also need a Mayor who understands that a more human scale of housing has to go hand in hand with environmental improvements to our public realm and to doing more for air quality. These are important issues and I believe could be the issue that defines this coming election.
That said, I come back to my opening line from Proverbs. For the future of a Conservative London we need a Mayor who can 'win' London. All the available evidence on this over many weeks is that there is only one candidate who can win; Zac.
All our 'counsel' says this and in that 'there is safety'. Zac can win and keep London Conservative.
(The comments I make here are those of me as an individual and will obviously not represent those of my wider Conservative Group, the views of which could well be many and varied).