What will Ken do for me? What will Boris do for me or the black community? are questions regularly asked leading up the May 3rd Mayoral Election.
On Thursday 14th April such an opportunity presented itself whereby ‘Black Britain Decides’ in conjunction with ‘Operation Black Vote’ held a Mayoral Husting at Rauch Ministries Church in Kilburn. The main mayoral candidates, Boris Johnson, Bryan Paddick, Jenny Jones, and Ken Livingstone were present; with a surprise visit from independent candidate Siobhan Benita who very few know about, and were received well by those in attendance.
The event posed as a forum where the candidates could voice what it is they have to offer London at large and how it would benefit the BME community. Simon Woolley,OBV started the event off highlighting that the Afro-Caribbean community is made up of a significant enough population of London residents. He implored the BME to take affirmative action in deciding who the next Mayor of London is to be and go out and vote come the Mayoral election May 3rd.
Other opening speakers included Police Superintendent Leroy Logan, Bishop Wayne Marcus, and Business Woman Rosalyn Marcus. They together in their entirety along with Simon Woolley expressed to the candidates the need for a change in policy towards more affirmative amendment that would rid London of the symptoms of institutional racism within public services with particular reference to the policing system, and called for a way in which City Hall can provide London and it’s resident with an entrepreneurial environment in which self-sustaining BME businesses could be cultivated.
The resonating theme from all opening speakers was that the BME community should not just strive to be political and active, but also strive to be effective and united in bettering their communities.
The floor then opened to the panel of candidates, who with a short time to speak, while discussing their policies at large tried to focus on what they best could achieve for London that would also be of benefit to the BME community.
Siobhan Benita – The Independent
She believes that party politicians find it hard to say what they truly believe and act upon it decisively and effectively as they have to pander to party politics as well as appease the people to which they pledge to serve. She believes this is why an independent representative sat in at city council will be able to centre their focus on the people of London rather than arguing against party politics. Her plan on rectifying this is carrying out equality impact assessments on each policy.
Bryan Paddick – The Liberal Democrat
Paddick built a reputation within policing. He recognises that there is a disproportionate stoppage of black minorities with the law of stop and search and that it can no longer carry on. He understands that .the young people of London feel over policed and under protected. He proposed that what needs to be done is provide the youth of London with an alternative to the gang community by engaging them within the community, within the church, religious entities and that by making them stakeholders in their communities this will better allow for them to be invested in their communities. On the matter of employment, Paddick called for and hopes to build towards employers rather than paying employees minimum wage to pay the standard living wage, as to redistribute wealth and allow for families to raise, run, and mentor their homes.
Ken Livingston – Labour
The previous mayor is back and vying to reclaim his seat. Livingston’s major memorandum has been and was on the night Travel for London and fares, and how much that will save for Londoner\s in the long-run, along with a promise to re-institutionalise a form of the Educational maintenance allowance for young people as to facilitate towards their education and in this incentivise as invested residents of London.
Jenny Jones – The Green Party
Jenny Jones pledged towards facilitating towards a more equal opportunity London. She recognised that there was a real anger towards not only the policing system but also a despair at the disproportion of deprivation and poverty facing the BAME community which largely but also London at large, which was a significant contribution to the London Riots last year. She recognised that policies and organisation where failing Londoners and intends to amend and find alternatives to everything from Territorial Support Groups to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
Boris Johnson – The Conservative
Our current mayor has undoubtedly achieved a great deal for London in his time in office. With a want to bring London forward, he pledged to protect the right for free travel for young people especially those in education while promoting a community of respect where young people stand for the elderly, the disabled, the pregnant, etc. This will build a more educated London, one there is social cohesion and mutual societal respect. Upon resuming office Johnson plans to set to a high street fun as well as £221m fund to regenerate London both fiscally and in terms of safety in London.
On parenting and family, he intends to support Parent gyms in schools to facilitate towards building better parent to child relationships where parents and their children can tackle the problems parents face in an open and safe environment facilitated by guidance. In conjunction he intends to use government funds to help 20,000 women in part-time work towards child care and home care which will run within his next term. The campaign for 20,000 part time jobs will be led by the Mayor using existing resources, making the most of Government schemes. It is expected to be particularly beneficial for women.
On providing young people with these opportunities Johnson also told the audience of the pledged promise from the treasury for a 70m help fund for small businesses in London which will prioritise in lending low interest loans to small businesses, to build towards a more capital and entrepreneurial London he appreciates that these are the business that allow for young people to seek employment, and also informed the audience that on the matter of apprenticeship schemes, there are a number schemes available to people over 24 yrs. which if you are seeking them out can be found on the city hall website.
While Boris stuck to what he has done well throughout in his campaign in that in a seal divisive racial campaigning, he applies a holistic approach to bringing London forward communally all the same even he as most candidates on occasion tended to diverge into constructing the delivery of their policies towards the BAME community, which while could be seen as irresponsible for party members to be creating bipartisan division of the ethnic minorities is somewhat understood considering the tone of the event.
Stop and search was a resonating theme for the candidates and how it affects young people in London with investing in education, safety, policing and racial profiling. It was a well hosted, well rounded debate of all five candidates, and as always we hope this wills this serves as well informed forum that encourages all London to come out and vote on the 3rd of May.
Finally, should the question be more along the lines of not just what they will do for the black community, but more are their policies fair and encourage racial equality and justice for Londoners?
21 April 2012