Tomorrow those of you in London have the chance to make your voice heard by voting in the mayoral and assembly elections. It is vital that you do. We have an opportunity to do something to bring real change to London.
Throughout the campaign it has been clear that huge numbers of Londoners are undecided and unenthusiastic about voting for either Boris Johnson or Ken Livingstone. And the more they have seen and heard Brian Paddick the more they like him and believe he will bring real change. It is only now that election day is upon us that most of those undecided voters will be making up their minds.
The election campaign has been dominated by the negative, backward-looking bickering of two men who think they have a right to run our capital city. Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone have bickered over their records, their personalities and their personal tax arrangements. Neither can contain the personal animosity they feel for the other and that bitterness has cast a long shadow over this election. Londoners deserve better.
Ken Livingstone in particular has run a desperate and divisive campaign and it is clear that Labour supporters are leaving him in droves. Brian Paddick and the London Liberal Democrats have ignored this ridiculous and damaging personal squabbling and presented a positive vision for London.
A fairer London, with realistic fare cuts targeted at those who need them most: a One Hour Bus Ticket; Early Bird discounts for those who get to work by 7.30am; Part-Time season tickets so that those who work part-time get the same discounts that those who work full-time enjoy. A greener London, with electric buses, taxis and vans by 2020. A safer London, with police who listen to the concerns of local people and work with them against the criminals.
Serious solutions to London’s biggest problems, such as tackling the housing crisis by building 360,000 new homes, at least half of which will be social housing, or creating a network of Youth Hubs to give young people a positive alternative to gangs. In the words of the Guardian, it is a ‘properly liberal, progressive agenda’.
Brian Paddick’s policies make him the best candidate for Mayor of London. And he is by far the best qualified of the candidates too. The Mayor of London is now the Police and Crime Commissioner as well, setting the priorities and budget for the Metropolitan Police and holding it to account.
At a time when London is recovering from the worst riots in a century and the Metropolitan Police has been mired in scandals over racism and phone hacking, it has never been more important to have a Mayor who understands the police. As a police officer for 30 years and a former Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Brian Paddick knows London’s crime scene and how to beat the criminals inside out.
It was Brian Paddick who was on the front line of the Brixton riots as a 22-year-old sergeant. It was Brian Paddick who reduced crime by focusing his officers on hard drugs and dealing instead of cannabis possession while commander in Lambeth. And it was Brian Paddick who chose to tell the truth about the shooting of the innocent Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes, a decision that ultimately cost him his job.
We all know it’s time for real change in London.
In this election the Liberal Democrats have a candidate of the utmost integrity and the policies to make London a fairer, greener and safer city.
With your help we can kick out the old guard at City Hall and bring that change to our great city. Make sure you vote for Brian Paddick and the London Liberal Democrats tomorrow.