LibLink: The Liberal Democrat vision of Caroline Pidgeon


During the week the Guardian published a very rounded post about Caroline Pidgeon and her bid to be Mayor of London.

It starts:

I ask her a gloomy question. She gives an upbeat reply. “Morale is actually very, very good in the party,” said Caroline Pidgeon, who has the possibly onerous honour of being Liberal Democrat candidate for London mayor. “We’ve got tons of new members in London who are excited and energetic, and that’s fantastic.” Her party says there are now 10,000 of them in the capital, the highest number for decades. Plus, council by-election results have perked up since last year’s general election gloom: wins in Sutton and Richmond, improved performances elsewhere. “This election is wide open,” Pidgeon enthuses. “We’ve got a new field of candidates and I’m hopeful that as the most experienced candidate with eight years at City Hall, Londoners will give the Liberal Democrats a good vote.”

So what of her chances?

It will be a surprise if she isn’t returned for a third stint as an AM, but a much bigger one if she ends up as mayor.

“We have been through a tough time politically,” she acknowledges. “But it seems to me that the time is right for Lib Dems in London.” She argues that the capital’s middle ground is opening up: Goldsmith is “anti-Europe, off to the right”; the Labour party is “really shooting off to the Left.” She sees Johnson as having drawn votes from the centre and Livingstone as having done the same before him. “And with respect, my opponents are not those big beasts,” she says.

The article sympathetically outlines Caroline’s proposals under five main headings: housing, policing, childcare, health and public transport and comments:

There’s a strong thread of practicality in Pidgeon’s pitch, something she sees as underpinning what drew her to join the Lib Dems in the first place. “I think the difference between myself and some of the other candidates is that I’m an ordinary Londoner facing many of the challenges that everyone else faces – trying to bring up a young family in London, trying to juggle that with work and so on,” she says.

“Too many things about London don’t work for Londoners. I’ve got the policies and the experience to put that right.”

* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames where she is still very active with the local party.

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