Ignore all those nasty politicians - London needs an independent voice

'I look forward to meeting the Queen and inviting her round to listen to some Sex Pistols records'
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Indy Politics

No politicians for Mayor! The Mayor should serve London, not Government. The Mayor will have to work with the Government, but that does not mean he or she has to sleep with them. I believe only an independent voice can really stand up for London, and really make a difference to the general well-being of all Londoners. Do we need yet another politician in this ever growing tired soap opera insulting us with old story lines and old squabbles? If elected, I would lobby for legislation to ensure that politicians be barred from ever running for Mayor of London.

No politicians for Mayor! The Mayor should serve London, not Government. The Mayor will have to work with the Government, but that does not mean he or she has to sleep with them. I believe only an independent voice can really stand up for London, and really make a difference to the general well-being of all Londoners. Do we need yet another politician in this ever growing tired soap opera insulting us with old story lines and old squabbles? If elected, I would lobby for legislation to ensure that politicians be barred from ever running for Mayor of London.

We are moving into a new, more earthy political era, an organic one, more to do with real people. The two essential words in our culture today are the authentic and karaoke. Old style politicians speak like performers in a karaoke bar, mouthing the words of other people, and taking no responsibility for those words once their performance has ended. An independent candidate should be a real person not a politician, an authentic candidate not a stooge.

An independent candidate has numerous advantages. He or she can assemble what I've called a "Cabinet Of All The Talents". I would like to work with people such as John Bird, publisher of the Big Issue, and his team at the Big Issue Foundation. Their vision, determination and streetwise sense I would trust much more than a careerist politician. New Labour is working seriously on increasing council rents to market levels, borne out by articles in London's local newspapers. New Labour, by implementing these policies, will squeeze out ordinary Londoners, already suffering from manic property prices, to the outlying suburbs. The centre of London will only be for the rich. Our cultural mix, our so-called classless society becomes meaningless in the face of an ever-widening degree of the haves and have-notes.

New Labour's big idea for council estates is to increase the number of CCTV cameras and sell such properties to the new professional middle-class. We must put all CCTV cameras on the web: at least that way we would all be able to watch Big Brother watching us.

I would love to work with other individuals and bodies who have spent years building experience on the ground. I would like an efficient, ecological system transport that is owned by Londoners and not by Government.

My Cabinet of Talents will include transport experts, chefs and nutritionists, artists and artisans, retailers, librarians, students and market traders. I will appoint a Food Ambassador for London to protect the quality of food. Achievement in the real world is preferable to just debating it in the political arena.

The Dome is a classic, scandalous example of why London should be protected from Government and politicians. Stephen Bayley, who will be part of my Cabinet of Talents as a spokesman on design and other matters, resigned as Creative Director of the Dome, after his position became untenable. To take one example of many, he wanted the Dome to have its own Farmers Market, to showcase the best organic food that England grows, the cheese it makes and the bread it makes. He wanted to expose London's disconnection to the country. Peter Mandelson, the Government Dome gnome of the time, accused him of being an élitist and told him to shut up. The Government and the Millennium Commission must be held accountable for gross negligence and this criminal waste of money.

There are some interesting allies in my fight for an independent mayor. I met Lord Falconer on a Sky News programme lately. Off air he told me Tony Blair was sympathetic to an independent Mayor, but hadn't found a "suitable candidate". I asked whether that meant a candidate that could be controlled. Falconer didn't comment.

Andreas Whittam Smith, in the pages of The Independent recently, accepted the argument for an independent, and suggested, in his slightly headmasterly way, that what we needed was a respectable, solid businessman for Mayor. That may be an old way of thinking. We now live in a much more fluid age - where Richard Branson, moved from music (I seem to recall his ailing record company being rescued by a hit by a band called the Sex Pistols) to running an airline, when artists such as Damien Hirst become restaurateurs and DJs like Chris Evans become media tycoons.

My view is that current "focus group" approach to politics and culture inevitably leads to following rather than creating fashion, one reason why politicians are fast becoming old-fashioned. In fashion, as in politics, there is a revolution happening. The desire is growing for the organic, the sensual, the romantic, the real. London has in the past been at the forefront of many new cultural trends. The Mayor's role is to act as cultural ambassador for Londoncentrics, its artisans generating its spirit and uniqueness, promoting the authentic and acting as a catalyst for a new generation of entrepreneurs. It is the new generations often anti-establishment style that creates the next generation of London's culture and wealth.

I share the belief of Mark Twain who said "irreverence is the best guarantee of Liberty" and God knows, politics is lacking enough in humour. I do think libraries could be more like West End bookstores where you could get a drink or at least a coffee, places that could make money for books and be a real local source of energy and encounters rather than run-down, depressing places they too often are.

Like many an aspirant Eastender before me, I largely educated myself through free libraries and museums. Information points, with Jack Warner Holograms or not, could be a useful resource, and as far as the brothels outside Parliament - I'm simply fed up with reading about yet another politician caught with his pants down. I really don't care.

Incidentally, I am looking forward to meeting the Queen when elected as Mayor. I look forward to inviting her once again to listen to some punk rock, one of London's great literary and artistic moments, to the Sex Pistols in particular, a group now as much of the cultural and social fabric as Dick Whittington and the artful Dodger before them.

I'm a fourth generation Londoner. The bones of my family are buried in the cemeteries of north London - I'm part of the fabric. My grandmother supported Music Hall stars like Marie Lloyd. My grandfather made suits for boxers like Freddie Mills and Primo Carnera. My great-grandfather was a builder who built houses in Stoke Newington, where I was born. I don't want to see bland thoroughfares. I want a sexy London, a city that pays homage to its own fantasy, memory and beauty. Daydreaming in London is now a subversive activity. London was the city of Dickens, Thomas de Quincey, of Hogarth and William Blake. Today everybody and everything is for sale. London is turning into a commodity, and a commodity has no memory and no future.

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