Amol Rajan: Mayor has had a starring role in re-shaping our city

FreeView from the editors at i

Share

On Tuesday I said that if he is going to be re-elected as Mayor of London on 3 May, Boris Johnson cannot afford for 68 per cent of voters in the inner boroughs to support Ken Livingstone. He needs to court those people vigorously, and explain that he has delivered a better city for them. How should he do that?

I have argued in this space before that the community organisation pioneered in this country by London Citizens is the most exciting development in our democracy for decades (full disclosure: I had a walk-on part with them years ago).

The biggest alliance of community groups in the capital brings together hundreds of civic institutions – schools, churches, mosques, unions, youth groups – and hears testimonies on the issues affecting its members' lives. It then campaigns by lobbying government and corporations. London Citizens is the forum where the voices of inner London are most clearly heard – that is, the forum Boris must win over.

In 2008, when he addressed their Mayoral Assembly, Mr Johnson pledged to champion the four main causes they put to him: safer streets, an amnesty for illegal immigrants, a living wage and community land trusts for affordable housing. On all but the last, he has delivered impressively. On the last, he still has a chance. That is a strong pitch to those 68 per cent.

Though criticised for his response to the riots, Mr Johnson and his deputy, Kit Malthouse, have had success on street safety and City Hall has adopted London Citizens' "CitySafe" campaign. On an amnesty – which is right for moral, social, and economic reasons – he has bravely defied Tory sentiment and hysteria to argue its case. Even Mr Livingstone, an early champion of the living wage, must be surprised by how successfully his rival has spread it. Three-quarters of London's campuses and hundreds of organisations – including many big corporations – have signed up and the Living Wage Foundation is born. Mr Johnson has played a starring role in all of this.

Finally, on 21 February, he will chair a meeting of the Homes and Community Agency, where he can fulfil his pledge to London Citizens, and approve the foundation of community land trusts. If he does that, on 26 April he can go to their Mayoral Assembly, packed with more than 2,000 influential community leaders from that 68 per cent, and make a very persuasive case. He listened to them, he promised to work on their main concerns and – by and large – he delivered for them.

That is much more than many of those attending expected of him. From what I hear, a surprising number of them are willing to repay him at the ballot box.

 

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Marketing Manager - Central London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (Campaigns, Offlin...

Head of Marketing - Acquisition & Direct Reponse Marketing

£90000 - £135000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing (B2C, Acquisition...

1st Line Service Desk Analyst

£27000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client who are...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Huxley Associates

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Huxley Associates are currentl...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Norovirus the food poisoning bug that causes violent stomach flu  

A flu pandemic could decide next year’s election

Matthew Norman
J. Jayalalithaa gestures to her party supporters while standing on the balcony of her residence in Chennai. Former film star Jayalalithaa Jayaram is one of India's most colourful and controversial politicians  

The jailing of former film star Jayalalithaa Jayaram is a drama even Bollywood couldn’t produce

Andrew Buncombe
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style