As candidates to be the new Mayor of London pile in, I have some non-political suggestions to make. They include Stormzy and Adele among others who care about our capital, writes Michael Martins
As the list of political contenders to become the next mayor of London grows by the day, spare a moment for some of my ideal non-political mayoral candidates (very much not an endorsement, but, if any of them feel the urge to answer the call, by all means).
Most will know that the Mayor represents us to Westminster and the wider world, while also undertaking other minor things like negotiating to get Crossrail 2 back online, settling the debate on car versus ULEZ, and overseeing reform of the Met police. With that in mind, here are a few hypothetical candidates I’d like to see campaign:
Stormzy (real name: Michael Omari) may not be a natural first thought but hear me out. Sure, he has outspoken political views. It only reminds me of (a painted bus full of) mayors past and present. Sure, he’ll be only 30 years old at time of election. That is no bad thing in London’s youngest city where the average voter is only slightly older. Stormzy is often ahead of the curve, purpose and results driven, and cares about London. A victim of knife crime (a key voter issue) himself, Stormzy wore a stab vest on stage at Glastonbury four years ago to draw attention to knife crime in the city, changing the political debate in Westminster and City Hall.
Stormzy has stood up for Londoners when prime ministers neglected the city. He puts his money and influence to work to support causes close to the capital, setting up charities like the “Stormzy Scholarship for Black Children” at the University of Cambridge, and “Merky FC” which helps to place Black youth in roles at organisations like Fulham FC. Stormzy also gets business – he is his own business and has put the UK on the musical map, following in the footsteps of other greats to create new genres, like the Beatles and Joy Division.
Hypothetical slogan: “London city: we the hottest in the world”.
The Tottenham native gets it, speaking to the emotions many Londoners try to work through at the gym, the pub, or with their therapist. Adele’s albums, written during the halcyon days of low inflation and affordable-ish rent, are being remixed by Gen Z and her ability to tap into people’s feelings and needs would be incredibly useful, both to represent Londoners in Westminster, and to get results in some of the institutions facing scrutiny she would be overseeing. Try gaslighting this queen – we dare you.
She is forthright and has a keen ability to hone in on an issue and suggest a solution. Some of her comments from years ago about public service delivery and high tax take are now roughly mainstream in London. She could hit the right notes (sorry) with voters while the rate of inflation in London is higher than anywhere else in the country. Worst case, we’ll hopefully get an album out of either the campaign, her reign or both.
Hypothetical slogan: “Someone like Me”.
For those that do not know Ranald, he is a Londoner, who often speaks about his Scottish heritage while being a Westminster icon. As many City A.M. readers will still be mourning the forced closure of our beloved Simpsons Tavern, MacDonald’s two Boisdale restaurants, one in Belgravia, the other in Canary Wharf, have managed to successfully rebound from lockdown. Macdonald has used that as a base to optimistically and pragmatically speak out about some of London businesses’ most pressing issues, such as navigating the new world of work during a time of high inflation and taxes, which other candidates are competing to solve. His Belgravia restaurant is a haunt of many Westminster MPs. Nothing says a refresh of relations between Downing Street and City Hall like a drink at Boisdale.
Like most Londoners, MacDonald works hard and plays hard, rubbing shoulders with the likes of California’s former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rod Stewart, and Nigel Farage (more Londoners voted for Brexit than the current mayor, Sadiq Khan). He also set up the London Chamber Black Excellence Awards and the Boisdale Music Awards, all while finding time to host important charity events at his restaurants, such as the annual dinner for My Black Dog, a mental health charity.
Hypothetical slogan: “Make London lovely again”.
Finally, my dream London mayoral election result caller is John King, CNN’s chief national correspondent. For political obsessives that watch the American Presidential results every four years, they will know John well for his utter professionalism, rapid-fire speech, and insight, digging deep into the detail about constituency level results and voting patterns. Couple that with the usual photos of dogs at polling stations, and it would finally be the mayoral election we deserve.