Why I’m voting for Boris Johnson as mayor today
THE City has taken its fair share of stick lately. Criticism from politicians is to be expected, and insofar as they represent public opinion, we have to respect that. But when the hot air dissipates, you’re left with one simple fact – financial services employ hundreds of thousands of people in this city, and not all of them are called Fred Goodwin.
The square mile is one of London’s strengths, although listening to some politicians you’d think it was our Achilles heel.
That’s why it’s been so important to have a mayor that recognises the importance of the City and is willing to champion our sector.
That’s what I most like about Boris; he doesn’t mind sticking his neck out if he thinks it’s right for London. Not many politicians do that these days.
I also like his optimism about the future of our city. Doom and gloom has become the default, but there is a danger that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. A vibrant city needs a vibrant mayor and in Boris we’ve got that in spades. He is an unashamed champion for the whole city, talking up our strengths to the world.
It’s also refreshing that Boris keeps his promises – again, unlike many other politicians. Perhaps the best-known example of this is the Boris bikes. It’s made the city a more pleasant place to live in, and it shows that Boris is a mayor who delivers.
He also kept his promise to remove the western extension of the congestion charge, after listening to the views of residents. How many times has a politician listened to the people and actually taken action like that?
But perhaps the most important thing Boris has done is focus on the major investment the city needs. At a time of austerity, with national budgets being cut back, Boris stood up for London and argued that Crossrail and the Tube upgrades should be protected. Now, decades after it was first proposed, work on Crossrail has finally started.
And he hasn’t been afraid to argue the case for aviation expansion – an unpopular cause, but right for London in the long term. That’s the kind of forward thinking we need if London is to compete in the 21st century.
I just don’t get the same sense of optimism or forward thinking from Ken Livingstone. Every time I hear him talk, it’s all about the past. I hear nothing about London’s future. I hear only negativity and I don’t think that is what will take this city forward.
He’s making promises like it’s 1999, but I think he’s the only one who hasn’t heard that there is no money left.
This election boils down to a simple choice; between the future and the past. The election is going to be close and I’m not leaving our future to chance. That’s why I will be turning out and casting my vote for Boris today.
Simon Liebel is a small business owner and lives in Chelsea.