On Thursday 3rd May, the 2012 London mayoral election will be held to elect the Mayor of London. It will be the fourth election since the office of Mayor of London was created in 2000. Latest polls suggest that it is a two-horse race with Boris Johnson holding a slender lead over his rival Ken Livingston with the Lib Dem candidate Brian Leonard Paddick languishing well behind in 3rd place.
There are some pretty questionable characters taking part as you will see as you move down the list. Candidates vary from a serial reality TV star to someone who specialised in analysing ancient bird droppings for 10 years in the Middle East, and from an anti-immigration campaigner to a guy who volunteered to fight against Britain in the Falkland’s!
Boris Johnson, the current Mayor of London, is an author, journalist and Conservative Party politician. Johnson defeated Labour incumbent Ken Livingstone and was elected Mayor in 2008, after which he resigned his seat in parliament. With over a million votes, he received the largest personal mandate of any politician in British history.
He began his career in journalism with The Times, and later moved on to The Daily Telegraph where he became assistant editor. He was appointed editor of The Spectator in 1999. In the 2001 general election he was elected to the House of Commons and became one of the most high profile politicians in the country.
When David Cameron was elected leader of the Conservative Party in 2005, Johnson was re-appointed to the front bench as Shadow Minister for Higher Education and resigned as editor of The Spectator. He is, by no means a stranger to controversy, for example, in an interview to The New Stateman in February 2012 he criticised London’s St Patrick’s Day gala dinner celebrations and linked them to Sinn Féin. He branded the event as ‘Lefty crap’
Kenneth Robert Livingstone is a Labour Party politician who has twice held the leading political role in London local government, firstly as Leader of the Greater London Council from 1981 until the council was abolished in 1986, and secondly as the first elected Mayor of London from the creation of the office in 2000 until 2008. Mayor despite the fact that Tony Blair opposed Livingstone’s candidacy, Livingstone contested the election successfully as an independent candidate regardless, which led to his expulsion from the Labour Party. During his first term, he organised an upgrade of the London transport system and introduced the London congestion charge. He later re-joined the Labour Party, and was again elected Mayor in 2004, following which he continued supporting and expanding such policies. In the 2008, he was defeated in his attempt to gain a third term by Conservative candidate Boris Johnson.
He considers himself a socialist, and his mayoralty was characterised for its support of social liberalism. His vocal opposition to the policies introduced by the Conservative Government led by Margaret Thatcher, coupled with his socialist beliefs, led to him gaining the nickname of “Red Ken”. A polarising figure, Livingstone has been praised by the left for his support of socialist world leaders like Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and his support for Palestine but also criticised by his opponents for extending official invitations to an Islamist scholar.
Brian Leonard Paddick
Brian Leonard Paddick is a British politician, and was the Liberal Democrat candidate for the London mayoral election, 2008, coming third behind Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone. He was, until his retirement in May 2007, Deputy Assistant Commissioner in London’s Metropolitan Police Service and the United Kingdom’s most senior openly gay police officer.
While Police Commander for the London Borough of Lambeth, Paddick attracted controversy by instructing his police officers not to arrest or charge people found with cannabis so that they could focus on crimes that were affecting the quality of life in the borough to a greater extent. In April 2005, Paddick took over management of Territorial Policing across all 32 London Boroughs. He retired from the police force on 31 May 2007. In 2007, it was announced that Paddick had been selected as the Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London in the mayoral elections to be held He came third behind Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone, with 9.8% of first preference votes.
In December 2008, Paddick was a contestant on the ITV1 reality television show I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! I and in 2010, he appeared on Channel 4’s alternative election night special of Come Dine with Me.
Jenny Jones is a prominent member of the Green Party of England and Wales and represents them in the London Assembly. She was Deputy Mayor of London from May 2003 to June 2004. Before entering politics, Jones worked as financial controller in London. She attended the Institute of Archaeology at University College London as a mature student, studying archaeology. She spent about ten years as an archaeologist in the Middle East, “specialising in analysing ancient bird droppings”, before embarking on a career in politics.
Ironically, for a British National Party candidate, Carlos Cortiglia was born in Uruguay to parents of Italian and Spanish ancestry before moving to England in 1989. Amazingly, this guy seemed to oppose Britain in 1982 during the Falklands War, because he felt emotionally attached to Argentina. “I am Argentine East, in other words, Uruguayan by birth, and I feel very emotionally linked to Argentina. In 1982 I volunteered to go to the Falkland Islands.”
The UK Independence Party candidate for the London Mayoral elections in May is their former London Chairman, Lawrence Webb. Before working in politics, Webb was a self-employed electrician and in the Territorial Army for eight years. The UKIP is a euro-sceptic and right-wing populist political party its primary goal is the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. So, it is no surprise that his campaign is centred around gaining a tighter grip on immigration ‘to ensure that Londoners are put first when it comes to jobs and housing’, halting the burden of EU legislation that ‘threatens the City of London’, restricting the extension of the Low Emission Zone which will have a ‘detrimental effect on thousands of small businesses across the capital unless they upgrade or change their vehicles’. Wow.