Friday 25 May 2012

Independence for London? You must be bonkers!

The population of London is roughly the same as Scotland and Wales put together - yet Londoners have very little autonomy within the UK. Despite having an elected Mayor and Assembly, on matters of national policy London is still effectively ‘ruled by Westminster’. 
Should London break away from the UK? Would London be better off as a separate country? Should London have self-rule?
The idea of an Independent London is absurd - and only someone who was seriously bonkers would put this forward as a suggestion. The World is currently getting smaller by the day. The United Nations, European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank all play their part in eroding the sovereignty of the Independent State.
Whether we like it or not, the direction of flow is towards greater political and financial integration. The idea of an EU member splitting into even smaller parts to be ‘more independent’ makes no sense.
London on its own would have even less influence in Europe and the rest of the World than the UK as a whole. Going it alone would mean less independence, not more.
So why is it that Scotland with its tiny population is now seriously considering voting to leave the UK? It really boils down to the vanity and personal ambitions of Alex Salmond, leader of the Scottish National Party. 
Following years of Labour’s failure, the SNP has been very successful stirring up nationalistic feelings. Why should Scotland be ‘ruled’ by Westminster?
In reality, Scotland is NOT ruled by Westminster. Scotland has far greater independence than any other part of the UK. Scotland has its own Parliament, unlike London, despite the fact that London has a much larger population.
Even at Westminster, Scotland punches well above its weight. Scottish MPs vote on English affairs, but not vice-versa (the so called West Lothian question, conveniently ignored by the previous Scottish dominated Labour government).
There will be no referendum for London Independence. It has never been an issue.
As the Scottish referendum approaches and Alex Salmond pursues his personal vainglorious ambitions, let us hope that the wisdom of the Scottish people wins through.
The people of Scotland deserve a leader with vision, not delusions.

Wednesday 2 May 2012

There is only one choice for London

At election time, Lib Dems love nothing more than stuffing leaflets through doors telling voters that candidates from other parties ‘can’t win here’
The Mayoral election is of course a two-horse race. Lib Dems ‘can’t win here’ - but oddly this time they don’t mention it. Brian Paddick seems a nice enough chap, but he knows he is wasting his time. When interviewed on LBC radio, he hadn’t done his homework and didn’t even know how much his own policies would cost.
The Green candidate seems to have thrown in the towel and has suggested her supporters give their second choice vote to Ken. So, if you don’t want Ken, you can’t support the Greens either.
So, it’s a straight choice. It comes down to this:
Do Londoners want a Mayor who will speak up for London, keep costs down, cut waste, cut crime, invest in public transport and get the best possible deal from Number 10? Or do they want a dinosaur from a bygone age who has been shown time and again to break his own promises?
When he was Mayor, Ken Livingstone famously said “only a ghastly dehumanised moron would want to get rid of the Routemaster”. Then he got rid of them - and in so doing wrote his own epitaph.
Do we move forwards or backwards? The choice seems clear. Here’s wishing Boris good luck for May 3rd