Features

Zac Goldsmith’s London campaign was a toe-curling embarrassment

The Tory bid to retain the mayoralty seemed to occur in a ­vacuum, shielded from the public gaze

7 May 2016

9:00 AM

7 May 2016

9:00 AM

Zac Goldsmith spent almost every day out on the stump during his London mayoral campaign dressed in the formal dark suit he inherited from his father, and had recut on his death in 1997. At least that is what a member of his team told me as I was out observing proceedings one day.

I think that detail was offered as a bit of journalistic ‘colour’ to show Zac’s sense of filial duty, but that was the only sense in which his painfully understated campaigning could be said to have owed anything to Sir James Goldsmith’s bombastic, manic style when he ran the Referendum party.

Some political campaigns are failures; others are simply tragedies, and Zac Goldsmith’s falls into the latter category. Writing this two days before polling day, one cannot exclude the possibility that turnout could sink as low as the 32–33 per cent mark, and that white middle-class voters in the outer suburbs will turn out while the younger, more liberal supporters of Labour’s Sadiq Khan will stay in bed. Zac’s staff were assiduously promoting this notion.

But even if there is an upset, Goldsmith’s campaign must be classed an embarrassment, and in some ways a disgrace, as an effort by Conservatives to win over the electorate of a great capital city. It is worth remembering that last summer Zac was 2/1 favourite to win on what then seemed likely to be a prospectus of optimism.

Zac Goldsmith himself seems an amiable enough soul, though his thin CV and past business failures scarcely qualify him to stand up as the candidate of enterprise against what he classes as the ‘divisive’ figure of Sadiq Khan.

Khan seems dim and slippery and could have been beaten by the right sort of Conservative candidate, especially after the new Islington-based Labour leadership cabal declared jihad against London Jews. This raises the question: who at Conservative HQ really thought it was a good idea to present to multicultural London as successor to an Old Etonian mayor with star quality another OE — with none? Notwithstanding some voters’ anxieties about the people Khan has shared a platform with over the years, was that really do-able in London these days?

The absurdity of the proposition first became obvious to me when, against initial resistance from the Zac media operation, I joined the campaign in Romford market on St George’s Day. Romford, one of the outer parts of London where Zac needed to pile up votes in order to have a chance, remains so doggedly Caucasian that even the Bob Marley tribute band banging out reggae numbers were white.

Here the problem was immediately apparent. The locals wanted to talk to Zac not about transport or business rates, but about Europe, and why we should leave.

I couldn’t help thinking that had Boris Johnson been out campaigning here, he would have been wearing a comedy red and white top hat, or would have borrowed someone’s bulldog for the day, or at least done something to get himself noticed. One of the lessons to be learned from this fiasco of a mayoral campaign is how incredibly good Boris Johnson is as a political showman who can close out elections.

Through Romford I tagged along with Zac and a nicely spoken girl from Conservative HQ and genial Tim, who was Zac’s press man, and it took me a while to fathom why this felt such a peculiar campaign event. Then it hit me: I was the only journalist who had come along to cover it. True, there was a photographer present, manically taking pictures of Zac, but it turned out she was working for the campaign, not the media.

There was not a single reporter present — no one from the Romford Recorder, or the Standard, or from BBC London television news or any of the various local radio stations. Later that day we moved on from Essex into the Tory redoubts of Chislehurst and Bromley in the Kent suburbs, and all day The Spectator maintained its absolute exclusivity in its access to the Goldsmith campaign.

It is often said that modern political campaigning is designed only for television cameras; Back Zac was almost a virtual campaign that seemed to occur in a vacuum, shielded from the public gaze, as though people might be embarrassed by it.

It turned out there were good reasons to shield Zac from the press. When he was presented to the media, it tended not to end well. He went to a pub to be photographed with Boris having a pint but held his glass like a 1950s pantomime dame. He attended the Asian Awards dinner, at which he professed his love of Bollywood films, but then when asked on camera which were his favourite films and stars, he couldn’t name one. Watch it above — through your fingers if you like excruciating video nasties.

The Asian Awards event was a month ago, but the toe-curling footage was distributed only at the weekend just as Labour’s anti-Jewish stuff reached its peak. Sadiq Khan is famously the son of a bus driver, but his campaign operation was smoothly overseen by Patrick Hennessy, less famously another Old Etonian, who instinctively knew to keep something in his back pocket for a difficult phase in the news cycle.

Back Zac was run by Mark Fullbrook, who officially oversaw strategy, but the fingerprints of his business partner, the veteran Australian hired gun Sir Lynton Crosby, seem to be all over the ‘dog whistle’ questions about Khan and his nasty Islamist friends. This criticism of Khan might have worked had he been running to be mayor of Basingstoke, but in London, where many voters pride themselves on their ‘tolerance’ to all, it was unlikely to gain much traction. It also allowed Khan’s slicker media operation to bat back the charge with claims of ‘Islamophobia’, which, though clearly unfair, do damage.

After an event in Chislehurst, I spoke to Zac in a remote part of a car park where he furtively satisfied his nicotine craving with an e-cigarette. I had heard indirectly from other sources that Zac’s brother Ben and sister Jemima and the wider family were furious with Cameron and Conservative HQ for messing up his campaign and for not allowing him to run as his own man. Zac was too stoic to be drawn on this point.

He insisted that Cameron had been entirely supportive, as had Boris, but one is left to wonder. He added that ‘nothing I have said about Sadiq Khan is untrue’, which is no doubt correct. But is also not really the point.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

Stephen Robinson is the author of The Remarkable Lives of Bill Deedes.


Show comments
  • fred

    oh stop it – Zac will do ok. Stop and think about whether Khans vote will turn up – and I bet yer it will stay at home. People just wont get out and vote for this guy.

    • WuffoTheWonderDog

      They don’t need to get out and vote. The postal votes were printed, signed, counted and awaiting the announcement as the polling stations opened today. Tower Hamlets is very efficient and Labour is proud to be associated with this example of British industrial innovation.

      • Callan

        Oops, I jumped the gun and posted before I read your comment. Summed up nicely. The new name of Londonistan is most appropriate.

        • Leon Wolfeson

          …For anti-British campaigners propaganda, absolutely.

        • Dukeofplazatoro

          For the grotty bits at least.. I thought Kensington and Chelsea were Londongrad.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            Nah, the Russians there are there exactly to get *away* from Russia.

        • RightThinkingMan

          Oh bitter nasty little man.

      • Mynydd

        If I remember rightly postal votes where introduced in 1918, so why have the Tories been so slow to use them, maybe they will wait another hundred years before they will use electronic voting.

        • MC73

          The Tories don’t ‘use’ postal votes in the way that the Islamic Republic of Tower Hamlets and various Muslim ghettos do because they don’t wish to break the law.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            Ah, non-Tory voyters are allowed them. As you make accusations of lawbreaking without proof, and as you hate parts of London and British people for their religion, in your anti-democratic tirade.

          • RightThinkingMan

            Well said Leon, all these people do is intellectualise their bigotry. I am right wing but despise the race hatred that goes on the Spectator.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            Quite, thanks. I do note some new faces here on the Spectator who migrated here from the Telegraph’s section and did much the same there :/

          • British Patriot ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

            You’re a cuckservative.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            No True Scotsman, check.

          • RightThinkingMan

            Oh, love the bitterness – the more you moan the more I know you are loser. Actually your wife moans more with her boyfriend

          • British Patriot ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

            Funny that a cuckservative should come out with a lame comeback based on cuckoldry…. Freud would have a field day!

      • Leon Wolfeson

        So you blame Tower Hamlets for everything.

        Without proof, or you’d be able to take legal action.

    • Callan

      Depends if there is postal voting, if so Khan will win by a landslide. 150 per cent of Muslims will have cast a vote.

      • Mynydd

        Also depends if Goldsmith has been busing in youths and charging their B&B (that way you get a vote) to his family.

      • Leon Wolfeson

        More wild accusations based on PC I see.

        As for those evil elderly Tory voters, why…

  • seangrainger

    There seems little point in printing this on election day. The choice of the smug halfwit as candidate was the toe-curling embarrassment and might have been overturned if you had started earlier.

    • AM66

      Aren’t they both smug halfwits?

  • fred

    truth is, Khan set the direction by playing the muslim/race card – he knew what he was doing, and he knows that metro London will get behind him just to prove how liberal they are. Goldmsith was always going to look bad –
    Problem was, you just cant out-promise khan cos he is willing to say anything. ANd you cant highlight his previous career and choices cos he plays the race card – but Metro Londoners don’t realise they are the minority in London. They don’t represent london

    • Bonkim

      He is also dim.

      • Leon Wolfeson

        And the PC hate rolls on.

    • Leon Wolfeson

      That evil majority of Londoners… right.

      As you blame anything but a poor campaign.

      • RightThinkingMan

        Well said!

    • dwarfpoo

      You nailed it. Prior interviews with Khan he always brings up the muslim angle. Im utterly sick of hearing about religion and Khan started it.

  • David S

    Back Zac and crack, Sir?

  • Margot5000

    Heard ZG on the Today programme and he came off really well in an interview with John Humphreys – something which is pretty rare.

  • Bonkim

    Poor choice of a Mayoral Candidate.

    • Leon Wolfeson

      Best available, heh heh.

  • Donafugata

    Forget it Zac, it’s Minaret Hamlets.

    • Leon Wolfeson

      Forget it Zak, it’s the right wing PC brigade pretending…

  • AM66

    This rather echoes an article in the Telegraph today about the US presidential election. If these two really are the best that our country can put forward for senior public office, we might as well give up. Douglas Adams was right all along.

    • dwarfpoo

      Exactly. ..

  • Bristol_Boy

    So, it is ok for the tory boys to be shown with pints of beer in hand, but Farage is treated with derision for his beer enjoyment, hypocrisy is alive and well.

  • Fenman

    Jut shows how Out of touch Dave and Ozzy are. Terrine campaign condemning London To rule by athickmIslamist sympathiser.

    • Leon Wolfeson

      Really, they decided to cancel the elections and pick you?

  • Hybird

    Where have all the comments from yesterday gone? There were 99 when I last looked.

  • irina palm

    The only ones who came out publicly in support for Zac were Muslim haters.
    That cannot be right.

    • smspf

      It’s not that bad here actually. Only 80% of commenters pose as Islamophobes. Guido’s site otho appears to financially depend on race/fearmongering.

      • Ipsedixit

        I’m not posing. I am an islamophobe.

        • Cromulent

          Reading Islamic source texts will do that.

          Reading is fundamental.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            Never mind what people actually think and believe, right.

          • RightThinkingMan

            Well said, leon, these people are bigots. They look a persons colour and then decide what they think.

          • brrrrr.

            But you can’t read – so how was that even possible?

        • RightThinkingMan

          Oh at least you are honest. Why not publicly say that? I forgot, you are coward! See, that is why Sadiq won?! He is facing cowards like you.

  • Jab

    Time to leave these shores if thats how low things have got.Disaster is looming.

    • RightThinkingMan

      Leave- who needs some lazy whiner like you

      • Jab

        How do you know I am lazy?
        As for being a whiner ,this is a blog for views and I have posted my view of disaster in the future.Whining is what you are doing .

        • RightThinkingMan

          Clearly you a lazy whiner. As that’s all you do. Blame other for the miserable life you have. I don’t whine, We won!

    • Jab

      How do you know if I am lazy ?
      I just dont want intolerant,misogynist, jew – hating ,gay hating , backward people in my country.
      The arabs have arabia, the africans have africa , the Chinese have China etc.The europeans will not have Europe soon and I have no wish to see the outcome

      • Leon Wolfeson

        IS shares the exact same view of separation as you.

        And really, so your action against the far right…

        • Hippograd

          IS shares the exact same view of separation as you.

          So does Israel.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            No, it does not, as you try and raise hate against Jews, as ever.

          • Hippograd

            Israel denies a right of return to goyim and Israeli goyim are discriminated against. Where do you think Islam gets its hateful, violent and discriminatory side from? Buddhism or Judaism?

          • Leon Wolfeson

            So you get confused as to what a right of return is, check.
            You claim magical discrimination, check.

            As you blame Islam for your views.

          • Hippograd

            A right of return means that Somalis, Pakistani, Eritreans and Mexicans can claim asylum in Israel. And they do claim it and win it, in large numbers. But not so many Syrians are successful, unfortunately. Syria is too far from Israel.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            So you make up nonsense…oh dear.

          • Hippograd

            So you destroy my arguments with merciless logic and copious quotation from Israeli sources… oy veh…

          • Leon Wolfeson

            Thanks for noting your targets.

      • RightThinkingMan

        I don’t want trash like you in my country. So piss off!

        • Hippograd

          Hear, hear! And look at the radiant future: as more feminists, LGBTQ activists and anti-racists pour into the West from the Third World, evil white bigots will soon be placed where they belong: on the rubbish-heap of history.

  • CO Jones

    With hindsight, it was probably a big mistake to arrange for Goldsmith to take lessons in holding a pint glass from the same guy who taught Ed Miliband how to eat a bacon butty.

    • stuartMilan

      oh how true – what an evil symmetry: the professionally insincere attempting to be authentic and being caught out

  • Mara Naile-Akim

    the problem was that we never got to find out what was good about zac goldsmith

    his biggest argument was ‘elect me because I am not sadiq khan’

    • Cromulent

      You need more than one argument to get elected. But that isn’t a bad one to start with.

    • dwarfpoo

      He just didn’t want the job. To be fair to Zac he did raise questions in Parliament regarding historic child abuse and lobbied for the investigation to widen past social workers resident in the homes. His point was visitors should also be investigated ie police and MPs.There were calls for his suspension from the party.Sometimes such as in the case of child abuse , being wealthy does allow one to be more vocal without fear of earning a crust.

  • Cromulent

    A Muslim mayor. What could go wrong?

    • RightThinkingMan

      Oh bitter are we?! boo hoo!

      • Cromulent

        As I live in the States I can’t really be bitter. Its just generally easier to predict the behavior of a closed system when you’re not actually in it.

        If you live in London, your life will be a little easier in the coming years if you say the shahada. A little harder if you don’t.

        Bon appetit!

        • RightThinkingMan

          Yes, and living in the UK, I can predict that Trump’s rise. If you are thick, white, dim whited then you vote for a moron like Trump. Tell that fat c*tn to stay in the US. boo hoo!

          • Cromulent

            Sorry, can’t hear what you’re saying, what with that chador you’re wearing.

            But it does look fetching on you.

          • RightThinkingMan

            Oh rather than be the big man and accept the result of Khan winning London, you have to be all bitter. I expect you don’t like Obama because he is black. Remember, your whining changes nothing. We cant hear you because of your thick Southern accent…..i say…I say…I say..boy

          • Cromulent

            Again, the chador.

            But don’t take it off. Please.

          • RightThinkingMan

            Oh my god, the hillbilly has one thought in his head. I bet you didn’t go to the Ivy League did you? Does it hurt?

          • RightThinkingMan

            How many teeth do you have? Play the banjo? Your first sexual experience with your sister? You poor Southern white trashy hick?! You do know that graduating from TV Repair school doesnt make you a graduate?

          • British Patriot ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

            Stop insulting yourself!

          • RightThinkingMan

            Oh – another bitter loser! Damn, it must have taken you a long time to think that up. Khan will win and you bigots will just as useless today are you were yesterday

          • British Patriot ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

            In case you didn’t notice, you replied to yourself back there, and called yourself a toothless hillbilly… which is what I was referring to.

          • Mandrake

            Never get in the way of an idiot making a fool of himself. .

          • brrrrr.

            “Patriot” is code for: I’ve joined this club, Britain (or how I perceive it). I cheer for it like I cheer a football team – mainly because I’m too stupid to participate in actual discussion, much like I cheer for a game I’m too unskilled to play.

          • British Patriot ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

            You’re a troll. What do you know about “actual discussion”?

          • brrrrr.

            it’s always easier to take the stupid stance: “so when they chop your head off, you won’t be talking then”, “can’t hear you with the bomb in the background” – it’s actually quite dumb, and predictable, Cromulent. though I don’t think you can predict much? See as how you’re learning disabled.

          • Mandrake

            Obama is a half caste, so you are half right – which I guess is a step up for you. Maybe 2 steps up.

          • Bonkim

            I like Trump.

        • Bonkim

          Kennedy’s Catholic background was questioned at the time.

        • Leon Wolfeson

          And your dislike of Britain, which hasn’t decided if it’s going to shut itself away from the world yet…

    • Leon Wolfeson

      Same thing was said about Disraeli.

      • Cromulent

        Odd. Pretty sure Disraeli wasn’t Muslim. But hey, I’ll take your word for it.

        • Leon Wolfeson

          No, funnily enough other minorities have had exactly the same things said about them.
          Indeed, Labour….recently…oh, but you’re all onto that but don’t look at the hypocrisy, right?

          • Cromulent

            So other minorities were criticized for basing a religion on a man who was a desert pirate that had scores of innocents slaughtered and called for Jews to be extinguished from the world in the end times?

            Because that would be pretty interesting. Do tell.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            So you try and make excuses for the same tactics, check, as you talk about yourself….

          • Cromulent

            You’re the one who claims that critics of Khan are repeating tired old tropes. I showed you that is not true.

            How many Islamic source texts have you read?

          • Leon Wolfeson

            So you deny something widely reported, as you simply make excuses for the same old hates, evidence-free.

            And your only reading badly and for-ideological-purposes translated copy/pasted “source texts”, rather than looking at what people actually think and believe…

          • Bonkim

            Why are Catholics not mentioned?

          • Leon Wolfeson

            Ah, that excuse.

      • Hippograd

        Hear, hear! Muslims are tolerant, intelligent, scrupulously honest folk who love everyone — especially their dear brothers-and-sisters in the Jewish community. How very different Muslims are from those evil, hate-filled white racists in unenriched towns like Bradford:

        And when I visited Bradford, a group of passionate Galloway supporters pinned me to a wall, throttled me and punched me in the head, shouting “Get out you f***ing Jew.” Just par for the course in Bradford.

        http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/you-wouldnt-be-surprised-by-naz-shahs-remarks-if-you-knew-more-about-the-town-she-came-from-a7005336.html

        • Bonkim

          Your fault for venturing into hostile territory.

        • Leon Wolfeson

          Keep spewing the PC hate, as you target Jews and as you celebrate that sort of violence…

          • Hippograd

            No, no, Leon: I don’t celebrate it, tho’ it’s hard not to feel Schadenfreude.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            Ah, you actively practice it, as you feel your usual raging…

  • Sponsz

    For years you have looked on as the aliens flooded into your country and entire swathes of the capital became Third World … and now you are shocked and surprised that a Mos lem has been “elected” Mayor of London? (Not so sure about elected really, we know how these things are arranged in Pakistan and Bangla Desh). A few years down the line it won’t be just the mayors, it will be the Prime Minister. Time to take back your country?

    • RightThinkingMan

      Nasty litte man you are? Stay in whichever hovel you are! Thank god, you are coward and don’t have the guts to go public with your bigotry. No wonder the ethnics won. With cowards like you!

      • Child_of_Thatcher

        He can’t go public because freedom of speech has been criminalised in the UK

      • Mandrake

        Perhaps you should look up the definition of “bigot”. Then look up “hypocrite”.

        • RightThinkingMan

          I already did that. They had “spectator reader” and “lower middle class white trash with half an education”

          • Mandrake

            Then look up “projection”.

    • Conscience_SS

      Moslems are about 14% of the London population. To suggest that they can decide the outcome of the election and has nothing to do with the capability of a politician, who also happens to be a Muslim, is blatant xenopobia and racism!

      • marvin

        It is not racism! One needs to look into the background of the candidates. Goldsmith has always shown a much higher respect of our country and the people in it.

    • post_x_it

      “…we know how these things are arranged in Pakistan and Bangla Desh”
      Are you aware that Bangladesh operates a biometric voter identification system?
      The UK has precisely no voter identification system whatsoever. You just stick your (or any other random) name on a form, and then you point to that name on the list when you turn up at the polling station.
      Which one is more open to fraud?

      • Mandrake

        Still probably Bangla. The culture. But to be fair, give London/UK time…

        • post_x_it

          You misunderstood my question. I asked not who commits more fraud, but which SYSTEM is MORE OPEN to fraud.
          I agree with you about the cultural aspect, and I think it’s interesting that in Bangladesh the gov’t realised this and tightened the system, whereas the UK is doing no such thing.

          • Mandrake

            Yes, I guess when you have (now had) a monoculture based on mutual trust (because you identify with the common community) you could get away with not having a system. A bit like when I lived in Tokyo and could leave my umbrella outside in the restaurants’ umbrella stands without fear of it getting stolen. It would be shameful for someone to steal it.

            But to respond directly to your gentle admonition: like bank safes and criminals – the wrong culture will trump the right systems.

          • post_x_it

            Yes, that is exactly my point. Combine a system based on honesty with a culture where cheating is the norm, and you have a perfect storm. I tried to avoid that awkward rhyme but couldn’t be bothered in the end.

  • logdon
  • William Brown

    So, a large Jewish community were unlucky, because their names weren’t on a list – I’ve heard that before somewhere.

    Add to that a spectacularly lame campaign by Goldsmith, and one can safely assume that Khan will walk it – with, or without (ahem) ‘postal’ votes.

    • dwarfpoo

      Not good regarding Brent, however it is a Tory run council that outsourced. Khan did not walk it per se, if Zac really wanted the job it would have been his. People were more offended by Zacs wealth.. sad but true..

      • marvin

        Not really! The fact that Goldsmith has huge wealth is a good thing. He is less likely to be pursuing a personal career to obtain power! He already has that!

        • dwarfpoo

          Yes of course.. i agree..my comment read poorly. I am using my phone ..whilst walking..bad idea.

  • ROUCynic

    Poor candidate, a Labour town and an omnishambolic National party in power. Goldsmith never had a chance. Pity he tarnished his personal reputation with his futile negative campaign.

    • Bonkim

      Not intelligent.

  • CRPC

    I don’t know why the BBC insists on labelling Sadiq Khan as “London’s first Muslim Mayor.” Had Zac Goldsmith won the election, would they be referring to him as London’s first Jewish Mayor?

    • dwarfpoo

      utterly sick of that religion in every newsfeed. Its will bore us into submission of nothing else.

      • RightThinkingMan

        As we we are sick of poor whiny white trash like you!

        • dwarfpoo

          Wow look at you go with your xray vision. Bog off with your racist trash.

    • Bonkim

      Not British values to harp on the candidate’s religion.

    • Bo Williams

      It is slightly odd. You’d think there had been 50 mayors the way they go on. There’s only been 2 previous mayors!!

  • Bodkinn

    Zac was plainly the wrong sort of person to be attractive to Londoners; he had no warmth and warmth is one of Boris’s main charms. However, the population of London is now so diverse it would seem impossible to choose a candidate to be attractive to all of them. Despite his recent fall from grace Ken was a very good mayor and previously leader of the GLC. It was his very success that made Thatcher keen to get rid of him. The next time around the Tories should choose a more experienced crowd pleaser.

  • marvin

    Goldsmith should have won hands down! He is not islamphobic, his best friend and ex-brother in law is a Muslim politician in Pakistan. Goldsmith is very keen on maintaining the green and pleasant lands of Britain and he is a fervent supporter of the OUT campaigners.
    My personal view is that the results of the Mayoral election in London was more than convenient for the remain campaigners! Especially in an area where there are a huge number of Muslim British Passport holders!

  • GnosticBrian

    “He went to a pub to be photographed with Boris having a pint but held his glass like a 1950s pantomime dame” – looking at the picture, I confess to holding my pints in much the same way. Not because I’m a 1950s Pantomime Dame but because of severe arthritis.

  • David Prentice

    Who sanctioned this blithering clown to run against the apotheosis of a cunning, streetwise lefty? I don’t blame the chinless wonder but the party grandees who let it happen.

  • ted markstein

    who be these heroes
    is this a hero, this strutting blusterer
    this vain and selfish pumped up
    piece of such unjustified self regard
    the mirror’s most ardent admirer
    what folly this self image
    how flimsy the construction
    what feebleness what lack of
    attention what unlearned credulity
    would give such smarmy villains
    the benefit of any doubt whatsoever

  • marvin

    The results of the Mayoral election were rather convenient to the existing Tory party’s sympathies with respect to the forthcoming referendum. However – Sadiq Khan’s policies appear to be rather short sighted in the least. His intentions are to address the housing problems in London in respect of the additional 1.2 million more residents that are to be expected. There is only one way to achieve that as the space is so limited – that is to reduce the number of historic buildings to make way for huge multi storey properties. So we lose more of our heritage to outsiders. Although this idea would not increase the widths of the roads to accept even more vehicles! Has no-one understood what happened in Hong Kong when it was under British Rule? Where it became so overcrowded the only way to move along the pavements was by walking in tiny pigeon steps. Where the traffic became so congested, it was faster to walk on the overcrowded pavements! Where property prices were raised so high, even more people were packed into each apartment to cover the cost? Until the Chinese took over Hong Kong once again and resolved the issue.
    Khan’s promises are hot air! It is impossible to build even more houses in such a limited tiny space! The City of London is just one square mile! It is a stupid suggestion.
    It is necessary to reduce the population – that is obvious. When that has been done successfully – then it wil be necessary to persuade businesses to move to other easier to afford regions in the UK if they need a full workforce. It is a ridiculous situation that in the North there are far more University graduates than anywhere outside of London and yet this is where the greatest unemployment is, yet in London businesses are unable to obtain suitable employees to fill their vacancies. Just use common sense instead of sitting on a pink cloud!

    • Duke Amir Often

      No, they won’t be pulling down historic buildings to house poor people. No offence but you are pretty eccentric to think that they would. What a hoot!

      Also, the ‘one square mile’ of the City of London comes under a different Mayor. Nobody is going to be pulling down any of that for poor folks’ housing, either.

      You talk of ‘common sense’ but also of ‘reducing the population’. I’m not sure that the two are compatible.

    • Bertie

      When were you last in Hong Kong?
      I’ve noticed some construction but its hardly as you describe above. Nor was it in 1997, 1999,. 2003, or 2008.

      What have the Chinese done,and when did they do it?

  • Mr J

    Never heard or saw Zac Goldsmith providing any wow or oomph, let alone a positive future vision of London.

    Or indeed, what his next steps would be to stop Heathrow expansion.

    As for bringing religion in as a main campaigning plank, words fail me.

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