Galaxy Radio has invited the Mayoral candidates to the studio. Being Mayor is a job that some see as requiring a big personality. The first candidate to be interviewed was the Respect candidate, George Galloway, who is certainly a big personality, love him or hate him. George undoubtedly has an understanding of grass root issues. He spoke to the listeners and did not shirk any questions he was asked.
Regarding the role of Mayor, George feels that it needs a big personality saying that both “Ken Livingston, who was a good Mayor and Boris Johnson, who in [his] view was a bad one, were larger than life figures, bigger than their parties, bigger than party politics. They were leaders and London would want to continue that tradition of a leading figure”.
George sees housing as the biggest crisis in London which needs “An emergency response.” He identifies private sector landlords as being central to the problem, with 2 million people in private housing and only 80 council homes built annually. He has a four-point plan to manage the crisis. His plans include building 200,000 council homes on brown and green field sites which would include skyscrapers. He would require developers to build 50% affordable housing on new developments, unlike the Battersea Power station which contains just 8% of affordable housing. Consequently, rents and house prices would fall.
Perhaps most controversially, George plans to compulsory purchase the 600,000 empty properties in London bought by foreign investors. He will only take this action where the property is left vacant for a year without good reason. “Emergency measures” have to be taken George says because London housing is an emergency.
George sees gentrification as an opportunity for us to “Gentrify ourselves” and for young entrepreneurs to “Produce the good coffee that used to be unavailable”. As Mayor, he would use his influence to protect, promote and help small and medium size businesses and stop high streets from becoming “Yet another parade of the big multinational corporate faces”.
Candidates can be predictable in the election rounds. However, George Galloway managed to pull a few surprises out the hat. He was amazed that London is without a Slave Museum and is prepared to pay for one from his pocket. Perhaps most surprising was to find George Galloway and Nigel Farage teamed up. They both believe Britain should be out of Europe. Here their agreement ends. One reason George wishes to leave is he thinks Britain has an obligation to the Commonwealth including Reparations for taking human beings, “Depositing them in the fields as owned beasts of burden.” He supports Reparations.
George says he is standing for a “London for All” and he certainly has all the bases covered and with over 20,000 people tuned into his interview, I would not write George Galloway out of the race as yet.
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