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29 April 2008

Boris Johnson – why vote for me

The Tory candidate for mayor of London explains why you should back him in the election on 1 May

By Boris Johnson

I have never been one to talk about going on a journey in the non-physical sense. But over the last nine months I have undergone an experience no other word will suffice to express. I have travelled from zones one to six and met thousands of Londoners from all walks of life. I have toured markets, mosques, synagogues, suburbs, hospitals and high streets. I have witnessed the remarkable work being done by voluntary organisations in all corners of the capital. I have plunged my whole being into the warp and woof of this city in an attempt to seek out its core concerns and aspirations, and I have come out the other side determined to make a difference to the lives of everyone who lives here. Here’s why I want you to vote for me on Thursday.

London is a fantastic city, without doubt the most vibrant and dynamic in the world. But this city has serious problems, and the worst of them is crime. Violent crime is rife on our streets and the tragic toll of teenage deaths keeps rising. Incivility and casual disorder provide the mood music on many of London’s buses. People are scared of walking the streets in their neighbourhoods – and given the evidence of the mayor’s own statistics, that fear is entirely rational. It is appalling and unacceptable for the current mayor to brush off their fears with weasel words and sophistic statistics, or to blame the media for glamourising violence. I refuse to accept defeat on crime.

If I am elected as Mayor I will chair the Metropolitan Police Authority and make tackling violent crime my number one priority. I want to free the police from form-filling to allow them to patrol the streets. I will release funds for handheld weapon scanners to root out the guns and the knives. I will be a champion for the local organisations that are already doing fantastic work to free young people from the sense of hopelessness that leads to the flourishing of gangs. As well as ring-fencing money from the LDA towards community projects and competitive sport, the Mayor’s Fund for London will harness the wealth and skills of the private sector and channel those resources towards making London better for all.

I also have fresh ideas to make our public transport network safer, first by funding 440 additional Police Community Support Officers and 50 more British Transport Officers to patrol the buses, trains and station platforms. I will get tough on the behaviour that blights bus journeys by trialling live CCTV on the worst routes, and by introducing the ‘Payback London’ scheme to deal with the minority of under-18s who break the behaviour code.

Protecting our open, green spaces is another priority of my mayoral campaign, because in a city like London public places are social safety valves, mixing the people of this city in common enjoyment. By stamping down on low-level crime such as graffiti, fly-tipping and litter, we can make green spaces safe for children to play in again. Making such massive changes will only be possible if City Hall works with locally-elected politicians. A Johnson mayoralty will listen to borough councils, because they know what is best for their local area.

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THANK YOU

On 1st May Londoners have a choice. They can vote for more of the same from a tired, out-of-date administration that is beset by allegations of sleaze. Or they can vote for change – for safer streets, value for money, better public transport, the protection of London’s green spaces and a mayor who will deliver a better London for all Londoners. They deserve a mayor who will rise to the challenges set by our city, who has the energy and enthusiasm that has been sorely lacking in City Hall for too long. That is why Londoners should invest their trust in me. In return, I will work tirelessly to make London great again.

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