Monday, 14 September 2015
I back Zac - and here's why...
Had I lived in London and had a vote I would have found choosing a Conservative mayoral candidate very difficult. All four are qualified. All have the technical, political and administrative skills. All have the education and ability. But being Mayor of our great, vibrant and iconic city is not just about management; it's also about having the vision, style and pizzazz to carry it off. Whether we like it or not Ken had it, even though I loathed what he stood for. Steve Norris had it. And Boris has it in spades.
The issue I have with Stephen Greenhalgh is I simply don't think he can win, and I haven't met anyone else who thinks he can either. Likewise Andrew Boff - but he has the added problem than whenever I hear him speak I get the impression that he doesn't think he can win. And that comes across. So this leaves me with the two front runners.
Economically and politically I am probably closer to Syed Kamall, though I support Zac's views on personal liberty, direct democracy and accountability. Both candidates will secure the core Conservative vote and both will appeal to different constituencies outside our traditional base. So far so good.
But therein lies the problem. London is not, and hasn't been for 25 years, a Conservative city. We are not going to win on the Conservative vote alone. We therefore need a candidate who will reach out beyond the Conservative base and secure sufficient 2nd preference votes to take us over the line.
Given neither candidate will court the 2nd preferences of UKIP, BNP or Respect, the only 2nd preferences available to us will be the 9% who last time supported LibDems and the Greens. And it doesn't take a genius to work out which Conservative will most likely appeal to LibDems and Greens.
As I said at the top of this article, I don't live in London, I don't have a vote and my endorsement has no value. But I love London and I don't want to see it back in the hands of a Socialist. That is why in this election I am going to put my political tribal loyalties aside and take a pragmatic view in favour of the only candidate I believe can build a coalition strong enough to beat Labour. That candidate is Zac Goldsmith.