Galloway seeks to be mayor for the downtrodden

26th Feb 2016
Galloway seeks to be mayor for the downtrodden

(Photo: STW/ Creative commons)

Ahmed J Versi

Upcoming elections for the Mayor of London in May will be hotly contested especially between Labour candidate Sadiq Khan MP and Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmith MP. But there are also other significant candidates standing, including George Galloway, who has the distinction of being elected for no less than four different constituencies.

In an exclusive interview with The Muslim News, Galloway said he wants to be Mayor of London for the downtrodden. “It is an important job, it’s concerning 8 million people in the first instance but of course there’s a great importance to the country as a whole and indeed further beyond. So it’s a powerful job, it’s a powerful pulpit, and it’s one that I think I can do very well.”

His vision was for inclusiveness, “a London for all, not just for those dripping in gold.” He accused incumbent Mayor Boris Johnson running London “for people like him. And if Goldsmith were to get in, he’d do the same. And Sadiq Khan is crawling to the rich and powerful begging them to give him their support.”

The former MP said he would “stand up for the majority. I don’t care about the 1%. Every policy I follow will be to the detriment of the 1%, because they’ve done very well, thank you very much up until now, and its time the others had a chance.”

Housing is one of the most important issues affecting London. Galloway said the housing crisis is “such that ordinary Londoners are being socially cleansed from the city, being forced further and further to the perimeter and some of them over the edge.” It was something he would tackle “ferociously.”

The way he will tackle the issue is that as the mayor has the power to approve developments. “There will be no developments unless 50% of the houses in those developments are for rent at affordable prices. And affordable will be defined as 50% of the prevailing rent in the area, which is a revolutionary change on both levels.”

Galloway said he would also “compulsively purchase any house that’s left empty in London for more than one year without a valid excuse, to tackle the crisis of hundreds of thousands of London properties not being bought as houses at all.”

Another major issue affecting Londoners is public transport which is the most expensive in Europe. Galloway said he would give “free public transport to every student, every school student, every college student and every university student to try in a small way to make up for the theft of EMA money from school children and the theft of resource that’s involved in the tripling of the tuition fees from £3000 to £9000.”
He will also “freeze the fares for the duration of my mayorty, in the first term anyway, but the targeting of resources involved in specifically in assisting students, is a priority for me.

As is extending the key worker scheme, so that police, fire, ambulance and other key workers can travel free on London’s buses. In Zone 5 and 6, everyone who is making an orbital journey around rather than in, will travel free on the buses, and so on. I’m predicting we can save a billion pounds, through our block change technology, transparent and instant, I believe we can save £950m through our block change technology.”

Any company not paying their workers London living wage, the former MP insisted that he would ensure that they “will not be doing any business with us. They’ll have no contracts with the mayorty, with tfl, or any other part of the mayorty. Waiters and waitresses will be keeping their tips instead of sharing them with their employers.”

He will ensure that the police “are policing without fear or favour, not discriminating against any section of the community, not discriminating on the colour of people’s skin, or on the colour of their shirt collar. In other words white collar crime has to be investigated and persecuted just as rigorously as any other kind of crime.”

“I’ll be ensuring a police force that looks like London, and is working for all of London. And the huge increase in racist attacks, because that’s what Islamophobic attacks are, will have to be a priority for the Metropolitan Police and I don’t believe that it is enough of a priority.”
Galloway will not increase congestion charge. Instead he will ban trucks and heavy vehicles, during daylight hours in central London, “to save people’s lives, to save their limbs, and, because cyclists are being knocked down virtually every week, and to save the lungs of everyone.”

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