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A Very Humbling Visit

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Last week was so busy on the campaign that I didn't have time to write a single blog. I'm surprised by how much that has troubled me. I have to admit that I may have developed a bit of a blogging habit, one which allows me to let off steam, set out my stall and highlight the errors of others, all from the comfort and safety of my own front room. It's all rather satisfying and therapeutic, but I do want to put my new addiction to best use.

So today I could write about the successful campaign launch that I had last Tuesday. It was kindly hosted by Ernst and Young, there was a great turn-out and I had lots of positive feedback and media coverage.

I could summarise the raft of policy ideas that I announced, and the campaign video that I premiered at the event. There again, I could focus instead on the Channel 4 and UpRise debate that I took part in on Wednesday where I won the youth vote and held my own against the other candidates.

Or, I could mention my first mayoral TV appearance on Sunday Politics where I explained why an independent mayor would be best for London.

Yes, I could use this blog to talk about any, or all, of those things. But this week I had a meeting in Hither Green which put everything else into perspective. I met Barry Mizen, the father of Jimmy, who the day after his 16th birthday was murdered in an unprovoked attack in a bakery near his home on 10 May 2008.

It would be so easy and so understandable for Barry and his family to focus on punishment and retribution. Instead, in our meeting, Barry used his gentle voice to explain Jimmy's legacy - it's not one of anger, vengeance or fear, but one of hope and peace. He and his family are using the Foundation that they have created in Jimmy's memory to ask fundamental questions about prevention - how can society stop a child born today from becoming a violent adult?

It's easy for me to suggest (as I do) that a Mayor should focus as much on prevention of crime as on punishment of crime. But when you hear that same message from a parent whose own child has been murdered it really resonates.

As I sat opposite Barry today I felt humble and inadequate. The work that he and his family are doing to create positive relationships in their communities is truly inspirational. Their ability to look beyond an immediate desire for retribution to the reasons that cause someone to be violent in the first place is remarkable.

If you aren't aware of the Jimmy Mizen Foundation, I would encourage you to have a look at http://www.jimmymizen.org

It's definitely worth blogging about.