19/05/2014 12:59 BST | Updated 19/07/2014 06:59 BST

Why I'm Running for London Mayor

London is an incredible city - it's dynamic, diverse and full of opportunity. It leads the world in everything from the arts to commerce, from fashion to higher education. I'm incredibly proud to have been born and brought up here. However, I'm worried that our capital is in danger of losing what makes it so special. London is at risk of becoming a city for the few rather than the many - a city that only the privileged can enjoy, a city where too many people live in cramped and miserable accommodation, a city blighted by poor air and a lack of quality public space.

This is why I'm running to be the next Mayor of London. I want to make London a city that everyone can live in, afford and enjoy.

The election is in 2016, and so far I'm the only declared candidate. I have announced my intention to run now because I believe the challenges that London faces require long-term thinking. The debate about how to address our housing crisis, improve our transport network and revitalise our public spaces must start now. We, as Londoners, should not have to wait any longer for solutions to the problems that are ruining our city. Other candidates will declare after the General Election in 2015 but these conversations should not have to wait until then. We need to start solving London's problems today.

I've spent the past year talking to people across the city. I've listened to their thoughts, their concerns and their worries - and I've also heard them speak passionately about what they love about London and how they want to see the city improved.

These discussions have informed my strategy for a better London:

Firstly, we need a London that is affordable, so that ordinary people on ordinary wages can afford to live in and enjoy the city. Housing, transport and other living costs need to be addressed so they stop pushing ordinary people out of the inner city or away from London altogether.

Secondly, we need a more liveable London, a London that everyone can enjoy. We need safer and more pleasant streets. We need more pedestrianisation and proper cycling solutions. We need lower crime rates and a London government that is working to make the city a better place for ordinary, working Londoners.

Thirdly, we need a London that's sustainable. London must be a city that the next generation, and the one after that, can live and thrive in - one that we are proud to hand on to our children and grandchildren. We need cleaner air, efficient buildings and healthier, happier Londoners.

These are big problems, and the current short-term, incremental and sometimes outright-apathetic decision-making that goes on in London can't begin to tackle them.

Instead, we need long-term, strategic and dynamic thinking. We need to take risks. We need to be looking at how to build a London for 2050, and not just for 2015. We need to be ideas-driven - ensuring that the voices of ordinary Londoners are heard in order to create useful, effective and lasting solutions to these huge and crucial issues. We need a proper London politics - a politics that is ambitious, in keeping with the fearless ambition of Londoners themselves.

We need a London that is affordable, liveable and sustainable, a London that works for everyone and includes everyone, both now and in the future. We need a London founded on a new type of politics. That's what I'm committed to, and you'll be hearing a lot more from me about this.

I believe that London is the best city in the world, and I want it to maintain that position. But to achieve that, what London and Londoners need and deserve is radical thinking, effective politics and a Mayor who is dedicated to this city, rather than to his or her political career. That is why I am running to become the next Mayor of London, and why I have declared my intention to do so at this stage.


Christian Wolmar is a transport expert, with 30 years experience as a journalist, commentator and author. He has also worked for Shelter (and is a devoted fan of QPR). He is currently the only declared candidate for the 2016 London mayoral election. You can find out more about his campaign on the Wolmar for London website, and by following him on Twitter.