There are so many things we can stand together for - for London.
It's a privilege to run for Mayor. Whether you come anywhere close to fighting an election or not; it is a chance for those of us who have lived and worked in London for years to be open about how we can improve the city, but also to have new ideas put in front of us that, not only might we not have normally seen, but that we can for a short time raise up on a platform unlike no other, whether or not it is us who eventually has the opportunity to implement them.
I've recently had great meetings with the brilliantly energetic Labour prospective candidate David Lammy, the redoubtable Stephen Greenhalgh and am in the process of meeting all those who have declared their candidacy for mayor, regardless of their party - asking if they want to get involved in a project that I hope will change the way we run for Mayor in London. Ok, so one lesser known City candidate did decline the offer, but hey, it's those that rise to an occasion that get counted.
Why London Needs Consensus Politics
All too often a good idea can be lost in the melee of the electoral race. The reason being that consensus politics rarely draws headlines; it lacks the excitement or critique that heavy opposition allows and so it is relegated to the back pages of the news agenda. Therefore, so many good ideas are either never shared, and thus lost when the Mayor is chosen, or never adopted for fear of making it seem as if voters made the wrong choice.
Consensus politics can often produce some of the most effective policies, simply through the drive on all sides to reach the same goal. It is how politics should be done. Take an example, does anybody remember the Children and Families Bill? It is unlikely that you do unless it changed the life of somebody you care about. The Bill itself, now an Act, aims to support services for vulnerable children, covering everything from adoption services to special educational needs (SEN) and plenty in-between. The reason that you haven't heard of it though is not because it is not important, it's because it had broad cross-party support and has been welcomed by the vast majority.
However, whilst those of all political colours will do battle over the issues that they feel strongly about, it should not be assumed that all politicians oppose each other for the sake of opposition. Where there is room for agreement, those seeking such a prestigious office should strive to find common ground. When we do, it can create some of the most effective, but least lauded of policies.
A Mayoral Race For London
Whoever, of all the candidates, achieves our respective party's candidacy for London Mayor, are likely to fundamentally disagree on a whole host of issues. Regardless of this, should any of us be afraid of using a perfectly good policy idea from their would-be opposite, simply because it was dragged into the usual electoral slogging match? Should a policy that is likely to work fall as a casualty in the election crossfire? I do not think so.
To prevent this from happening though, we must deviate from politics as usual. We need a forum in which to discuss issues, to openly debate what is best for London, and openly commit to retaining those policies which we can all support, ensuring that whoever wins, we are held to account.
Consensus London - Take Part
With this in mind I'm launching Consensus London, a website and forum for people to post policy ideas on, ideas which can then be examined by all those who are seeking to become the Mayor of London. Those policies we agree on, and that can stand the test of joint scrutiny, can be adopted by as many or as few of the candidates as want them. This, we hope, will ensure the best deal for London and Londoners regardless of who wins the Mayoral race, an idea which we hope all of London will stand behind.
Partisan politics is necessary for proper scrutiny, for forward thinking, for effective democracy and for interesting politics. But a bi-product can often be a worse deal for the electorate, with good ideas lost. Unlike in a national election though, we all live and work in the same place. We are all Londoners. It is our duty as Mayoral candidates to ensure that a good idea, no matter where it originated, is enacted, and is not lost to party politics.
Like the candidates I've already met, I hope also, that as Londoners, you will join us too, posting policy ideas and ensuring that those ideas become policy.
Please join Consensus London - sign up to get updates and take part at: