Now senior citizens have their own candidate in race to be mayor

By DORIS DALY, campaigner for elderly people in Westminster & Camden Just as the Mayoral election on May Day gathers momentum, another hat has been thrown into the ring at the 11th hour. John Flunder was nominated by The Senior Citizens Party as their ca

By DORIS DALY, campaigner for elderly people in Westminster

& Camden

Just as the Mayoral election on May Day gathers momentum, another hat has been thrown into the ring at the 11th hour.

John Flunder was nominated by The Senior Citizens Party as their candidate for the race to become Mayor of London, with a back-up of nominations to run as members of the Assembly.


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This is the first time in our history that a senior citizen has been put forward to represent The Senior Citizens Party in the political arena. I suppose after The Zimmers inspiring success, anything is possible.

Our man in the spotlight, John Flunder, born in Newham 78 years ago, has been a campaigner all his life. A long-standing member of Bexley Pensioners Forum, he edits their regular newsletter.

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Recently, he led a campaign against Ken Livingstone's unfair "Londoners Only" Olympic Tax, gathering 8,500 signatures on a petition which he delivered to his MP, David Evennett. Quite an achievement that proves age has not halted this man in his tracks, that is if anything can, given his commitment.

His campaign manager is Grahame Leon-Smith, of Otter-shaw Park, Surrey, founder of The Senior Citizens Party and Seniors International.

Grahame has travelled worldwide collecting first-hand experience of how senior citizens are cared for abroad. It seems that we in Britain come bottom of the league. He is also an advocate of Esperanto! Alas! The French do not approve. But time will tell, as George Bernard Shaw so rightly said.

Now, Seniors International and The Senior Citizens' Party have joined forces to encourage seniors in London to use their democratic right to stand for election and to vote for their own party - the only party that is committed to fight for issues that concern seniors most.

It is generally felt that none of the three main parties are even prepared to listen to the demands of seniors, least of all to end the seniors' legitimate grievances through legislation for example - postcode lottery medication, care provision, transport, social exclusion, means-tested benefits, pensions and poverty in old age.

To achieve this, all senior citizens must come together in the struggle for a just and fairer society. Putting party allegiances aside, united in one accord they can win. But divided, now as in the past, they will fail! Power is out there for the taking. There are about two million over-50s in the Greater London area. If they were all united under one banner they could truly call the shots and bring about a whole sea change to the welfare of the 21st century elders.

There is a snag. It seems democracy costs money. A deposit of £5,000 is required to field a candidate and another £10,000 is required to allow John Flunder to stand for Mayor. Small beer to some, but to cash-strapped pensioners it is a mountain they may not be able to climb.

However, if only 15,000 persons, of any age, pledged £1 a piece, or if only a fraction pledged £10, it would see our man home and dry enough to enter the race.

And if the two million voted, our man would have a landslide victory and shake the very foundations of party politics to oblivion. "We have nothing to lose but our chains". "But me no buts, get thee gone but do it."

Email grahame.leon-smith@seniorscitizensparty.org. And pledge a quid now. The deadline is March 20.

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