SIR SIMON MILTON: Even diehard Labour supporters voted for Boris
A week after the London elections – and some of us are just recovering from the electoral tidal wave that hit the capital. Electoral turnout across London was high, including in Westminster. There was something different about these elections – all of us
A week after the London elections - and some of us are just recovering from the electoral tidal wave that hit the capital.
Electoral turnout across London was high, including in Westminster.
There was something different about these elections - all of us who were campaigning actively could smell it.
Having represented the same ward for 20 years and canvassed in numerous national and local elections there, I reckon I have a pretty good sense of the way things are going from the feedback on the doorstep.
I have never received a reaction like it.
For a change, not only did everyone know that there was an election but they were determined to vote.
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The most common reaction when you go election canvassing is for people to want to get rid of you as soon as possible.
Not this time. Everyone wanted to talk, it seemed, and the one thing they wanted above all was change.
The number one issue in my ward was the western extension of the congestion charge - or rather the Mayor's arrogance in pressing ahead with it in the face of the opposition from those he consulted.
And, secondly, the £25 daily charge for residents.
Far more than national issues such as Labour's 10p tax rate changes, people were worked up about London mayoral issues.
Unusually, I found no-one who was prepared to say they were voting for Ken Livingstone.
I even found people who said they usually vote Labour but would support Boris this time. And they did.
So Westminster voted for Boris as Mayor.
What will it mean now that he has got he job? Well, far better working relationships with this authority for a start.
As one of the few London boroughs that was prepared to stand up to Mayor Livingstone's bullying, we found ourselves in plenty of fights.
We'll still stand up for Westminster's residents with our new mayor but relations will be much more harmonious.
Secondly, Mayor Johnson has put an emphasis on reducing violent crime and restoring civility on our buses - unlike the complacency on these issues shown by Mr Livingstone and our own local Labour MP.
And the new mayor has promised to bring all Londoners together rather than emphasise differences and play one group off against another.
Ultimately, last Thursday was a sign that Londoners were fed up with Labour's arrogance - nationally, in London City Hall and locally. Bring on the General Election!