11 November 2011

Why, as a Southwark mum, I'm Backing Boris

By Lindsay Chathli, Boris supporter, Southwark

Ever noticed how drab those old TV series of your youth – assuming you’re of a certain age – seem now? Catching a repeat of ‘Miss Marple’ (the Joan Hickson one) I was struck by how poor the sound was, how faded the setting and the near monochromatic colour.
 
What does this have to do with Boris Johnson? As a mum bringing up two children in Southwark, for me, it’s not just about facts and figures. Any politician can do those. It’s about what you feel and see with your own eyes.
 
And I can’t help comparing the buzz London has now with the drab, monochrome divide-and-rule atmosphere of the previous incumbent. I remember his 1980s GLC incarnation, too, which was even worse.
 
Now I feel pretty good about where my kids are growing up, thanks a lot to Mayoral initiatives.
 
There’s a little sports club down the road, supported by the Mayor’s PlaySport London fund. It’s a great facility, and really encouraging to see kids (and adults) of all backgrounds playing sport together rather than ogling TV or computer games.
 
Next door to the club are allotments, a useful, healthy activity and also eye-pleasing. Hopefully we’ll see a lot more now the Mayor has created 81 new green spaces for ‘grow your own food’ in the borough.
 
We also welcome the freezing of the Mayor’s bit of the council tax after the eye-popping 153% rise under Ken Livingstone. In these tough times, every little helps.
 
I see more police on the streets, more often. Particularly reassuring is the fall both in robberies (down 19%) and crime on buses (9%).
 
My 12-year-old travels on the bus – using her free TfL ‘zip’ card, which Boris protected - and the falling crime, increased police presence and improved bus services mean I can feel more confident.
 
Southwark roads have been improved, as well, and my husband, who catches a train to work, will soon be able to travel on the London Overground.
 
But to come back to Miss Marple at the beginning, and why I’ll be making my mark in Boris’s box. I shudder to remember the grim, flickering ideology of Ken Livingstone’s tenure. Put another way: Having had HD, would you want to go back to monochrome?

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