The mayoral election is on May 5. What have the candidates been up to this week?
Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmith has made his feelings about Labour rival Sadiq Khan painfully clear in a Guardian interview. ‘He is a man without principle,’ Zac frothed. 'He is a person who will trample on anyone and anything to get to where he wants to get to.' Well, that’s London, Zac. Trampling’s just something you’ve got to be prepared to do to get home in time for ‘Towie’, isn’t it?
Then there’s Ukip councillor Sarah Larkins. When Facebook group LGBTQ* in Ukip posted up a picture of Sadiq, Larkins commented: 'anyone but a Muslim.' Hitler wasn’t a Muslim. Nor was Pol Pot, or Jimmy Savile. ‘Anyone but a Muslim’? Are you sure, Councillor? No, she isn’t, because she has since apologised unreservedly.
Zac meanwhile pledged last week to extend the Boris Bike scheme into Greater London. He wants them to be accessible to all Londoners, perhaps hoping that we’ll start calling them Bi-Zacles.
In related transport news, Sadiq has announced that, should he be elected, he would freeze TfL fares for four years and introduce a new bus ticket called the Hopper, which would allow users to make as many journeys as they want in one hour and only pay a single fare. If you’re wondering how many times you can change buses in an hour and are contemplating setting yourself some sort of wacky YouTube challenge, let us be the first to say: don’t.
Lib Dem candidate Caroline Pidgeon has one upped Sadiq by pledging to halve fares on the Overground, Underground and TfL rail services for people travelling before 7.30am. She also wants a one-hour hop-on hop-off ticket, but not just for buses. Pidgeon is trying to help Londoners hop. That is nominative determinism at its best.
Zac, however, will not be freezing fares, but will instead be pushing forward with a southern extension to the Overground network which he says would be impossible under Sadiq and Caroline’s fare-weather ice age.
Poor Zac is also facing something horrifyingly called a 'parliamentary probe' over supposed delays in declaring his donations. He’s not the only one: Sadiq is also under scrutiny for the same thing. Still, if any group of individuals merits a deep, thorough and regular probing, it’s politicians, isn’t it?
Register to vote by Apr 18. www.londonelects.gov.uk