David Kurten's "#MakeLondonGreatAgain": An Analysis
David Kurten is an independent candidate for the London Mayoral election on the 6th May 2020. He is currently a London Assembly Member having been elected in the 2016 election and is a member of the Education, Environment, Fire & Emergency, Housing and Transport Committees at City Hall. He also sits in the Assembly in the Brexit Alliance Group which ‘supports the clean WTO (World Trade Organisation) Terms Brexit the country voted for in 2016.’
His campaign slogan appears to copy Donald Trump’s renowned ‘#MakeAmericaGreatAgain’ catchphrase in a hope Londoners buy into the brand that won the 2016 US Presidential Election. In a YouGov poll, only 20% of Millennials in the UK had a positive opinion of Donald Trump so statistically the youth of London may want to distance themselves from a candidate emulating Mr Trump.
In a short video on his YouTube channel he sets out 3 priorities for his election campaign:
End politically correct policing
Unblock London’s roads
Open all businesses
End Politically Correct Policing
Refocus the police
Make London safe again
Defend free speech
David says the job of the police is to catch criminals like murders, rapists, thieves etc. He thinks their attention is preoccupied with patrolling the internet to arrest people for jokes and politically correct opinions and dishing out silly fines.
By refocusing the polices’ attention, he says more of their time and resources can be spent on reducing violent crime. Between 2014 to 2019 in London, violence against the person offences, which include homicide and violence with and without injury, have increased by about 62% (using data from the Metropolitan Police’s Crime Data Dashboard) .
In addition to this to stop serious crime, he states in his campaign policies he would add 3,000 more police officers, increase stop and search, deport foreign criminals and have zero-tolerance for knife crime and carrying weapons to make London safe again.
To defend free speech, he wants to close the ‘Online Hate Crime Hub’, stop wasting police time investigating 'non-crime hate incidents' and end 'buffer zones' targeting pro-life supporters. Some abortion clinics in London have buffer zones banning protestors coming within a 100m radius and limiting their number to four at a time. Some would say the right to protest is free speech while others say it infringes people’s privacy, safety and health. David Kurten takes the former view supporting free speech.
Unblock London’s Roads
End the war on motorists
Support our black cabs
David says if he was to become Mayor, he would unblock London’s roads by discontinuing cycle superhighways on trunk routes, end road blockages between neighbourhoods and unblock the Embankment.
He would also continue to build the Silvertown Tunnel which would link Silvertown to the Greenwich Peninsula in East London. According to TfL, construction is due to start in 2021 with completion in 2025 and would reduce congestion at the Blackwall Tunnel and the road wider network.
To ‘end the war on motorists’ David would not expand the Ultra-Low Emission Zone, nor would he increase charges in the Low Emission Zone. he would also abolish pay-as-you-go road pricing.
To support Black Cabs, David would bring back Euro 6 diesel taxis as opposed to the new electric taxis and keep the 15-year taxi licence. Considering young people are increasingly more worried about climate change, reintroducing diesel taxis is unlikely to be a favourable policy of the youth of London. He would also introduce the initiative ‘where buses go, taxis go.’
Open All Businesses
Due to closure by coronavirus pandemic
Disagrees with using lockdowns to fight against Covid-19 which is causing economic damage to London. So, David wants to get London’s businesses back open. He particularly wants to reopen theatres and music venues as they have been closed since March 2020 as it has ‘ripped the soul out of London.’
Scrap HS2 (High Speed 2)
Protect Our Heritage and Environment
HS2 is a government backed fast railway linking London, the Midlands, the North and Scotland. Some, including David, see the project as too expensive and unnecessary while others see as much needed infrastructure improvement and critical to the UK’s low carbon transport future.
David Kurten also wants to celebrate British culture and achievements this includes: protecting pubs and historic buildings from ‘regeneration’, end densification and the uncontrolled construction of ugly tower blocks, protect the green belt and Metropolitan Open Land and no more construction on GLA/TfL owned greenland and car parks.
Matthew Esam (Policy and News Analysis Associate)