Why you should vote for Siobhan Benita as Mayor


by Guest    
9:40 am - April 15th 2012

      Share on Tumblr

contribution by Alex Hilton

When the banking crash hit in 2008 no-one could honestly predict where we would be in 2012. But we did know was that regular people would be paying the price.

Labour’s response to the crash has been disappointing. Rather than championing real policies to benefit people today, they have got into a dance of triangulation, bashing bankers one week and embracing austerity the next. It was time to allow myself to think beyond party boundaries.

So in these London elections, rather than voting for my tribe, I have decided to put my faith in the Independent candidate Siobhan Benita – and her impressive manifesto.

The first, simple thing that sticks out is her support for the third runway at Heathrow. While she backs a rigid cap on emissions and noise, she recognises that 60,000 jobs will be generated in a relatively short timescale and without any need for public investment. But she is more radical than that.

London has enough land in public hands to build 750,000 homes yet the government is taking steps to ensure any that are built will get sold under the right to by as soon as possible.

Past efforts have simply had no effect on bringing down rents or making the housing ladder reachable by more people and there is no concrete proposal in the Labour manifesto that changes this.

Benita’s radical proposal is the creation of a secondary, regulated housing market for London and a privately funded build programme putting homes into that market in large numbers and at near cost price. Showing how that would work is easier on a micro scale but the effects are huge.

The Mayor commissions a 2-3 bed home to be built for £85,000 on GLA land using borrowed funds. Four months later that home is completed and the lease is sold for £100,000. The land is retained by the GLA and a ground rent charged. Rather than being sold to the highest bidder, it is sold by ballot and only residents or social landlords may enter the ballot.

At scale, this means injecting 20,000 or more low cost homes into the London housing market each year for purchase at around a third of the commercial price or for rent at a similar discount, and with a permanent effect on the capital’s housing market.

Siobhan also has detailed proposals to turn around youth unemployment and to raise standards in education so school leavers are fit for work or for further education as well as proposals for economic generation and infrastructure investment.

In short, Siobhan Benita is a strong, independent, serious and high achieving woman on a mission to tackle the impact of austerity on ordinary Londoners. I can’t say that about Labour nationally and while I know he sincerely cares, I can’t say Ken has a plan to do the same.

If Siobhan wins I see real benefit to Londoners in large numbers at a time when they desperately need it – and I don’t know what more Londoners could ask for.


Alex Hilton is a Policy & Public Affairs Manager for a cancer charity. He also founded LabourHome

    Share on Tumblr   submit to reddit  


About the author
This is a guest post.
· Other posts by


Story Filed Under: Blog ,London Mayor


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Reader comments


I might put her third on my ballot paper. Oh wait – you only get 2 choices. Ah well.

Is this a prime example of Londoners forgetting there are others out there? It’s certainly a rather stupid request to split the progressive vote and let Boris win.

3. Reduced Salt

@2

Isn’t the London election run using some form of AV? Splitting the vote would be unlikely if so maybe?

OP – so Benita will build a runway and attempt to fix the housing issue. Anything else? (I don’t live in London, maybe all Londoners care about is those two issues…)

4. paul barker

I actually cant see a great deal of difference between Benitas manifesto & kens though I can see she is probably a nicer person.
The point Mr Hilton is what will you do after may, either you attach yourself to a political movement/campaign or you will end up by drifting out of politics altogether. I am a libdem so naturally I think you should join us.

Cherub @2 what’s this ”progressive vote” vote you talk of?
Ken is no more progressive than his pal George Galloway.

@5 Damon

You know full well what I mean so stop being a snide git.

7. organic cheeseboard

seems to me she’s just a convenient candidate for the Blairites who hate Ken (and to a lesser extent Ed Miliband) to throw their weight behind.

To whit, Alex Hilton’s:

I’m all for egalitarianism but that doesn’t mean we should put the work experience kid in charge of the party – which is effectively what Labour has done.

and:

I’m just a bit embarrassed that Boris and Ken are the best that representative democracy has to offer in this election.

they’re not, though, are they. There are Green and Lib Dem candidates. What makes this independent any different?

also hilton complains:

People used to vote Labour knowing that, whatever the policies and whoever the candidate was, they represented a distinct set of values. These days it’s just a brand and the values have become vague and universal. Motherhood and apple pie values rather than something challenging.

and he’s throwing his weight behind someone whose slogan is ‘a mum for london’!

8. organic cheeseboard

you don’t really give us many reasons here; her policies are very similar to ken’s where they aren’t very obviously outside the mayor’s remit…

i know you personally dislike ed miliband – that much is clear from your blog. And everything about Benita screams ‘convenient candidate for the anti-Ken people (who are also usually anti-Ed Miliband) in Labur to vote for’.

She might have been better off running vs Ken when the selection process was running – back then we were told Oona ‘lightweight’ King was the answer by these exact same people. plus ca change.

9. Chaise Guevara

Side issue, but do we really have to stick the words “strong” and “independent” into the description of every woman we like? It’s horribly cheesy and borders on the accidently patronising IMO. You wouldn’t praise a male politician for their “independence” unless it was specifically to do with them being a maverick or something.

10. organic cheeseboard

oops, sorry for double post, i thought my original had been eaten

Generally this shouldn’t split the progressive vote, provided that Benita fans put Ken as their second preference. However, a few caveats are in order:
- Green voters would need to continue to put Ken as their second pref. If they put Benita, they would have no option to express a third pref (since full AV isn’t in use) and their vote would drop out.
- The above assumes that Benita will be eliminated before Ken. If the entirely unexpected happens and she beats Ken, then Ken voters would need to have put Benita second (not Jones), otherwise their votes would expire. And similarly (but contrary to the first point above), Green voters and progressive Lib Dem voters would need to have put Benita second, not Ken. In other words, it is essential to have a good idea of which candidates will be the top two in the final round (and currently we still think this will be Boris and Ken).
- None of the above takes account of the fact (though it won’t matter to everyone, and some may even things better this way) that if Ken wins on second prefs then his mandate will be weaker than if he had won on first prefs, particularly if Boris wins a majority of first pref votes. If that happens, you could see people calling the legitimacy of the voting system into question, and pointing out that the similar (though mildly superior) AV system was rejected in a referendum.

@ Chaise Guevera
Sad to say, it is a standard practice by feminists (particularly male feminists): my mother never misused those words to describe Mrs Thatcher or anyone else(although I cannot remember whether or not she ever mentioned that Tamara Press was strong because that would not be memorable).

Cherub

You know full well what I mean so stop being a snide git.

I think you mean that Ken Livingstone is progressive. Or that voting for him is.

I don’t like the people he appointed last time – like Lee Jasper and the people from Socialist Action. Are they progressive too?
http://www.socialistaction.net/

So are we going to get one of these for every left-wing candidate?

Either way, I’m not seeing that this article gives a good case for lefties giving Siobhan, rather than Jenny Jones, their first preference vote. The most significant distinction would appear to be Siobhan’s short-termist support for expanding the aviation industry. (And yes, given the realities of climate change and peak oil, any expansion of aviation is short-termist. Even if you can find ways to enforce a cap on emissions).

15. Chaise Guevara

@ 12 John77

“Sad to say, it is a standard practice by feminists (particularly male feminists)”

I know, and it drives me spare. It’s become such a reflex phrase that it’s essentially meaningless, in the same way that someone saying “have a good day” doesn’t really say much about whether they care about how good your day is.

Worst example I’ve seen was an R&B artist (apologies for the oxymoron) explaining why she’d decided to take part in a musical collabaration. She said “Well, he told me he was putting together a project by a group of strong, independent women, so of course I said yes”. Which seems to translate into “Men can get me to do whatever they want as long as they make a trite remark that sounds feminist”.

11 ” if Ken wins on second prefs then his mandate will be weaker than if he had won on first prefs, ”

In all three Mayoral elections so far the winner won on second preferences. It’s extremely unlikely that any candidate at this election will get 50% of first prefs. so I wouldn’t worry about that.

i think people interested in london on the left should try the votematch website and see what you get. four people i know did it for fun and all of us got jenny jones as first preference with two of us have sioboghn benita as second and two of us having ken livingstone as second.
My view is that Jenny Jones is the best candidate but that people should use second choice for livingstone how ever reluctantly i did not realise how much i disagreed with boris.

@17. james?

Totally agree. I assume you mean the one at http://www.confused.com/london-mayor

It is interesting to see the results when your preferences are matched against stated policy without the distractions of personality and media bias.

(Of course, anyone can claim they’re going to do something when in power then do the exact opposite if they win but that’s a whole different issue.)

19. paul barker

Ive just had a suspicious thought, has labour got 2 candidates in the race ? Is benita a fallback in case ken does something unacceptable ?
Lets see if she joins labour after the election.

“has labour got 2 candidates in the race ?”

One would be nice.

Sorry, who is this individual, why is the Standard ramping her, and why on earth should she be given a place in the Mayoral debates? She has no electoral history and, seemingly, no supporters outside a hyped media bubble.

22. Chaise Guevara

@ 21 test

” why is the Standard ramping her”

Presumably in the hopes she’ll take votes from Ken.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Why you should vote for Siobhan Benita as Mayor http://t.co/yD79hW9y

  2. Christine Pampling

    RT @libcon: Why you should vote for Siobhan Benita as Mayor http://t.co/Of7ky3r5

  3. sdv_duras

    RT @libcon: Why you should vote for Siobhan Benita as Mayor http://t.co/WjZNQUcg …<<<< liberal conspiracy living up to its name

  4. Juli

    'Why you should vote for Siobhan Benita as Mayor' | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/8PxSVZG3 via @libcon @Siobhan4Mayor

  5. Jo Cameron

    RT @libcon: Why you should vote for Siobhan Benita as Mayor http://t.co/Of7ky3r5

  6. BevR

    Why you should vote for Siobhan Benita as Mayor http://t.co/yD79hW9y

  7. Wesley Rykalski

    RT @libcon: Why you should vote for Siobhan Benita as Mayor http://t.co/WjZNQUcg …<<<< liberal conspiracy living up to its name

  8. Louise McCudden

    "@libcon: Why you should vote Siobhan Benita as Mayor http://t.co/qwktw8Er"->interesting blog about @siobhan4mayor. Seriously considering it

  9. Felicity

    RT @libcon: Why you should vote for Siobhan Benita as Mayor http://t.co/WjZNQUcg …<<<< liberal conspiracy living up to its name

  10. Inna Mood

    Why you should vote for Siobhan Benita as Mayor http://t.co/yD79hW9y

  11. Alex Hilton

    Why you should vote for Siobhan Benita as Mayor | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/JMbRLNqj via @libcon

  12. leftlinks

    Liberal Conspiracy – Why you should vote for Siobhan Benita as Mayor http://t.co/7lqg3qTB

  13. Rob Telford

    "@libcon: Why you should vote for Siobhan Benita as Mayor http://t.co/xiDNYoOC&quot; < why you shouldn't – supports third runway at Heathrow.

  14. Ian Power

    Why you should vote for Siobhan Benita as Mayor | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/JMbRLNqj via @libcon

  15. Jason Brickley

    Why you should vote for Siobhan Benita as Mayor http://t.co/ANk11xN6

  16. Paul Nezandonyi

    RT @alexhilton: Why you should vote for Siobhan Benita as Mayor | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/fj3VK5yM via @libcon

  17. Neil Hughes

    "@libcon: Why you should vote Siobhan Benita as Mayor http://t.co/qwktw8Er"->interesting blog about @siobhan4mayor. Seriously considering it

  18. Christine Hill

    Why you should vote for Siobhan Benita as Mayor http://t.co/yD79hW9y

  19. Martin

    “@libcon: Why you should vote for Siobhan Benita as Mayor http://t.co/kqCiwTfA” – seriously if you have a vote in London. THIS is a change.

  20. Andrew Brooks

    Why you should vote for Siobhan Benita as Mayor | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/JMbRLNqj via @libcon

  21. Kathryn

    “@libcon: Why you should vote for Siobhan Benita as Mayor http://t.co/kqCiwTfA” – seriously if you have a vote in London. THIS is a change.

  22. Pete Bowyer

    http://t.co/l5jEJGyE < @Siobhan4Mayor has an impressive manifesto & has performed well. We should be embracing her & her ideas for #Labour

  23. BevR

    Why you should vote for Siobhan Benita as Mayor | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/SQNjFiW1 via @libcon

  24. Tumi Hawkins

    Why you should vote for Siobhan Benita as Mayor | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/CK1T6MAa

  25. BevR

    Why you should vote for Siobhan Benita as Mayor | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/SQNjFiW1 via @libcon

  26. Monday’s London Links

    [...] Liberal Conspiracy is talking about [...]

  27. Yvonne Roberts

    Why you should vote for Siobhan Benita as Mayor http://t.co/yD79hW9y

  28. OT: London voters: one mayoral candidate wants a 3rd runway at LHR - FlyerTalk Forums

    [...] Manifesto at http://www.siobhanformayor.com/index.html A liberal view at http://liberalconspiracy.org/2012/04…nita-as-mayor/ : [...]

  29. Ken Livingstone dissed by yet another Labour heavyweight – Telegraph Blogs

    [...] the founder of the LabourHome blog and former Labour parliamentary candidate Alex Hilton; [...]

  30. Judith Rose Attar

    I have never seen Alex Hilton off mssg before. It's a cold place but a decent one. http://t.co/qSGZ4q7M





Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.