The second of our interviews with the Tory candidates for London Mayor. Previously, Andrew Boff.
Victoria Borwick is a born and bred London lass whose Mayoral campaign carries the tagline 'A red head not Red Ken'. She has 25 years of management experience and is currently a councillor for Kensington and Chelsea. She has four children, doesn't like tinny techno and knows a thing or two about Cleopatra's Needle. But does she have the right policies for London? Read on, and visit her campaign page to learn more.
Where do you live in London and what do you like best about it?
I live in Kensington, which may sound smart. But it is not all coffee shops and trendy wine bars in that part of town. It is, like Westminster, one of the most densely populated parts of London so you need to get on with your neighbours. We have some of the most expensive properties and some of the most deprived with an amazing mix of people who I meet as chairman of borough community relations. What I like best are the parks and open spaces.
Why do you think you should be Mayor and what policies would you bring to the office that would make you stand out against anyone else who wants to be?
London deserves a hands-on chief executive with a clear focus on doing the practical things that would make London a safer, more pleasant place in which to live and work. My number one priority is to make muggers and burglars go in fear of the law. Under Livingstone, violent crime is up 52 per cent. I want to get things done for Londoners, not engage in the kind of juvenile posturing that characterizes the Livingstone regime. I want more jobs for Londoners (we have the highest jobless rate in the country at 7.6 per cent), better training and to boost business and the City.
If you want a mayor who will tackle crime, reduce costs, and get London moving again, then I am your choice. If you want a celebrity with no management or business experience then I am not going to win your vote.
How do you yourself travel around London?
I usually take the Underground, assuming it is working, which on the District and Circle lines is not often. If I have time, I take the bus but I prefer the older ones where you can open the windows. If I’m going out of the centre I beetle around in my little Golf.
What is your policy regarding irritant noise from mobile phone music players on the tube and buses?
I think it is ghastly, especially since most of the music one overhears is tinny techno trash? Eavesdropping on other people’s conversations is much more fun. But I don¹t want to ban the iPod. We have too many bans already.
Would you have introduced the Congestion Charge and if not will you repeal it?
No. The Congestion Charge sums up Ken Livingstone’s approach. In a typically high handed manner he set up the charge against the wishes of Londoners and it has been shown not to work. According to TFL traffic speeds in the Strand are now 2.5 mph. Far slower than before. When it was introduced we were promised improvements for public transport but only a miniscule 1.5 per cent of the money from the charge goes on improving London transport. It also is bad for London’s businesses and shops – particularly the specialist shops. It does not tackle London¹s real transport problems. The Congestion Charge contracts are complicated but I would definitely like to scrap it.
Do you support the building of a new runway at Heathrow and how would you reduce your own international travel if you become Mayor?
No. Heathrow is overcrowded enough. Whilst people should be able to travel and Heathrow is essential for Londoners and particularly London’s businesses we have to think about local residents and environmental issues. I am not against expanding other London’s airports but we need to consider the most efficient way to proceed. Since I don’t plan to do a Livingstone and hobnob with foreign dictators I don’t think I will have much international travel to reduce.
What would be your vision for the city by 2020 and how would you achieve it as Mayor?
I want to see London as a clean, safe city where people want to live and work. I want there to be an efficient transport system and I am determined to use a tough, New York style approach to tackling crime. In New York, putting police back on the beat and tackling even minor crime has produced spectacular results, with murder down 76 per cent since 1990, rape down 48 per cent and car crime down 88 per cent.
Do you have any London-based trivia our readers may not know?
It always intrigues me to think that in a city of such rich history and such antiquity, Cleopatra¹s needle, on the Embankment, is the oldest man-made object in London, yet it has no relation to Cleopatra at all. It is almost 3,500 years old, 1500 years older than Cleopatra and was brought from Alexandria, the royal city of Cleopatra. As Michael Caine would say, not many people know that.
In return here’s a question for you. Do you know where Nelson’s fleet is? Go to my website and e-mail me if you know the answer!
Have you ever been sick on the tube?
As a mum of four, my wild carousing days are (mostly) behind me. Anyway, I can hold my drink.
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