History boffin and TV personality Simon Schama has turned his attention to present-day politics, with a donation to Oona King’s mayoral campaign. Schama, who was vocal in his support of Barack Obama during the US election, donated £2,000 to King’s campaign.
Arguing that there was a need for greater transparency in order “to restore trust in the mayoralty”, King’s campaign released the names of her financial backers as she pledged to set up an independent appointments panel. Accusations of “cronyism” followed Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone’s senior appointments, which included a £1.6 million ‘golden handshake’ at the end of Livingston’s tenure.
Schama, who taught aspiring Labour leader Diane Abbott whilst at Cambridge, remains actively involved in British politics despite now being an American citizen. Other backers included Peter Kellner, Lord Waheed Alli and Neil Kinnock.
In a recent blog post, King said that she was standing for Mayor “because I want a new politics, a politics that is open and transparent. What I promise is a tough independent panel to oversee appointments, ensuring the best brains are working for London. We’ve done jobs for the boys and it doesn’t work” Admitting that she was a fan of Johnson’s media appearances, she issued a heartfelt appeal for voters "to be generous and let Have I Got News For You have its star back.”
By Kaite Welsh