If Jeremy Corbyn Were Mayor Of London...

Chris Lockie
By Chris Lockie Last edited 99 months ago

Last Updated 30 March 2016

If Jeremy Corbyn Were Mayor Of London...
Photo by pauloroids from the Londonist Flickr pool.

Though it's clear that Sadiq Khan wants to be mayor — he really, really wants to be mayor — there remains a certain suspicion that his heart isn't fully in every aspect of the job. It could be that he's inwardly realised that every question asked of him by the press is designed for soundbites and potential slip-ups; that would explain his somnambulistic style as Tim Donovan cracks another gotcha at the beleaguered Labour man, but that comes with the territory and you can't pick and choose your silly confrontations in this game.

Could the party have chosen a better, more committed candidate? Someone with a bit more passion, single-minded drive and dedication to critical causes that Londoners care about? Yes, they could have. But they missed the boat.

This is what London would be like if Jeremy Corbyn had gone for the mayoralty instead.

The Windmills of Your Mind

Corbyn would have been the greenest, most nature-friendly mayor London since old Dick had his cat on a lead. His plan for protecting our planet would have had an immediate effect on the worsening air quality in London and, combined with his commitment to animal welfare, the smog pigeons would have fit right in.

And there would have been windmills everywhere, on top of every building and bridge from Buck House to the Tower, because Londoners are people who understand they're actually quite elegant and not eyesores like those loons in the countryside keep telling us. Though of course they'd have been wind turbines not milling machines, but we needed an excuse for this.

How the smog pigeons would have dealt with the windmills is something we'd have had to let nature sort out.

Building on the vegetable belt

A topic that divides London, and indeed Londonist. The green belt is something that either must be protected at all costs for the sake of our sanity, or something that must be considered for building on, on a case-by-case basis, to spare us all from a future like this.

What would Corbyn have done? Almost certainly fallen on the side of the divide that would allow him to continue spending contemplative hours tending his marrows. That's not a euphemism - we're talking allotments. Interestingly, it's a topic that may be close to the heart of one particular candidate standing this May - and not the one Jeremy is likely to vote for.

Jeremy's housing policy seems to focus on standard left-wing tropes, involving an end to social cleansing and estatefuls of empty flats owned by rich overseas investors/gits. He's also in favour of rent controls. Are you?

Make love not war

It would be fair to say Corbyn would have spent much of his time as mayor campaigning for the end of Trident, given mayor of one city is theoretically less important a position than leader of a national party, and that's all he's done since he got that job. With the world hell-bent on self-annihilation according to the most optimistic reports, perhaps his peace doctrine would have demonstrated London is a nice, easy-going city that doesn't want to pick a fight and isn't worth Kim Jong Un's furious ire. We could have been the last city standing. That's how disarmament works, right?

Our new peaceable London would probably have had to send HMS Belfast packing though, which would at least have put Scratchwood service station at ease.

Jamaica Jez

While the current mayor has spent much of his time pinging around the world attempting to increase investment in London, Corbyn would have focused instead on bringing people together and making the world a happier, safer place. Why else would he have invited Donald Trump to Islington?

He's also a man of the world in his own right, having spent two years volunteering in Jamaica. As mayor he would have been among the top-billed stars at the Notting Hill Carnival. And if you don't believe us…

Weighing in on the big issues of the day

Unlike some politicians who exhibit a flair for saying bugger all of note in a bid to sidestep controversy or anything of interest, Corbyn is not a man to shy away from speaking his mind. Notably controversial among his recent statements on hot London topics have been his views on Arsene Wenger. “I've got a lot of time for Arsene Wenger. I think he's very interesting because of his management style and all that,” says Corbyn. “I think he's fascinating.” You should know, Jeremy.

How this would have gone down among the screaming hordes of anti-Wenger lunatics unveiling questionable banners in the Emirates Stadium is anyone's guess. Instead we get Khan, of Liverpool, or Goldsmith, of whom a Google search relating to sport unveils nothing at all, though one suspects guessing the shape of his balls wouldn't be a stretch.

On his bike

Much the same as the chap at the helm now, Corbyn's keener to scoot about the city on two wheels rather than four. He doesn't even own a car, and would no doubt have favoured public transport over personal vehicles (trainspotting rumours abound) with glorious new plans for pedestrianisation and one-way systems that actually work. He probably wouldn't have wanted more roads, and certainly not bloody great tunnels.

He might also have decided to make the Victoria line and presumably the Elizabeth line a lot more literal.

And finally...we're serious

Remember those heady days towards the end of last year when Corbyn had just taken charge of the Labour party, and Prime Minister's Questions was suddenly a different beast? For a couple of weeks, real-life concerns took the place of accusation and hollow point scoring, and annoying old men on both sides of the aisle were shamed into making fewer farmyard noises. It was like living in a country run by grown-ups.

Now picture Boris Johnson. Yes, exactly. And for anyone who's put themselves through Mayor's Question Time in the last few years, imagine that with a mayor who actually gave a toss about answering questions instead of hurling childish insults about like balls.

Corbyn may be useless at running the Labour party, but few would doubt his sincerity or basic decency. The way in which the Goldsmith team under the baleful glare of Sir Lynton are attempting to paint Sadiq Khan as a dangerous madman for having nominated Corbyn for his party's leadership completely ignores that Corbyn has been a man of calm principle with the best interests of his constituents at heart for most of his 30 plus years as a London MP. He increased his majority in Islington North by over eight thousand votes last year. London likes this man.

We're not saying he would have got everything right, but we could have had a serious, honest man running the city, crucially with no view to angling for a bigger job later in his career. He would have handled interviews with stoicism and common sense, sending the likes of Tim Donovan away with a flea in their ear. Why did nobody think of this sooner?

Mind you, nominations aren't closed yet...