Mayoral Election Digest: Where's Zac?

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 97 months ago

Last Updated 09 April 2016

Mayoral Election Digest: Where's Zac?
Sadiq Khan. He's running to be Mayor of London, you know. Image: Khan's Facebook page.

LESS THAN FOUR WEEKS, EVERYONE. That's how long we've got until the election's all over and we have a new mayor of London. Until then: this is what's been happening.

They said what?

Caroline Pidgeon and Sian Berry both launched their manifestos this week. Caroline went to Deptford to lay some bricks, symbolising that she'd build more homes for Londoners (though presumably not by herself; she's hands on, but that's ridiculous).

The Greens, meanwhile, have knocked it out of the park again when it comes to election videos. If any of the other parties want us to embed what is essentially party propaganda, they're going to have to come up with something as funny as this.

We were actually expecting to see behaviour like this on Monday, when we went to a hustings about infrastructure, hosted by the Institution of Civil Engineers. We entered with a heavy heart, knowing both Zac and Sadiq were scheduled to be there and that we were in for 90 minutes of soundbites and squabbling. But no: Zac had sent junior minister Claire Perry, and Assembly Member Val Shawcross was a late stand-in for Sadiq. So we actually got a reasonable debate.

Surprise of that hustings: UKIP's Peter Whittle arguing in favour of tube unions and rates of pay for drivers. (In short, he says unions have done a good job standing up for their members and it's not like drivers get paid anything like bankers.)

Anyone playing "where's Zac" this week will also have noted his absence at a BBC Radio London debate on Friday. Sadiq went, and talked about how the idea of a bridge across the Thames for "pedestrians and cyclists is a good one". Sadly he was talking about the Garden Bridge, which doesn't allow cyclists. Does this mean Sadiq backs an entirely different type of bridge? Or just that he hasn't read his briefing notes?

Campaigners were also delighted to hear that Sadiq is calling for a review of the Silvertown tunnel.

When Zac could be found, he was launching his crime manifesto — as well as demonstrating how little he knows about the Central line. And, completely going against what we said a few paragraphs ago, here's his election video. We're including it for the claim that Boris Johnson has "put London back on the map". Er, Zac, did we ever drop off?

Many of the candidates did Twitter chats this week, too. Check out #AskSadiq, #AskZac, #AskCaroline, #AskSian, #AskPeter, #AskSophie and #AskGeorge. You can probably guess how they all went.

Meanwhile, independent Prince John Zylinksi — who, if you recall, once challenged Nigel Farage to a duel — never seems to go anywhere without his sword and frankly we're a bit scared.


Sadiq Khan is pulling ahead on the numbers. Two polls this week, by ComRes and Opinium, put the Labour man ahead by seven or eight points.

However, the New Statesman — hardly a right wing organ — has noted that after factoring in how likely people are to vote, those gaps get a lot narrower.

Elsewhere on Londonist

We got Simon Birkett from Clean Air in London to rank the candidates on their air pollution policies, and Chris Boardman to tell us what he thinks about their cycling policies. We also took a closer look at the Tory campaign's bizarre decision to send racially profiled leaflets to London's South Asian communities.

The bullshit-o-meter made another appearance as we asked: why do candidates keep talking about 'protecting the Freedom Pass' when it's nothing to do with them?

We also took one look at Zac's transport manifesto and found the photos — apparently taken on the same day in one photoshoot — so hilarious, we immediately set out to photograph ourselves in the same spots. Because that's what floats our boat.