Shaun Bailey: Our Best Bet to Take on Sadiq Khan?
With a year and a half to go until the London electorate return to the ballot box and select a Mayor, the Conservative Party’s own polls will be opening from Monday 17th till Wednesday 26th to choose who will take on Labour’s Sadiq Khan in 2020. We’ve had three good candidates shortlisted: Andrew Boff, Joy Morrissey and Shaun Bailey. I believe that we can be victorious no matter who is chosen however I think that we will have a better chance of success if we vote for one candidate. For me, that candidate is Shaun Bailey, who wants to give all Londoners a stake in society.
In London, Labour have hardly ever allowed the Conservatives breathing space. Of the 32 London boroughs, only seven of them are under Conservative control, highlighting just how many opposition voters there are to appease at the Mayoral Election. This is where candidate background comes into play. London’s voters tend to offer their support to someone with a diverse background and experience in a professional field. I will mention that the other two candidates, also didn’t have traditionally conservative upbringings. Andrew Boff grew up on a council estate, was born to an NHS worker and a London police officer and is an outspoken member of the LGBT community. He is a member of the London Assembly where he consistently helped hold Khan to account. On the other hand, Joy Morrissey came to London from America, and is a Councillor for Ealing; I must admit I admire her fore being able to successfully argue to an audience member at a husting why she believed her accent wouldn’t harm her campaign.
I praise Shaun’s opponents for how far they have come. All three candidates have stood for Parliament, and all three have done great things in the offices they hold. What I do believe however, is that for this contest, Bailey’s background, plus his experience in Central Government, makes him the most appealing and the best fitted Conservative candidate for the Mayoral office.
Having had the pleasure of watching him in action at a Young Conservatives husting, it was clear that he poses the best chance of defeating Khan. Bailey has all the essential ingredients that make him the prize choice: a background with broad appeal, policy specifics that work symbiotically with his previous experience and the energy and drive that is crucial to hold an audience and convey our message during the campaign. Shaun Bailey is the only candidate who delivers on all fronts. Shaun’s family came over to our country as part of the Windrush Generation; his grandfather came to help rebuild Britain after having already fought for us during the Second World War. It is clear that Bailey is extremely proud to have the opportunity to potentially carry on this legacy of service. Moreover, he has the backing of over 100 Conservative London councillors.
Politically, Shaun has worked in Central Government, first as a Special Adviser to Michael Gove and then to David Cameron himself, before being elected to the London Assembly. With Boff having been a London Assembly member, and Morrissey a shadow councillor in Ealing, Shaun Bailey is the only candidate who has been in the thick of it; helping to turn Tory principles into Tory policies on a national scale. If he was deemed good enough by CCHQ to advise the Prime Minister on national matters, he has surely got what it takes to be the Mayor of London. backed by over 100 Conservative councillors throughout the city.
Regarding the contentious issue of Heathrow, Boff and Bailey are both opposed to the proposal for a third runway, instead favouring expansion of airport capacity in the South-East. Joy Morrissey on the other hand, would see expansion around the M25 to reduce congestion in the event of a third runway. Boff and Bailey support alternatives in other areas, at Gatwick and on the Isle of Grain respectively (Boff’s policy would see to the construction of a hub-airport). Regarding, TfL’s relationship with trade unions, Morrissey would like to train new drivers to replace striking workers in the event of union strike; whereas Bailey and Boff are more interested in preventative legal measures and driverless trains.
Crime is the policy area which has arguably received the most attention, with violent crime on the rise. Over a 100 people having been stabbed to death in London this year alone. All the candidates have good plans for addressing the spike in crime which has occurred during Khan’s tenure. But, only Bailey’s plans have received prominent backing from four of the five police commissioners of the home counties that border our city.
From the Evening Standard, Anthony Stansfeld of Thames Valley Police says that he is confident “Shaun is the person” to make sure the police is well run in London, while David Lloyd of Hertfordshire credits Shaun’s previous experience working “ in some of the most poverty and crime-ridden communities across London, dealing with gangs and turning kids away from a life of crime”. Further Bailey’s willingness to reach out and work with PCCs have clearly resonated with the likes of Matt Scott (Kent) and Roger Hirst (Essex), on top of his proposals to put 1,000 police officers back on our streets, to restore stop-and-such and to turn young people away from crime with ‘Prevention and Diversion’ initiatives. Bailey plans to “put criminals under pressure, not communities” is surely what London needs to bring it back from the cliff-edge the Labour incumbent has pushed it to.
Whilst Boff and Morrissey also have good policies, Bailey’s experience as a youth and community worker will give him the edge on this crucial issue that Londoners so badly want rectified; he understands the root causes of crime and how they need to be addressed. He became a research fellow at Centre for Policy Studies where has specialised in youth crime, welfare and charity. As London has struggled over the last four years, forced to put up with a Mayor who has been clueless on crime, there is no question that Shaun Bailey is the most suitable candidate to tackle this urgent problem.
Finally, it is vital that we produce a candidate who understands what it takes to convey the Conservative message in a city where the majority of voters are simply not willing to listen to it. A comparison between Boris Johnson spectacular victory and Zac Goldsmith's abject failure demonstrated that the way you communicate with the London electorate really does make a difference. As noted by my local association chairmen:
“Zac Goldsmith’s an absolute gentleman. When he came to Chipping Barnet, he sat in the office for hours, talking to interested people about their issues and how solutions can be found. He took the time to get to know people. This meant he wasn’t out on the streets. When Boris came here four years beforehand, he stopped for five minutes at the office before dragging our canvassing team out with him to the high street to address the people.”
The ability for a candidate to hold a rally, address the crowds and convey a message with great confidence is what could make or break the campaign. The candidate will not have the time to wring hands with every single Londoner, therefore so we need someone who can energise groups of voters with short, strong speeches gilt with charisma. Shaun Bailey, and Andrew Boff as well, in fact, have demonstrated fantastic strength in this area.
All three candidates have strengths but for the Mayoral Election, our candidate must be, above all else, balanced. Joy Morrissey delivers on background and in some of her policies, like her desire to push the message of Compassionate Conservatism to those who see us as ‘the nasty party’. However, she lacks the crucial ability to energise voters the way Johnson did. Andrew Boff certainly delivers on drive and policy but falls behind his rivals in how much he appeals to the average wavering-voter.
The only candidate who delivers on all fronts is Shaun Bailey. From his relatable background to his experience in Central Government, he already knows how to turn principles to effective policy. His proposals have received backing from London councillors and police commissioners alike who view him as having the necessary experience to remedy London’s recent crime epidemic. And of course, he has the drive and charisma to communicate with voters in a way that will make them vote Bailey at the ballot box. Shaun Bailey is our best bet to beat Sadiq Khan. He is both qualified to be our messenger and is enthusiastic to present the Conservative Party as the Party of ambition. Let us support him in this endeavour.