Elizabeth Jones (EJ): I joined the party in 2010 and have built up a solid bedrock of political experience standing in the General Election 2010, GLA 2012, Euro Election 2014, General Election 2015 and I have contested four local elections. Furthermore, in the May 2015 General Elections I polled 20 per cent in Dartford, surging into third place. I have walked the streets and breathed the air of London for some significant time now.
I am a private sector London family solicitor and therefore am exposed to the needs of the electorate on daily basis and more than any other candidate. The difficulties with regard to housing, cost of living, childcare, transport and employment that faces many Londoners of all nationalities and all faiths. Furthermore, not only have I been made all too aware of the shortfalls of London life as a result of my employment, but more to the point I am expected to do something about it.
I am a regular guest in a growing network of BME TV and radio stations in the capital and I have appeared on BBC Arabic TV, Oleg Gazetesi Turkish TV, Atejah Iraqi TV, Alherra U.S. based, Arab TV and Radio Ben TV for ex-pat Africans and Voice of Africa Radio and have developed many contacts within the international population that now comprises London – more so than any other candidate.
I am an avid consumer of the arts and I am a regular theatre, concert and opera goer and particularly enjoy this time of year because of the Proms; a unique musical festival. The arts employ at least 80,000 in London and brings in an income of about £3.2 billion. As potential Mayor of London I will want to make this experience even more pleasurable for the consumer and do what I can to facilitate London nightlife.
London must aspire to acquire the fastest broadband infrastructure in the world! Bring on 5G! It’s all about the economy…
BL: If it were a straight choice, would you rather be a London Assembly member, or UKIP’s Mayoral Candidate?
EJ: The Majesty of Mayor always! Oh to follow in the footsteps of my hero ex New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (pictured above) arguably New York’s most effective Mayor.
BL: Uber — are you for it, or against it?
EJ: Bill de Blasio, the New York Mayor, tried to take on Uber and failed. We have to accept there are a million new Uber users now in London and have to balance free market consumer choice and safety of the consumer. I would be conditionally supportive of Uber on the basis that there is now a freeze on anymore minicab licenses to be issued by TFL for two years. New licences must be contingent on language, geography and residency tests plus full protection of ensuring privileges to licenced Hackney cabs. Physical hailing from the street for instance should be protected.
Furthermore there must be far more regular checks to ensure that Uber drivers are fully insured as a recent Guardian article
proved how easy it was for Uber drivers to evade insurance checks by simply cancelling their insurance policy days after the check had been made.
BL: Tube strikes and union drivers. What’s the solution?
EJ: Automation is the future and as stated earlier I am fully supportive of the nightlife economy and would be pressing for London to have a 24/7 public transport system. I wonder whether the strikers object to other employee groups having to work night shifts. Probably not. It is accepted that recent strikes have highlighted safety issues arising from exhausting and disruptive night shifts and this well founded issue has been resolved in Lille in Northern France which has driverless trains and staff at fewer stations and works well.
BL: How do you feel Boris has done as Mayor? What would you keep, what would you change?
EJ: Boris has done a reasonable job as a Mayor the best thing he did was to stop the westward spread of the congestion charge. I would oppose his vanity projects like the garden bridge, the mega high rise blocks of flats, impose limits on foreign ownership, and have a significant increase in Council Tax for such properties if vacant. I would also seek to have an actuarial analysis of TFL bureaucracy and pay deals. I would keep the bicycle hire scheme and ban on alcohol on public transport, and roll out his alcohol tag for drunken offenders which seems to have been most successful in South London. I would hope to carry the baton of Boris’s jollity. There has to be a much greater commitment to beauty in London architecture which has been sadly lacking to date.
BL: What are the best things about London, in your estimation?
EJ: The extraordinary range of opera houses, theatres, orchestras, concert halls, football clubs , peoples, universities, business variety, energy, optimism, the opportunities, vibrancy, and being at the centre of things.
BL: What are the worst things about London?
EJ: Filth, dirt, chewing gum, bespattered pavements, too many takeaways, loss of open spaces, street stalls squeezed in streets, advertising billboards and signage in the smallest of spaces, lack of aircon systems on public transport, eating on public transport, personal music on public transport, drunks on public transport, Soho rickshaws, noise and light pollution, the ever increasing infringement on road space, living space and cultural space and the painfully fashionable!
BJ: You made a name for yourself after screaming at a rival on the radio last year. What happened?
EJ: I was a featured guest on Voice of Africa Radio 94 FM discussing UKIP policy and was constantly interrupted by a member of an obscure leftist group and I decided to put the interest of the listeners first and responded accordingly following the example of Farage when he curtailed the former Prime Minister of Belgium telling him “why don’t you shut up and listen for a change”.
BL: What made you choose to oppose Nigel Farage during the selection process for South Thanet?
EJ: Nigel is my favourite political orator and this was a not to be missed opportunity to be up front and personal with our great leader – a sort of master class. Furthermore he needed decent opposition at the hustings and the audience’s enjoyment was considerably enhanced by having a variety of candidates to choose from a la X Factor. Luckily for me the Dartford committee were in the audience and was sufficiently impressed to ask me to stand as their Parliamentary Candidate at the General Election 2015. Nigel got his choice and I got the Dartford seat. Win-Win.
BL: You’re a lawyer who seems very keen on hyper-local issues. Can you tell us a little about the campaigns you’ve been involved with?
EJ: It was a local issue that brought me to UKIP namely Westminster City Council nightlife tax whereby Westminster City Council were seeking to significantly curtail parking in Zone 1. I was very involved in this campaign petitioning, attending demonstrations, borough council meeting and public meetings and Westminster City Council backed down in the 11th hour. I have also campaigned against the Congestion Charge, the Dartford Crossing charge, increasing hospital parking charges, military intervention in Syria, Save the Kensington Odeon – a delightful art deco cinema with the widest cinema screen in London about to be demolished and replaced by anonymous flats owned by overseas investors which will remain unoccupied – and I have recently been invited to raise the profile of a group working to rehabilitate women enslaved by Islamic State.