UKIP’s mayoral candidate for the 2016 elections will be selected in the coming days and weeks. Breitbart London has speculated on the runners and riders for the contest, and has contacted all the candidates to ask them why they’d be best for the position.
This response is from Shneur Odze, a long-standing party activist, and Orthodox Jewish man. The responses follow:
Breitbart London (BL): What makes you the best person to represent UKIP in London in 2016?
Shneur Odze (SO): As a Londoner born, bred and schooled, a former Hackney councillor, a Foundation Trust governor and seasoned political campaigner, I have a passion for the everyday issues concerning working Londoners. I appeal across the economic, religious and social divides, to further increase UKIP’s already broadening support, without leaving behind our loyal supporters.
BL: If it were a straight choice, would you rather be a London Assembly member, or UKIP’s Mayoral Candidate?
SO: Whilst local politics has and continues to be my passion, I’d still choose mayoralty candidate, as it would afford me a significant opportunity to influence the debate.
BL: Uber — are you for it, or against it?
SO: Hackney carriages have set the standard, are British icons which need to be preserved. As an economic liberal, I believe with the right – light-touch, sunset regulation – there is room for both. If Londoners don’t want either or both, let them vote with their wallets, I’m too pro-‘freedom to choose’ to deny people that choice.
BL: Tube strikes and union drivers. What’s the solution?
SO: Better preparation in laying the ground work with all the information given to the fair-paying public well in advance, a clear and compelling, short and long-term vision for an 24hour integrated transport system, an ad-hoc commission of transport users advising the Mayor, and being the face of change to the public and media.
A Reagan-style carrot and stick approach, by recruiting an army of strike busters to counter the most aggressive and political strikers, to harness the very real and genuine anger of millions of hard-pressed, fair-paying commuters. It’s simply too important an issue to London’s future to brush under the carpet.
BL: How do you feel Boris has done as Mayor? What would you keep, what would you change?
SO: A load of hot air and glorious failure whose singular achievement has been to keep Labour out of City hall. He has manifestly failed to stand up for London, when it comes to drawing down further powers, like the other devolved assemblies have. He has presided over ever increasing regulation on jobs, businesses and the City. And he has abjectly failed to build new and affordable homes… to name but a few of his broken pre-election pledges.
BL: What are the best things about London, in your estimation?
SO: It’s can-do, world leading attitude to life and business which has and continues to lead the world. The quality of life, with its (diminishing) open spaces, the fact that most people don’t/didn’t have to live in bleak high-rise blocks of flats. The opportunities it offers for people who work hard… to name but a few…
BL: What are the worst things about London?
SO: The flight of our young and our talented abroad. London’s poor can no longer automatically expect their children to reap the rewards of hard work. It is increasingly unaffordable for youth to live, work and make a family life here. Exacerbated by the corporatist, exploitative and short term business culture – alien to Britain – increasingly taking over and ruining our great capitalist tradition which has brought freedom and prosperity to the world.
BL: You took a strong stance against the party wanting to put a ban on shechita (Jewish ritual slaughter) – why?
SO: It went to the heart of what many people felt our party stands for and how we react to events. Do we chase headlines, scripted by vested interests that have little – if anything – in common with our party and its values? Are we to continue being a liberal, Christian-Judeo and tolerant country, or do we wish to ban things on impulse?
BL: You have helped establish and maintain the ‘Friends of Israel in UKIP’ group. Tell us why this issue is so important to you, and why UKIP members should be interested.
SO: Israel and Britain have long been natural allies, with common values and great trading nations, which today stand on the frontline against global terror. We have so much to benefit from working together. I’m particularly passionate, as the Jewish community’s values instinctively align with UKIP’s, but we’ve yet to achieve significant electoral support.
BL: You’re known as an avid campaigner for UKIP, can you tell us what attracted you to the party?
SO: UKIP is the only truly national party, which be believes in Britain, can appeal across the geographical, social and economic divides, but most importantly is the only party which has the answers to the 21st century issues facing our country and isn’t afraid to espouse our views, when they were a niche concern – or as is now – mainstream and ever popular.
If I may add, London needs a mayor with dynamism, vision and purpose, ready to ensure London retains its qualitative edge, as a living and prosperous city, equipped to compete with Asian tigers, without compromising on people’s quality of life.