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WEBCHAT GUIDELINES 1. One question per member plus one follow-up. 2. Keep your question brief. 3. Don't moan if your question doesn't get answered. 4. Do be civil/polite. More here.

Live webchat with Ken Livingstone, TODAY 11.15am to 12.15pm

(157 Posts)
FrancesMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 17-Apr-12 10:07:52

In the run up to the London Mayoral elections in May, we're very pleased to announce that Ken Livingstone will be joining us for a live webchat on Wednesday 18th April from 11:15 am to 12:15 pm. You can read more about Kens plans for London on his Mumsnet blog here.

Ken Livingstone was London's first elected mayor between 2000 and 2008. He was born in Streatham in 1945, attending Tulse Hill Comprehensive and working as a lab technician at Chester Beatty cancer research unit. Since becoming the MP for Brent East he has lived in Cricklewood.

Join us for the webchat and make your voice heard about what you want to see from the capital's next Mayor. He's keen to hear your views and answer your questions. As ever, if you can't make it, please post up your advance questions here.

Thanks, MNHQ

Crumblemum Tue 17-Apr-12 10:44:51

Do you really think you're up to the job? We need a good Mayor who can make the city work (not indulge it) but also focus on things like childcare costs and gang/ street crime.
I think all the issues associated with you (tax, anti-semitism, cronyism) show you're a bit distracted from what needs to be done most urgently.

Do you think it was a bit self-indulgent deciding to run for a third time?

thinneratforty Tue 17-Apr-12 11:17:33

I've seen recently your commitment to the tramlink extension.
Would you consider supporting extending the R11 bus route to the Princess Royal University Hospital?
It is the only bus that could potentially go between QMS and the PRU site.

TheBlackShiksa Tue 17-Apr-12 13:32:02

Could you clarify what you meant when you said you were going to "make London a beacon for Islam"?

LineRunner Tue 17-Apr-12 13:34:37

I live in the north-east and would love to bring my children to their capital city to visit the British Museum and Natural History Museum, but the costs are crippling.

Does that matter?

eggsandham Tue 17-Apr-12 15:15:52

Hi Ken. Thanks for doing this webchat. So....when Boris got elected 4 years ago I was pretty concerned and thought he would end up being a total disaster for London. But it hasn't really turned out that way. Now when friends ask me why they shouldn't vote for Boris, I struggle to think of many things he's got wrong. Can you help me out? (and I need more than your point about public transport fares, people accept that, but it doesn't really feel like enough). Thanks.

BelleDameSansMerci Tue 17-Apr-12 16:32:46

What do you really believe about FGM? My entire view of you is coloured by your apparent support for people who believe this practice to be acceptable.

cazroz Tue 17-Apr-12 16:42:03

I come from a long line of socialists...but have to say I found your comments re Jewish voters appalling. I don't disagree that there are many wealthy Jews in London - but there are just as many trying to scrape a living and thousands more in between (hey - just like any other community group it could be said).

I'd like to ask: why on earth would you assume that wealth would cancel out any form of altruistic principle (ie voting Labour)? And yes, I know that you have apologised etc etc - but as far as I am concerned there is no smoke without fire - so what can you say to win back my vote?

painterlyswoosh Tue 17-Apr-12 16:43:03

So I read your guest blog. My, it sounds wonderful! Everything that Bojo has cut will be reinstated, with a fare cut to boot. How lovely.

I know you said that some of this will be funded from money from the annual mayoral budget profit, but I find it very hard to understand how, in these tough times, there is budget left over to fund all these projects (1700 police officers back, 7% fare cut, childcare grants, a not-for-profit lettings agency, bringing back the EMA).

If I were more sceptical, I might think you were just making a ton of promises that you knew you weren't going to be able to keep just to get into office hmm

So, could you please be VERY SPECIFIC about where all this money will come from? As you've done the job before, you'll know exactly how it all works.

Many thanks.

ChazMax Tue 17-Apr-12 16:51:03

Hi Ken,

Can you let us know what you think about the Boris bikes? What do you think about all these people cycling in mad, busy, London traffic without helmets?


LineRunner Tue 17-Apr-12 17:20:27

I don't think my question upthreda made sense - sorry - I'll ask it again below.

LineRunner Tue 17-Apr-12 17:29:20

Dear Ken

I live in the north-east and would love to bring my children to their capital city to visit the British Museum and Natural History Museum, but the journey costs on the train and tube are crippling, even though the museums are free or reasonably priced to get into special exhibitions.

Does it matter that a 'free' visit to our British Museum in London in unaffordable for many families?

How could you use your posiition to bring pressure to bear on train companies to consider the needs of families from the north, who wish to visit national collection in the capital?

(I am more fun as a parent than this makes me sound) smile

I don't have a vote but I know people by the way ...

nowit Tue 17-Apr-12 17:35:52

Hi Ken,

A bit of a random question.

If you were an Olympic athlete, what would your sport be?

bruxeur Tue 17-Apr-12 19:32:48

Long-distance obfuscation - many many years of training, will medal for sure.

EldonAve Tue 17-Apr-12 20:03:56

How will you fund your pledges?
Will the GLA precept (or whatever the portion of council tax that goes to city hall) increase?

crazynanna Tue 17-Apr-12 20:58:22

You have my vote,Ken!

wheeler Tue 17-Apr-12 22:41:42

Ken - about violence against women in London -

Your crime manifesto is very strong on the police response to sexual violence and the funding of rape crisis centres. You also make an agenda-setting commitment to tackle sexual harassment. And it’s great that you commit to ensuring that work on gangs always takes girls’ needs into account.

But - you don’t make any mention of FGM, forced marriage or honour-based violence. These crimes affect 1000s of girls and young women in London every year (there were 7,000 babies born to women who had undergone FGM in London last year; hundreds of girls seek support facing threat of forced marriage).

If elected are you committed to taking a proactive lead on these issues, by eg establishing a London-wide plan to end and prevent them?

Also, Boris’ administration listened to the arguments of women’s organisations and introduced an excellent, if under reported, London-wide strategy on ending violence against women and girls. This has been admired and copied by other cities and around the world. Are you committed to renewing and furthering this strategy and the work it has lead to?


Betelguese Tue 17-Apr-12 22:57:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SophieNeveau Wed 18-Apr-12 00:08:41

Ken I haven't decided what to do with my vote yet. I have overall liked both your and Boris's achievements as mayor. The ex policeman is not appealing to me.

So Ken, why should a disabled, lone parent to two teens, vote for you over Boris?

Liz0034 Wed 18-Apr-12 00:16:18

Good evening Ken,

I have been a London cyclist for a few years and used to live in the East end. All the work that has been done regenerating the whole of East London is greatly appreciated.
Now that I live in West London (Borough of Ealing) I can see the Barclays bikes making their way here slowly...
Though, what good does it make when the roads tarmac is so poor and damaged and it feels so unsafe to cycle due to dense traffic and little cycle ways?

How will you make cycling safer?


SPSS Wed 18-Apr-12 01:11:52

A lot has been debated and agreed about the need to encourage and promote cycling amongst Londoners. There has been broad agreement that more Londoners should be encouraged to take up cycling for commuting, for pleasure riding, and for health and fitness – in addition to the environmental benefits of substituting motorised transportation for pedal power.

It has been particularly argued that young people should be introduced to, and supported in, taking up cycling from early childhood so that cycling becomes integral to their lifestyles as future adult Londoners.

Indeed, so many of London’s numerous and beautiful parks offer such fantastic opportunities for introducing to children the pleasures of cycling, and for helping them learn to ride safely and confidently in a minimal-hazard environment.

And yet, ironically, parents who would like their little children to learn to ride in a safe environment as in a London park are unable to take their children and their children’s bicycles on London’s buses and tubes to reach most of these otherwise-suitable parks.

Having just purchased bicycles for my two children, aged 5 and 8, so we may, as a family, go cycling in the various parks and trails in London on the approaching summer weekends, I realize now that even on weekends, bicycles are generally not allowed on the tube network, except on a handful of inconvenient segments that anyway do not let one reach all the parks; certainly the tube station near our home does not allow boarding with bicycles (unless foldable), so we cannot even get on the network from home with our children and their two-wheelers.

This prohibition is definitely some remnant, unfounded rule - there is no reason why a family with little children as mine must have to ride on the vehicular streets of London in order to get to a park where they want to ride their bicycles in safety.

Arguments are always made where there is no motivation to make a difference, and safety is a versatile, catch-phrase argument to use.

Yes, safety of passengers is a genuine concern, and I can assure you no one wants safety compromised. But it cannot be argued that safety is compromised in other underground networks around the world where bicycle carriage is permitted (such as in San Francisco area in California). Nevertheless, safety is a far greater and more legitimate a concern in crowded (such as weekday) transit than on weekends, when most carriages are empty, and families want to take children’s cycles to parks.

Furthermore, some double buggies, cellos, and suitcases that passengers travel with on the tube (to or from Heathrow, for example) even on weekdays should be as much a concern for safety as bicycles. Why is there no restriction on any of those? Some children's bikes are much smaller than some of these large suitcases and cello cases people travel with on the tube!!

Let's think this through: what happens if there is an emergency situation and there is a need to evacuate? Bikes, just as suitcases, will need to be left behind - no matter whether the access is by lift or escalator.

Considering all of this, can you then, use your office, if elected, to bring about changes to the Conditions of Carriage that will serve as reasonable solutions toward furthering bicycle usage in London? For instance:

•Bicycles could be permitted only on weekends during certain ultra-non-peak hours (say before 9am, and between 4pm and 7pm)
•Bicycles could be permitted only in the last and the first carriage of the train, which are boarded from the far end of the platforms
•Bicycles could be permitted only at those tube stations that have an operating lift that the bicycles may be transported on
•Bicycles could only be permitted on the tube when travelling as a family, not as adults unaccompanied by children
•Buses could be fitted with bike racks as have been done in other cities with success (see picture on the web, from Seattle, USA, etc.)

With these changes in rules, London will become much more cycle friendly to families, and we will be encouraging the internalization of a cycling culture in the next generations.

With these changes, my five year old, wishing to get across town to a park (where she'd want to ride her bike) would not need to ride her bike on the vehicular city roads all the way to the park because the safety of our roads is far from ideal for a child so young and inexperienced to ride on.

Please use your office to change the Conditions of Carriage to something more sensible and furthering of the good cause of family activities and cycle ridership.

Thank you in anticipation of a change for the better.

heliumballoon Wed 18-Apr-12 03:13:46

Welcome to MN Ken.

I asked Boris a question which he did not answer (looking back at his webchat he did seem to ignore some of the harder questions and was given an easyish ride). Can I ask the same question of Labour?

I am interested in which party will bring more women into decision making roles in the running of London. Can you tell us about the women you would include on your management team? Can you tell us as well about how many Labour Assembly members are women, and compare that to the Conservative total. Thank you.

I know we are only allowed one question but I also think Ken should be able to reply once and for all on the accusations about the use of actors in his campaign video.

dogindisguise Wed 18-Apr-12 09:14:54

Will you extend the congestion charge beyond its current zone to help improve London's terrible air pollution and tackle traffic congestion?

sfxmum Wed 18-Apr-12 10:13:48

I am not sure about bicycle on the tube but cycle lanes that are not death traps would be good, cycle lanes in London are a joke and in my outer London borough a sort of cruel joke

KenLivingstone Wed 18-Apr-12 10:20:39


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