Many wonder what will happen to London after Boris and the fantastic job he has done in cementing London's position as the greatest city on earth. Will it be left in the hands of a hard-left, anti-business Mayor? Or will it go to Boris's natural successor, and the man London needs: Zac Goldsmith?
Zac Goldsmith will not only build on Boris's legacy, but will also redefine it, Zac has the ability to shape London's future for the better. He can shape the face of modern Conservatism in London by taking our message across the political spectrum. Whether it is the eurosceptic UKIP supporters, the environmentally aware Greens, or the undecided Liberals, Zac has the ability to gain the confidence of all these voters and can spread our positive message to them.
For Conservatives all over the UK Zac reminds us that our values transcend political boundaries, because we want to see our entire society benefit from them. For us, ideological dogma and rigidity are not what make us Conservatives, it is a sense of pragmatism and an innate wish of seeing every individual aspire to their highest potential that sets us apart from the alternative 'set-in-stone' left-wing agenda. Zac exemplifies this ability to adapt and change, yet hold firm his political convictions. This is what could make him the best Mayor of London we have seen.
Zac's commitment to small businesses in London is at the heart of the true localism he believes in. One of his pledges to small businesses is that if he is elected, he will deliver super-fast broadband across London through a new partnership between TFL and private developers. This is absolutely essential for the development of small businesses across our capital, and could help around 400,000 small businesses. This is utterly unprecedented. Zac will also commit to pressuring larger firms to ensure their payment terms are fair to smaller suppliers.
We must not underestimate Zac's commitment to deliver on such pledges, especially when compared to the anti-business rhetoric we hear from both the Leader of the Opposition, and from his Mayoral candidate. Being independently-minded, Zac has a proven track record in holding the Government and the powers that may be to account. I am sure his lobbying of the national government to devolve skills funding to City Hall will also be successful, and will be of further benefit to small businesses.
I have been privileged to accompany Zac to local businesses all over London, most recently in Willesden, Brent. Brent is electorally a Labour stronghold, so it was a pleasant surprise for us when we received a warm reception at many local businesses. Zac was welcomed with open arms, as his genuine concern for their businesses was self evident to all, whether it be in a local, family-run Halal Meat Butchers, or a local, family-run Mediterranean and Turkish restaurant. He sat patiently, listening to their concerns and fears - all of which had one thing in common - the lack of support they are receiving from their local Labour-run council, and Labour's anti-business policies. From problems with parking, to the general neglect of their needs as small businesses, complaints about the inefficiency of Brent's Labour-run council were at the heart of the discussions. They too were satisfied by the end of our visit that Zac is the man that can crack London's problems, and be a strong voice for their small businesses.
What is always evident for me whenever I am with Zac is his passion to want to help everyone he meets, from all socio-economic backgrounds, what also strikes me is his ability to connect to all cultures and backgrounds. Coming from an ethnic minority myself, I have witnessed first hand the respect Zac has within various communities, one such is the Hindu community where he has been able to make a long lasting mark. His conviction politics and record of delivering allows him to stand above all of the other candidates, and I believe anyone who meets Zac will experience this for themselves.
We have already seen last week how the Labour candidate has tried to deflect public attention off the fantastic housing deal that Zac has secured from central government, by resorting to gutter politics and personal attacks on Zac and his background. The truth is Sadiq doesn't have a clue, he has no ideas, his views continuously flip-flop, and Sadiq is quite clearly Corbyn's trusted ally, having nominated him to become leader of the Labour party. Anyone who cares about the future of London, regardless of whether they are Conservative or not, must not allow an opportunist like Sadiq to enter City Hall. It would spell disaster for our businesses, housing, and transport, and would inevitably alter the future of London for the worse.
The choice could not be clearer: an independent-minded, competent, humble, committed personality to enter City Hall to represent the views of millions of Londoners, or the chaotic, flip-flopping Corbyn/Sadiq alternative that could forever damage London's standing in an increasingly globalised world.
For me the choice could not be clearer: we must all unite to stop the prospect of an anti-business, anti-localism Mayor entering City Hall. Zac is the ONLY man that can do it!
Kishan Devani is a Conservative candidate for the Greater London Authority London-Wide List, and Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party in London. He is also Chairman of the Treasurers Committee at CWF.
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