Cry God for Boris, London, and the Conservative Party!
Today is the culmination of months of daily intercession on behalf of the Conservative candidate for Mayor of London. Cranmer prayed that Mr Johnson would stand; Cranmer urged him to do so; Cranmer was delighted when he finally decided to, and has been profoundly impressed by the professionalism of the campaign.
And today is Judgement Day.
For all his promises on policing, safety, housing, the Olympics, the environment, or business-friendly policies, the key difference between Mr Livingstone and Mr Johnson is that good old democratic foundation – accountability.
In Mr Johnson’s own words:
I believe Londoners should have a greater say on how their city is run, more information on how decisions are made and details on how City Hall money is spent.
Ken Livingstone presides over a budget of more than £10billion and demands £311 per year from the average taxpaying household in London. Yet Londoners have little confidence in the Mayor spending their money with care and prudence.
Mayor Livingstone's extravagant spending on publicity, his jaunts to Cuba and Venezuela at taxpayers' expense, and the recent reports of his close advisers using their influence to manipulate the expenditure of public money have all confirmed that Ken Livingstone's Mayoralty is unaccountable and disdainful of scrutiny.
If elected, I will aim to create a different style of government at City Hall by introducing a series of measures designed to make my Mayoralty more accountable, and spending more transparent.
The first of these will be the reform of People's Question Times, open public forums where ordinary residents are able to question the Mayor and London Assembly members. Under my plans, not only will we hold these events more frequently, but we will establish question sessions that focus on myself and perhaps my Deputy too, giving Londoners the chance to question their Mayor more directly.
By exercising the Mayor's right to chair the Metropolitan Police Authority, I will take direct responsibility for tackling crime, and will be fully accountable for police performance. Local Borough Commanders will be required to hold monthly open public meetings so that local people can regularly hold their police to account.
Too often, Ken Livingstone has ignored the views of Londoners. Under my administration, City Hall will listen to public consultations, which will help shape policy. To this end, I will hold a new consultation on the Western extension of the Congestion Charge, and I pledge to abide by the result.
I will also take account of the concerns of all London businesses by holding biannual summits with business representatives, and I will take a less adversarial approach with locally-elected councils.
We need more open information on how City Hall spends our money. I will strip away the secrets by publishing an open register of interests for all Mayoral advisers, and I will provide a search function on the Mayor's website enabling Londoners to instantly find all grants, contracts and programmes over £1,000. I will also conduct a full review of London Development Agency grants.
Finally, to demonstrate my commitment to accountability, if elected, I pledge to run for no more than two terms - because leading this great city is a privilege, not a right.
1. Give Londoners More Say
• Communicate in plain English and listen to the results of consultations.
• Hold more People's Question Times, so Londoners can directly question the Mayor and senior officials.
• Work closely with locally-elected Councillors instead of berating them.
2. End The Culture Of Cronyism At City Hall
• Create a Cabinet for London, to assist in running London in a more business-like, transparent manner.
• Pledge to stand for only two terms if elected.
• Introduce tough new rules for Mayoral advisers to ensure their interests are declared and in the open.
3. Restore Trust In How City Hall Spends Our Money
• Launch an immediate review of City Hall finances, to report initial findings within the first 100 days.
• Launch an independent review of all London Development Agency grants.
• Enable Londoners to view all GLA grants, contracts and programmes worth over £1,000 on the Mayor's website.
• Ensure that Londoners will not pay any more than 38p per week for the Olympics.
This election is about trust, accountability, integrity and honesty. And anyone who pledges to stand for just two terms is also a paragon of humility. This is why Cranmer shall be praying further throughout the day, and he exhorts all his readers and communicants to do the same.
Prayer changes things.