Mayoral Elections: Use Your Power – Use Your Vote

London Mayoral Elections

At the 2010 UK general election an astonishing 53% of Muslims did not vote, according to a study by research company Ipsos Mori for the Electoral Commission. If true, this is something the 50% of the UK’s Muslim population, which lives in London needs to dramatically improve on for Thursday’s London Mayoral Elections.

Approximately 12 percent of Londoners are Muslim, which means 1 in every 12 Londoner is a Muslim. If the Muslim vote was a block vote, that would be a substantial percentage, for the candidates to court. However the Muslim community is not a block vote and each and every vote needs to be earned by the Mayoral candidates.

The Mayor of London has the power and oversight on key decisions on issues such as housing, transport, and policing which affects all Londoners. However some of these decisions will impact on Muslim Londoners more heavily because of the socio-economic conditions as well as the political climate, which many Muslim Londoners live in.

The role of the Mayor of London includes setting the budgets for transport and policing but they Mayor can also set the social and political tone for London. After the London bombings in 2005 it was the then Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone that brought the city together with his great One London speech.

We will never know what kind of speech Boris would have delivered if he was Mayor but if we are to take two articles he wrote in 2005 as an indicator then we could be forgiven for thinking it would be a more divisive than a unifying speech for Londoners. In 2005 Boris wrote ‘Islam is the problem’ in the Spectator and that he found Islam ‘politically troublesome’ in the Telegraph. It would be unfair to highlight these quotes if he had changed his mind, however, at a Muslim hustings last Friday, he had been given the chance to apologise, which he did not take.

As Londoners, we will need to choose a Mayor who we will be better off financially and who respects the diversity of our great city.

– Ken has pledged to bring back the Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA), which will help many youth from poorer families stay in and progress in education.

– Under Ken’s fare proposal the average Londoner will be around £1,000 better off over the four years.

– Ken also has a track record in respecting and engaging with all of London’s communities, including the Muslim community.

– His support was instrumental is setting up initiatives to tackle Islamophobia, which resulted in Islamophobia being recognised as a hate crime by the metropolitan police.

There are only two days left before the London Mayoral election, when Londoners will choose between a candidate who dismisses the diversity and the woes of the average Londoner (Boris) or a candidate who celebrates the diversity of London and addresses the concerns of the average Londoner (Ken).

The voter turn out in areas with a large Muslim population was very low in the 2008 Mayoral elections when Boris won. For example there was a 36.1% voter turn out in Newham compared to 51.8% in Bromley.

To ensure London is better off and is represented by someone who respects all faiths including Islam rather than see it as a problem, we need to get out and vote.

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