Five to Rule Them All: Labour members choose our Mayor

Heavy is the head that wears the crown
The election that will determine the next Mayor of Lewisham has entered its final leg.

Five Labour candidates are currently vying for their party's nomination, which will guarantee that they replace Mayor Bullock when he stands down at the end of this term. Voting closes on September 19th.

Although it is frustrating that a relatively small number of party members will determine who will occupy the most powerful role in Council, the candidates have at least been actively campaigning beyond local hustings, so we can all see what they stand for.

Labour's insurmountable lead in Lewisham means there is little point campaigning on the centre ground. References to socialism and unions abound in their campaign literature and it is fairly hard to spot the differences in their policy positions and priorities.

Housing tops their manifestos, they all oppose outsourcing health services to the private sector (see the interesting Save Lewisham Hospital campaign Q&A) and they all want living wage policies to be expanded.

While the policies are similar, the characters are not. So here is the roster that Labour members have been choosing from:

Paul Bell - The Radical

A familiar name for regular readers of Brockley Central, the Telegraph Hill Councillor has been an active contributor to the site for many years, most recently using it as a platform to campaign on the service provided by housing associations. He also wound-up the local Remain lobby by not being sufficiently upset about the referendum result.

Currently a national officer for UNISON, he pledges a 'radical socialist' set of policies, an 'interventionist' approach to the local education system and has promised reform of the Mayoral system if he is elected.

Website here

Brenda Dacres - The Includer

Brenda is a New Cross councillor and a prominent campaigner, who opposed the cuts to Lewisham Hospital and encouraged the Council to return the blessed Deptford Anchor.

Brenda majors on the principle of 'inclusive politics', including a bigger role for unions (she's a Unite member) in the decision making process.

Website here

Damien Egan - The Metropolitan

Union employee Damien pitches himself as the 'pro-EU, pro-migrant' candidate. He wants to expand refugee support and puts more emphasis on environmental measures than his rivals.

Egan also broke ranks to withdraw his support for the Millwall regeneration scheme after Alan Hall's scrutiny revealed grounds for concern.

Website here


Alan Hall - The Statesman

A senior figure within the Council, Alan pitches himself as the experienced statesman - a continuity candidate who was sufficiently independent to hold the Council to account over its plans for the compulsory purchase of land around Millwall's stadium. He really wants to protect Lewisham's post office services.

'Ambition' has traditionally been a dirty word in Lewisham politics but he places greater emphasis on local regeneration and aspiration than his rivals.

Website here

Paul Maslin - The Maverick

Deptford gallery owner Paul is the outlier. He eschews a 'triumph over adversity' personal narrative. He likes to write lengthy articles on his blog (rarely a winning strategy) and is willing to give answers that may not be popular (see his answer to the question about Forest Hill School, here).

Maslin supported the Council's regeration scheme for Millwall. He avoids describing himself as a socialist and he believes the Council has a duty to fall into line with national Labour Party policy by implementing local cuts.

Website here

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