LibLink: Paddick – we are putting forward an innovative, radical Liberal Democrat agenda for Londoners

by Stephen Tall on March 3, 2012

The Lib Dems’ London mayoral candidate Brian Paddick was interviewed in The Guardian yesterday. It’s a revealing and candid piece in which Brian makes his pitch for the post the paper describes “an office whose holder enjoys the largest personal mandate in Europe – bar the French president”. Here are some highlights:

On the Lib Dems’ London campaign

“It’s quite obvious where I’m positioning myself and it’s to the left of the coalition,” he says in an interview with the Guardian. “What we are saying to Londoners is this has got nothing to do with national politics. We are putting forward an innovative, radical Liberal Democrat agenda for Londoners and that’s what we want them to vote on.”

On his decision to stand again as the Lib Dem mayoral candidate

“I thought the Liberal Democrats were getting an unfair press,” he says. “They were the whipping boys for the coalition. Anything positive that was happening was what the Tories were doing, and anything that was negative and unpopular, the Liberal Democrats were being unfairly blamed for it. Despite its imperfections, and despite people’s unhappiness with the coalition, it was still the party that I thought was the best of the three, a party that I loved and I didn’t like my loved one being beaten up in the way that it was being.”

On last summer’s riots

The 53-year-old, who retired as a deputy assistant commissioner in 2007 after 30 years’ police service, is scathing about how his former employers handled the summer riots. “We had riots in August, which, if the police do not transform themselves, we will have again.” Paddick was on duty as a 22-year-old officer during the Brixton riots in 1981, and believes the police are partly to blame for last August’s riots. Poor relations between the Met and members of the black community were a factor, he says, citing statistics that show how black people are much more likely to be stopped and searched. “The police are definitely partly to blame for the riots,” he says.

On his unsuccessful 2008 mayoral campaign

“I was unrealistic. I had gone from being in charge of 20,000 people who were under orders to do what I told them to do, to working with people who were volunteers. It was a complete culture shift for me. I probably was handling people more as though I was still in the police rather than being a Liberal Democrat politician, which didn’t go down too well. I made lots of mistakes and learnt a lot.”

On the party’s London campaign

If the Lib Dems increased their number of assembly seats from three to four they would deprive the British National party of a seat and install Shas Sheehan, a Muslim woman. “We want to have as many London assembly members as we possibly can,” Paddick says. “So No 4 on the list is a Muslim Asian woman. If more people vote Liberal Democrat we could have a Muslim Asian woman on the London assembly instead of what we got last time, which was somebody from the BNP.”

You can read the interview with Brian in full here.

* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and also writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.