Pictured top: Caroline Allen and Paul Wiffen
Pictured bottom: Ijaz Hayat and Jennette Arnold
Published: 27 April, 2012
by WILLIAM McLENNAN
WHILE Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone continue to slug it out over who should be the Mayor of London, voters will also be choosing who should hold the winner to account at next week’s Greater London Assemly elections (GLA).
Islington is in the North East London constituency – which also includes Hackey and Waltham Forest.
The current incumbent is Labour’s Jenette Arnold who will be hoping to hold on to her position as one of the 25 members of the GLA.
The Tribune asked each of the candidates to present their case this week.
All responded, with the exception of the Lib Dem candidate, Farooq Qureshi, a councillor in Waltham Forest, and Conservative candidate Naomi Newstead.
Caroline Allen 37, Green Party
A Green Party member for seven years, and resident of the borough, Ms Allen is campaiging on issues such as air pollution, lowering speed limits and increasing the minimum wage in London.
Allen is a full-time vet at a small group of practices in Islington and lives near Upper Street.
“We’re about making London healthier and more affordable for everyone,” she said. “We have really broad policies and we’re not just a single-issue party. We are actually out in Islington doing research, getting things done and holding the current establishment parties to account.”
Jennette Arnold 63, Labour
The current incumbent of the GLA seat and a Labour Party veteran – she joined in 1970 – Arnold has a long history as a politician in London. She has been the Assembly Member for the North East constituency since 2000 and was an Islington councillor between 1994 and 2002.
A registered nurse and active in the GMB union before becoming a councillor, Allen, who lives in Highbury, is currently chair of the London Assembly for the second time.
She said: “I will be there to hold the Mayor to account and draw his attention to issues that affect my constituents. It works both ways and if the Labour Mayor is elected I will be holding him to account.
“It is only when you call upon people to do what they’ve promised to do, and to show what they’ve done, that we have accountability, and if we don’t have that challenge we don’t have a democracy we have a dictatorship.”
Paul Wiffen, 53, UK Independence Party (UKIP)
Wiffen has been with UKIP since 2007 and was chairman of UKIP London from 2008 to 2010.
He was suspended from the party in 2010 after posting racist comments online, for which he later apologised, and was reinstated after an inquiry.
Wiffen is a film director and solo pianist who lives outside the North East constituency in Redbridge, Ilford. “I think Londoners have been really ripped off over the Olympics, and if I’m on the Assembly I will be giving whoever gets elected as Mayor a really hard time about getting value for Londoners,” he said.
“Londoners have been short-changed, most of the contracts went to French companies who brought in Portuguese and Polish workers, the local tradesman have had virtually nothing out of it.”
Ijaz Hayat, Independent candidate
Dr Hayat has no political experience, but working as a doctor he says he is confronted by people’s medical and social problems every day.
“I want to be independent because if you are a member of a party you have to abide by the rules and regulations of that party, but if you are independent then you can be the independent voice of the people and then you can speak,” he said.