After 22 years in business Croydon-born candidate Farah London aims to “bring London back” in her independent bid for mayor next May.
Literally Ms London, she has centred her campaign around distancing from traditional political parties and rediscovering the capital’s identity.
Explaining the ethos of her campaign, she said: “I want to be an alternative to party politics and be a mayor that represents the people of London.
“I want people to not vote for politics, but to vote for London.”
Not that she doesn’t have experience of party politics, as a former Conservative Party member and honorary secretary for the St James ward in Westminster.
She criticised the “who you know” culture of the UK’s governing party, citing it as her reason for going solo earlier this year.
London added: “Just joining the party I really realised the culture inside, there were lots of very passionate capable people wanting to get into positions of power but they would never ever be able to.
“It’s about who you know and what you donate into the campaign so I really think that I saw enough.”
London’s slogan and mission is to “bring London back”, a phrase that goes far beyond the city’s post pandemic recovery, stretching even to her upbringing in south Croydon.
She said: “I feel sorry for the youth and younger generation because I look back at when I was growing up and the opportunities that were available to me and just being able to feel safe.
“I find it shocking that we have come so far but we have gone so behind. I want us to bring so much back that has gone.”
Tackling crime is high up on London’s agenda.
Last week she offered doughnuts to every Met Police station, and pledged to provide all officers with weapon detection devices, and to crack down on gang crime.
She said: “Police officers really get the short end of the stick. They’re not getting the financing and their budget keeps getting smashed.
“It was shocking to me how many bases have been closed. This shows you what these budget cuts have done and how badly they are stretched. We need to hatchet gang violence and gang crime.
“I’ve been driving policies and dealt with trade in different countries across five continents so I really feel that my experience will facilitate a new London.”
London also talked about making London a greener city and said she is interested in the use of micro-algae in architecture to clean up polluted air, as seen in buildings in Singapore, Mexico and Hamburg.
But she passionately defended the capital’s right to be a bustling city and firmly opposed Low Traffic Neighbourhood schemes, which she said have led to emergency services being blocked, and shops losing footfall.
She added: “No one is looking at the bird’s eye view of London, we have so many different councils just doing what they want and TfL is funding it.
“Right now London is not moving, road restrictions are out of control and I don’t think it’s fair.”
London has also committed to solving TFL’s budget issues through “state of the art” tube sponsorship and advertising.
London reinforced that she would take the vaccine if it was safe, and acknowledged the need to convince “anti-vaxxers” of the benefits.
Farah London is the founder and CEO of two successful companies, and now lives in the Tower Hill area with her two dogs.
Above all, she believes that the term “Londoner” is not just limited to those who were born in the city, but also those who have come to stay and work here.
She said: “If you live and work in London you are part of the city, you have invested your time, your money into this city and I want you to feel part of it.”