Killing crime with kindness at the Women of the World mayoral debate

By Mary Nagle
March 9 2020, 21.25

Prospective candidates were reminded of the limits of the powers of the Mayor of London at a Women of the World debate in the Southbank Centre on Friday.

LibDem candidate Siobhan Benita proposed legalising cannabis, The Green Party’s Siân Berry wanted to impose rent controls and a representative for Conservative candidate Shaun Bailey proposed the recruitment of thousands of extra metro police officers.

They were reminded that all of these actions fall outside the mayor’s remit – Sadiq Kahn said that while the mayor controls the Metropolitan police, Bailey’s proposals would be well in excess of the nationally-imposed limit.

The mayor’s power to set the tone was explored Siobhan Benita wearing a black t-shirt that read ‘In a world where you can be anything be kind’.

Her approach to crime was: “At the end of the day it’s about love. Giving everyone love and opportunities.”

She argued that traumatic lives will result in violence ‘no matter how many police we have on the streets’ and among other measures, proposed paying for a youth mayor of London out of the mayor’s salary.

She was one of three women making their bid to become the first female mayor of London, or indeed, as Siân Berry told the crowd, any English city.

Mandu Reid has already earned the title of the first person of colour to lead a UK political party – the Women’s Equality Party.

The party was conceived of by Catherine Mayer and Sandi Toksvig at the WOW festival in 2015.

Reid, who was very warmly received, said it felt like ‘a homecoming’.

The Women’s Equality Party operates on a basis of ‘political polyamory’, that is, you can be a member of another political party at the same time.

The audience also asked about Shaun Bailey’s absence.

His representative Emma Best, a councillor, responded to questions on his behalf, defending Bailey’s politically incorrect past statements by saying he was not a ready-made politician.

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