Ken's in charge
After all this, Ken Livingstone came as a relief, and was his usual mixture of wit and menace. His view on housing was simple:
when London was declining in population terms, it was still building 50,000 new homes a year; that is down to 25,000 but is increasing again. He disputed the idea that London should be diverting people and jobs to other cities - if London rejected them, they would go not to northern cities but continental rivals. Conservative Steve Norris gave broad support to the thrust of the London Plan, but in by far the most thoughtful and convincing of all the speeches, he analysed the wealth per person of Londoners compared with other cities - everywhere else in Europe, citydwellers benefited from greater GDP percentages than the national average. In the UK, only London enjoys this position - some redistribution was essential. But not necessarily to the Thames Gateway, where he warned about 'monocultural dormitories' being created with insufficient public transport infrastructure. During the discussion, Ken revealed that Belgians are the lowest spending tourists in London, and put his thoughts on architecture at the top of the agenda: 'If you don't like my aesthetic views, vote me out.'