More than a hundred hardy souls took part in last Sunday's symbolic London North City Walk, meeting in Regents Park, to push support for equal treatment for pedestrians in the future planning of the capital. Their reward was an introduction to the key mayoral candidates for Mayor of London, who appeared briefly to address the crowd, and to get large amounts of free publicity on itn news that evening. Organisers Tony Meats (Office of Urban Design) and Dan Bone (Civix) seemed quite happy for the politicians to take the limelight, since their campaign to spark a £10 million investment programme in a pedestrian route from St James's park to Highgate will certainly require political support from whoever becomes the new Mayor for London.
The candidates arrived in a state of political excitement, since the morning news had been full of allegations about vote fixing and share tips. Unaffected by any of this mock-scandal, first speaker was the Liberal Democrats' Susan Kramer, a management consultant familiar with transport issues, but of course a supporter of the pedestrian tendency. No other candidates had arrived when she finished speaking, but ably filling the gap was Tory runner-up Steven Norris who really does know about the mechanics as well as the politics of transport. He had actually done the walk and had brought his 18-month son Harry with him, distinguishing himself from other politicians by kissing his own baby rather than other people's.
Hoving into view as Norris finished came Frank Dobson, the local mp and supporter of all things community, who gave a brief statement on the necessity to make our public areas safe as well as useful. He was immediately followed by Ken Livingstone, who recalled his childhood playing in the park. He said the proposed route represented environmental and health benefits; if elected he would introduce it. Jeffrey Archer arrived last and was persuaded to say a few words after telling the tv cameras that all the allegations against him were a put-up job. The election is hotting up.