Stuart Polak
Stuart Polak

I’ve known Shaun for a decade, and he’s a resolute friend of the community

Shaun Bailey at a CFI event (Via Jewish News)
Shaun Bailey at a CFI event (Via Jewish News)

 This Thursday, Londoners will face an important choice – who will represent our city as Mayor for the next four years.

As we cautiously move towards unlocking the city and set about rebuilding, it will be a decision of great significance.

There is one candidate in this race that has the passion, ideas and ability to deliver the fresh start that London desperately needs and that is Shaun Bailey.

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Shaun for over a decade. In that time he has been resolute in his support of both Israel and London’s Jewish community, and an energetic advocate in the fight against antisemitism.

It was a privilege to visit Israel with Shaun in 2012 as part of a Conservative Friends of Israel delegation. It was an action packed trip which covered everything from a difficult visit to see the bomb shelters and rocket remains in the Gaza-border town of Sderot to test driving electric vehicles in Tel Aviv. A meeting with students at a Haredi school in Jerusalem made a lasting impact on Shaun, as he set about learning as much as he could and showed his gifted ability of communication.

Shaun has seen first-hand Israel’s vibrant tech scene and his commitment to leading a Mayoral trade delegation to the country will showcase Israel to all Londoners.

Crime will be at the forefront of many voters’ minds on Thursday. The dramatic rise in violent crime in the last five years is deeply troubling. With his background as a youth worker for 20 years, helping young Londoners out of gangs, Shaun is without a doubt the right person to reverse this slide. In addition to his pledge to reopen 38 police stations closed by the current Mayor, he will secure 8,000 more police officers to patrol London’s streets. His commitment to the safety and security of the Jewish community is resolute and not only does he have excellent relationships with the CST, Hatzola and Shomrim, he has committed to banning the annual Quds Day hate-fest.

Crucially, Shaun has led efforts to fight the planned ULEZ expansion to the North and South circular which comes into force this October. Simply, the ULEZ will cut the Jewish community in half with Golders Green added into the extended area. Those driving within the ULEZ zone will face a £12.50 charge each and every day they use their family cars to visit schools, synagogues, community centres, kosher shops or any other valuable communal facility integral to our daily lives.

And don’t forget that many of those living outside the zone – including those in Hertfordshire who don’t get to have a vote in the election but retain strong links to the area – will face the same charge when travelling for work or to see their loved ones. The predicament facing my family – whereby we will be taxed to visit our beloved grandchildren – will be one faced by many affected by the punitive ULEZ scheme. It is an especially unfair economic burden for many families struggling with finances post-pandemic.

In the face of fierce, and justifiable resistance, the current Mayor has pushed ahead with the deeply unpopular scheme. Shaun, however, has been unequivocal in committing to scrapping this punitive tax on day one of his mayoralty.

If that wasn’t enough, there are many young families in Borehamwood and Bushey whose children go to schools in Edgware, Kingsbury and Hendon and will be affected by the new proposed £5.50 outer London border tax.

I’m sure many others will also join me in welcoming Shaun’s robust opposition to Israel boycotts, and pledges to fight antisemitism on university campuses and to cut GLA funding from any group with ties to Israel Apartheid Week and BDS.

In this election, every vote matters and electing Shaun Bailey is crucial to ensuring that London has a Mayor who understands and respects our community.

Shaun is a man of his word and exciting times lie ahead should he become London’s next mayor.

 

 

About the Author
Lord Polak CBE is Conservative Friends of Israel's Honorary President, and a British peer in the House of Lords
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