What I put on the Labour application form...

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Labour Party Experience

Chair - Heston & Isleworth (long defunct) CLP Young Socialists 1966
GMC Member - Heston & Isleworth (& later Brentford & Isleworth) CLP 1965 - 1980
EC member - Heston & Isleworth (long defunct) CLP 1967 I think.
GMC Member - Woking CLP 1984 - 1987
GMC Member - Islington South & Finsbury CLP 1990 - now
EC member - Islington South & Finsbury CLP now
Borough Council candidate 1968 (twice), 1971 (successful), 1974, 1984
County Council candidate (Surrey) 1985
I was selected, by one vote, as Woking PPC in 1986 & after 54 weeks of campaigning, during which I published a weekly PPC newsletter, I was deselected for, I believe, premature New Labourism. I have a slightly (but still libellous) fictionalised account of this affair, called ‘Playtime in Pillsbury’ which the selection board may enjoy.
Chair of Libraries Committee - Hounslow Borough Council 1971 - 4 i.e. chair of a spending committee at 27, where I reduced costs & built another library on my, not the officers initiative, which made that the only ward to swing to Labour in 1974. I held a successful Arts Festival (part of an all-London festival) in 1972. Alas, this was the zenith of the Hounslow Library Service before the Culture of Cuts started.
Trade Union membership: 1965 - 1977 ASSET, later ASTMS. This was sentimental membership.
1977 - 1988 National Graphical Association, because I was working for Reuters (see below). Although soon deemed too senior to retain union membership, I did so & joined the strike of 1984 in an attempt to sabotage the flotation. As a result, I was rather firmly offered a lucrative ‘voluntary redundancy’ deal. As I set up my own company, I was expelled by the union with good grace & thanks for my support.
I have been a member of my appropriate professional association, the British Computer Society, since 1966 & became a Graduate member in 1976.

Other experience

I have been married to Avis Saltsman, the artist & printmaker since 1983. My first wife, Jane Hayter, a government scientist, died in an accident in 1980. She was unable to have children but Avis has two & now, two grandsons & I am enjoying the grandfather experience, having negotiated the tricky step-father situation with my usual aplomb. My first wife was wonderful & the second, even better, so the Party won’t have to worry about the Mayor philandering
My business experience is outstanding, having been at the forefront of computer technology since 1965, when I joined NCR & in 1966-7, produced a ground-breaking real-time parts management system for Joseph Lucas car components. For N M Rothschild, I produced the world’s first real-time stock & share management system, using mini-computers in ways that surprised their manufacturer. The next major landmark was being head-hunted by Reuters in 1977 to rescue their failing but mission-critical communications project (like a private Internet) for the Dealing system which carries even today, all the electronic foreign exchange dealing in the world. I succeeded because of my person-management skills & the respect the staff had for my experience. Reuters did not like the way I managed because I had no formal reporting procedures, trusting the staff to build the best technical ego-trip available at the time but I monitored closely but subtly what they did. The project completed on time within budget. Since Reuters booted me out, I formed Art & Science Ltd, a small but world-wide company of 3 1/2 people (I am old-fashioned enough to regard a part time job as half a job) who integrate information feeds into banking systems. We have a useful joint-venture agreement with Thomson Financial Services (the newspaper & travel group) which has contributed about half of our overseas market. (See our web page www.art-science.com/Computer/installations.html for locations). But we make sufficient money by running the company at a fairly low ebb, allowing Avis to make prints & me to write music. My music teacher, Emile Spira was a pupil of Anton Webern & fled Vienna at the Anschluss. Webern is possible the greatest 20th century composer & I am not but I have produced some large scale classical-type works & the selection board may request CDs if they think it relevant. The latest completed work is a 52 minute Symphony.
During what would have been the terminally depressing years of the Thatcher Tyranny, I occupied my campaigning time with two projects: City of London Anti-Apartheid (better known as the South African Embassy Picket). I joined this politically incorrect (largely RCG) outfit because they were actually doing something, not just passing pointless resolutions & I became their token Managing Director. I served nearly 100 sessions on the picket in an expensive business suit, talking about sanctions on the megaphone & demanding the release of Mandela. We won that one.
The other project is Charter 88, ongoing. I was an early signatory & have served on the Charter Council every year since 1991, except for 1993. This is because of my street-oratory ability, first exposed in the vigils the Charter used to hold (before the Liberation of 1-5-1997) once a month. Unlike anyone else in this outfit full of lawyers, academics, journalists & authors, I can speak for a couple of hours without notes. More usefully for a Mayor of London, I have gained experience in Charter of co-operating with & working effectively with the Liberal, Scot-Nat (not very useful in London) & Green parties. I have also spoken to schools & civic associations. Charter has won many of its demands from our government, so I am good at picking winners. The loony left in Islington does not like me much because I have shot all their foxes.
As a Charter luminary, my commitment to regional government & thus, to the principle of a Mayor & Assembly for London has been greater than most. Indeed, after talking so much about regional government, it is time to make it work myself.
Islington is stuffed with campaigns & organisations of all sorts but, as with many places, only a minority of the population are members. I think I probably belong to the lot, although it is sometimes difficult to know which meeting you are at because of the vast overlap of membership.


What can one say? I have read the GLA Bill & noted its content. The powers of the Mayor are limited (presumably a precaution in the unlikely case of Ken Livingstone getting the job) but quite extensive for Transport, the Police & unless I have misinterpreted 25/1, powers over the environment. I have by no means learned the Bill - I expect my (meaning the Mayor’s) legal advisor to do that. The point of the position of Mayor is not so much the powers they (I use ‘they’ as the unisex form of ‘he or she’) can exercise apart from those above but the moral authority the Mayor receives by virtue of 2 million votes. For example, the Mayor is responsible for job training but if the human material they receive has already been under- or improperly educated by the Boroughs, then they are in a position to say so. However, the possibilities for conflict with the Boroughs is built into the Bill & someone who, like me, has always achieved everything they have by tact & diplomacy, rather than desk-thumping, will be essential as Mayor.

Some of the Bill is comically old-fashioned. There will be little paper distributed if I am Mayor. A key appointment will be webmaster, as I could certainly not find time to do it myself (as I do for Art & Science) because everything that passes across my desk which is not legally confidential will go on the World Wide Web. Assembly members who are not already ‘wired’ will have to do so. E-mails will be sent out every evening with a list of links to the latest changes. In this way, not only will the MLAs be kept right up-to-date but so will the citizenry, all of whom will have web access through their televisions within a couple of years or so. The requirement to hold various public meetings is understandable but presumably devised by some antique in Whitehall who has never heard of chat pages (or even the Internet for that matter). Note that ‘legal advisor’ & ‘webmaster’ are not jobs to be advertised as they need to go to trusted Ken’s Kronies, one white man & one black woman as it happens - see next page.

While there is provision for Assembly Members to serve on bodies such as Transport for London & the Police Authority, their main function as laid down is to carp, sorry, scrutinise. This is why I have not applied to be an Assembly Member & why I have devised a system of delegation of powers (see the web pages) to give the Assembly Members something useful to do. As a strong supporter of proportional representation, I realise Labour will not have a majority on the Assembly & I have said any member who wants to co-operate can have a job. I would prefer to work with the Greens if we have to have politics-as-usual (being a Labour Green myself) but this is an opportunity to do away with politics-as-usual, exemplified by the juvenile exchanges of the Prime Minister & Leader of the Opposition.


As an ex-councillor, I do have a practical understanding of policy making at the local level & theoretical knowledge of Westminster (to which I once aspired) & as for Europe, being an exporting businessman, I am totally committed to the Union (& a Federal Union at that, though the Boss might suggest I keep quiet about that) and to the Euro. In fact, in order not to have to alter our (the GLAs) accounting systems, we will keep the books in Euros & treat Sterling as a foreign supplier currency.

I have said enough on the previous page to show that I have successful experience of handling multi-million pound projects.

I have a deep personal commitment to equal opportunities, partly as a result of my personal history. (In the period between wives, I credit a couple of black women with getting me back on my feet, although simply getting myself down from 12,000 feet after witnessing my first wife’s climbing death shows I have great practical resilience). As, what? 27% of Londoners are so-called ethnics (a term I deprecate but what else can one use?) but 42% of the unemployed are, I will ensure that half the hundred or so jobs at the Mayor’s disposal go to ethnic applicants, in order to set a good example. To suggest, as the right-wing press might, that there may not be sufficient qualified ethnics is nonsense. In my experience, any group of reasonably bright people, properly lead, can out-perform their own expectations. Anyway, when there are (as there are bound to be) cock-ups, I will do what I always have done & divert responsibility to myself, a technique for disarming critics & protecting my staff. The police will have to sharpen up their act in the field of race relations. There is no doubt that they are in deep denial about the subject. There are less than a thousand black police officers & I will want to get that up to about 3,000 for starters.

As a businessman, I take strategic decisions all the time. Get it wrong & one is out of business.

One of my talents is to gather & co-ordinate information, coming up with a viable synthesis. This is partly because I have a warm personality, so people are open with me in a way they may not be with a traditional manager. Most people are dying to give of their best & appreciate a manager who is prepared to let them. One effect has been that most of the non-Labour supporters who know of my campaign are prepared to vote for me, for example, our impeccably Tory company auditors (although in their case, they have privileged access to my honesty & business sense). I have done much desktop publishing & web site building for charity, as well as computer maintenance & advice. For a professional, this does not take much effort but it saves charities (e.g Anglo-German Family History Society, Stuart Low Trust etc) & community organisations (e.g. Islington Pensioners Forum) expensive consultancy fees & spreads goodwill.

However, it is not just advice from my fellow citizens which will feed into my policies as Mayor. I have travelled much abroad both for business & pleasure & have noted the practise in other major cities. The conclusion one comes to is that London is backward & solutions to its problems have been timid or non-existent. In Vienna, the trams go down to tube train level to improve interchange, for example. Munich has a vast pedestrianised area, as does Copenhagen. Simply copying best practise from abroad will lead to my slogan of ‘A Pleasanter City’.

I have a very good memory, something I demonstrated to devastating effect in the High Court in 1979, when I quoted verbatim conversations that took place 5 years before. I am also a ferocious self-educator, having 3,000 books, all read plus avid use of public libraries & the Internet. I have taught myself some elementary German, useful in a musician & necessary in an Alpine mountaineer, who ventures into places where no one speaks English. (I have crossed Switzerland from Austria to France, every inch on foot & go to the Alps every Summer). There is additional information on our web site www.art-science.com.

Personal Statement

Unlike the candidates nominated by the press in the last year or so, I do not have the funds to employ armies of research assistants or for mail-shots to all party members. Indeed, Millbank refused me even a list of CLP secretaries addresses, so I have had to use my imagination, based on my wide background knowledge. I put up a Mayor campaign website on April 19th 1998 (the first in the field), as being the cheapest way of communicating my message to the citizenry. On the site, which you should visit (www.art-science.com/London) is a fully worked out policy on transport as well as whatever I could think up off the top of my head on the Environment, crime, the arts, training & organisation. Other people have contributed suggestions & these have been acknowledged.

Why only a fully worked out Transport policy? Because in London, it is the Big Issue. (I note that another candidate thinks crime is. This is not only wrong but irresponsible, as it is likely to both exacerbate fears of crime in some & generate them in others). Transport is key - if you solve it, the environment improves, the attractiveness of London to employers increases & people have more quality time, not to mention the cost savings. The detail is on the web site but includes a zoning system out as far as the old LCC area, so that everyone (not excluded by planning agreements) can have a car but its use is limited by the zones during the rush 4-hours. The zone stickers will cost them & controlled parking zones will ensure that there is parking space for locals. The quid pro quo is free public transport in the central zone. The big advantage of this system is that it is fair - the rich cannot buy their way round it. To set a good example, there will be no car for the Mayor. I will use public transport - with a mobile ‘phone, one can run London from the top of a bus!

Employment policy is not discussed on the web site, because the massive rethink necessary is the national government’s responsibility & they have not yet twigged. Jobs are disappearing fast, as witnessed by 20% of housholds having no jobs, which is incompatible with the dishonest unemployment calculation system inherited from the Tories. In London, there is a mismatch between unemployed people & the jobs available. There are too many jobs in London, East Anglia & Belgica (the South-East region) & pressure on housing is acute. A new holocaust of jobs is starting, typically in the computer distribution trade, because of e-commerce. Any shop which does not include the alleged ‘joy of shopping’ is doomed e.g. a supermarket or a bank. Yet, we must ensure that affordable housing is available for low-paid service staff & the essential lower-middle professions. Co-ordination with the DEE is essential.

Why do I want to be the Mayor?

To start with, I want to be the Labour candidate because I can do this job. I have proved my abilities in other spheres & can use them here. All the touted candidates suggested by the press are tired machine politicians & the party membership deserve a candidate who is fresh but (as I said under Charter 88) totally committed to the job. I have been a Londoner all my life except for six grim years in Surrey &, notwithstanding bereavements, have had a very enjoyable time. Now, it is payback time. I would serve for one term, perhaps two if I was exceedingly popular (& I expect to be) & the Party thought it my duty to stand again. It would be my last hurrah before retirement & I have no higher ambitions (except perhaps for a crack at the Presidency, if we get rid of the Glucksbergs). I am in touch with the soul of the Party without being hamstrung by its history. I am in touch with the soul of London because it is my city & I love it.

Links to the other Mayor pages:-

Tourism & Arts
Organisation chart
Comment on the Greater London Authority Bill

Contact: Ken Baldry at 17 Gerrard Road, Islington, London N1 8AY
+44(0)20 7359 6294 or e-mail him
Copyright: Ken Baldry 1998, 1999

URL: http://www.art-science.com/London/application.html
Last revised 13/4/2001