World Introducing the eccentric field of candidates running to be London's next mayor
2 YouTubers running for London mayor are trying to turn likes into votes as digital celebrity becomes the new political launchpad
The bids for office by Max Fosh and Niko Omilana follow decades of high-profile celebrities entering politics around the world. Experts told Insider that social media fame is now hugely important in political elections. Visit Insider's homepage for more stories. Max Fosh, a 26-year-old British YouTuber, put his name in the ring for Mayor of London last month. But in an interview with Insider, he admitted that he'd "make a terrible mayor.
An American businessman with a penchant for loud suits. The actor with an “anti-woke” agenda. YouTubers with ironic campaigns. An intergalactic “space politician” who wears a trash can on his head. The incumbent Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is seeking re-election against 19 other candidates in a vote on May 6, and it is fair to say the field of prospective mayors is the weirdest, as well as the largest, the U.K. capital has ever seen.
Khan, representing the Labour Party, which is in opposition to Boris Johnson’s Conservatives in the central government, is well known for hisand marshalling the city through a number of devastating terrorist attacks. He is set to be comfortably re-elected -- if recent polling is to be believed -- with Khan promising to “renew, rebuild and refresh London” in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic should he win another term.
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His main rival, the Conservative Shaun Bailey, is polling only 28%, compared to Khan’s 41%,. Bailey has attacked Khan’s record on housing and combatting crime but has consistently lagged behind the incumbent mayor in opinion polls and has a record of making compared to Khan’s more conciliatory public messaging.
Elsewhere, however, the field of candidates from outside Britain’s mainstream political parties looks increasingly bizarre.
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The most successful of those is the YouTuber Nico Omilana, who boasts 3.3 million subscribers and 1.7 million Instagram followers. Standing as an Independent candidate with no party affiliation, Omilanahe has “more knowledge, strength and integrity than any other candidate” and that the “system was broken for young people.”
Polling at 5%, according to ITV, Omilana may just meet the threshold of enough votes to get his £10,000 ($13,900) deposit back, which candidates are required to put down in order to stand.
He is joined by fellow YouTuber Max Fosh, with 419,000 subscribers, who is, an actor running on an anti-lockdown, “anti-woke” ticket.
Fox made headlines in the U.K. in January 2020 when he denied that the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, had been a victim of racism in the media and regaled against being called a “white privileged male” in a controversial appearance on the current affairs program Question Time.
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LONDON (AP) — Not long ago, London was booming. Now it fears a bust. Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic have hit Britain’s capital in a perfect storm. In 2021, the city has fewer people, fewer businesses, starker divisions and tougher choices than anyone could have expected. On May 6, Londoners will elect a mayor whose performance will help determine whether this is a period of decline for Europe’s biggest city — or a chance to do things better.“It’s going to be rough, definitely,” said Jack Brown, lecturer in London studies at King’s College London. “Those two quite seismic changes” — Brexit and the virus — “will be a lot to cope with.
Since then he has formed his own political party, lamented social distancing restrictions and is campaigning on promises to never return the capital to lockdown andLike Fosh, he is at 1% in the opinion polls.
Also standing is "Count Binface" -- a satirical candidate who has been a fixture of the last fewcycles, having stood against Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the 2019 general election. Prior to that, he stood against former Prime Minister Theresa May as "Lord Buckhethead," but was forced to
“I am standing in the 2021 Elections in the Earth Capital, London, to bring voters a touch of intergalactic class and some ingenious policies that will PUT LONDON ON THE MAP,” according to his website. One of hiscommitments is for “loud snacks to be banned in theaters.”
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Then, there is representation originating from across the Atlantic in the form of Brian Rose, an American businessman who has lived in London for the past 21 years. He claims to have put "seven figures" of his own cash into his campaign, and has placed several bets on himself to win the mayoralty.
“The first thing you need is awareness, if they don't know who you are, then they can't engage with your policy," Rose told ABC News in a recent interview. "So I always joke they come for the suit, they stay for the policies, and then they show up on May 6."
“I think we're going to shock a lot of people with the amount of support we have from Londoners," he added.
The eccentricities of U.K. politics are in full swing as Khan looks favorite to win the vote and London’s Mayor for the next three years, even if Count Binface believes he isthan the other candidates.
London high-rise blaze raises new concerns about cladding .
LONDON (AP) — Fire broke out Friday in a London apartment tower which has cladding similar to that used on another housing block in the city where 72 people died in a 2017 blaze. London Fire Brigade said about 125 firefighters tackled a fire that spread to three floors of a 19-story building in the city’s Docklands. The fire brigade said “firefighters wearing breathing apparatus have carried out multiple rescues.” It said 38 adults and four children were treated by ambulance crews at the scene for shock and smoke inhalation, and two men were taken to a hospital for smoke inhalation.