The mayoral walks mini-series began in an act of trolling. Rory Stewart launched his campaign to be mayor of London through the unusual strategy of walking all over London and tweeting about it; I have spent large chunks of my life walking all over London and tweeting about it; Twitter at large suggested we combine forces, and maybe turn it into a podcast.
And, once a couple of other candidates had helpfully put the pressure on by offering to go for a walk with me too, Stewart agreed. And suddenly what had started by taking the mick on Twitter because I was bored had become an actual thing.
Alas, when the day finally came we were defeated by London’s famous weather: on the appointed morning, Friday 28 February, it was bucketing down, which isn’t really a good match with the Skylines recording equipment, also known as “my phone”. So instead this podcast was recorded in a cafe in South Kensington.
During its course, I asked Rory why he felt London was crying out for a former Tory Cabinet minister as its independent mayor; why he had chosen to campaign by walking and, more recently, asking to sleep one night a week in other Londoners’ houses; and whether he thinks he really has a hope of defeating Sadiq Khan. All that, and we also chatted about his proposals to sort out the capital’’s housing and transport systems, and Rory ate some porridge, too.
Incidentally, there’s a moment in this one when the candidate is unexpectedly enthusiastic about my proposals that we start giving the Overground network different line names and we have to stop talking about it before it takes over the entire podcast. Though we did discuss it for ten minutes after recording.
This may be the last of my mayoral “walks”. I’m talking to the staffs of both Khan and his Tory rival Shaun Bailey, and am open to approaches from other candidates desperate for coverage... But at time of writing nothing else has been agreed. We shall see. If you happen to see someone running for mayor, send them my way, would you?
Skylines is the podcast from CityMetric, the New Statesman's cities site. It's presented by Jonn Elledge and produced by Nick Hilton.
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