On Thursday night I presented my radio programme from the 24th floor of the Heron Tower, right in the heart of the City of London. It was the venue for the Sky News London mayoral debate. Little of note emerged from the debate with Boris Johnson, Ken Livingstone and Brian Paddick seeming to go through the motions. After the main debate I had to interview the BNP candidate, Carlos Cortiglia. Mr Cortiglia has a very strong accent and hails from Uruguay. He is indeed a British citizen, but listening to him utter the phrase ‘British jobs for British workers’ inevitably raises a few eyebrows and sniggers.
In some ways he is clever choice by the BNP. He’s not the stereotypical BNP candidate by any means and has a good line in amiable banter. I asked him on air what his main policy was and he told me it was to improve the planning system. Er, right, that should get the voters flocking to the BNP.
Off air he tried to convince me that the BNP was a centrist party. He said some people think it’s extreme right, others say it is extreme left, so therefore it must be somewhere in the middle, making it is centrist party. “Good luck with that argument,” I said.
He then sought to convince me that he had some quite left wing views and quoted his devotion to public transport, and Ken Livingstone’s low fares policy as proof. “So who are you going to give your second preference to? I asked. Without blinking he said “Ken Livingstone.” Well knock me down with the proverbial feather. I suspect Ken wouldn’t welcome that particular endorsement.