A chat with Eddie Izzard
We had a quick chat with Eddie Izzard about Ken Livingstone, London, students and politics.
Ken Livingstone and his long-time supporter Eddie Izzard were at ULU on Tuesday afternoon, answering questions about London's upcoming mayoral election. We quickly caught up with Eddie afterwards to see what his views were.
What's Ken going to do specifically for London's students?
I think the main thing for university students that he can help with will be his cutting of transport costs. He's going to be cutting fares by seven percent, which will amount to a huge saving over time. It was kind of bizarre that the fares went up, seeing as the recent financial report showed that there is a billion pounds surplus still to be used. Boris Johnson didn't need to put the fares up, but he has. Ken has said that if he becomes mayor he will cut the fares by seven percent by October or he will resign the job, and I think it's something he's obviously going to do because he's passionate about politics. He always puts London first, and you get the idea that Boris just wants to swan off and become the leader of the Tory party.
London was voted the second best student city in the world recently, just behind Paris. Why do you think London is such a good city for students?
It's the vibrancy; it's the fact that multiculturalism has worked, and it is working. It has its problems but it will always work, even though David Cameron doesn't think so. It's just a great, vibrant place. Even at this Q and A at ULU, we have people from all different backgrounds, different languages, getting involved and asking questions. It's definitely a place which draws people from around the world. In regard to comedy, which is something I know about, it's actually the comedy capital of the world because everyone comes to play here. We have sixty to eighty clubs here, which really is a huge amount of clubs. You've got New York and L.A., but they're quite often like showcases places, whereas here you have comedians who come to perform and earn wages and make a living. London encourages people to come and take a chance, build their own new businesses, be entrepreneurs, and I think that's great. I was actually creatively born here, performing on the streets of London.
It's taboo week at UCL at the moment and students are being encouraged to talk about things that they might not usually talk about. Do you think there are any taboos in politics?
Yeah, I think talking about Europe is a question that gets people going in all different directions, so that can be considered a bit of a taboo subject. I'm personally positive about Europe because for two and a half thousand years we murdered each other, and we built some brilliant things in between the murder, but every fifty years we'd stop and say 'let's kill some people!'. It all seemed a bit random in a way, but now we're actually talking to each other and it's all less exciting. We have to find a system that we're happy with in Europe, so the European Union is a good thing.
And if you were the Mayor of London, what do you think you would do?
A lot of my policies would obviously be in line with Ken Livingstone's. I'm planning to run for mayor or to be an MP in 2020, so it's something that I've been thinking about. As mayor I would encourage people to be creative, to mix, and I'd invite people in from all over the world to work and live here. I'd support cyclists and energy efficiency, and I'd address the problem of climate change. If I could bring energy costs down, and tube fares down, that would be great. So yeah, a lot of my stuff is clearly pretty similar to Ken's.
Thanks Eddie. I know who I'm voting for in eight years time, you babe.
Photographs by Nicole Gillett.