Big Issue founder John Bird has decided he will no longer stand as a candidate to be mayor of London, and will devote his time to fighting poverty instead. He said he planned to launch a political "movement" next year.
"Why do I want to manage a decline? Why do I want to manage a crisis? I'd have to do the Ken Livingstone thing - go out there and say I was sorry the police weren't there, or the transport wasn't there, or the bendy buses didn't work.
"I don't want to be an apologist. What I want to do is create a social movement that will lead people of all political classes, all political persuasions to help us dismantle this poverty," he said.
Well, those who govern can avoid becoming “apologists” [sic] by means of not doing anything wrong. Another view would be that some failures are inevitable and that when one is responsible, apologising for them is in fact honourable and decent. It looks as though what Bird wishes to avoid is actually responsibility and accountability (I don’t blame him: I’d not want such a bloody demanding job either).
Now, I’m all in favour of wanting to get rid of poverty. So can I point him in the direction of the Campaign to End Child Poverty? It does at least have the virtue of already having some organisational structure and momentum behind its work.