London is not a figurehead capital. It is the heart of the UK, definingand directing its politics, fashion, architecture and in many ways its sense ofself.The people in charge of London are vitally important not just to those ofus who live here but to the country as a whole ... and here they are
THE TOP FIVE
Ken Livingstone, 62 MAYOR OF LONDON
First elected in 2000, his influence has grown way beyond his legal powers.Internationally famed for the congestion charge he introduced to London, eventhough its benefits diminish by the year. Conversion to climate change championhas seen him share the stage with Bill Clinton - and hold his own. HisAchilles' heels are the state of the Tube and any further increases in the costof the 2012 Olympics. As Mayor he has achieved good relations with the policeand the City.See also Politics, Environment, Property
Sir Ian Blair, 54 MET POLICE,
COMMISSIONER Britain's top cop since February 2005, rarely out of the headlineseither due to terrorist atrocities or own foot-in-mouth ability. Acontroversial appointment due to his closeness to New Labour, politicallycorrect approach and lack of stature sparking claims of mutiny in the ranks.Kept in dark by colleagues for 24 hours over shooting of innocent Brazilian.
Peter Hendy, 53 TRANSPORT FOR LONDON (TFL),
COMMISSIONER Former bus driver and conductor who rose, through trademark steelydetermination and talent, to head London's public transport system, havingearlier become a multimillionaire from bus privatisation. Trademark scowldeepens at the sight of journalists. Wise, widely respected but occasionallycombustible.
Tim OToole, 51 LONDON UNDERGROUND,MD
Urbane and highly articulate boss faced with the daily headache of ensuring thecreaking Victorian network can cope with four million journeys a day. Slow tofind his voice after being recruited from a US railroad, now determined to getthe job done. Rejected chance to run for TfL commissioner to concentrate onfixing the Tube. One of the most impressive public servants in London.
David Higgins, 52 OLYMPIC DELIVERY AUTHORITY,
CEO An Australian with British citizenship, Higgins arrived at the ODA fromregeneration quango English Partnerships. Previously developed Bluewatershopping centre. Initially likely to confound questioners with boffin-speak,has developed a common touch.See also Sport
Simon Fletcher, 39 MAYOR'S CHIEF OF STAFF
Ultra-loyal and super bright, Fletcher was Livingstone's agent beforemasterminding his first mayoral victory against the Labour and Tory machines.Rewarded with sixfigure salary after engineering the second victory in 2004.Married former Brent councillor Gaby Kagan last year, with Livingstone as bestman - and joined his boss in Cuba immediately after completing honeymoon.
John Ross, 60 MAYOR'S ECONOMICS DIRECTOR
To some bullish and arrogant, to others a dishevelled but tireless worker forLondon, one thing that Ross is not unsure of is his own ability."You couldprobably teach Boris [Johnson] a few things," one wag joked. "I probablycould," replied Ross. Leads on business links with the City, India and Chinaand on Crossrail.
John Stuttard, 62 LORD MAYOR OF LONDON
An unsung role by comparison to the Mayor of London, but the Lord Mayor spendsaround 90 days a year abroad boosting the City's business links. Stuttard wasborn in Burnley and spent much of his career at Coopers & Lybrand. Also worksas an adviser to PriceWaterhouse Coopers. New man lawyer David Lewis takes overin November.
Sir Simon Milton, 45 WESTMINSTER COUNCIL,
LEADER Described by Ken Livingstone as the "acceptable face of Westminstercouncil", the shy but smart Milton has ensured the council operates like awell-run business while charging one of the lowest council taxes in thecountry.Always keen to distance himself from the Dame Shirley Portergerrymandering scandal of the 1980s, he can hope for a Lords posting in a DavidCameron Government. …