'Gay ex-alcoholic' begins mayor bid
A contender to be Conservative candidate for London mayor has launched his campaign with a YouTube cartoon in which he introduces himself as "gay, ex-alcoholic and dyslexic".
Entrepreneur Ivan Massow said he was also spending "significant" amounts of money on Facebook and Twitter advertising as he seeks to use social media to boost his bid to replace Boris Johnson in next year's election.
Mr Massow said the video gave an "honest warts-and-all" portrayal of him, and urged Londoners to use the Twitter hashtag #tellivan to let him know what they would like him to do as mayor.
In the video, a cartoon Massow says: "I'm Ivan and I want to be your mayor of London... I'm gay, I'm an ex-alcoholic, I'm dyslexic, I'm adopted, I'm an activist, I'm a businessman, I'm a disruptor, I'm a doer.
"I'm not your typical 'politician' politician.
"I believe London needs someone who understands the issues normal people face - someone who takes the Tube, someone who hates sitting in traffic, someone who hates red tape, someone who hates politics as normal.
"This is me. I'm a Londoner, I'm Ivan and I want to hear what you want from your mayor."
Explaining the thinking behind the 70-second film, Mr Massow said: "I wanted to be upfront and honest from the get-go, which is why this video is so personal.
"I'm not your typical politician, I hate red tape, I've been a Londoner for 25 years, I take the Tube and I get things done, which is why I think I'd make a positive impact on the city as mayor. I also know I can't do it alone, which is why I want to know what issues matter to other people. I will use their views to help me make decisions on what is best for London."
A couple of hours after the launch of the campaign, there was only a trickle of contributions to the #tellivan hashtag. One Twitter user called Ali wrote: "I would like to tell Ivan that I'll be backing Tessa Jowell."
Also in the running for the Tory candidacy are current deputy mayor Stephen Greenhalgh and London Assembly member Andrew Boff, while footballer Sol Campbell has indicated he is considering a bid.