I hoped the Liberal Democrats would have opted for a ‘wild card’ candidate; Boris was vulnerable and his reelection was not guaranteed. The selection of the divisive and tribal Ken Livingstone should have made the Mayor of London election between Tories and Liberals. Alas, though, it was not to be. Instead, we got a repeat of the 2008 election.
Brian Paddick manifesto was uneventful and contained no genuine radical options; it was, as I described at the time, no different from Boris Johnson. His police reforms are much welcomed, and I hope whoever becomes Mayor adopts them, but Brian was a weak candidate in 2008 and is still a weak candidate in 2012.
When Oona King announced her intention to seek the Labour nomination I was surprised, but interested. For once, Labour had learned to adopt a ‘unity’ approach and reject the tribal politics of the past – but, Ken won. Why on Earth Labour reselected a candidate, who already served two terms as Mayor and lost in 2008, is beyond me. It was a missed opportunity to make Boris a one term Mayor. This mornings YouGov poll has seen Boris increase his lead to 4% and 70% of Liberal Democrats will reward him with their second preference vote.
Other polls give Boris leads from 6+%. Ken’s politics of division has assured he will struggle to obtain support outside of the Labour party. Criticising the Jewish community, courting the Islamists of Tower Hamlets and calling for public hanging of bankers have formulated into one of the most negative political campaigns in British history. His name no longer appears on leaflets and press releases – that’s how toxic Ken has become.
Ironically, I don’t live in London; if I did, though, I would most certainly be voting for Boris Johnson on Thursday. There is really no other choice, which should reflect on how bad this Mayor of London election has been.