London Elects

[I haven’t managed to write a ‘serious’ blog post for quite a while now; I do apologise. Life sometimes conspires against the thought that leads to serious blogging… Hopefully this will make it up to you slightly ;) ]

London ElectsThere are 98 days until the next London Mayoral election. The race is between the current incumbent, Labour candidate and previous independent Ken Livingstone; quiz show host, Spectator editor and quintessential Tory Boris Johnson; and Brian Paddick, former Police Commander of Lambeth (and the force’s highest-ranking openly gay officer), standing for the Liberal Democrats.

Dear old ‘Red’ Ken is in the headlines again this week, as his London Development Agency is being accused of corruption and incompetence (and as usual, the Standard is trying to link the controversy to the mayor). Ken is rarely out of the spotlight in London, mainly because he is controversial and self-promoting in equal measure. He is your classic highly-flawed political operative, full of egotism and drive, bullying through policy mainly by force of personality. He is also good at surrounding himself with forceful, unelected technocrats, who often attract their own controversy, as in this case

But for all that, Ken has actually done quite a bit for London, most obviously radically changing the public transport system. Many of his changes are seen as anti-car, which is why the Standard seem to hate him so much, but I for one don’t see that as a bad thing. London is choked with traffic, and travel has been difficult and expensive for the thousands of workers on less-than-average wages (like myself). Ken’s policies have done quite a bit to make travel for the working man easier (like the Congestion Charge, and the big increase in busses, along with a reduction in bus fares for those with Oyster cards).

At this stage (and we still have 98 days to go) I see myself voting for Ken on May 1st. Despite some controversy (corruption still not proved), and the ridiculous wages of some of those unaccountable technocrats, life in London with Ken has been better than life before him. I don’t drive, I have no sympathy for those that try to in London, and that seems to be peoples main objection to him. Personally, of the three candidates it is Brian Paddick who I think would do the best job, but a vote for him makes a win by the imbecilic Boris more likely, and we can’t have that.

Johnson is undoubtedly intelligent, but shows absolutely no evidence of the ability to govern effectively, and no real policy initiatives (playing to the crowd doesn’t count). I’m a great believer in the maxim ‘better the devil you know…’ so at this point my vote is for Livingstone, so that Johnson stays out.

Better the egotist to the imbecile any day…

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4 thoughts on “London Elects

  1. Not a bad summing-up of the three; I suspect a lot of Londoners agree with you on Brian (best for the job) and Ken (dodgy egomaniac, but at least he makes the buses run a bit better), and I’m one of them. I admit I might be even harsher to Boris than you are.

    But hang on… What’s all this “it is Brian Paddick who I think would do the best job, but a vote for him makes a win by the imbecilic Boris more likely”? It wouldn’t, you know.

    I think you’ve missed two things. First, as you say, “we still have 98 days to go” – and, as far as elections go, that’s an awfully long time for opinion to change. Don’t give up so soon! The main thing, though, is the voting system for the Major. In London (unlike for your MP), you get to make two choices. When the vote’s counted, if your top choice isn’t in the top two, they look at your second choice. If *that* one’s in the top two, your vote just gets added to their stack. So there’s no reason to hold your nose and vote for Ken; you can vote on hope first, and let your back-up vote be about fear.

    So can I suggest that – on the unlikely notion that absolutely nothing changes in the next 98 days of campaigning – what you’ve written above could be best put into effect by you voting:
    1 – Paddick (because he’s the one you think would be best at it)
    2 – Livingstone (because if your top choice doesn’t make it, he’s left as the ‘not Boris’ candidate)

    Nice Blog title, btw. Alliteration goes a long way 😉

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