Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Tory Mayoral Fiasco

David Cameron has today announced the Tory Party's timetable for selecting its London mayoral candidate. He is committed to an 'open primary' for selecting the candidate. In other circumstances, this would be an interesting and quite exciting move for the Tories - they've been using open primaries for some of their candidate selections and this should have given their mayoral race a boost. Alas, today's announcement comes after their latest attempt to bypass the local candidates altogether and find a decent high-profile candidate - as noted below, this was meant to be Greg Dyke, for a few seconds anyway. Such shenanigans hardly inspire confidence in Francis Maude's statement that "This timetable is the beginning of the end of Ken Livingstone's London reign." Livingstone is resting easy tonight I think!

1 comment:

Chris Wotton said...

The Tory Mayoral shenanigans are a right fiasco, granted, and I think it's fair to say David Cameron's been left just a little red-faced after the revelation that the Lib Dems turned down his offer of fielding a joint candidate - supporting local democracy indeed!

But what puzzles me more is just how anyone hopes to campaign against Ken Livingstone for London mayor. There are few politicians who share the same degree of popularity as this man - okay, so he may be hated by the most selfish of car drivers who refuse to accept that they pay £8 if they refuse to get off of their backsides and use public transport like the rest of us. And I appreciate that he has especially angered 4x4 drivers, but they too have it coming, especially when they take up the entire car for one person and swan around in central London in a car designed for country terrain, using it instead merely as a status symbol.

It's always easy to see other politicians' downsides in election campaigning and to understand why they might be rejected by the electorate, even when they're ones you admire. Tony Blair has been in my eyes, for example, an excellent Prime Minister, but I can't deny that there are endless reasons people might give for wanting to get rid of him. But what with Ken? He's brought free travel to all school-aged children, he's taken radical measures to ease congestion in central London (which despite misleading reports have worked well) and can boast of numerous other successful policies. He's a politician who like few others remains a man who has stayed true to his manifesto promises and remains a man of Londoners - these qualities are all so strong that I fail to see what can be said by other candidates to convince the electorate to ditch Ken - at both previous elections for his post he has been the dead cert to win all the way through. As I said, there may be a fair few car drivers who loath the man, but they haven't stopped him from getting his last two terms in office and I can't see them stopping him in going for his third.