Who will be the Liberal Democrat candidate for London Mayor? Liberal Democrat Voice had an inconclusive discussion, and applications for the nomination are currently open. In other news, Nick Boles proposed a pact between the two Coalition partners at the next general election. But why wait ’til 2015? Maybe Boris could be our Coalition candidate for the London Mayoral election.
What are our options?
Lembit Opik? God seriously forbid, and I don’t think London members will be rushing to Pick Opik (as the slogan inevitably goes). Floella Benjamin? I’m sure she’s perfectly nice, and she probably deserves her peerage and all, but I can’t see how’s she’s even the slightest bit qualified to run the metrop, and Londoners will see that. And do we, brand new to the business of Government, really need people talking about our ‘playschool’ candidate? Brian Paddick is certainly qualified for the job, with his experience in the Met. His performance on the stump impressed me last time round, and I wouldn’t be sorry if he got the nomination.
But the issue is that, to be realistic, we will once again be squeezed in a two-juggernaut race. The important thing is to lose in style, and in a way that gives us most influence in the future. As a third party, we should be used to thinking like that.
My favourite idea would be to follow the example of the Greens, and put the excellent Caroline Pidgeon on both the Mayoral and Assembly ballots. This would almost certainly increase our share of the vote for the Assembly and give C. Pidge the higher profile she deserves.
Or, most radically, we could endorse Boris Johnson as the official Coalition Candidate for Mayor!
The most important thing is that Labour are stopped. Ken Livingstone is probably going to win the Labour nomination (or if he loses, stand for Mayor anyway), and stands a real chance of getting his unspeakably horrible claws back on City Hall. As well as being a terrible old crook, he actively promotes disharmony between London’s communities by encouraging identity politics. He ferments grievances for his own political gain. And I literally shudder to think how much he’d relish revisiting his old battles with ‘Thatcherism’ and what a disaster that would be for the administration of London (and our council tax levels).
But Boris can beat Ken, again. He’s a proven winner. But it will be midway through a difficult Parliament, and if the Tories are worried about their chances of success, maybe they could be convinced of the merits of a ‘coalition agreement’ for London that would actually put Liberal Democrat policies into effect. We’re finding out in Government how good that is.
I believe that Boris is broadly Liberal in outlook, with his failures being more in the implementation than the ideology. He has some admirable achievements under his belt, not least the Boris Bike scheme. He believes in local democracy and works well with the boroughs, which Ken never could.
Just a thought.