The Thick of It


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Labour for London Mayor, but who?

Alan Johnson isn't running for London mayor, therefore it looks like a battle between Oona King and Ken Livingstone to be Labour's candidate. If King is to prevent Livingstone winning she will need to show she has the ideas and vision to change London. I'm convinced that Labour needs a new candidate to stand a chance of winning.

Comment among friends and colleagues in the Labour Party tallies with my feeling that it is time for Livingstone to move on. Labour needs a new candidate to convince the electorate that Labour is forward looking and has new people and ideas for London, and the country. A Livingstone - BJ fight would risk a re-hash of 2008.

King's pitch is focused on community engagement and young people. I agree with her that Boris Johnson has done very little with his role. It is still too early to compare King's plans for London with Livingstone's as neither has set these out in detail yet.

I don't think there is a danger of Livingstone running as an independent should he lose the selection. Nothing is ever certain with him but in 2000 he was prevented from standing as Labour's candidate. Losing a fair and open selection would be different. It would also be wrong of Livingstone to hold the threat of running as an independent over the Labour Party to force a result in the selection. There is no evidence this is the case, though scarred by the split in 2000, many in the London Labour Party fear a repeat.

King's appeal, as detailed by Dave Hill, is toward the younger members in the Labour Party. It is unclear as yet whether this enthusiasm is shared by Londoners in general and, importantly, those living in outer London boroughs.

There isn't too long to go and this race will run parallel to that for Labour leader, though the winner is (perhaps) likely to taste power sooner than the victor of the leadership election if the hype of the Con-Dem coalition can carry it through for a full five years.

1 comment:

Colm said...

I'm happy that there is such a quality and diverse field for this. None of them make you shudder and think, "god, not them." Johnson is my first choice at the moment for some of your reasons. I also think it would be powerful to have a working class man as a counterweight to the Eton set. I would be happy with any of though, and there is more of a genuine choice than with the 4 serious candidates for the main leadership (where I'm going for Ed Miliband). Best of all I actually get to vote on this as I signed up this morning.