The Thick of It


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Oona and Ken

The race between Oona King and Ken Livingstone to be selected as Labour's candidate for London mayor is running into its final weeks.

I was interested to read the comments after Andy Newman's post at Socialist Unity on the contest. Newman, as one would expect from a blogger of the left, feels that King is out of the race. My experience from talking to London Labour members is that the reality is very different. London Labour members are quite split. There are those who will back Ken and have done for several decades. There are many more who want to see a new candidate, like myself. My rudimentary polling would suggest the contest is far closer than posts such as Newman's might suggest.

The comments also suggest this. Even if it is hard to accept it has to be pointed out that Labour and Ken lost in 2008. He does also have many enemies and many voters simply will not back him. The RMT London Taxi Branch are supporting Oona's nomination after opposing Ken's proposal to allow minicabs into bus lanes.

I firmly believe that if she were to win the candidacy that Oona King could beat Boris Johnson. The reason for having the selection so early is to give the winning candidate as much time as possible to both build profile and to attack the woeful record of the Tories in London. Ken has his profile. Oona has hers. Whoever wins the candidacy has enough time to build a powerful campaign and win for Labour.

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