Saturday, 8 September 2007


As promised, here is a short review and opinion of the four Tory candidates for Mayor of London. I am doing this for three reasons:

  1. Because it is the only party that is likely to have much competition for its candidacy (Labour will stick with Ken, and in the absence of anything on their site I am guessing that the Lib Dems will stick with Simon Hughes).
  2. Because any alternative to Ken Livingstone should be explored and hopefully followed.
  3. Because that nice Mr Cameron could do with having some attention distracted away from his policies at the moment.

So, here they are. I will spare my personal preference until the end:

Boris Johnson

In many ways, Boris Johnson should be the credible candidate for these elections. I was also surprised by the quality of his campaign statement - I was expecting 'an inverted pyramid of piffle'. But I think he will find these elections difficult, because as far as I can tell no-one takes him seriously. This may be the moment that he finally wakes up to the fact that his class clown act, lothario misdeeds and (albeit entertaining) TV satire presenting has meant that people don't see him as a leader.

Victoria Borwick

Victoria 'Last time Ken ran London it took a woman to stop him' Borwick appears to be the toughest candidate - her reference to Thatcher (quoted above) and her Giuliani-style 'zero tolerance' stance on how to sort the city out is very reminiscent of him. One element that I don't like about what she has said (and I agree with Boris about) is talking about scrapping the congestion charge without proposing an alternative is bonkers and just comes across as populist. If she hasn't got an alternative then she should talk about reforming it (an idea which also has plenty of scope).

Andrew Boff

I really don't have a lot to say about his policies. He talks a lot about devolution of power, which is important in London, but doesn't really address the issues of crime etc very well.

The only thing that I can say about him is that if the Tories gave us, in Michael Portillo, the Harrison Ford of politics, then in Andrew Boff they have also given us the Graham Norton of politics.

Warwick Lightfoot

Apart from telling us that he went to Oxford, and that he will deal with the problems facing London, Mr Lightfoot doesn't really tell us very much about things. His leaflet reminds me of the TV adverts that Peruvian presidential hopefuls were running during the 2000 election: 'We have problems - let's move forward, with xxx' without anything said (apart from an occasional mention of giving bowls of rice to poor people) about how to move forwards.

Despite this, I have high hopes indeed that Warwick Lightfoot will turn out to be the man who removes Ken from City Hall. Not for his policies or even for himself. I hope that he will remove Ken through scandal by turning out to be his secret love-child. Have another look at his photo and tell me what you think.


None of the candidates have really given much detail on how they would solve problems and still cut spending, apart from one reference to £8m of wasted spending.

For me it is between Boris and Victoria Borwick. If he can be taken seriously, then I think that Boris would be the more credible candidate, but I can't see it happening. So it is Victoria Borwick who looks best. Let's hope she moderates her populist stance on the congestion charge.

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