Send in the clowns

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They do say politics is showbiz for ugly people, and I suppose that next year’s London mayoral election proves the point. And, just like Kylie or Madonna, the key to success is being known by just one name, as it shapes up into a fight between Ken and Boris.

So, Ken Livingstone will be running for a third term. Red Ken, truth be told, hasn’t been red for a long time – he’s more like Pale Pink Ken these days – but he’s still a cheeky chappie. And there can be little doubt that his cheeky chappiedom, combined with hostility from New Labour, has endeared him to London voters.

The Tories, on the other hand, have had serious trouble finding a contender who can take Ken on. In the first mayoral election Jeffrey Archer was making a strong pitch for the candidacy, but then he had some little legal difficulties. As a result, in the last two elections the Tories have run used car dealer and heroic shagger Steve Norris, a capable man but lacking in Ken’s star power. But now they have hit on a potential winner in Boris Johnson. Boris’s hardline neo-Thatcherite politics are neither here nor there – to the voters, he’s the amiable spacer with the arresting hairstyle who seems to appear on Have I Got News For You every other week.

It looks like being a celebrity election all round, if Wikipedia is to be believed. The English Democrats, an obscure and eccentric far-right outfit, are running TV critic and Bluto lookalike Garry Bullshit. UKIP, also seeing the vote-winning potential of talkSPORT, attempted to draft James Whale, who won’t take the party nomination but is threatening to run as an independent. Not wanting to be outdone by Bushell and Whale, LBC’s chubby chatterbox Nick Ferrari wants to be mayor. For fuck’s sake, why not run Stephen Nolan and have a full house? And that’s not to mention a potential Right Said Fred candidacy.

I am disappointed that the Liberal Democrats are refusing so far to play ball and treat the voters like idiots. This blog hereby demands that the Lib Dems draft Lembit Öpik, preferably with the Cheeky Girls in tow.

And what’s with Respect running Lindsey German? I can see that Lindsey’s magnetic personality and easy charm are formidable assets, but the left can’t afford a celebrity gap. This situation demands nothing less than that stalwart of Walthamstow SWP, Big Brother’s Carole Vincent.

10 Comments

  1. July 18, 2007 at 9:20 am

    […] post by splinteredsunrise Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and […]

  2. WorldbyStorm said,

    July 18, 2007 at 11:22 am

    Hard to see Johnson beating Livingstone, isn’t it? His views are pretty revolting to be honest…

  3. Andy Newman said,

    July 18, 2007 at 11:41 am

    The question is whether Livingston will lose rather than whether Boris will win.

    Jon Cruddas has provided some detailed analysis of the 4 million votes that Labour has lost since 1997, these are predominantly in three groups; i) BME communities; ii) muesli eating Independent readers; iii) unskilled and semi-skilled manual workers.

    The first two groups are relativey over-represented in London, and the third group, while perhaps no larger a proportion of the populatin in London elsewhere, are probably worse of in London that in the rest of Britain.

    So is Ken differentiated enough from New labour to recapture some of them? Also he is seen as not having delivered in some importnat areas, and the East London line privatisation could be an albatros for him.

    BTW – I am not sure that the EDP are actually far right, as they go out of their way to disassociate themselves with racism, they are more weird and irrelevent, and don’t fit into an easy category. In their own self image they are an equivalent to Plaid or the SNP.

  4. WorldbyStorm said,

    July 18, 2007 at 12:19 pm

    That’s very interesting Andy. Has the Brown leadership altered this perception regarding New Labour in any way, or does it still remain fairly undifferentiated?

  5. Andy Newman said,

    July 18, 2007 at 6:28 pm

    Too early to say WbS.

    Brown has gone ahead in the opinion polls, and there is an article by John McDonnell in today’s Morning Star that is interesting on this, pointing out that in terms of policy Brown has responded to the issues that the left has been raising over the last year, especially housing, and there is a green paper to be published next week on that.

    However, the danger is that this will be more spin than substance, and one lasting legacy of Blair is cynacism, so unless the policies really deliver, they won’t benefit labour.

    Among trade unionists, I think Brown has already disappointed, with the appointment of Digby Jones, CBI director to the cabinet, and accepting “self regulation” for private equity.

    So probably the definate “Brown bounce” may be short lived, and we may perhaps expect an election next Spring before it has gone away completely.

  6. Ed Abrams said,

    July 18, 2007 at 8:36 pm

    Being a proud member of the English Democracy movement then why is it that the moment you stand up for England people label you as far right and extreme.

    I come from a long line of labour voters and my family were Jewish immigrants from Poland so I don’t think I’ve ever been considered as far right.

    The people of England want a new, open and honest political party and that is why the English Democrats Party isthe fastest growing political force within England.

    It is not racist to the proud of your nation or want to put that nation first, please don’t lable us without understanding who we are and what we represent.

    Check out http://www.englandsparty.com and then make your own judgement

    Shalom

    Ed Abrams

  7. WorldbyStorm said,

    July 18, 2007 at 9:02 pm

    Yes. The Digby Jones appointment seemed obtuse, rather than a cabinet of all the talents…

    Brown seems to have done some good, perhaps – being cynical – as much as anyone could expect from New Labour, but the left of the party would want to be pushing pushing…if they have the appetite.

  8. ejh said,

    July 19, 2007 at 9:24 am

    The thing about Digby Jones is, he’s not actually particularly talented or impressive. If a Labour government wanted to have somebody from business as part of their team (and you’ll appreciate I’m not saying they should, but “if”) then there’s many, many more they could have chosen.

  9. splinteredsunrise said,

    July 19, 2007 at 12:42 pm

    Aleykhem shoylem Ed,

    It’s entirely possible that I’ve jumped the gun a little on the EDP. I don’t know a huge amount about the organisation, though I’ll freely admit to a jaundiced view whenever Garry Bushell rears his head.

    Incidentally, I’ve been very interested in Andy’s contribution on English identity. It’s not something I’ve given much thought to, except for being a little suspicious of big-nation nationalism, but I suppose as the UK state deconstructs and Empire Loyalist ideas of Britishness go with it, the English question will be popping up much more.

  10. Ed Abrams said,

    July 25, 2007 at 9:28 am

    Thanks for the note, we have now got very close links to both the SNP and Plaid and we represent ALL of the people of England.
    We oppose the notion of Britishness and anything to do with empire building. We just want English people to run England and have what we our owed which is democracy.
    I do hope we can forge links with other groups and peoples around the globe and being English is nothing to be ashamed of, in fact in my eyes it should be celebrated.


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