Posted by: learningwoman | April 29, 2008

London Mayoral Election

On Thursday, we get to vote for who is to be London’s Mayor for the next four years.

It seems to come down to a competition between two candidates; Boris Johnson and the current Mayor, Ken Livingstone.

There are others, some of them quite disturbing.

For instance, the British National Party, who want to stop immigration, reserve jobs and housing for British people only and, as far as I can see, quash anything that isn’t exclusively British, and white British at that! Hideous!

Or perhaps the man who advertises himself as the ‘Christian Choice’, who advocates marriage and solid family structures and also….. the prevention of the the new Mosque which is about to be built somewhere East London. Granted it is a ‘Mega-Mosque’, said to be able to hold 12,000 people and will also be a boarding school. Also, the group who are wanting to build it are said to be fundamentalist, separatist and isolationist. It is to be the biggest Mosque anywhere in Europe and so far 48,000 people have signed a petition for plans to be abolished. Stll, I’m not sure how I feel about someone billing themselves as the ‘Christian Choice’ trying to stop any other faith building a place to worship. Silly of me no doubt.

Or maybe the man who stands for English rights and seems to be outraged that Scotland is part of Britain. His platform seems to consist of ways in which to separate The two countries.

I’m simplifying a little perhaps but these are real candidates and whatever their other ideas may be, the ones I’ve outlined immediately stop them from being parties I would ever vote for.  

And so to the two main contenders.

Ken Livingstone has been London’s Mayor for the past eight years and in our household, has become a name I don’t say very often, since my husband, usually quite an easygoing man, has a tendency to sputter and froth at the mouth with fury, at the very mention.

I don’t know of anything else that provokes this reaction in him. He’s angry about the Mayor’s use of public money to travel to other countries and further his own political ambitions, he’s angry at the policies instituted in London. Bendy buses, congestion charges, change in taxi regulations…. there are more but I confess I haven’t been paying enough attention to enumerate them all. Suffice it to say that he loathes Ken Livingstone and I don’t like the look of him either. He’s a smarmy, weasely-looking, smug, little man.

So, the remaining choice is Boris Johnson. He’s a big, blond, handsome man with the sort of soft, floppy hair that makes him look winsome and sweet. He’s been on comedy game shows, he’s funny and very well-educated. He cycles, he’s great with people and seems to be open, friendly and easygoing. Altogether perfect really.

Or is he? I’ve noticed that the papers that have come through our door, outlining what Boris hopes to do for London, are well-worded, well-intentioned and with just the right edge of seriousness but nowhere in them could I discover how he actually intends to do the things he’s promising.

I pointed this out to my husband, who launched into explanations for me.

“But” I said “That’s not what he says. You’re filling in the blanks for him”

I suspect that’s what’s being relied upon here, that people will be so overcome with antipathy for Ken Livingstone and liking for Boris Johnson’s handsome, galumphing smilingness, that no-one will look too deeply into his policies and how he plans to implement them.

I could be wrong of course. I don’t claim to be any sort of political animal and these are the musings of a woman in the suburbs. At this stage, despite my misgivings, my intention is to vote for Boris. I confess to liking him, not for his looks or education but for his willingness to smile and his readiness to engage with people. This is not a good reason to vote for anyone but did I mention the people he’s up against?

Like so many voting decisions, this one, for me, comes down to who will do the least harm. Also, it occurs to me that London could do with some fun and Boris might just be the man to provide it.

Who knows? I do know that there will be people out there who disagree with me, some of them violently, but at least I’ve thought about it and made some sort of considered decision.

Roll on Thursday.



  1. Wish I wuz there still, and had a vote. I’ve a loyalty/liking for Red Ken that goes back to the Thatcherite attack on the GLC. Also, I’m rather fond of newts.

  2. London is, always has been and always will be one of the world’s great cities. Who the mayor is of absolutely no significance. If you don’t agree with their views just remember that, like a lingering cold spell, ‘this too shall pass’. What Lord Mayor ever did anything that enhanced or pushed down the reputation that London enjoys as one of God’s gifts? They have much less power than you seem to allowe them and certainly more than they themselves believe they will have. And remember it’s also the home of the Spurs.

  3. Hi John, welcome 🙂
    As to Ken, perhaps my wholesale dismissal was a bit heavy handed. I’ve since read a little more about what he’s been doing. Still don’t warm to him though.
    Also, I’m glad for the newts but the pigeons might be in trouble…….

  4. You might be right Albert, thanks for the comment and the reminder that London’s the home of the Spurs, and Chelsea of course 🙂

  5. Vote Lindsey German for London mayor. Do some research and make your vote count. Whatever happens dont vote for Boris the tory…

  6. Thanks for the advice Tio.

  7. It would be a shame if people wrote of Boris on the basis of his “image”. When you take the time to review his position I think there is a lot more to him than just the joker. Of course not everyone will agree with his politics – that’s fine – I just hope people take the time to make an informed decision.

    I also think its important to remember that controlled immigration is not the same thing as racism. But it is sad that people hide their racism behind a real issue. Personally im all for freedom of borders and I predict the continued break down of barriers :)!

    Happy voting!

  8. Thanks Steve, for your thoughtful comment.
    I never doubted that there might be more to Boris, only that I couldn’t find it in his literature.
    Happy voting to you too. 🙂

  9. I am up to my eyes in the election and we are a month or so away from the Primaries which means several more months of TV adverts that have little or nothing to do with the issues as much as they have to do with voting records taken completely out of context and personal attacks paid for by groups that are just covers for the candidates or their lobbyists. Argh!

    This is what is so wrong with the political process – at least here – it becomes about you despise and/or annoyed you least and it should be who you think will do the best job, who will represent your interests best – whether you personally care for them or not.

    Our current leader has done so much damage to us, I pity whoever is elected because they will only be cleaning up the mess and that may take more than one term – again, Argh!

    Hope your elections went well. 😉

  10. Hello again. 🙂 It’s nice to see you fallenangel.
    We’re waiting for results at the moment, apparently Ken Livingstone might get in again after all. Oh well.

    I don’t like all the mudslinging in politics either. It makes them all seem less credible somehow..

  11. PS: Boris Johnson won.

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