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Monday, April 16, 2012 

Why Ken is going to lose to Boris. Again.

Dave Osler asks why it seems that Boris is heading for a second term as London mayor. The answer, sadly, is that nothing has changed since he lost four years ago. I wrote a post back then on why exactly it was that Ken lost, and those self-same reasons will be why he won't win this time.

Why for instance did Labour think that Ken could win again when he'd been rejected so soundly after eight years in the job? Admittedly, when it was between Ken and Oona King you can see why London party members went for experience, but all the same. Between eight and ten years is generally as long as we can stand to give one person the reins of power; Thatcher lasted just over ten, as did Blair. Yes, they could put it partially down to the unpopularity of the party at large in 2008, yet the current dislike for the Conservatives is having no discernible effect on Boris. Indeed, if anything it's in spite of his party background: 80% identify him as a mayor for the rich, and still he's odds on to win.

Additionally, despite all the ridicule from certain sections of the left at the time, Boris has been far from a disastrous Mayor. Yes, he said the phone hacking allegations were codswallop and his ludicrous mate Kit Malthouse is now in charge of setting "strategic direction" and "allocating resources" for the Met, but one of his first acts was to get rid of Sir Ian Blair, the man Ken refused to criticise for being out of the loop on the day Jean Charles de Menezes was executed. The one avenue Labour haven't pursued vigorously enough is that Boris quite obviously views this as a stepping stone towards leading the Tories, nor has enough been made of his pathetic performance over the riots. Then again, Ken made a fundamental mistake when he came straight out and said they were a result of the coalition's cuts: that's a perfectly reasonable position to take, but not when they're still going on or when those who voted for you previously are cleaning up the mess.

Far from the four years helping to dissipate the genuine distaste many then felt for Ken, if anything it's solidified further, helped along as before by the Evening Standard and Andrew Gilligan. And again, he couldn't help putting his foot in it: he might not have exactly said that rich Jews wouldn't vote for him, but that was his general gist, although he at least apologised this time round.

Why Labour couldn't see this coming is difficult to ascertain. In an election where the voters are being offered the exact same choice as they were four years ago by the three main parties, it's not difficult to see why Siobhan Benita has been garnering attention. One of those rumoured to be considering a run was David Lammy, only for him to endorse Ken. You can only wonder how the polls might look had he decided to take the newt fancier on.

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