Boris Or Ken or Brian?

London


With the mayoral elections coming up, let’s take a quick look at the candidates. Boris has a mad middle name (de Pfeffel), is charismatic because he knows how to work the press, and swiped all Ken’s credit for getting London cycling. Nothing sticks to the old Etonian and he’s notable by his absence as much as his profile. But there have been some visible improvements to the city under his reign, with a number of good new buildings commissioned and some seriously bad ones. Red buses are coming back, at a huge cost.

One of the good things about Ken Livingstone’s tenure as Mayor was that he changed how we thought about traffic in the city. The majority of the population is on foot, so why should it always bow to private vehicles? He realised that in one area, Brixton, something like 95% of the population was walking and just 5% driving – and most of those were passing through to get to somewhere else – so a subtle redressing of the balance occurred. That he mainly did it without upsetting anyone was a miracle. On a local level, he built us a park and then saved it from developers. Hands-on but will upset Tories who live in the country but insist on going on about London.

Brian Paddick is the outsider. The former Met officer has made some mistakes – remember the Lambeth spliffs? But he’s hot on law and order, appeals to all ages and, being gay, is gay-friendly. Yet – speaking as someone who has met him – he struck me as very buttoned-down, hard to warm to and a bit too uptight for London.

It’ll be Boris who gets in, of course – Londoners like slightly mad people who use Latin words in daily conversation. He works the system shamelessly, but is a sartorial embarrassment.

See what I did there? This is about as much information as you get in our London press about the candidates – more actually – most of which major on sex lives, haircuts and likeability. Very little about policies, spending, achievements or anything important.

8 comments on “Boris Or Ken or Brian?”

  1. Alan Morgan says:

    I voted Ken in the first one, though it was two days before I left London so whilst I was happy to take part it wasn’t like I was sticking around or anything.

  2. Vickie says:

    Ah, yes, the Mad Mayor syndrome. Oscar Goodman (mad in his own delightful ways) was the mayor of Las Vegas (Nevada, USA) as long as he could possibly be until he was no longer permitted by statute to seek yet another term. Hilariously, his wife Carolyn, a strong woman, ran in his stead and was elected. Seems we townfolk all enjoy a bit of whackiness/excitement in our mayors…

  3. Gretta says:

    The Commie in me would vote for Red Ken, but really, Paddick is the only one who has his tie knotted correctly, and that would be the clincher for me.

    Is it me, or does Boris look more and more like the Weasley’s secret albino Uncle?

  4. Helen Martin says:

    Does Boris always look like a swineherd from Kent? Ken Livingston sounds like a good bet to me, but a slightly mad mayor is usually a good thing, although a hero is also good. We had a former firefighter as mayor who saved all the seniors invited to a store opening by recognizing the sound of collapse in the ceiling and getting everyone out before the whole thing fell in.

  5. Cid says:

    Boris or Ken or Brian?

    Jenny.

  6. Jon R says:

    If by “Lambeth spiffs” you mean his policies on cannabis, in what way were they a mistake? Although apparently he likes Shallow Lounge, which isn’t really a good sign.

  7. Alan Morgan says:

    Brian Paddick should grow a gnome-beard the exact cut of the hair on the other end of his head just to confuse people into thinking they might be upside down. I would.

  8. Pietro Rossi says:

    With the eyes of the world on London this year, I wish we had better choices

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