We can, and must, do better than this to beat Boris

14th August, 2010 6:32 pm

Ken and OonaBy Mark Ferguson / @markfergusonuk

It must be exasperating to be a Labour mayoral candidate right now.

Everyone is cheering for their chosen candidate. But they are also ignoring the fact that, in the form of London Mayor, Labour is fighting for the second largest individual mandate in Europe (after the French Presidency).

If held at another time, perhaps the selection race would have been more notable. Maybe Labour could have expressed an innovative take on transport policy, to challenge the bizarre publicity surrounding the Boris bike, or even a groundbreaking scheme to tackle inner-London’s gang culture and associated gun and knife crime.

As it happens, the stand out moments have been a little more predictable and unedifying. What is there here to draw new people into politics? We are better than this. These candidates are better than this. Labour in London is so, so much better than this.

It’s especially disappointing to see spats when, by and large, they don’t reflect the wider mood on the party. There is little desire for division in the party, as evidenced by the relatively civil nature of the leadership contest. Our party is broadly united and focused on the task in hand – opposing the debilitating Tory cuts and ensuring that we get back into power sooner rather than later.

Maybe both candidates are plagued by the past. Ken does not seem to have moved on enough from his last unsuccessful tussle with Boris Johnson, whilst Oona King’s record as someone who lost a safe inner London seat to a minor party has largely been glossed over. This campaign should be about bigger and better things, a practice run for taking back Number 10 in 2015. Neither candidate should play the old favourites and hope that the audience likes it better this time.

Boris Johnson has established his election tactics already – mainly his bikes – nearly two years before he’ll need to deploy them. Ken and Oona shouldn’t play each other down. Neither campaign has been bold (or foolish) enough to make criticisms in stark terms, but some have certainly been inferred.

Instead, we need more developed attacks, such as those that the Tories will launch on whoever our candidate when the time comes. Both candidates are capable. The Labour Party is strong. We should make more of all our strengths.

Comments are closed

Latest

  • Comment The truth is that South Thanet should never have been blue – let alone in danger of turning purple

    The truth is that South Thanet should never have been blue – let alone in danger of turning purple

    There’s a lot of interest in the exact Dulux colour composition of Farage’s purple peril. We’ve already had the Ribena test, and this week a City AM piece sought to disentangle ‘red Ukip’ from ‘blue Ukip’ – the Labour component of Nigel Farage’s appeal from the Tory one. The latter article, probably unsurprisingly, concluded that red Ukip was mainly a northern phenomenon and blue Ukip predominantly southern. South Thanet, the Kent seat where I’m standing against Nigel Farage, seems at […]

    Read more →
  • Comment I hate Labour’s immigration mug – but I hate their immigration pledge even more

    I hate Labour’s immigration mug – but I hate their immigration pledge even more

    Yesterday the Labour Party put a dent in the good week they’ve been having by putting on sale a mug stamped with Labour’s promise to put “controls on immigration”.  The was rightly criticised across Twitter; some said it was pandering to Ukip while others seemed to be in disbelief that the party would even produce a piece of merchandise. However, the mug is one of a family of five, each of which are branded with one of Labour’s election pledges. In response to […]

    Read more →
  • Featured Has there been a post-debate “Milibounce”? Signs are good, but lets not get carried away

    Has there been a post-debate “Milibounce”? Signs are good, but lets not get carried away

    Here’s a Sunday Times front page that Miliband and his team will be delighted with – a four point lead with YouGov and talk of momentum for Labour: But – it’s only one poll. That’s the best and most important place to start when talking about a post-debate bounce for Labour (or a “Milibounce” as it was inevitably labelled). The only poll that has been released so far with fieldwork produced post-debate is the YouGov poll in today’s Sunday Times – […]

    Read more →
  • News 40 days to go: Alexander kicks off Labour’s campaign

    40 days to go: Alexander kicks off Labour’s campaign

    Today Douglas Alexander, Labour’s Chair of General Election Strategy, will visit marginal seat Ealing Central and Acton to mark the fact that there are 40 campaigning days left until the general election. Alexander will also visit this constituency, which Labour’s candidate Rupa Huq hopes to win from Conservative Angie Bray, to send a message that Labour have 40 policies that would make Britain better (a list of which can be found below). This ties in with Labour’s campaign slogan “A […]

    Read more →
  • Comment It’s time for the Tories to come clean on their secret £12billion plan to hit children, carers, families and disabled people

    It’s time for the Tories to come clean on their secret £12billion plan to hit children, carers, families and disabled people

    David Cameron and Iain Duncan Smith have repeatedly refused to explain how they would make the £12 billion cuts in social security spending that their fiscal plans for the next parliament depend on. If anyone wondered why, now  we know. Leaked documents drawn up by civil servants for Conservative ministers and reportedly discussed with Conservative officials, confirm that this extreme cuts plan would hit disabled people and their carers hard. The Tories have denied this is their plan. But the truth is […]

    Read more →
Share with your friends










Submit