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

August 14, 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 Reforming bus services is an important aspect to revitalising many local economies

    Reforming bus services is an important aspect to revitalising many local economies

    Rail services and infrastructure dominate the debate around transport, but with two thirds of all public transport journeys made by bus we are right to talk more about the importance of local bus services. I serve an area with no rail or light rail link, where many people are entirely dependent on buses. I hear from older residents who are left cut off and isolated, unable to easily access GP or hospital appointments. Shift workers who simply cannot get to […]

    Read more →
  • Comment A rent increase for our Armed Forces tells you all you need to know about David Cameron

    A rent increase for our Armed Forces tells you all you need to know about David Cameron

    This week the Government announced that it would be making changes to accommodation for our service personnel and their families. At first glance you might think that is good news because quite frankly, housing for our service personnel and their families is, at the moment, barely adequate. But what the MoD were actually announcing, hidden under details about a new contract for maintenance, was that our armed forces will now have to pay more in rent to live in accommodation that […]

    Read more →
  • News Scotland Who are the potential candidates for next leader of the Scottish Labour Party?

    Who are the potential candidates for next leader of the Scottish Labour Party?

    Johann Lamont has resigned as leader of the Scottish Labour Party, prompting a new leadership race. As we noted this morning, candidates do not necessarily have to be MSPs, as long as they stand in the Holyrood elections in 2016 – meaning that the next leader could currently be a Westminster MP. So, who are the potential candidates? Here (in alphabetical order) are some of the names that are being mentioned: Douglas Alexander MP: Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary and elections […]

    Read more →
  • Featured Scotland Why Lamont left – and what happens next?

    Why Lamont left – and what happens next?

    Johann Lamont’s resignation was a surprise, if only in terms of timing. Politicians – especially party leaders – rarely resign in newspaper interviews released over the weekend. Yet it seems this decision had been coming for a while. This was not something that transpired over a matter of days, but weeks, months or even years (depending on who you speak to). Lamont has made the right decision to step down. She was facing increasing fire both internally and externally, and didn’t […]

    Read more →
  • News Labour “can indeed win”: Blair denies doom-mongering

    Labour “can indeed win”: Blair denies doom-mongering

    The Scottish Labour Party is not the only headache for Ed Miliband this morning. The Telegraph’s front page doesn’t make for the best reading either, running with the news that Tony Blair predicts a Tory victory next year: However, the story is not all it seems. The only quote The Telegraph supplies is from an anonymous source who claims that the former Labour PM made the prediction in a private meeting with them: “The Conservatives will be the next government […]

    Read more →