Following from yesterday’s false claims about Ken Livingstone’s running mate Val Shawcross – branded “desperate lies” – Livingstone has written to his opponent in May’s mayoral contest and called on him to “ditch the dirty tricks”:
There can be little doubt that the mayoral election has changed recently. Far from being the re-coronation you once hoped this contest would be, it’s now accepted that the race will be closely fought.
Even some of your own Tory supporters have started complaining that you got complacent and had started taking London voters for granted.
But no one could have expected that you would react so badly to a little bit of pressure. Suddenly the Conservative party in London is flailing around and lashing out. David Cameron has told you to raise your game. And you, in turn, seem to be getting pushed around by your campaign manager, Lynton Crosby.
It has not taken much for your party to turn to the dark side.
Some of us remember how Mr Crosby tried to import his nasty “dog whistle politics” when Michael Howard was leader of the Conservative Party in 2005.
In Australia, he had helped conservatives win with tactics that included making false claims about refugees throwing their children out of boats.
And now he’s at it again.
At least, I assume it’s him because you used to have something more interesting to say than resort to cheap insults.
But on fares, the issue on which you’ve had a few wobbles lately, you’re calling me a liar.
The new lines on fares your campaign staff have put in your mouth don’t even make sense. You cannot claim that a fares cut would lead to cuts in investment or cuts to services when your own staff have been briefing that this year’s excess fares revenue has been used to pay down debt. You know the money is there to cut fares and make London a bit fairer. You just don’t want to do it.
Yesterday your campaign chief Lynton Crosby got caught doing what he does best. He issued the false claim that my running mate was proposing a council tax rise. Later there was more nastiness as a Tory AM and Tory MP bizarrely claimed I will reverse the alcohol ban on public transport. Let me be clear – both these claims are total nonsense.
Come on Boris, this isn’t you. You no longer seem to be speaking for yourself. Where has the Boris Johnson who could always be relied upon to make us smile (if not govern competently) gone? Don’t let Lynton Crosby tell you what to do. Be your own man.
Let’s try to keep this election clean.
Ditch the dirty tricks – and have a debate with me on the fares issue so people can make up their minds.