Wednesday 2 April 2008

What Ken needs to do to win

Perhaps as one of those New Labour types whom Ken cheerfully enjoyed smashing into the ground in 2000, I should be sitting this mayoral election out, particularly since I don't have a vote in the capital any more. I helped Frank Dobson win the Labour nomination at the time (though was not part of his mayoral campaign team) fearing that Ken might resort to cronyism, gesture politics and consorting with extremists if he became Mayor, having remembered the less attractive features of the eighties GLC. But while Ken has been his 1980s self to an extent, he has also made a big difference to the capital. The congestion charge has been a success, buses are more frequent, the Oyster card is great, crime is down and the capital will host the 2012 Olympics. True, taxi fares are also utterly extortionate now, but this is a success list any mayor would die for. And one look at his motley crew of opponents, including the charming but utterly unconvincing Boris Johnson, makes it clear that Ken is the only candidate capable of leading the capital. So I hope he takes Jonathan Freedland's excellent advice on how he needs to do it in today's Guardian: debate more, promise this is your last term, offer to hire Brian Paddick, get out the vote and be your cheeky, populist self. He needs all the help he can get.

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