Sunday, April 27, 2008


Second Preferences Key to Mayoral Contest

Because I met Labour leader Joe Anderson recently I'll be watching Liverpool's results closely on Thursday-Friday but, like most political anoraks, I'll be drawn to the big personality stand-off between Boris and Ken. The Observer runs a perceptive editorial on the topic, pointing out that:

i) Ken's solid record as mayor is sullied by his wooing of Yusuf al-Quaradawi, an apologist for suicide bombers and absurd allegations that critics of his adviser Lee Jasper were guilty of racism.

ii) Boris is totally untested at running anything '(even as a magazine editor he shirked managerial responsibility)'.

iii) Boris has been forced to don a personality not his own by Central Office 'to test pilot a campaign for the next general election'.

Unsurprisingly, as a Labour leaning newspaper, it opts for Ken. Certainly Gordon will hope his old enemy will do him a favour by reversing the succession of apalling headlines he has recently had to absorb. But will he do it? Too close to call, of course, but it will all hang on the second preferences. The Economist points out that, 'three of England's 12 other elected mayors have at one point taken office only thanks to second preferences'. Some polls suggest Brian Paddick's 2nds will go disproportionately to Boris but The Economist casts doubt on this polling and quotes Nick Sparrow of ICM:

“We have a long history of casting one vote rather than two. The pollster may be asking about something that the poor old respondent has not previously thought about,”.

Let's hope for the sake of Gordon, Labour and, not least Londoners, that he is right.

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