There was so much crazy action in the mayoral campaign last week that Londonist was left gasping to keep up. The most entertaining bit was when Boris Johnson launched his environment manifesto with a photo opportunity on Hampstead Heath. BBC London viewers and others were treated to the splendid sight of The Blond hacking his way through a patch of north London undergrowth – perhaps specially provided for the occasion, who knows? – wearing that mildly self-satirising expression we all know and some love, but which he probably needs to keep off his face between now and 1st May.
Are his green policies any good? Ken Livingstone, of course, says they’re a small potatoes compared with his much bolder plans to save not just the capital but the rest of the planet too. Significantly, Ken has got stuck into Brian Paddick too on this issue, aided and abetted by his allies the Greens. Why? Because Ken needs Liberal Democrat supporters’ votes: if not as their first preference for mayor then as their second. Polling evidence so far suggests that more of those voters who like Paddick best of all prefer Johnson to Livingstone as their second preference.
Livingstone needs to turn that around. That’s why he’s been pointing out that Paddick is opposed to his Low Emissions Zone and his proposed £25 Congestion Charge-plus on gas-guzzlers, suggesting that he’s not as green as Lib Dems usually are and, actually, not a true Lib Dem at all. Sian Berry, the Green candidate for mayor, has been saying the same. Ken’s hope is that by wooing Greens and Lib Dems he’ll construct a coalition big and broad enough to beat Boris. Will it work? There are risks, not least that Lib Dems voters are stubborn and can be contrary.
Londonist hopes you’re keeping up with all this...
By Dave Hill