One of the few things we can be sure of about the mayoral race is that Boris and Ken in particular are knackered. But with just three full campaigning days remaining they must now run harder than ever. If the opinion polls are telling us anything, it is that neither can be certain which of them will win and that every single vote–first or second preference–is precious to them.
Livingstone’s strategy between now and Thursday’s vote will be to bang home the message that Johnson has no experience, no reputation for competence and would, if elected, be 'no joke'. In the process, he is frantic to secure the second preference votes of Liberal Democrat Brian Paddick’s supporters, urging them to regard him as having more in common with them than Johnson does and, if nothing else, the lesser of two evils.
One Lib Dem councillor has already come out in his favour. Fabian Society chairman Sunder Katwala thinks he detects just the grain of a preference for Ken in a letter he received from Twickenham’s Lib Dem MP Vince Cable. Maybe there is, maybe there is not. Whatever, Lib Dems–or anyone else who’s first choice is neither of the two frontrunners–is wasting their chance to influence who becomes next mayor if they fail to cast their second preference for one or the other of them.
Johnson’s tactics for the final furlong appear to be to intensify the low-risk strategy he’s been pursuing all along. The extent to which he was being hidden from media scrutiny was exaggerated earlier in the campaign, but lately more and more journalists seem to be finding it difficult to speak to him or obtain replies to questions about his policies. His last piece of full-on TV exposure happens tomorrow evening on Sky, when he’ll again debate with Livingstone and Paddick. He remains just about the bookies’ favourite. But Londonist thinks anyone putting more than a quid on any outcome clearly enjoys living dangerously.
By Dave Hill
Image by M@