Andrew Gilligan suggests that Ken Livingstone is likely to be Labour's candidate for Mayor of London – and that such a selection will be good news for Boris Johnson. The election for Mayor of London is two years away and the only published poll on who Londoners would vote for is there was a rerun of Boris v Ken came last year in the Evening Standard by YouGov. It had a Boris lead of 16% against Livingstone. (In the 2008 election, Boris won by a margin of 6%.) If Labour chose "a different candidate" Boris's lead was 14%. The survey also showed 46% satisfied with Boris against 21% dissatisfied.
Of course a poll from a year ago on an election in two year's time isn't much to go on. But in general Londoners seem to appreciate that Boris is achieving a lot for their city. What would help him "seal the deal" would be a cut in the Council Tax precept – on top of the freeze in the first two years.
If Labour want to offer a bright fresh alternative and show their have learnt from past mistakes then Livingstone is a strange choice. He is unapologetic about his cronyism and extremism. Would Livingstone reinstate his clique of advisors from the Trotskyist group Socialist Action that used to preside over City Hall on their six figure salaries? Would he bring back Lee Jasper?
As Mayor of London Ken Livingstone showed contempt for the boroughs – Labour, Lib Dem and Tory. Local views on planning issues or transport issues would be brushed aside. So for any borough council leader backing his return is an act of self flagellation. Yet he has signed up some of them. Labour control 17 of the 32 London boroughs and the leaders of Ealing, Haringey, Barking and Dagenham and Islington have all come out in support of him.