Ken Livingstone's campaign for Mayor of London appears to be in self destruct mode. The extremism alienates many, while the hypocrisy must mean that even his comrades on the hard left don't feel they can trust him. He faces an HMRC investigation over his tax affairs.
On a more mundane level his campaign is a shambles. His five point plan for Sutton only has four points. The copying of the Boris campaign techniques has a desperation about it. Hours after the "Better off with Boris" slogan was produced came the unimaginative retort "Better off with Ken." Hours after the Boris battle Bus was launch came the Ken Battle Bus – which turned out not to exist in reality but just to have been photoshopped.
Yet Livingstone could still win. On May 6th 2010 at the General Election 36.1% of voters in the United Kingdom chose the Conservatives compared to 29% who chose Labour. But among voters in Greater London the result saw Labour ahead by 36.6% to 34.5% for the Conservatives. So for the Conservative candidate for Mayor of London to beat the Labour candidate for Mayor of London would be to defy political gravity.
Livingstone has a formidable political machine to mobilise his supporters to turn out and vote – among trade unionists, Muslim voters, those in the public sector dismayed by spending cuts. His promise to cut fares may well be believed by many, albeit not most, commuters.
I was knocking on doors in Ravenscourt Park Ward yesterday and the good news was that among rich and poor there was Labour supporters who will be voting for Boris. But there need to be a lot of them for Boris to make. There is still a dangerous assumption that he is bound to win – when for him to do so would be the most extraordinary triumph.