Tuesday, 1 June 2010

If not Ken Livingstone then who?

There are those within the Labour party who argue that Ken Livingstone cannot beat Boris Johnson and that another candidate should be chosen instead.

They complain that the selection process is being stitched up by Ken and that if he would only allow another candidate through, then Labour would romp home in 2012.

Now there is no doubt that as things stand, the odds are against Ken Livingstone returning as Mayor in two years time.

But the question that his Labour critics must answer is, if not Ken then who?

If they don't think that Ken can beat Boris, then why do they think that Oona King would beat him instead? And if not Oona, then who else is going to step forward to give it a go?

Because if Ken is such a bad choice to be Labour's candidate then where are the legions of better candidates beating down the door to City Hall?

As Pippa Crerar reports from Ken's campaign launch today:

"Livingstone was in bullish mood challenging the long list of "fantasy candidates" (Alan Johnson, Peter Mandelson, Sir Alan Sugar et al) to stand against him for the Labour nomination. "If I dropped dead there would be a rush of people," he said. "I think a lot of people like Lord Mandelson think they won't beat me so they're not standing. There's always been this weakness among politicians, they fear losing."

Because the problem for the Labour leadership is that although they never wanted Ken as their candidate, they have never found anyone with the guts or the ability to take him on either.

Be it in the first Mayoral election when Blair failed to stop him, or in the second Mayoral election when Blair took the humiliating decision to take him back, the Labour leadership have often tried and often failed to see Livingstone off.

And the truth is that although they are complaining about a stitch up now, there is absolutely nothing stopping their chosen candidate from coming forward to give it another go.

So where is this unbeatable all-powerful candidate they have so often spoken of but never named?

Who is this person and when do we all finally get to meet them?

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Anonymous said...

I reckon Labour should choose someone really charismatic like Alastair Darling or John Biggs.

AdamB said...

Or how about Phil Woolas? He doesn't repel voters at all...

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Ken will get my vote...again.

Tom said...

Susan Kramer's probably the best London politician around without a job.

AdamB said...

You're not the first one to have suggested that. The Lib Dems could certainly do a lot worse than Kramer.