Friday, 23 July 2010

Ken and Boris versus the cuts

My latest column for Snipe is about Boris Johnson's attempts to save London (and himself) from the cuts coming our way:

"Last week Liberal Democrat Transport minister Norman Baker warned that “there is a feeling, justified or otherwise, that London gets a very good deal. If we are all going to have to take difficult decisions they have to be fair and not be seen to advantage one part of the country over another....

Boris can see the danger of this and is trying his hardest to pose as the man who will fight off disaster. Yet for all the headlines it still isn’t clear what the Mayor is actually doing to prevent it."

The mayor's comments follows Ken Livingstone's own campaign to reclaim London by promising to "fight the cuts like I thought Thatcher."

I wrote more about Ken's chances and the capital's growing indifference to the current Mayor in my previous column for Snipe:

"Asked how he was doing in the job, just 26% said they were satisfied with [Boris], down from 44% for Ken three years ago. More telling was the huge amount of people who have little or no opinion of Boris’s performance at all, up to 63%.

"So while Boris is clearly a less divisive figure than his predecessor, he is also making far less of an impact on Londoners. And with the government cuts set to hit London hard in 2012, Londoners may well decide it is in their interests to turn to Ken."

Which is why Boris will work hard to disassociate himself from the current government.

How well he succeeds with that, and how well Ken succeeds in stopping him could yet determine which of them wins in 2012.