Friday, 27 January 2012

Boris Johnson's campaign wastes a month on a fantasy

I wrote two weeks ago about Boris Johnson's fake campaign for an inevitable council tax freeze.

Day after day, thousands of Boris's supporters have been encouraged to spam London Assembly Members for no discernable purpose:

Emails have been sent, tweets composed, and leaflets prepared in favour of something that will happen anyway. No matter what anyone does.

The freeze, which is being implemented by almost every other local authority in the country, is supported by both Labour and the Lib Dems (who actually want to cut council tax).

Nobody wants to stop it, and even if they did, it would be impossible unless Boris Johnson's own Assembly Members voted against it.

That isn't going to happen. The freeze will take place, and Londoners will storm City Hall in gratitude at the literally handful of pounds it will save them this year.

Not content with campaigning for the inevitable, Boris's campaign have also tried to claim that Ken Livingstone's running mate is "leading the charge" against it.

What's surprising about this is not the dishonesty. It's the incompetence of it.

After wasting six months talking about national rather than London issues, Boris has now wasted the best part of a month on a fantasy.

And what has he got for it? One article in the Croydon advertiser, and a handful of other articles explaining what a waste of time it is.

In case Boris hasn't noticed, the election is only a few months away now.

In order to win he needs to do more than manufacture inevitable victories. He needs to persuade Londoners that he's in touch with their concerns.

Will he manage it? So far the signs don't look good. 

At this week's budget debate, Tory AM Steve O'Connell asked Boris about a claim "from a very good source" that Ken wants to reverse his booze ban on the tube.

Needless to say Livingstone has no such plans. 

O'Connell's fantasy claim, was followed up by a reply from Boris that Ken would probably make drinking on the tube "compulsory." An obvious smear.

And so after two polls putting Boris behind Ken, it's clear that the only lesson they have learnt is to go even more negative against Ken.

Will it work? Possibly. They had plenty of practice in 2008 and Boris has no shortage of former colleagues and toadies in the press to do his dirty work for him.

But in order to win Boris also needs to face up to reality. At Wednesday's meeting Boris boasted that he was "leading the city to a strong economic recovery."

This was on the same morning that we learnt that we are heading back into recession.

This does not suggest that he is in touch with the concerns of ordinary Londoners.

Unfortunately for his supporters, it also suggests he's not even in touch with his own campaign.


Emma Dent Coad said...

This lot are very good at distraction campaigns. While thousands of people are signing petitions for phony airports, pretend cable-cars, impossible river parks, they are burying bad news about police cuts, rise in crime, the actual cost of the new Routemaster etc.

PR is their forte; we must be on our guard against it.

Mike Hartley said...

'Toadies in the press'? That's not a nice way to talk about Gilligan...

AdamB said...

I was thinking more of the Toadmeisters of this world, the flattery of which, Boris appears to have bought hook line and sinker.