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Old 3rd May 2008, 0:47   #1
vald
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Default London Mayor

Is anyone else shocked about Boris Johnson becoming Mayor of London? I know Labour are going through a bad patch, but I never thought I'd see BJ winning. I'm obviously wrong, and not coming from London, apologies to anyone there who I am making assumptions about, but I thought KL was reasonably popular. I caught an interview with BJ on the PM prog. with Eddie Mair a couple of weeks ago, and was laughing out loud at his ineptitude. What have they done??? If people really wanted to get rid of KL, surely there must have been some reasonable candidates, Brian Paddick for one. I admit I haven't gone into the subject a great deal, but from what I saw, he seemed a safer bet than "routemaster" Johnson.
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Old 3rd May 2008, 1:27   #2
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Default Re: London Mayor

Like you Vald I don't know much about London politics but the impression I had was that Ken was someone they loved to whinge about down there but basically they knew he was doing his best for them and had adopted a 'better the devil you know' attitude. I know the Evening Standard have had it in for Livingstone for a while but the national media have pretty well always portrayed Johnson as a buffoon, I didn't think he stood a chance.

Perhaps it's a backlash against Labour generally. The unpopoular war, fuel prices, 10p tax fiasco, credit crunch, Blair, Brown... there doesn't seem to be much good news around does there.

I'm sure Boris will change all that.
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Old 3rd May 2008, 1:53   #3
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I wonder who he will offend first, and how long it will take......? Or perhaps his party will watch him so closely, that he may as well have his mouth taped up. I don't really know how much real power he will wield, whether he can be autonomous, or just a party figurehead. At least it should be entertaining, if nothing else, but can he do any real damage to Londoners?
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Old 3rd May 2008, 11:11   #4
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Default Re: London Mayor

All the Londoners I know and work with are in a deep state of shock. I read a gloriously vitriolic piece in the Guardian Online about why Boris shouldn't be Mayor. Much good it did.

Hopefully his minders, who have kept a pretty close rein on his spoutings through the campaign, will be kept close for the next four years and hopefully minimising the damage. I'm not sure that the policies that he may or may not instigate will be that much different or if they are whether or not they'll be 'damaging', I'm mostly concerned at the image visitors will get of London and the UK perhaps with Boris as Mayor. I dread to think what anyone from Africa might think - let along Liverpudlians. Check out the end section of that article above - it includes some of the better Johnsonisms.
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Old 3rd May 2008, 11:14   #5
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...the upside is that he might do a lot for cyclists.

...maybe?
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Old 3rd May 2008, 11:27   #6
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That's true...
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Old 3rd May 2008, 11:30   #7
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Default Re: London Mayor

I'm not really shocked that Johnson won, as he'd been ahead or level in most polls for a while now. He is a buffoonish figure, but that's partly (if not mostly) an act: he's very sharp and funny, as I discovered when I read his 2001 election memoir Friends, Voters, Countrymen a few years ago, and his intelligence isn't in doubt.

I was talking to my most politically-aware London friend about it yesterday. He was horrified at the thought of Johnson winning (but resigned to it also). It wasn't a landslide - 53% to 47% in terms of first and second preference votes - so Livingstone is still 'reasonably popular' as vald says, it's just that I suspect lots of people who didn't vote before did vote this time: there was a record turnout.

I recall that the same politically-aware friend was horrified in 2000 at the idea of Livingstone winning, so I can only hope that he and lots of others will be similarly convinced by Johnson over the next few years. Johnson's victory speech was very good I thought, though I suppose it's easy to be magnanimous when you've won.

My main disappointment is that now the proposed £25 congestion charge for gas-guzzling vehicles won't be brought in in October. Yes: my London politics is based purely on Schadenfreude.
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Old 3rd May 2008, 17:16   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Self View Post
I'm not really shocked that Johnson won, as he'd been ahead or level in most polls for a while now. He is a buffoonish figure, but that's partly (if not mostly) an act: he's very sharp and funny, as I discovered when I read his 2001 election memoir Friends, Voters, Countrymen a few years ago, and his intelligence isn't in doubt.
I'm not shocked either, John. And you're right - our Boris is tack sharp - no flies on him, despite the entertaining goofish act. To be honest, (and sorry to disagree with Digger), but I love Boris. I like the way he turns the dreary world of soundbite politics into something that's much more fun. And I think that's largely why he's won. We Brits don't really take our politics very seriously - or more accurately, we're an apathetic lot, as the no-shows at election time prove. But we do like our mavericks and those who provide a fresh and lively alternative to the usual suspects of lying, cheating, pompous, incompetent, pontificating hypocrites who stick the letters MP after their moniker - which could just as easily stand for Machiavellian Prat.

No, bring on the Boris, I say - and let's have some pzzzazzzy politics for a change!
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Old 3rd May 2008, 17:55   #9
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Originally Posted by HP View Post
But we do like our mavericks and those who provide a fresh and lively alternative to the usual suspects of lying, cheating, pompous, incompetent, pontificating hypocrites who stick the letters MP after their moniker - which could just as easily stand for Machiavellian Prat.

No, bring on the Boris, I say - and let's have some pzzzazzzy politics for a change!
Boris is not an alternative to this stereotype, the words lying, cheating, hypocrite, (ask his wife) seem to sum him up. And as for his competence, well I think we'll soon see. I will watch with interest his attempt to reinstate the routemaster and deal with the transport problems.
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Old 3rd May 2008, 18:07   #10
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Boris is not an alternative to this stereotype, the words lying, cheating, hypocrite, (ask his wife) seem to sum him up.
I don't think being a great husband necessarily qualifies you for the job of Mayor, Vald. I mean, how many really gifted rulers have been faithful spouses? And if you make that a requirement of the job, you'll probably find it even harder to fill the role than it already is.
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