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In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Thursday May 01 2008

There’s an election happening in London today, and the early guesses say that Boris Johnson will be the new Mayor, and Ken Livingstone the new ex-Mayor.  I have no idea.

Shane Greer is angry about this article by Steve Richards.  Greer says that Richards’ piece is elitist, because it calls the voters stupid and ungrateful.  But Richards has half a point.  Ken Livingstone has done quite a lot of popular things for Londoners, if you are the sort of Londoner who relies on public transport rather than your car., and who doesn’t pay that much in the way of council tax.

Voters aren’t stupid, but they are indeed ungrateful.  They don’t vote about what you’ve done, they vote about what they want done.  They don’t vote about the past, they vote about the future.  The most famous British example is probably the way that the victorious Winston Churchill was unceremoniously dumped in 1945.  War won, thank you Winnie, but no, you are not the post-war Prime Minister that we now want.  You can do heroism, but not a land fit for the heroes to come home to.  Goodnight.

Voters can also be punitive.  When someone they basically don’t like has done the job they were voted in to do a few years back, the backlash can be something terrible.  This is partly what happened to the Conservatives during the last decade.  This may now be happening to Ken.  Ken may have been regarded as necessary, to make the trains run on time, etc.  But he has never been really liked, and now all those corruption stories and all that disgusting cosying up to terrorists starts to count for more than the tube and the buses.  So, thanks for the buses mate, and piss off.

What I think also may be happening in London is that Ken Livingstone has made being the Mayor of London matter, and this has had the effect, it would now appear, of causing potential Conservative voters in London local elections to become actual Conservative voters.  Boris Johnson has served to highlight this same effect, by being a celeb with high recognition, and by not making any big mistakes.  My favourite comment about the London Mayor election is from a commenter at Guido’s - which I can’t now find because my I-now-wish-I-was-a-swear-blogger computer is playing up, as it is now doing from time to time - saying that the amazing thing was that Boris had said and done nothing seriously stupid for three whole months.

He has gone from the authentic Boris as seen on HIGNFY to a boring twat, in the manner of Robert Redford in The Candidate.  Which means he will probably win.

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