Friday, April 25, 2008

Mayorial Race in London is a contest of Personalities

Conservative Boris Johnson is running for Mayor of London, England. The outspoken conservative is currently leading liberal incumbent Ken Livingstone in the polls.

Johnson asks voters, "do you like buses?" as he leaps up on a wall in Richmond, England. "Isn't it great to see so many police here?"

No doubt about it. Johnson has energy and charisma and he's someone that Londoner's believe can deliver change - but will he actually deliver change? He's a small government conservative who wants to yank free bus passes from delinquent teenagers and has promised to get tough on street crime that has killed over 40 young people during the last 16 months.

Apparently, British voters have a history of not liking powerful politicians and Livingstone may be in danger of being removed from office because of his forceful personality. "It's not about policy," says Peter Kellner, director of YouGov, "Livingstone can still win if he gets back to a debate about what's best for London."
But if it's a referendum on Livingstone's character, he'll lose it."

All this, despite the fact that Livingstone has made London less congested, more harmonious and perhaps more financially successful during his 8 year tenure as Mayor. Livingstone has presided over London during a prosperous period where the skyline grew and the city was awarded the 2012 Olympic games. Livingstone is also well thought of for his leadership during the July 7th attacks.

Meanwhile, Johnson launches into yet another rant about scrapping government committees, street improvement projects and stopping people from drinking on subways in a "bad" way. Some experts claim that there are broader factors at play, Livingstone has labeled Johnson an eccentric with little administrative experience other than picking out a restaurant to take his staff to lunch.

But Johnson has a rhetoric that the public likes, experience, or no experience - and a backlog of "off the cuff" remarks that would make even the most tolerant voter cringe.

It will be interesting to see who comes out on top during the upcoming election. Livingstone, who has a proven track record, or Johnson, the challenger with a catalog of inflamatory rhetoric.

No comments:

Post a Comment