Livingstone Wants To Nationalize Mayoralty Race; Boris Is Local
Even before France goes to the polls on Sunday for the final round of the presidential elections, Britain will go to local elections on Thursday with the grand prize being the mayoralty of London.
In the tight race for London, the incumbent Boris Johnson in the latest polls holds a 4% leader over his predecessor Ken Livingstone.
The campaign has seen a reversal of form, in the sense that Livingstone, who was once expelled from the Labour Party and captured the mayoralty as an independent, is attempting to nationalize the election.
The Conservative government of David Cameron is very unpopular,due both to its austerity policies and the impression of ineptitude that it has created. Livingstone has urged Londoners to vote for him as a way of punishing the Conservative government.
He has just released a poster portraying his opponent, together with Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne as blue faced extraterrestrials from another planet who are totally out of touch with the British people. Livingstone promises to reinstitute Labour values together with a Labour administration in London. His signature issue is reducing mass transit fares.
Before beating Livingstone in the previous contest,Boris Johnson was a figure in the national Conservative party as a Member of Parliament and a shadow minister. He has not disguised his aspiration of contending for the top post and succeeding Cameron. However, given the nadir of his party in the public opinion polls Johnson would prefer to keep the race as the Boris and Ken show because he enjoys an edge in popularity over his rival.
A case in point was his refusal to take part in a cabinet of mayors planned by Prime Minister Cameron. Johnson announced his resistance to attempts by the national government to control the mayors.
The race has attracted interest in the Jewish community that turned out in force at the last elections to support Johnson and particularly in the outer London suburbs. Jews are wary of Livingstone's hostility to Israel, his disparaging comments about Jews and his open attempt to woo Moslems even of the extremist variety.
Some Jewish Labour stalwarts have announced that they will support Boris Johnson.
Lord Sugar who was appointed by the Labour Party to the House of Lords tweeted: “I don't care if [party leader] Ed Miliband is backing Livingstone,..I seriously suggest NO ONE votes for Livingstone in the Mayoral elections. Sugar told the Sun that Livingstone was "a driven, power-crazed egomaniac who will do anything to regain the power he once had."
On the other hand a few Jewish Labour stalwarts managed to come up with a lukewarm rationale for supporting Livingstone "Under Ken as mayor, we will get irritated, upset and annoyed but we will get lots of services and lots of engagement and an improved London."