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March 14, 2011

Ken Livingstone sides against the Lib Dems.

The excellent MayorWatch site have recorded a cracking interview with Ken Livingstone today. The problem for Ken is that it’s not interesting for what he said, but more for what he didn’t say and for the general weakness of his arguments. Coming just a day after what was a pretty shambolic interview with Tim Donovan on the Politics Show, I can only imagine that Ken’s team are shaking their heads morosely at his latest effort. He’s got little new to say, the interviewer easily disproved most of his favourite assertions, and I’m frankly unsure how he intends to maintain another 14 months of campaign narrative. Anyway, have a listen to it here:


It says much about the quality and depth (or lack thereof) of Ken’s answers and arguments that the most interesting point from the interview was something that the interviewer asked:

“You called on Londoners to help deliver a body-blow to the government by electing you. Do you not think that that sort of language…undermines your ability to appeal to those Liberal Democrats who may…not want to do anything that would hurt or damage their own party’s prospects at national elections?”

I actually hadn’t thought of that before. Ken’s keenness to benefit from the Tories’ national polling figures means he’s been arguing that people should vote for him in order to hurt the Government. It’s a broadly clever tactic, but it completely overlooks the point that the Lib Dems are part of the government too. In urging voters to deliver a ‘body-blow to the government’, he’s asking them to hurt both the Tories and the Lib Dems. When the 2008 poll came down to second preferences, and when all polling so far suggests that the 2012 result will be similarly tight, it’s surely not the best strategy to be siding against Liberal Democrat voters. Indeed, it’s abundantly clear, now that I think of it, that a Boris win is a far better outcome for the Lib Dems, from a national perspective, than a Ken win.

I can’t help but wonder if Ken’s campaign is unravelling before it’s even got going.

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