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October 17, 2011

Boris: “Taking our city forward, not back.”

After a spell of preposterously long hours at work, things have at last settled down, and I’m now able to catch up on a few things I would ordinarily have covered weeks ago. Boris’s conference speech, for example. It was a classic Boris speech – packed with proud achievements, funny asides and general optimism. That said, as with most conference speeches, it was largely unremarkable and won’t be remembered for months to come. Except, perhaps, for one line. A line that was barely noticed at the time, yet could well be heard again and again in the run up to May’s election. Right at the end, Boris suggested his manifesto would contain “New ideas…to take our city forward, not back.”

“Forward, not back” is very New Labour (specifically their 2005 General Election slogan), so I can’t see it being Boris’ official campaign slogan, but it does clarify the choice that the London electorate have next year. They can either vote for a man with big, ambitious, optimistic plans for the future, or they can vote for a relapse to the dark days of Ken Livingstone’s mayoralty, full of division and hostility, grudges and malice. The success with which Boris’ team can frame that as the choice will essentially decide the outcome of the election.

Watch the whole speech here:

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