I have seen a number of things recently written about Brian Paddick which have got my mind racing. Not the usual political brickbats from opponents, which I always recommend people ignore, but things written by people sympathetic to Paddick and who might even want to see him succeed. On their own they look insignificant but taken together they are rather illuminating.
The first is that Brian Paddick had talks with the Conservatives about running as our candidate in May. It seems that both Francis Maude and Paddick felt that it wouldn’t work out, but for someone who later described himself as a long term “undercover” Lib Dem it seems strange even to entertain the idea of running under the Conservative banner.
It has also been reported that Paddick met Livingstone at the Pride march in the summer of last year and assured him that he would not stand against him, he also said that he could work with Sir Ian Blair despite the fall out from the Stockwell shootings. A short time later he announced his intention to stand for Mayor and said that Sir Ian Blair’s’ “position is unsustainable. I think he should resign.”
Sam Coates at the Times seems to feel that this is flip-flopping by Paddick. He could be right, if he is we should really put a big question mark over someone so unwilling to keep his word or so unable to make up his mind.
I think that Paddick is a bit brighter and sharper than that. He clearly knows that he has little (zero) chance of actually becoming Mayor and had turned down a New Statesman offer of a regular column because it “seemed too much after all the hassle I’d had.” Standing for Mayor isn’t the action of a man trying to avoid “hassle” in retirement, so, why stand?
This was the question that kept on bugging me, and then I saw the post on Lib Dem Voice announcing the imminent release of Paddick’s autobiography. Now it makes sense, how much easier to get onto the best sellers list as a mayoral candidate than as an ex-copper with a book out.
If I were a Lib Dem I would be asking myself “I am being used?”