Maybe it’s a bit of London parochialism or maybe it’s because the Mayoral election will be a number of years before the next General Election (hopefully) but I find myself much more interested in who will be Labour’s Mayoral candidate than who will be their party leader.
Livingstone has made it clear that he wants to have another crack at the job. He has also spent the last two years building some pretty big barriers to entry for anyone else, he is still a regular attender at MQTs, has held a number of “Progressive London” events and has written about London issues in the media. Whoever else puts themselves forward will need to be able to counter this relentless London focus.
Alan Johnson’s name has been floating around as a possible candidate, an option looking a little more likely since he chose not to stand for Labour leadership himself. He would be a fairly credible candidate except that he has been an MP for Hull West. “I so love London I represent Hull” isn’t a great tag line.
Peter Mandleson has been floated as a possibility. Ha,ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!!!!!! Ohhhh please let it be him, please.
More seriously the names of Oona King and Diane Abbot have recently entered the fray. Both have strong London credentials, both are clever and well regarded, both are widely known by non-political anoraks and both are good with the media.
If the two I think that King had/has the reputation (possible unfairly) of putting party before anything else and in London that could be a disadvantage. Abbot has never been afraid to criticise Labour when she felt it was necessary. London voters like that.
I’m keeping my eyes on this competition, it could be much more influential to the long term recovery or otherwise, of Labour than their leadership race.