Re-election and strikes

Articles, LondonUnlockedEditorComment

So, Boris has announced his re-election campaign just as Labour chooses their candidate to run against him in 2012.

Politically it makes sense for the Mayor to attempt to wrest the narrative away from the increasingly likely Ken Livingstone for a few days. However, one does have to wonder if his decision means that some deal has been struck on London's transport settlement with the Government. Tom Edwards speculates the same here.

Even if this is the case, union leaders appear to be agitating for further strikes. Bob Crow's in a powerful position following last week's strike, whilst at the TUC loud voices were heard for joint industrial action if 'attacks' on jobs and services go ahead.

Clearly the rest of this year will be difficult for the Mayor and Government and 2011/12 even more so as the cuts start to really bite. Boris Johnson may not have achieved policy successes as significant as Livingstone's congestion charge, or helping to bring the Olympics to London, but in schemes such as the cycle hire and cable cars in East London he has iconic projects (no matter their origin) to hang his hat on. His popularity also remains high.

Surely then, Ken Livingstone's re-election hopes rest on his ability to tame the unions and keep London moving. If he can demonstrate in this long campaign that he will be able to negotiate and deliver smooth running for London, then he may well have an unbeatable edge over Mr Johnson.

Quite the challenge.