The Campaign Launches

Articles, Election 2008, LondonUnlockedEditor

Over at there is an excellent summary of the latest developments in the Mayoral election, reposted below:

The media has given blanket coverage to the launch of the Mayoral election campaign, and comments by the candidates at their campaign launches.

Each candidate delivered their opening arguments for the campaign:

Ken Livingstone highlighted his progressive policies and experience whilst deriding Boris Johnson as "right wing".

Brian Paddick explained that he was best placed to deliver change.

Sian Berry vowed to repeal the "idiotic and illiberal laws" which stifle free speech in London.

Boris Johnson highlighted his policies on crime and housing, stating that Ken Livingstone's time was over.

You can read more about the launches on MayorWatch.

Most press covered the back and forth between the Mayor and Boris Johnson on launch day. As the FT says, Mr Livingstone:

...questioned Mr Johnson’s competence on issues such as transport, insisting the election was “not Celebrity Big Brother” and warning that “the stakes for the future of London are very high”.

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson:

...claimed the 62-year-old mayor, who has served two terms, was “too tired to be up to the challenge”, was “out of touch and had his day”, and “around whom the stench of corruption ... grows clearer each day”.

You can find the full article here, and a similar take from the Telegraph here.

Against this backdrop, Sian Berry jointly announced with Ken Livingstone that their backers should pick each other in their second preference votes, as reports the PA.

Given that Boris Johnson appears to have opened up at 12 point lead in the latest YouGov poll, this is a clever electoral strategy from Berry/Livingstone.

As can be seen from the 2004 results, there were only around 25,000 votes between the Green, Conservative and Labour second preference results (in that order) - if the Berry/ Livingstone strategy peels off a similar number of voters from Boris Johnson, then it may serve to deny him the top job and keep the incumbent in place.