What with the continued limp spectacle of the Brown government and, by contrast, the excitement and glamour of the US presidential primaries, British politics feels rather dull at the moment. So it is perhaps surprising that media interest in the upcoming London mayoral election has been so lacking. After all, one of the points of introducing direct elections for city mayors in Britain was to revitalise flagging interest in politics by introducing a direct link between voter and candidate. And this year, not only do we have two very charismatic and lively candidates in the form of Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson, but for the first time since the institution of mayor was introduced, Ken faces a serious challenge.
Indeed, according to the most recent proper poll (scroll down; the story at the top refers to private polling) Boris Johnson is actually now the clear favourite to become London’s mayor in May—an astonishing development, at least to those like me who find it inconceivable that a candidate like Johnson could attract serious levels of support across a city as diverse as London. And it’s clearly not only me, since despite this new poll, Livingstone remains the clear favourite in the betting markets. If you don’t want to wake up to a Mayor Johnson, it might be worth sticking a bob or two on him to sugar the pill should he manage to pull it off.