Sunday, 6 April 2008

Is Brian Paddick credible?

Up early this snowy morning to find Brian Paddick on Steve Richards' GMTV sofa. Paddick seems to be getting his act together, and seemed less wooden and flakey than in some previous appearances.

Paddick certainly speaks with authority on crime and policing. Anyone can see that he knows what he is talking about when he dismisses Boris Johnson's proposals on crime as pure fantasy. He will also collect plenty of gay support. But he loses all credibility for me when he tries to claim that Ken Livingstone has a poor track record as Mayor. I doubt if anyone really believes that.

Livingstone's flagship achievement has been the congestion charge. Is it not revealing that hardly any of the other candidates, not even Johnson, are now proposing to abolish it? They thus tacitly admit that he got the one big thing right, yet try to pretend that he has a poor track record. It doesn't make sense.

Paddick's problem is that it will be amazing if he is one of the top two on first preferences. I have yet to find anyone who seriously doubts that it will be Boris v. Ken. So really the only interesting question about Paddick is where his second preferences go when he is eliminated from the race. Steve Richards tried several times to press him on his own second preference, but he clearly felt he had to maintain the fiction that he thinks Johnson and Livingstone are both equally bad from his point of view, to such a degree that he proposes (so he claims) to waste his own vote by not using his second preference. Of course, politicians always have to pretend they are going to win, but this seems to me pretty absurd.

1 comment:

Neil Harding said...

I don't think it is a credible position, but party politics is a terrible game. The Lib Dem vote is splitting slightly towards Boris at the moment. I find this a surprise - but it shows you the power of the Evening Standard. Ken probably needs at least an even split to sneak it.

If you look at the policies on VoteMatch, Brian Paddick is much closer to Ken than Boris (sharing answers on 16 of the 25 questions, so it would make sense for Lib Dem second preferences to go for Ken.

Ken is nothing but a pragmatist, if the election is looking lost, I suspect he will approach Paddick behind the scenes and offer him a high profile job. The problem is the Lib Dems might veto any deal for fear of losing their Tory leaning voters.

At the moment their sitting on the fence routine is working in not alienating either group, but in the interests of London, it would be good if they decide to stop Boris.