People I speak to are shocked by Brian Paddick's descent into vulgar abuse against Ken Livingstone. Paddick called Livingstone "a really nasty little man ... very unpleasant".
This may or may not be what he actually thinks, but to say it publicly smacks of desperation. Presumably he thought he was trying to woo Tory voters who already hate Ken but think Boris is an idiot. But it is an inadvertent admission of defeat - a recognition by Paddick that he is not going to be running Livingstone or Johnson close.
Suppose these 3 candidates were getting roughly equal scores of about 30% of first preferences each. One might then see the following scenario, with the three only narrowly separated:
In that event, Paddick would need Livingstone's second preferences in order to beat Johnson in the second count. He is hardly likely to get many of them by being gratuitously abusive towards those voters' first preference. Paddick surely cannot be so deluded as to think he is going to win outright on first preferences, so he must have concluded that his campaign is failing to lift his score anywhere near towards the other two.
It looks so far as if, despite his heavy emphasis on the crime issue (which the polls keep telling us is people's number one concern and which is a subject he is uniquely qualified to address), he is not managing to expand much beyond the core Lib Dem support of 15% first preferences that Simon Hughes got in 2004.
Meanwhile, presumably Paddick's comments will have the effect, if any, of deterring his existing core supporters from putting Ken Livingstone as their second preference. So the net outcome of all this is simply to make it more likely that Boris Johnson will win. It's all rather depressing.