Boris Johnson finally announced in unequivocal terms on LBC radio this morning that he will, after all, be seeking the Conservative party nomination to stand for a second term as London Mayor.
Now whether Boris ultimately wins the election or not, the short-term effect could be good news for the city and outer London boroughs like Croydon.
It’s just a theory, mind. But consider this:
Last month, we tried to explain the flurry of political activity going on in the borough, with seemingly almost daily visits and photo ops with senior national figures, including Deputy PM Nick “Finger On The Button” Clegg and Ed Balls, as well as Mayoral candidates Oooona, Boris and Ken.
Croydon is now seen as a political battleground for the next four years. As Livingstone has admitted, he miscalculated in 2008 and did not pay enough attention to outer London boroughs, such as Croydon. At the last Mayoral election, 50,000 Croydoners voted for Boris (sigh), to just 35,000 for Ken.
But why is Boris’s decision to stand good for Croydon now?
- Dave Hill, The Guardian‘s London blogger-in-chief, had pointed out Boris’s untrammelled ambition (he really wants to be PM ahead of his Old Etonian fag, Call Me Dave).
- Without Boris, the Tories would effectively be handing London back to Labour on a very well-butlered silver salver.
- Boris can only really make a fight of London if several high-profile, and costly, schemes are properly implemented.
- Less than two weeks ago, the papers ran stories of Johnson’s threat to Cameron to resign over Government cuts to London schemes.
- And now, after months of speculation, Boris confirms that he will stand for Mayor again.
So, could some sort of “deal” accommodation have been done with the Tory party to persuade Boris to run for Mayor of London again?
Cynically, you have to consider that it is a strong possibility. After all, if the ConDem Government’s cuts undermine Boris’s Mayoral re-election chances, there’d be little point in him standing at all. The view is that Boris’s massive political ego won’t allow him to take an unnecessary political kicking.
And if that is the case, then maybe, just maybe, public spending in London – and Croydon – and therefore the local economies as well, will get a degree of insulation from the worst of Chancellor Gideon Osborne’s austerity measures over the next couple of years.
This could all, of course, be either overly cynical or too much wishful thinking, or a fatal combination of both.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t find out this morning because LBC’s resident “shock jock” Nick Ferrari was so cosy and uncritical of Boris that it made you grateful that it was all going on on radio. The image of Ferrari drooling over the blond biker was too horrible to contemplate.