Barely has the dust settled on Londoners’ last rush to the polling stations (alright, we might be over-stating matters ever so slightly), but work is already underway in the two main party machines, and by LibDems where they have some spare cash and aren’t entirely embarrassed, on the next election: next year’s London Mayoral and London Assembly votes.
The always insightful Dave Hill, The Grauniad‘s London blogosphere correspondent, has posted today identifying London’s Boris v Ken clash as a forerunner of how the next national election is likely to shape up, as a battle for the middle ground, a contest for the middle classes.
“Livingstone’s new campaign website too stresses that the 2012 election will be ‘Londoners’ chance to send a mid-term message to the Conservatives’. But ensuring that such a message takes the form of votes for him will require Ken doing exactly what his leader stressed at the weekend: winning back the middle-class. Of course, it’s not only about that. A post-2008 survey by Ipsos MORI showed that a lot of white working-class voters preferred the ‘Tory toff’ to a man of the same ethnicity and background as them. We all know about how Boris tapped into suburban discontent. The ‘Tell Ken’ visits to boroughs – Enfield is today’s destination – seek to dispel perceptions of arrogance and disconnection.
“There’s also the large ‘had his time’ factor to overcome – Ken would look silly if he tried a full make-over, but he needs to impress as fully-refreshed and offering more than only opposition to ‘the cuts’.”
And if Hill’s analysis is correct, then as Inside Croydon observed nine months ago, the people of Croydon, a key battleground for the middle ground, can expect to see a great deal more of Boris and Ken in the coming months.
- Boris gets tough on expenses claims: will O’Connell be next? (insidecroydon.wordpress.com)
- London Living Wage: a message from the Mayor (guardian.co.uk)
- Ken Livingstone: I’m a great uniting figure (blogs.telegraph.co.uk)