I have yet to vote in the London Mayoral elections. For the first one, in 2000, I wasn’t on the electoral register. Then, in 2004, although I had every intention of voting, I went out drinking after work with my future best man and came home too late and too drunk to participate. (This was particularly unfortunate as, earlier that day, I had delivered an impassioned plea to Lady Sane to use her vote – she had said that she wasn’t going to bother – on the grounds that we should not take our participatory rights for granted and that we have a responsibility to take part in the democratic process at all times. Ahem. So when I rolled in at around midnight slightly worse the wear having imbibed too many beers and – if I recall correctly – Long Island Iced Teas she wasn’t too impressed and has never let me forget it.)
Now, with fresh elections imminent on May 1st I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll take part in this one either, but this time because of something altogether more fundamental: I just don’t know who I could vote for. Realistically, it’s a two horse race between Ken and Boris (or the “Conservative candidate” as the Labour Party have been ordered to call him); I don’t think I’d even recognise any of the others.
Last time, I probably would have pinched my nose and voted for Ken, if only because the only other serious candidate was Steve Norris and I was never going to support him. But four years later this isn’t going to happen. I find a great deal of Livingstone’s politics offensive: his love-in with Hugo Chavez was revolting but even worse was the way he embraced – literally – the homophobic praiser of suicide bombers, Muslim extremist Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, then claimed that anyone critical of this was “anti-Islam”. Ken represents everything about the old left that I cannot stand – he has to go.
Which leaves Boris Johnson. It’s difficult not to like Boris isn’t it? He certainly amuses – see his appearances on Have I Got News For You – but do we really want a clown being mayor of London? Is this really my choice: quasi-communist or amiable Tory chump? Can I really bring myself to vote for a Conservative candidate?
Meanwhile, according to this website, my vote is best matched to the policies of Liberal Democrat candidate Brian Paddick.
I’ve no idea what I’m going to do on May 1st.