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Who gets the last laugh?

Nick Robinson | 01:00 UK time, Saturday, 3 May 2008

johnsoncameron_pa_226.jpgBoris - Mayor of London? What a joke, it was said. I confess that that is what I thought when first told that he was thinking of running. So much so that when I broke the story I didn't take it seriously enough to argue that it should appear on the main news bulletins.

Well, tonight the joke is on those who didn't believe that the blonde bombshell from Henley could ever unseat the man who saw off Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair to become Mr London.

This is the first significant Tory election victory since 1992. Boris is the first Conservative to wield significant political power since John Major's defeat. What's more he is doing it in the most visible place of all - the capital city. As someone who is a friend of Dave (as he calls him) Cameron, Boris must know that his performance as Mayor could help determine whether people will take the risk of electing an untried and untested man to be their Prime Minister in two years time.

In a well judged act of generosity Boris used his victory speech to pay tribute to the man he beat as "a very considerable public servant" and to acknowledge that many who had voted for him had found their pencils wavering above the ballot paper.

Ken returned the compliment by offering to help Boris. He did an equally big favour to Gordon Brown by saying that the responsibility for his defeat lay with him and him alone.

Labour hope that Boris will prove incapable of doing the job and that this will expose David Cameron too.

The future of British politics will be profoundly affected by who gets the last laugh - Boris or those who think he'll be a joke as Mayor.

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    Its time for a change. Labour is tired, and needs a long rest.

  • Comment number 2.

    As much as I didn't want Boris to win I would rather he did a good job than do badly just to sabotage the tories. If Labour really want him to fail it just shows how bad party politics is.

  • Comment number 3.

    I now regret sniggering at the election to a position of power of another ridiculous walking cliche as a result of the cult of celebrity and smugly stating "only in America". At least 'Arnie' reflects an aspect of American/Californian ethos: working hard to become the best in whatever field you chose.
    Take a minute to think how 'Boris' is going to represent London, England and the UK to the world.

  • Comment number 4.

    People forgot that Boris is actually bright, even if he has acted the buffoon. He attended Oxford, where he was president of the union, and you don't get buffoons winning that. Look at his early history - he looks better than many other politicians

  • Comment number 5.

    Come on Nick - stop giving it the Labour spin. Ok, Boris is a bit of a clown (we've all seen him on HIGNFY) but isn't the electorate telling us something?

    I prefer exuberance over incompetence any day of the week.





  • Comment number 6.

    I wanted Ken to win. He was Mr London who was driven to improve London's public transport.

    And it's a shame that he won't be able to see through what he started with the Olympics.

    A very clever, witty move in order to acquire massive investment funds for his city from the government. He did his job as Mayor, and instead of being commended for it - he's been replaced as a result of our bitterness towards Labour nationally, and been replaced by somebody who from his appearance or propaganda does not offer a single hope that would enable us to trust him to run the capital hot dog stand, let alone the capital city.

  • Comment number 7.

    No matter what your background, no matter what your accent, no matter what mistakes you have made previously, you can re-invent yourself and become the Mayor of London.......Ken proved that!... What a truely wonderful country!

  • Comment number 8.

    Both Boris and Ken gave very honourable and generous speeches and there seems to be genuine respect between them - it would be great if they can put the partisan politics to one side and work together.

    I like the way they and the other candidates walked off the stage when the BNP candidate stepped forward to make his speech.

    One thing no-one has pointed out is that Livingstone got 50% more votes than in either of his two previous mayoral elections - compare and contrast with the local elections where Labour were generally shipping votes everywhere. He may have lost the election, but he is still probably Labour's most electable asset. Will they select him to run against Boris next time round? Will he want to?

  • Comment number 9.

    This is a disappointing blow for Labour but my first reaction is to let Boris have his moment in the sun and not worry about it. I’m sure a lot of Labour politicians will be spitting nails and feel very unhappy but this is just sourness and gets in the way. The Zen Buddhist strategy for dealing with this is literally just to drop it. That’s it. No think tanks required.

    I note those on the political extremes who call for tolerance and patience, or opportunity and sharing tend to implement these things only on their terms and only in their favour. This is a mistaken approach. It just fuels the contrary and partisan, or narrow minded and greedy approach typical of the worst left/right split.

    The mob wanted their king and got their king. Gordon Brown would be mistaken to fight Boris but a strategy that brings corporate arrogance to heel and invests in creating genuine opportunities for people at the bottom would be a good long-term strategy. This would win over the rest of the country and drain Boris’ powerbase in the City.

    Time to dig up the spirit of John Smith?

  • Comment number 10.

    Having worked with Boris before, I know he is a very smart, very "on-the-ball" man and I look forward to him governing London over the next four years.

    As an aside (in reference to the poster above) - he might not be there come the Olympics ... the London 2012 Games are scheduled to take place 3 months after the next Mayoral elections!

  • Comment number 11.

    I've always looked on Boris as something of a buffoon, but surely he could never have got where has has without some kind of intelligence underneath? It'll be interesting to see how much of his public image is merely him acting the fool.

    Ken Livingston has had 8 years in office, and I think it's probably time to see a new face as mayor, especially one who has a good deal more charisma. As to the substance behind it, we'll have to wait and see, but I'm willing to give Boris the benefit of the doubt for now.

  • Comment number 12.

    After the local election results it was on the cards that Boris would do well. Yes he is well known by everyone in the country but regardless of the celebrity status of Boris, the candidate that people have voted for is a representative of the Conservative party.
    You don't vote for someone because you like them but not like what they stand for. Boris is Conservative to the core and he will be fully backed by the Conservative party machine and David Cameron.
    After Tony Blair and now Gordon Brown is it possible to be any worse at representing our capital city and country?
    I don't think so!
    Well done Boris and good luck!

  • Comment number 13.

    I'm pretty sure you are factually incorrect in saying that Livingstone "saw off Margaret Thatcher"...please explain because my recollection is that Thatcher utterly destroyed Livingstone, the archaic left wing of the labour party, much as Boris has done.

  • Comment number 14.

    Those who will not give Boris a chance are guilty of this conceit:

    "A shallow salesman"

    Congratulations, Gordon Brown - you just alienated the whole of the private sector.

    When will this dithering incompetent prime minister realise that the 'shallow salesmen' who represent the whole of the private sector are trying to pay the wages of the public sector.

    No 'shallow salesman' has the same kind of shallow disrespect for hard working public sector employees that this dithering incompetent prime minister shows for the people who ultimately pay for his salary and his future pension.

    The utter conceit of these people is beyond belief. Where do they think the money comes from?

  • Comment number 15.

    Things can only get better...



    Here's to Boris!

  • Comment number 16.

    "They say he is shortly off to the Congo. No doubt the AK47s will fall silent, and the pangas will stop their hacking of human flesh, and the tribal warriors will all break out in watermelon smiles to see the big white chief touch down in his big white British taxpayer-funded bird."

    Boris Johnson, Telegraph, 0/01/2002.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2002/01/10/do1002.xml

    "Men in general judge by their eyes rather than by their hands; because everyone is in a position to watch, few are in a position to come in close touch with you. Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are".

    Niccolo Machiavelli.

  • Comment number 17.

    Nick> Well, tonight the joke is on those who didn't believe that the blonde bombshell from Henley could ever unseat the man who saw off Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair to become Mr London.

    Unless Boris has had a sex-change I'm unaware of, the word is "blond".

  • Comment number 18.

    When will this dithering incompetent prime minister realise that the 'shallow salesmen' who represent the whole of the private sector are trying to pay the wages of the public sector.

    No 'shallow salesman' has the same kind of shallow disrespect for hard working public sector employees that this dithering incompetent prime minister shows for the people who ultimately pay for his salary and his future pension.


    I note that the anti-Gordon mob damn him if he spends money on services and damn him if he cuts money to services. This contrarian smear has been core to the Conservative campaign.

    Boris Johnson got in an a public smile and 'off the books' sneer. It was exactly the same sort of strategy followed by George W. Bush. He may have won but damned his own soul in the process.

    You cannot build an empire on blood. This trick proves the Tories still don't get it and remain unfit for government. They're just too short-term and self-serving. This is immoral and always ends badly.
  • Comment number 19.

    Well done Boris and the rest of the Conservative team in London. To say the result is about National politics could be true . Would that it were 45% of voters turned out Nationally and voted in the same trend as Thursday , that would show Brown exactly what the country thinks of his stewardship .

    On a Londoncentric issue I hope exmayor Livingstone is a big enough man to take up Boris's offer of a position within the Mayrol higherarchy . Love Ken or loathe himthose years of experience can't be let go to waste for the sake of party politics.As for Paddick ? He can become one of the extra coppers on the streets we are promised .

    London voted , London expects results .

  • Comment number 20.

    What a joke! Boris Johnson the newly crowned Mayor of London!

    All the "Great" work Tony Blair and Alastair Campbell have done has finished. In my view Gordon Brown is finished!

    Once we have further investigations into the Saudi Arms deals which nobody has mentioned recently, then Mr.Bean will be packing his bags.

    But don't get me wrong I'm a Liberal voter and must admit If the conservative gains are going to be made profitable then I think the public would like to know maybe just one conservative policy!

    Cameron= total spin, no substance!


    Can anyone even you Nick tell us one Conservative policy???

    Takes a bit of thinking dosen't it!

  • Comment number 21.

    Boris Johnson London Mayor = The lunatic has taken over the asulym!

    I'm gonna crawl back into my padded room and take the nice sweeties the kind lady has given me!

    I'll give him a few weeks until he puts his foot in it!

    He actually looked worried when the winner was declared because the reality had sunk in! He'd won, now he's got to be serious for a change!

  • Comment number 22.

    Well, we will see if that expensive and expansive Eton education is worth all the money...

    And, of course, YouGov get there results right, they are psephologist, not statisticians. All that studying of pebbles always gives them the edge over the cruncheads.

    You have to feel for Red Ken though: the "fare's fare" true red Londoner brought down by a Scott dropping a 10p tax.

    I bet he's at home listening to his 1978 Jilted John (Shuttleworth) single, after three, "I've been going out with a girl, her name is Julie..."

  • Comment number 23.

    "I note that the anti-Gordon mob damn him if he spends money on services "

    But he doesn't spend it on services, that's the point. He spends it on paper pushers.

  • Comment number 24.

    The election of this half wit public school toff bodes ill for Mr Brown. Like Caesar's Seer warning of the Ides of March I propose to set out a 10 point plan to save Labour at the next general. Readers please note the absence of New. Step 1 Apologise quietly for illegal war.Brown has been deafening in his silence on the matter. Step 2 Tax the alleged non domiciles till they stop leeching the state. Step 3 Abolish faith schools and recognise religion is dangerous nonsense that should be consigned to the rubbish heap of the past. Further steps will follow at appropriate intervals.

  • Comment number 25.

    @invisibleMorrissey - Better a foot in the mouth than the snout in the Public trough, I'd say !! St. Boris was said to have executed a few dissenting Boyars when he Christianised his country. Perhaps this Boris will wipe out the cronyism that is alleged to be rife at City Hall !!

    Perhaps he can hang on to Lee Jasper for a little while more before hanging him out to swing in the wind !!

  • Comment number 26.

    Oh joy. Boris can be Britain's answer to Dan Quayle. Only in Big Brother watching, beer swilling, baseball cap wearing, 4 by 4 driving illiterate Britain. Is this the best that Eton can turn out. Give me Eric Blair any day of the week.

  • Comment number 27.

    Victory to Boris, but did the Evening Standard get paid (or unpaid) by the Conservative Party to run the most negatively biased and prolonged campaign against Ken Livingston? As London's only paid evening newspaper, I was surprised at the sustained negative coverage pointedly aimed at attaching the image of Ken Livingston. This evening paper tried to insert anti-Boris articles now and again to show "non-bias" but this was just an unethical fig-leaf.

    I hope others will declare that even in democracies, where the media have a quasi-monopoly, that political coverage ought to be truly "fair". I shall not buy the Evening Standard again but will have to thole Boris Johnston being London's mayor - the "Toff's placeman", for the foreceable future.

  • Comment number 28.

    So, from the BBC website front page picture, it looks like Toffs United win the cup!

    If I were David Cameron, I would now be ringing every half way capable senior Tory poilitician and Central Office apparatchik and begging them - begging them - to go and work with the clown in City Hall so that this doesn't become an electoral liability...

  • Comment number 29.

    The real tragedy here is that so many people in London saw the only way to protest about Labour was to vote for someone whose only track record is to open his mouth to change feet! Let's face it a three legged donkey would have got elected. What is interesting is what happens next. Unless Boris is a puppet with someone else pulling his strings as well as a buffoon London is in for real problems at a time when it needs strong leadership. In a country where the media has created almost total cynicism towards all politicians we are about to find out what happens when it falls apart. Good luck London, you very sucessfully gave labour a kicking - now you have to live with your actions. The last laugh may be on you.

  • Comment number 30.

    Yes labour is spent, but life long Labour supporters voting for the Tories? What stops a protest vote going Lib Dem?

  • Comment number 31.

    Anyone who really belives Boris is just an upper class, ignorant buffoon has clearly never made any effort to find out about the real man behind the public persona.

    The Boris we all laugh at on HIGNFY is an act. You don't get the jobs he's had, make the money he's made and generally 'be Boris' by being genuinly stupid.

  • Comment number 32.

    Boris has got many talents but I wonder about his capacity for slogging through some of the boring stuff which comes with this type of office. I will be surprised if he completes a term and amazed if he wins a second. But I wish him well. Ken had passed his sell by date.

  • Comment number 33.

    They said Alex Salmond could never be Scotlands first minister.They were wrong.They then said he would be a disaster as First Minister.They were wrong again.I suspect Boris Johnson is about to similarly confound his detractors.Good luck Boris!

  • Comment number 34.

    A fool who has read the classics will do better than one who has not.

  • Comment number 35.

    StrBoris Day! thus a miraculous (joke?) appearance by Disraeli in the sky above High Wycombe! (http://bishopalan.blogspot.com/2008/05/disraeli-in-sky-with-diamonds.html%29

  • Comment number 36.

    I voted for Ken, simply because I think he has worked his socks off and done a decent job over the last eight years.

    While I don't think it is likely that Boris will do a particularly good job, one thing does hearten me. It is good to see that a slightly maverick politician with character and who has pretty much avoided blanding-down has managed to get elected. I hope it is a trend that continues.

  • Comment number 37.

    What a mean spirited group of losers the Labour posters to this blog have turned out to be.

    Boris won, he received 53% of the vote to Kens 47%, so stop moaning and deal with it.

    I did not vote for either Ken or Boris, however, as my own Liberal Democrats performed so badly I tip my hat to Boris for getting rid of Ken.

    Labour and Ken have been a disaster for London, I look forward to a new chapter in the political history of our capital.

  • Comment number 38.

    LondonCeasar, I thought you might like to know that Eric Blair went to Eaton but keep you Apidistra Flying anyway!.

  • Comment number 39.

    I think Boris will be great for London. At last a man who knows how to MAKE money and not just how to spend someone elses.

    This country has been held to ransom for too long by people who call spending our money an "investment". They are financial bulemics who gorge themselves on our money and then spew it away.

  • Comment number 40.

    Boris is no joke I have never heard a politician give such a nice victory speech Boris showed that he is not from the nasty breed that have taken over government If Gordon Brown wants to find a role model then he should ask his MP.s to Follow Boris.Maybe its to much to ask but if we can get away from sleaze and spin and just plain talking like Boris we might just get a decent Government. Well done Boris you have shown that you are more than a clown you are a gentleman.

  • Comment number 41.

    Who gets the last laugh? Boris of course as it would always need someone of special ability to unseat Ken 'the special one' Livingstone. Ken throughout his career from West Norwood to London Mayor has made an art form of being able to say what most people want to hear, but doing exactly the opposite. Those who've come across him either hate him or love him because of this trickiness, and I'm glad that he is now finally off the gravy train that he has milked for years. Well done Boris, build a good team and as an ex-Londoner from Ken's backyard West Norwood, I hope you have a very successful four years in rectifying the problems that abound in London.

  • Comment number 42.

    This is probably te best news Brown has had this year. At last there is a Conservative politician with some responsibility for what happens in the real world, and I find it difficult to see BoJo (HIGNFY last night) as a safe pair of hands. If I was Cameron I think I'd be worried.

  • Comment number 43.

    To those who voted for the crazeeee blond fop -

    OMFG, What have you done?

  • Comment number 44.

    brilliant...brown's best chance of election victory is for the public to see what a complete mess the clown makes of the job of mayor...at least when hartlepool elected the mascot hangus he could take off his monkey suit...boris is who he is...LOL at you London...:)

  • Comment number 45.

    Nick says (deep sigh) "The future of British politics will be profoundly affected by who gets the last laugh .."

    No, that is not correct at all.

    The Scots and Welsh could not care less who is running London.

    They know that it is {part of} another country.

    How long will it take before the politically apathetic English cotton on?

  • Comment number 46.

    Furthermore, Jack Straw says that the Government would get behind Londoners' decision at the polls.

    That is completely untrue.

    At every turn over the next two years, the Government will do all within its power to ensure that Boris Johnson is a disaster as Mayor, in the hope that this will reflect badly on the Tories competence.

    I am afraid that is Party Politics for you, very tribal and completely destructive.

  • Comment number 47.

    Well done Boris!

    Good speech too: In victory magnaminity.

    (Ken's speech was gracious too - credit where it's due.)

    All in all, it's been a good couple of days for Britain and for London.

    (Plus, the delightful bonus of the thought of Polly Toynbee and her ilk stewing in their rancorous juices for the foreseeable future).

  • Comment number 48.

    After 8 years of ruling the roost KL was beginning to think himself invulnerable and beyond criticism.
    He did not listen and started to believe his own ego centric propaganda. What ever your political complexion this is a sure sign of a career going into decay; at least in a democracy.
    If BJ is to learn anything he needs to learn that while London is vast, diverse, multi layered and multi cultural (even BJ grandfather was Turkish as far as I am aware);
    London is principally a commercial centre whose grinding wheels, ethnic diversity and infrastructure creates a large amount of wealth for those living or working within in as well as the UK at large.
    We don’t need a politician as much we need a manager who can effectively manage this big machine for the greater good

  • Comment number 49.

    I feel physically sick.

  • Comment number 50.

    Well done Sian Berry and the Greens for stopping BNP coming in the top four.

  • Comment number 51.

    Re #16

    Finally I see the quote used against Johnson. "watermelon smiles"

    Anyone ever heard of sarcasm? Or is it too complicated a subject for Labour voters to understand?

  • Comment number 52.

    As long as I'm alive, Ken will never be his own worst enemy.

    But his concession speech wasn't just the most gracious thing I've heard from him. It was the first time since that awful day in May 1997 when the Great Impostor came to power that a Labour politician has admitted responsibility for anything.

    Last night he showed himself a bigger man than he ever managed during his eight years in power.

    The fact that Boris was almost as gracious and big-hearted in victory was an added bonus.

    What other city on earth could produce two such characters? Never thought Livingstone could make me feel proud to be British. He managed it last night.

  • Comment number 53.

    Now we can look forward to Brown and his fellow incompetents making Boris Johnston's governance of London as difficult as they can,just as they try to do in Scotland. Hopefully, as in Scotland they will be facing an opponent with more integrity and will in his little finger than Brown has in his whole body.The fact is that the populace is so sickened by the Labour party that with any luck,at the next election it will be consigned to history for ever.

  • Comment number 54.

    BTW if anyone thinks Boris will be good for London, wait until you're queuing three rows deep for tiny Routemaster buses stuck behind dozens of huge 4x4s while the train and underground services fall apart...

  • Comment number 55.

    I think the joke is on the population of London, actually. What a shame - Ken is a great loss.

  • Comment number 56.

    Living in Yorkshire I don't really care that much who won Lord Mayor of London.

    However well done Boris, it was time for a change Labour is well past it's sell by date.

  • Comment number 57.

    Well done Boris!
    Boris is a refreshingly natural, unspun politician who has bags of character - something too often missing these days. We have got so used to our sanitised, over-marketed, branded, current public figures that we are at risk of forgetting what an un-PR'd version looks like.

    His victory speech was generous to a fault and he finished by saying he was going for a pint! Totally believable.

    Anyone who thinks he's a clown should read some of his books. Yes, Boris is great on HIGNFY - so is William Hague. It is possible for a politician to have both a sense of humour and brains.

    I wish Boris all the very best.

  • Comment number 58.

    'You don't vote for someone because you like them but not like what they stand for.'

    I think this is debatable. Reading through many threads on the forums, the Labour disastrous results seem to lie on a mistrust for what Brown, Hartmann, Cooper etc. are saying. It would seem that on this occasion, personalities were taken into account: the British voted against the disliked personality of Gordon Brown and in London, for the exuberant personality of Boris Johnson who seems to give a breadth of freshness. People decided to give him the benefit of the doubt.

    It is now up to Boris Johnson and his party to ensure that his popularity does not decline (do not convert gold into lead like the French President Sarkozy did) while his programme promises are respected and deliver. This is where what they stand for counts.

    Bearing in mind that the sell by date of politicians is no more than 4 years, it gives Boris a chance to prove his competences but also to spend all his fresh energy on his programme. Unfortunately, like most of the politicians, long-term power had started to cloud Ken's vision.

  • Comment number 59.

    Congratulations to Boris, but someone had to do the job!

    People had just had enough of Labour and Ken Livingstone and wanted change, Labour especially looked tired and jaded just like their policies appearing to lead nowhere, look at the U turns.... needing advisor's on this and that is no way to run a government.

    When as reported if true, that Ken Livingstone said he wasn't interested in the Olympics he was only interested in the 'prosperity' gain makes you wonder what sort of leader is that, especially with the escalating cost that no one dares mention.

    What is a government that listens after an election when they ought to be listening before an election...

    .... all hype, too much spin, I'm always right, manipulated target figures and crime statistics.

    Are you listening David and Boris - we're saying we've had enough, get the message!


  • Comment number 60.

    What a hideous embarrassment for Londoners this is.

    I know people were bored with Ken but to elect an unreconstructed Thatcherite to rule our city... have people forgotten so quickly how destructive her policies were?

    We now look forward to chaos on the roads, public transport fares sky-rocketing, divisive policies and the Capital's silverware sold off to the lowest bidder. London is a fat cats' party pad once more...

  • Comment number 61.

    "03 May 2008, Charles_E_Hardwidge wrote:

    I note that the anti-Gordon mob damn him if he spends money on services and damn him if he cuts money to services. This contrarian smear has been core to the Conservative campaign."





    Brown's big problem is that the New Labour strategy has largely been to throw money at things without really thinking or spending wisely (just so long as the arbitrary "targets" were met).

    They could get away with that in a period of record breaking global boom.

    But now they are having to pay the piper and basically have choices of some how trying to maintain spending in a much less favourable environment (largely by raising tax yet further everywhere). Or make cuts to investment that wasn't well spent in the first place (potentially leaving a very implosive situation where they do).



    Add this to pure middle ground electioneering at the expense of core voters (the 10p Tax band), as well as pretending inflation is lower than it is to basically give yearly PAY CUTS on top of that, and it's no wonder Labour is floundering around.

    Presently there also seems to be no way out for them, so completely have they become trapped in a mire of their own making.

  • Comment number 62.

    get real should go to coventry!

  • Comment number 63.

    Will no-one REALLY get the point of these elections?
    We have FINALLY seen the true legacy of Tony Blair and can rejoice at the ashes of New Labour with its cynical manipulation of facts and peoples lives,
    Good for Boris, and as to Livingstone having been GOOD for London??
    Please!

  • Comment number 64.

    I like both Boris and Ken, the public out there have sent a message to all the major parties, stop hiding behind spin and get out there and be accessable to the people!

    They are both outspoken, both have made mistakes in the public eye, both have learnt from them and become stronger for it.

    Good old fashioned politicians at their best, providing well constructed arguments to win over the voters.

    Brian Paddick showed no such grace and intiative, and the voters spoke loud and clear about him.

    Well done Boris and Ken, I never doubted you both for a second, lets hope you have inspired more politicians to come out and not be afraid to tell it like it is!

  • Comment number 65.

    Nick, remind us cause we have already forgotten what Boris will be changing. Did he say he would abolish the Congestion Charge? cause some are saying that they voted for him to get rid of this charge! I wonder who will be having the last laugh!

  • Comment number 66.

    Commiserations to the BNP - beaten by the Greens! What a joke!

  • Comment number 67.

    I'm all for punishing parties that don't deliver, but this mass lurch towards the Tories just highlights how clueless most voters in this country are.

    People moan about boom and bust economics but it seems like we're heading towards boom and bust politics. So the Tories win the next general election, have their honeymoon period, then the public gradually realises that they are as powerless as Labour are to shield this tiny island from the global economy. Then the Tories get booted out and we start all over again with a so-called rejuvenated Labour party.

    Totally boring. When are we going to change our political system and get rid of this ongoing and ineffective cat fight between two or three parties that half the country can't even bring themselves to vote for?

  • Comment number 68.

    Brown's big problem is that the New Labour strategy has largely been to throw money at things without really thinking or spending wisely (just so long as the arbitrary "targets" were met).

    Add this to pure middle ground electioneering at the expense of core voters (the 10p Tax band), as well as pretending inflation is lower than it is to basically give yearly PAY CUTS on top of that, and it's no wonder Labour is floundering around.


    The NHS targets largely met their objective and have helped raise the overall quality of outcome, and the money has largely gone on increased doctors and nurses pay. To some degree the poor perception is driven more by staff not seeing the bigger picture and getting greedy.

    I would agree that effective inflation his higher but profit hungry corporations are clever at finding ways to edge prices up. Some years ago I quit my telephone company over the net cost to me going up when they tried to tell me the price was going down. And they’re still at it.

    Both business and public have to accept their part in asset stripping and consumerism. Labour got pilloried for taking this on. Now Britain is hollowed out and bankrupt Labour is getting pilloried for giving people what they asked for. Perhaps, Gordon should just rule and be damned.

    All hail Blessed Leader!
  • Comment number 69.

    When Gordon became PM I and some friendes became worried; we found ourselves agreeing with him! We thought it wouldn't last though believing he would revert to type eventually and so it has proved. The surprise however is how quickly he and his party have begun to implode. Every generation must suffer the effects of a Labour government to appreciate two things. First, Labour believes government can spend our money better than we can, hence the huge tax burden with little tangiable improvement for those paying them. Second, they kill enterprise; look at CGT and the fiasco over the 10p tax rate. The effect of the Local and London Mayoral elections is that we have a PM never elected and now without a proper mandate to govern. He bottled the decision about his much trawled election and is going the same way as james Callaghan. I don't doubt Gordon Brown himself believes what he says and therein lies the rub. His arrogance is so complete even he is beginning to believe his own publicity. The people have spoken Mr Brown; please call a General Election and lets cut our losses.

  • Comment number 70.

    I don't think there is any case for laughter at all. This feels like a reactionary vote for extremism which sends a shudder down my spine. Thanks for everything Ken and thanks for your consideration. It was good having a mayor who sought to make London inclusive. That time is over now I fear

  • Comment number 71.

    Suggestion for Boris, and B.
    The promise to deal with congestion and revenue.
    Resolve congestion charges, CO2 emissions, and cut a tumour off the body electorate, putting the parasitic divisive plunder force to decent work, by stopping; barking for parking, and chasing stationary vehicles to create CO2, and allow people to be their own judges of whether they can tolerate congestion, by staying away. By simply raising the tax on petrol, while easing the congestion by encouraging people to stay parked free. The change over can be adjusted to match precisely the dual easing with the fuel taxing.
    Problem, you will need co-operation of someone caught in his own PR spin drama. “I am paid to listen and lead”. Why is he even speaking then? Listening means being quiet? Never mind if it is too difficult, the next sentence is true, the previous sentence is false. “We need a bill o'frights, and must cut out spin”.

  • Comment number 72.

    Who is the man in the dark suit who seems anxious to be included in all today's pictures of the new Mayor? It looks like Nicholas Parsons, but I'm not sure.

  • Comment number 73.

    Someone suggested sending poster getreal to Coventry - please - we don't want him.

    I was delighted to see an election of personalities - probably the only two politicians in the country known by their christian names. And to try and ban the use of the name Boris ! What will the thought police come up with next ?

  • Comment number 74.

    Boris will be good for London, it's unlikely (even with his connections to the boss) that he'll bend entirely to the dictates of the party machine. He's funny, intelligent and a little risky, but, I think that's what we need right now.

  • Comment number 75.

    Boris can do it!

    This week the Thames Valley Police reported that crime in the Henley area was down by 18% over last year, and violent crime and criminal damage down by a masive 55%.

    This follows a Safer Henley campaign led by Boris folllowing a rise in late night crime and a violent death on the streets of Henley.

    The efforts of Boris and local campaigners led to more police visibility at the right places and right times, better monitoring and quicker reaction to CCTV - with results!

  • Comment number 76.

    I know you wrote this very early in the morning, but is Boris really a "blonde bombshell"? (He still looked like a bloke last night...) And, Nick, in the UK people don't run for election, they stand.

  • Comment number 77.

    I see Charles-E-H is in full flow again! Always entertaining.

    Lots of people saying Ken was an excellent mayor and an excellent character. In that case, do you support his connections with certain regimes and extremists?

    As for Boris, give the man a chance. I prefer a politician who speaks his mind, considering that many of his comments have popular support, but we can't upset the PC brigade, can we?

    Gordon Brown will be praying that Boris makes a mess of things, but the man is shrewder that that. And after all, it is not he who is taxing the living daylights out of the British taxpayer.

  • Comment number 78.

    Heavens - it is nice to know that justice is doled out in a even handed fashion. Boris Johnson can do no wrong - except he has - done wrong.

    So we lose Ken and cronies and get MP Boris and his take on how to run London. Except it will be Boris's cronies - be afraid - be very afraid.

    Language is fascinating isn't it?

    David Cameron - classmate of this pariah - er - parish - said Mr Johnson's success in the Mayoral election was "spectacular"!

    Not good for London and Londoners - spectacular!

    Oh dear - oh dear. More royalty.

    Subject: Labour May Day massacre
    Anagram: Bar assume Cad royal - May

  • Comment number 79.

    I like Boris as a person. He is a genuine character. But ...

    I'm not from London so didn't see any of the debates but from what I read today he had virtually nothing to say.

    Bendy-Buses seemed to be his main policy. Is this what really perusaded the people of London to vote for him.

    The main issue is British politics is that the electorate always think that people who currently have power are idiots and we'd be so much better with the other lot. We had it in 1997 and we've got it again now. But there's never any substance to back it up.

    I'm no big Labour fan and they have plenty of problems but personally at the moment I despair at the fact that, instead of Labour, the British people think that a bunch of privileged Old Etonians who have never had a 'real' job in their lives are a much better alternative. How exactly are these people supposed to relate to the issue affecting the vast majority of people in this county. Don't forget it is the "Old Etonian" types of this world who went into banking instead of politics who thought it was a good idea to lend lots of money to people who can't afford it to repay it.

    David Cameron is as much a 'Policy Free Zone' as Boris but people feel they can relate to him because of his slick PR machine. His live is as much detached from the ordinary British person as it is possible to be.

    Unfortuately nothing will change as the current system suits the Big 2 and they know that eventually the British public will fall out of love with the current holders of power and elect the other side.

  • Comment number 80.

    When Gordon became PM I and some friendes became worried; we found ourselves agreeing with him! We thought it wouldn't last though believing he would revert to type eventually and so it has proved. The surprise however is how quickly he and his party have begun to implode.


    Labour isn't imploding. They're crouching before they pounce.

    All hail Blessed Leader!
  • Comment number 81.

    I am so happy Boris won the London election....For anyone who spouted the rubbish that he was a 'clown' and that he was 'bumberling fool' you can all write Boris a PERSONAL message of apology....the guy is no fool...he is a heavy weight.
    I hate the way people presume that he is a Pratt based on the bias view that he came from a privileged background.....who cares is he went to Eaton.....so what if he went to oxford.....that doesnt mean he is not aware of today’s issues....if anything its a sign of a highly educated man....so anyone judging him based on these superficial presumptions you should be ashamed...

    It was time for a change anyway....although Ken did a good job it was his arrogance which let him down....how mighty are the fallen.

    I wish Boris the best of luck. x

  • Comment number 82.

    This a crunch time for Tories.

    If Boris does well, maybe the Tories can win the next election.

    But if Boris does badly, it could be the end of Tories for good.

    Let's hope it's the latter.

  • Comment number 83.

    Lets hope Boris is successful , his appointment I suspect will be bad for London but great for the rest of us because this should be be the kick up the backside that the labour party needed and even more so the brat pack rebels. The rebells are the best weapon the tories have they love them, it makes me cringe whenever they stand up to speak in parliament if they dont get their act together they'll be joining Ken in the dole queue. my message to my beloved Labour is dont let the biased media get you down, do as the Tories do dont put your disagreements on the world stage discuss them quiet and in private. The country needs you we cant put up with another Tory goverment and certainly not bully boy Cameron

  • Comment number 84.

    Grandantidote, I've noticed that you are more obsessive about accusing David Cameron of being a bully than Charles is about Hailing the Bumbling Leader. Is this because you believe that if you repeat a lie often enough some people will be stupid to start believing it is true?

    I realise Cameron is having some success at characterising Brown as a ditherer, but that is because it has some basis in truth. Just as Tony Blair had success with the Tory sleaze accusation because this also had some basis in truth.

    On the other hand your bully boy theme won't wash.

    Two other recurring themes that puzzle me in all these posts are:

    1) Boris doesn't have any experience.

    Well, how many people do have experience of being Mayor of London? If previous experience was a necessity we would never change the governing party. In 1997 the first Labour Cabinet had almost no previous ministerial experience, which was unusual but a result of 18 years of being out of power, but that didn't prevent them from being elected.

    Besides, Boris has more real worl experience than many other politicians. He has been a successful editor of a magazine, this is more genuine business experience than almost all other politicians.

    2) David Cameron doesn't have any policies.

    There was the inheritance tax policy or the non-doms policy for starters. They must have been pretty good ones as it didn't take Labour long to implement a new stealth tax on the Conservative Party which meant they could nick them.

    They have committed to Labours spending plans for a couple of years, which is about as far as Labour went pre-1997 election.

    Although we mustn't forget that Labours 1997 manifesto included commitments to a 10p starting rate of tax and an ethical foreign policy (no imperialist wars, no corruption in the arms trade sort of stuff).

    One of Gordon Brown's proudest boasts is giving independence to the Bank of England in his first day or two in the job... that was not in the manifesto and was not mentioned prior to the election.

    So all in all, I don't see Cameron doing anything wrong on the ploicy front or anything too different to Labour.

  • Comment number 85.

    to poster 14, who seems to be slightly deluded as to what is happening at the minute...the other reason that things are so bad at this moment in time is the result of the credit crunch caused by the excessess of ...er...the banking industry, also known as ...the private sector, the cost of which is £50 billion and counting.

    Aw! Did I burst your bubble? I gues we'll add that one to the housing bubble before it. Yowch!

  • Comment number 86.

    Anagrams are fascinating, #78 ystavani; here's what your name yields: Via Nasty - a road London has unfortunately been travelling for the last eight years! We forget that there was never any need for a mayor in the first place so I find it fitting that for a nonsensical post we have a non-sensical man. Boris Johnson: No job is horns.

  • Comment number 87.

    "Labour crouched and ready to pounce"?
    Right over the edge of the precipice maybe if we are lucky. Not crouched really just desperately trying to hide from the questions that really matter .
    One thing to remember from Thrsday's result is that Boris was elected by the people to his position , Brown merely inherited his which also turned quite a few voters from the Labour way .

  • Comment number 88.

    Not Gordon. He's just seen the latest Scottish poll figures putting the SNP at 45%.

    http://cybernat.blogspot.com/2008/05/happy-birthday.html

  • Comment number 89.

    I like the comment about biased media - would this be the same media represented by the Labour Donor and offshore American previously known as Rupert Murdoch ?

    David Cameron is a policy free zone like Boris ? The only policies Labour have are the ones they steal from the Conservative Party. We get the usual spin coming in - "Boris's only policy is on bendy buses" Though in his acceptance speech he talks about eradicating crime on the underground.

    I think fresh ideas are needed in London - Ken was a breath of fresh air when he came in - now let's make the Mayoral post an a-political one, and take the City forward.

  • Comment number 90.

    Not sure about Ken doing Gordon 'a favour' by accepting the blame for the loss. It seemed to me that, by taking it on the chin, he demonstrated that he has about 1000 times as much guts as Brown who - in contrast - has continued to be keen to blame external events (credit crunch) and other people (back benchers kicking up a fuss about the 10p tax rate), rather than personally taking full responsibility for labour's devastating loss. If Brown wants to stand any chance of recovering he has, first of all, to learn to be honest with himself, and then be honest with the electorate ... don't hold your breath though!

  • Comment number 91.

    Boris and Ken have been the very model of graciousness with the handover of power, and I hope this sets the tone. I do have some serious misgivings about Boris's lack of experience, in particular in local government -- but hey, it gives hope to all us chattering classes of the academy and journalism that something better awaits us if we tire of what we're doing!

    On a serious note, if NuLabor® is at all interested in winning in two years, they will have to recapture one key element of the Labour Party of yore, and that is the commitment to social justice. Broon needs to either reinstate the 10p band or increase the personal exemption, and pay for it with a new band on the top. By some measures the British tax system is more regressive than the American one, and that's an embarrassing state of affairs for a supposedly left-of-centre government after 11 years in office.

  • Comment number 92.

    I'll say one thing for Boris.
    At least he's honest about his Public school/Oxbridge upbringing unlike all the fakes on the government benches who purport to speak for the working class all the while glossing over their own priveleged background. Not many "bog-standard"comprehensive educated sons and daughters of the proletariat in the Labour hierarchy are there? Looking at the CV's of all those Blair babes is like looking at a roll call for all the top Girls public schools.
    In the last ten years, never have so many ladders been pulled from so many greasy poles.
    So, I say to all you Polly Toynbee/Guardian inspired middleclass lefty wannabes...the fact is, posh Boris would be quite at home as a member of "New Labour".

  • Comment number 93.

    "At 11:40 am on 03 May 2008, Charles_E_Hardwidge wrote:

    Perhaps, Gordon should just rule and be damned."


    That may well be what he is doing.

  • Comment number 94.

    I think Boris will prove a very effective mayor. He will get a great team around him and lead to fight crime, improve transport, get greener and less spin in London. Having watched QT last week he was the only one who seemed to have answers to the questions, whereas the others just sneered or said he was a joke. He is very astute and intelligent and will provide a great launchpad for the general election when this miserable government we have will be sent packing.
    Yes there will be a few gaffes no doubt, but I don't think we will have any known or unknown corruption going on, which has been the situation with Ken.

    Bye Ken, hope the memoirs do ok!

  • Comment number 95.

    Will Boris have to resign as an MP now, or will he try and do 2 jobs?

  • Comment number 96.

    Democracy is a wonderful thing. It gives the people a voice in who governs them. In the end the pople of London chose exuberance and enthusiasm over grey competance. Well, good for them !

    Its a pity that our unelected Prime Minister won't accord the people the same courtesy. However, in the end even 'iron' brown will have to bend before the electorate. The only question really is how much damage will be done to the interests of this country and the Labour party whilst we wait.

  • Comment number 97.

    Boris, Blair, Cameron are all media luvvies. Thats why journalists love the schmooze and spin...and thats why they hate Brown..and quite rightly...he detests them. Thats another reason why they are kicking him when he is down. I don't think the London-based media quite know whats going on. Its a different world out here you know.

    I can remember Labour posturing before the 1992 General Election and look what happened to them. The next one will be a lot closer than people think.

    Finally, if London can have Boris Johnson as their mayor and elect a BNP member on their assembly, then that speaks volumes. I can assure you that Boris is not universally loved in the rest of the country. But as I have alluded to, the gullible media have fallen in love with him

    I am not a Labour supporter, but this is a great result for Gordon Brown...just wait and see

  • Comment number 98.

    What Nick's Blog, and the slant of this site's reporting shows is that Hutton neutered the BBC and turned it into the State Broadcasting Corporation, and the tacit New Labour station.

    How very sad. People no longer really trust the BBC to be impartial any more; this is one of the quiet "successes" of New Labour, the politicisation of previously impartial bodies. I give you

    The Civil Service
    The Police Force
    The BBC

    Nothing is safe from New Labour's tentacles, no minutiae of our daily life is now safe from their meddling hands.

    What a great day - and I say that as a middle class Labour voter, from my first vote in 1970 until Blair lied us into Iraq. Never again.

  • Comment number 99.

    Congratulations to Boris.

    As he has said his first priority is policing, I suggest that Boris starts by withdrawing all police protection for the cabinet, and put them on the beat.

    After all, Labour has been assuring us for a decade that crime is going down, so the cabinet shouldn't worry if they don't have their personal police officers any longer, should they?

    ----
    Proud resident of Bexley and Bromley
    "It's us wot won it" (Original credits "The Sun", 1992)

  • Comment number 100.

    Ken signed his own death warrent when he re-joined Labour. He was always strongest when defending London from the predations of those venal morons in the Palace of Westminster. Once he went back to them, there was simply no point in him being Mayor.

    London will always need a mayor who can remind the government of the day that, just because they sit in London does not mean that they own it. Thatcher hated Ken specifically because she imagined herself the ruler of all she surveyed and in the end took the coward's way out and simply abolished the mayoral election she couldn't win.

    Boris is a Londoner and a relatively decent guy, as ultimately was Ken. Either one was a good choice.

 

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