A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Sudden moment of clarity

I've spent this morning puzzling over why a bigger issue in the London Mayoral election hasn't been the incredible fact that the candidate leading in the polls has so little political commitment to London that he represents Henley, Oxfordshire, in Parliament.

Why isn't this a deal breaker?

For instance, if an MP for a Manchester seat ran for First Minister of Scotland because they had a holiday home in St Andrews, or an MP for Leicester ran for Elected Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent because they were on the electoral register there, there would be an outcry.

Why aren't voters asking Boris the obvious question: "why should we believe you care about our city when you have pursued your political career in the rural Thames Valley?"

4 Comments:

Blogger Quink said...

So, if you were offered the chance to contest a safe Labour seat in an area you've little or no connection with, you'll turn it down?

10:07 am, April 09, 2008

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

No - there's a difference between running for Parliament which is a national office and hence you would expect it to be open to anyone from across the nation, and running for a local or regional government role such as Mayor where you are only dealing with issues specific to that city or region and hence might be expected to be a politician from that patch rather than a different region with totally different issues and characteristics.

Could you imagine a Congressman from Pennsylvania running for Mayor of New York, or a Deputy from Alsace running for Mayor of Paris?

10:27 am, April 09, 2008

 
Blogger Quink said...

Personally I'm perfectly happy for constituents to choose whoever they want to represent them, as I'm happy for Londoners to choose their mayor from the existing candidates.

But your argument still holds with respect to Parliamentary contituencies. If you were to stand in a traditionally Labour area, against a "local" Tory and Lib Dem candidate, they could also ask "Why isn't this a deal breaker? We have the political commitment to this area, but Akehurst has pursued his political career in Hackney".

After all, MPs are supposed to represent constituents from a certain area - no matter what work they do in the national interest.

And, no doubt, because people still wanted a Labour candidate to represent them, they would vote you in.

Same in London. People - if the polls are to be relied on (another argument, for another time) - appear to be saying they've had enough of Ken and Labour, and that they want a change.

Whether Boris is a born and bred Londoner is less of a consideration than voting out someone who has been (in the minds of many - including my own) bad for London.

That's why it's not a deal breaker. Plus people know that much of Boris's working life - like yours and mine - has been spent in, erm, London.

11:20 am, April 09, 2008

 
Anonymous tim f said...

'Why aren't voters asking Boris the obvious question: "why should we believe you care about our city when you have pursued your political career in the rural Thames Valley?"'

I'm guessing because London has a highly transient population - many of whom are not emotionally attached to London in the same way residents in other parts of the country are. I'm guessing that the strongest exceptions are to be found in Hackney/Tottenham type areas, but as you point out in your other post these areas are mainly Labour anyway and messages which would boost turnout are the key - not sure this is one of them.

There are plenty of good reasons to vote for Ken and against Boris that make more emotional sense to a greater number of people than this one.

1:38 pm, April 09, 2008

 

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