Yesterday May 1 saw voters in England and Wales go to the polls to elect their local authority representatives. Londoners will have to wait until this evening to know who will be their new mayor but it is hard to imagine that it won’t be either the incumbent Labour Party candidate Ken Livingstone or the Conservative challenger Boris Johnson. Whatever the merits or otherwise of the other contenders, this has pretty much been a two horse race almost from the start.
Some reports have said that Mayor Ken Livingstone has looked rather weary and Stephen Hird’s picture (which appears on the front of yesterday’s FT), shows him taking a break from the last day of campaigning, at what is colloquially know in this country as a ‘greasy spoon’ cafe. Intended, I suspect, to demonstrate his ‘just-like-us-ness’. It may in fact have succeeded rather too well because he does look just like any other tired old bloke.
Traditional symbols have been mercilessly exploited. Boris, an old Etonian had as his campaign bus one of the famous old red Routemaster London buses that Ken, as mayor, banished from service (Toby Melville).
On Polling Day Ken donned the traditional Labour politican’s garb of raincoat and Red Rosette (Toby Melville) and Boris seemed to complete the transformation into Winston Churchill that he had shown signs of earlier in the campaign (Darren Staples and Alessia Pierdomenico).
Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.