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Phil Taylor

Tim does not mention that the Tory race was also covered in the Standard's editorial. They only mention the two Kensington councillors and Nick Boles. They fail to mention James Cleverly and the front runner Richard Barnes.

conservativehome.com is offering way better coverage than the Standard and its free!

Both clippings on my blog.

london tory

But he is not joining the Conservative "primary"--farce would be a better word.


I think the case for closing applications in another 12 months time so serious people can make a serious decision is now overwhelming.

When will our party learn to take this race seriously? Two years campaign plus can't keep your day job plus fund it yourself equals not appealing to serious people.

Sending these five forward risks a "race" of humiliating Gavronesque proportions.

Cllr Iain Lindley

Do all these people saying "hold on, don't select so fast" also think we should wait until six months before a General Election to select our candidates in marginal seats? Madness...

london tory

Cllr Iain Lindley doesn't get it.

This is not a parliamentary election. This is the electorate of 74 parliamentary constituencies.

It is a stand alone contest: people can't be the candidate under the cover of the party's national campaign like in a general election. And the media attention and skills involved are nothing like a humble PPC running amid a general election that consumes the media's interest.

If the people at CCHQ didn't spend as much time as they do in the Westminster village they might understand that the Conservative Party is nothing like as important to Londoners as they appear to think it is.

They have not provided enough incentives for a quality candidate with the experience and skill to take on Ken Livingstone--who has been winning elections in London since the 1970s and has outlived the attempts of Thatcher and Blair to destroy him and will by 2008 have outlasted both of them.

To date we have five non-entities. Against a strong incumbent in a multi-party election with a possible Independent candidate, those five are simply nothing like enough to win. You can't just make up for all your deficiencies by trying to knock on everyone's door and smile--London is too big for that.


What London Tory seems to be saying is that to have any chance in this contest you have to be a "celebrity". He may well be right, and if so it is a sad inditement of modern politics.

In fact he probably is right - we are living in an age of celebrity, and the way to succeed is to appear on Big Brother, or its equivalent, otherwise to achieve that degree of fame would require many years of hard work.

london tory

What I'm saying is that it's a package of required skills that don't often reside in the same person. Hence the need for the Conservative Party to try harder. The Mayoral candidate ideally needs:

(1) Name recognition
(2) CEO-type experience
(3) Political skills
(4) Media skills
(5) People skills
(6) Communication skills
(7) Policy depth
(8) Personal following
(9) Campaigning strengths

The so far declared candidates lack many, and in one or two cases, all of these.

It's a much more complex job than being an MP or a local councillor--more akin to electing someone to heading up a big government department like if we elected the Chancellor or the Home Secretary. And the election is much more complex too. It says a lot that even many of the candidates don't seem to appreciate that fact.

CCHQ confuses the real need for name recognition and personal as opposed to party following--not a mistake Livingstone makes--with "celebrity." This mistake is what encourages the idiotic outreach to Big Brother contestants and TV car enthusiasts. Those people wouldn't know the first thing about running for Mayor or being the Mayor.

The party is treating voters with contempt by not taking this seriously and will not be taken seriously by them if all it has to offer is one of these five candidates.

Unless someone better comes forward, this has all the makings of a big embarassment for David Cameron and for our party.

Tory Solicitor

I agree with much of what London tory says.

I also think that N Boles has all the 9 qualities listed except for name recognition.

And of course the early selection gives a candidate without name regonition the time to build a profile.

I don't think we should get things out of proportion. It is possible to build a profile.

Plenty of people haven't heard of Ferrari either. I hadn't.

london tory

Contrary to some candidates' spin (they know who they are), running a small business or being an employee in a large company does not constitute CEO-type experience. Having run London's police or transport or a big government department would. Or having actually run a sizeable business of some kind would, helpfully one that dealt with government contracts and negotiations.

Campaigning strengths mean having won something more than a local council seat. How insulting is that to the electorate? I've sat around late nights in the council chamber but never managed a public service or directed something similar ever, after having been elected with two other people in a totally safe Conservative 3 member ward.

And personal following doesn't mean that everyone in London knows you (that is name recognition) but it does mean that sizeable numbers of voters know who you are, not just the deeply unrepresentative inhabitants of the sealed-from-reality Westminster village.

Yes, you can have a nice person who wanders into the race unknown to anyone and puts in a lot of worthy effort, like Susan Kramer in 2000. But we need a lot more than her 14% of the vote to defeat the Mayor.

If putting the label Tory or Labour on someone was enough to win this election, Ken Livingstone would not now be the Mayor.

Don Jameson

If everyone believes Mr Livingstone is unbeatable, we may as well all move to Havana while we wait for him to die.

(Oh Lord, he doesn't have a brother, does he?)


London Tory is 100% correct. What people don't seem to grasp is this is an election for one INDIVIDUAL. The party label is almost irrelevant to a strong candidate, because in electing one man, the electorate know that all that is important is that man's abilities and qualities, and those of his nominal party are irrelevant. The party is the vehicle through which a candidate acquires the funds to stand but that is its only real role, beyond the campaigning "bodies on the ground" it might provide.

What people also have to grasp is that just like Thatcher, many people may not like Livingstone, they may not even like his policies, but they do respect him. He is a strong politician who gets things done. And a strong politician who gets things done will always come win if he has no serious opposition. Which the Tories don't look likely to provide.

matt wright

Looking at the analysis maybe Michael Heseltine would have fitted the bill?



The ruling from OfCom makes it clear that Nick Ferrari could continue with his radio show but the caveats they then added make it simply impractical. Delaying by six months or a year would make any difference. He would have to give up his radio show, and that is what gives Nick his profile...

I agree with all those who have said that selecting someone who is already well known is vital but I can't see how Nick Ferrari could ever realistically have stood.

The truth is - and this is hurtful for Tories to admit - that no serious high profile is coming forward because most people do not believe Ken can be beaten and therefore why bother. They may be wrong in that perception but it is clearly a factor. We may just have to wait till Ken retires before having a realistic chance of winning.

Also Richard Barnes is most definitely not a front runner for anything, never mind London Mayor.

James Wright

It's not that Livingstone isn't beatable. Just that unless we have someone of equivalent political strength, we won't do it.


I agree with London Tory wholeheartedly on this. To have any chance at all we need someone of comparable stature to Livingstone; and loathe as I am to admit it, his stature is now considerable. There needs to be excitement and momentum behind the candidate from the moment they're selected. None of the applicants so far fit the bill - and those who do fit the bill can't be bothered with a two year race when they know they might not win. It's going to take a change in the party's culture, and the way it views its members before we start to develop strong non-celebrity candidates for this post.

I've never heard of Nick Ferrari but it sounds like he'd at least have made the race interesting - and he still might; 50% of London Mayoral elections have been won by an independent.

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