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David Boothroyd

If Boris were to pledge to cut spending on the GLA core at City Hall to zero, then the precept at Band D would decrease from the present £303.88 to £291.47. That would save Londoners about 24p per week.

Neil Reddin

This is encouraging for sure, but the second preferences could well be critical. I'll look forward to the first proper poll which examines this aspect.


How can anyone think that Boris the Clot can run anything - if he wins or loses he will do damage to the cause. He is the king of gaffes. Brace yourselves!


How can you get anything from only 170 people. 27,000 people from the latest survey in Ukraine which shows that the orange coaltion of the Tymoshenko Bloc and Our Ukraine/Samboona will get between 210 and 219 seats at the Rada elections in September, know thats different.

Harry Phibbs

The Evening Standard are splashing on this poll in their later editions (under the headline "Catch me if you Ken.")
Neil, this poll was a "forced choice" between Boris and Ken so was rather equivalent to making allowance for second preferences. Everyone, including supporters of the Lib Dems, Greens, John Bird, Greg Dyke, etc, were asked who they would choose between Boris and Ken.
David, the Council Tax precept has been put up by Livingstone from £123 to over £300. Of course you can define "core GLA" spending how you like. The Communications Budget of £5 million includes £250,000 which comes out of the police budget, etc, etc.
Boris's Conservative rival Victoria Borwick has done some good work on this. I should have included rival Conservative candidates among those whose knowledge and ideas Boris should hoover up once he gets the nomination.

london conservative

That's a tiny sample, so a margin of error of about 8%.

Also the six point lead is based on the adjusted figures, which have of course been adjusted to the 2005 general election rather than, as would be more appropriate in this case, the 2004 Mayoral election. Presumably, they will have given more weight to Conservatives as more people tend to "remember" voting for the winning party rather than the losing one. This is further complicated by the fact that Livingstone attracts support beyond the Labour vote: in 2004, Livingstone polled 37% to Labour's 25% in Assembly constituencies.

Worse, the weighting for this question represents 28% of the total numbers used to create the topline Livingstone, Johnson numbers. One quarter of the headline figures are therefore pretty meaningless.

Also, any realistic poll, would add the other candidates (this election is not an either-or-choice between Tory and Labour candidates), a Lib Dem candidate, and possible independents and other parties, UKIP, Greens, BNP etc also need to be included. Even without a really well known independent in 2004, "the others" scored a significant 20% of the total poll combined.

In the absence, so far, of a reliable poll, I am rather inclined toward the balanced judgement of journalist and blogger Paul Linford (PoliticalBetting.com's nomination for blogger of the year), who had a great post on the premature euphoria of some:


Ali Gledhill

Will there be a Tory Policy Review on the future of the office of Mayor of London? Some of these suggestions sound good, though.

Art Appreciator

An imaginative idea for the forth plinth....do any of the other statues look 'imaginative'? What a load of clap-trap to turn one of the most famous and architecturally beautiful parts of London into an embarrassment that will have to be pulled down in years to come.....and no, I am not an old fuddy-duddy traditionalist nibmy!


My belief is that a 'gaffe' is something that offends our glorious worker state. It is something that flies in the face of nannying and political correctness.

Most people I have met find Boris' gaffes funny, some very funny and often in total agreement and at least in part agreement.

london conservative

"Neil, this poll was a "forced choice" between Boris and Ken so was rather equivalent to making allowance for second preferences."

Harry, second preference votes don't really translate that way in this election. It's not a French presidential race whereby the top two go to a second ballot. People are asked to cast their second vote at the same time as their first. Because so many cast their votes for candidates other than the top two (whose votes then go uncounted), some cast no second vote at all, and others cast both first and second votes for the top two candidates (ensuring the second vote isn't counted), it's not the case that everyone who doesn't vote for the top two automatically then gets a second vote to decide which of the top two they want.

In 2004, 2nd preferences were distributed:

Hughes (Lib Dem) 25%
Livingstone 13%
Norris 12%
Johnson (Green) 11%
Maloney (UKIP) 10%
Leppert (BNP) 4%
German (Respect) 3%
Various Others 22%

Only eight in 10 voters cast a second preference vote. And of these, only 25% (cast for either Norris or Livingstone) were counted toward the final totals.

David Boothroyd

No, Harry, you can't define GLA core any way differently. You can take the figures from the GLA budget at http://www.london.gov.uk/gla/budget/docs/0708budget.pdf and know exactly where the money goes. The vast majority of GLA spending on which the precept goes is the Metropolitan Police (£2,532.7m), and I can't believe you are arguing for a cut in police spending. After that the major spending is LFEPA (£391.5m) which is equally unlikely to prove popular targets for cuts. Transport for London is almost entirely funded from fares and grants and only £12m comes from the precept so you won't save anything there.

The core GLA spending is £153.7m per year, which includes all GLA staff working out of City Hall. Take off the grants and other income and it's a precept requirement of £125.7m. That might sound a lot but it includes things like running the Olympics. Are you going to cancel them?



They will not find him funny when his gaffes cost money or lives. London is a terror target - not the place for the court jester.

His abilty to offend whole cities, no nations, shows that he is a crass idiot who should not even be in Parliament.

Graham D'Amiral

This poll is very encouraging and yesterday Livingstone described Boris as the most formidable opponent he'll ever have faced in his career, adding he was about half way through reading all the articles Boris has written over the last 20 years. So clearly he doesn't regard Boris Johnson as a ridiculous lightweight but as a very real threat.

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