« Multiple ballots | Main | Could Lurline be Boris' deputy? »


John Moss

And if you're going to Ruislip on the Metropolitan Line, beware the hordes coming out of Wembley after the footie!

Sally Roberts

Wonderful account of your evening Graeme! It sounds a lot more fun than Round 1 was and I wish I'd been there but Ilford is a BIT far from Hammersmith!!!


It seems that having a life (i.e. committed to theatre tickets to see Saint Joan at the National on Monday night - a very political play), leading to having to go off piste to Ilford for the hustings on Tuesday, brought a real bonus. I could not recognise the apparently lacklustre nature of Monday's gathering from the energised and, frankly, impressive performances in Ilford.

I think Graeme (whom I enjoyed meeting offline for the first time) was a tad overenthusiastic regarding the audience. I counted it and it was definitely nearer 170 than 300. Apart from the obvious camp followers, I was about the youngest there, and I can remember the 1964 election (OK, I was only eight, but precocious). Yes, Graeme, they were authentic: a very authentic bunch of London OAPs. Active and wonderful ones, but OAPs nonetheless. But that I suppose is the Tory Party: a place to go to if you want to feel young. [I've just remembered that there was one member of the Youth Parliament, who asked a question so, OK, I was the second youngest there.]

Boris was serious and measured for the most part, and certainly gave plenty of reasons to give one confidence in selecting him. He is right not to just promise to scrap the congestion charge and Andrew and Victoria I believe risk a re-run of 2000 and 2004 if we fight the election on opposing that again without something very solid in its place. We need an "and" strategy on traffic not an "or". He was also excellent in conveying a real enthusiasm for the diversity and vibrancy - the positive things - about London. Although I personally hate the Olympics, and therefore sympathise with Andrew Boff's total negativity on that subject, Boris (and Warwick) showed maturity in recognising that a London Mayor must at least pretend to be enthusiastic about it (whilst ensuring that Londoners pick up no more of the tab, about which they were all agreed). Andrew's attack on the overprovision of hospitals in inner London (the reason, he says, for proposed closures in outer London), whilst possibly popular with the mostly outer London audience last night, is also not likely to play well in places like Westminster, Kensington and Lambeth.

Boris also of course had some good lines but was careful to deploy his lighter side only after he had established his serious credentials. Regarding the Livingstone camp's smear campaign: "He seems intent on inventing and beating a candidate who doesn't exist, but unfortunately for him he's going to be beaten by the candidate who does".

There was a fun question at the end on which political figure they most admired (Thatcher and Churchill disallowed): the answers were quite revealing. Boff said Macleod: OK for this audience they were old enough to have heard of him; this revealed Boff as a romantic (early death) and long-time liberal. Borwick (after trying to say Thatcher despite the terms of the question) said Peel because he founded the Met (confirming her one-track police fixation, particularly as the greatest thing about Peel was dishing the landed interest by abolishing the Corn Laws - dishing the landed interest may not be the Royal Borough's forte). Lightfoot said Reagan (a more cunning way of really saying Thatcher, but also revealing a hitherto carefully hidden populist streak).

Boris, however, was priceless. After reciting his well-rehearsed admiration for the Mayor in Jaws (he wasn't swayed by public panic but his constituents were eaten anyway), he said that he wasn't "going to do that story anymore" (thereby having his cake and eating it) and instead plumped for Pericles, as the first advocate of democracy. He absolutely pledged to be a "thoroughly Periclean Mayor". What range: from 1970s trashy movie to classical scholarship. But don't try that one on Radio Five Live, or even Newsnight, Boris.

All of the candidates performed well. Boris and Andrew were equally assured but, actually, by some of his more measured answers on policy Boris was more the Statesman (or the Mayor). Lightfoot was the most thoughtful and intelligent, but not as engaging. He was confirmed as my second choice on policy grounds. Victoria was dogged, if a bit one dimensional. It is not enough on crime just to keep repeating how terrible it is.

So, if I haven't stolen their thunder by the detail of this report - I thoroughly recommend everyone to get to one of the remaining hustings and vote on the merits of what you hear. For me it confirmed my strong support for Boris, but, depending on your perspective, there are strong arguments also for coming away from this hustings favouring Warwick or Andrew, if not I think Victoria. May the best man win.

Footnote: after the meeting Boris showed he walks the walk on public transport as he was spotted by Londoner getting on a train at Ilford station, to a friendly single shout of recognition from a 20 something lad: "Oi Boris". Andrew, you really shouldn't have gone by car.

C List and Proud

The sparks were certainly flying between Boff and Boris and there is now a clear division between them on the Congestion Charge, with Johnson wanting to keep it and Boff setting out very clearly how he would scrap it.

This is warming up nicely!



I was ticking off names at the door at the Ilford hustings - there was a heartening number of non-OAPs, and indeed under-30's, in the audience.


Cor, thanks Sonia. You made me feel young again.


How many people turned up, just out of interest?

Roger Evans

I'm familiar with the room and I would say there were between 170 and 200 people present in a lively and mixed audience - certainly not all pensioners. Not all supporters - some of our local Greens attended. 300 is an over estimate as the room can't hold that many.

I agree that all the candidates had raised their game since the first hustings. It appears they took notice of feedback on Conhome.


I presume your question is addressed to sjm, Comstock. I thought 170 but Graeme said 300. But then obviously I didn't notice all those young under-30 things. To defend myself I did say they were mostly OAPs "apart from camp obvious followers". By which I meant people wearing Boris teeshirts, carrying Victoria balloons etc. I think there were vanishly few young apart from them.

The comments to this entry are closed.

London Mayor videos

  • Receive our daily email
    Enter your details below:

  • Tracker 2
  • Extreme Tracker