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Boris: independent Conservative

Matthew Barrett JOHNSON WAVING

You could be forgiven for thinking council, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish elections, and a referendum, were enough for one week. But Boris was also on the campaign trail, for his election this time next year, targeting some key groups and issues: 

  • Low-paid workers
    The Financial Times reported (£) on Monday that Boris has recommended that low-paid workers in London are paid 40% more than the lowest-paid workers outside London. He also raised the London living wage to £8.30 an hour, an increase of 45p - more than 5% - the biggest annual increase since its introduction in 2005.
  • Commuters
    On Thursday, Boris urged the Government to bring in anti-strike laws, saying "There is a great deal of sense in reform of the union law and the Government needs to get a move on. We've heard a lot of muttering about this and, 'We're studying this' - all that kind of thing", and telling the Sun "we need to see more action - the Government is being lily-livered on this." That kills two birds with one stone - creating a dividing line with the government, and taking the side of commuters against the unions.
    > Local Government: Boris needs anti-strike legislation
  • High-speed rail and the third runway
    Boris visited Ruislip on Friday, and came out against HS2, saying "We need to try and block it, we need to change the route", and re-affirmed his opposition to a new runway at Heathrow, saying "I am very content we have won the argument, there is no prospect of a third runway in Sipson as long as I am mayor, or indeed long afterwards". 

Boris is clearly getting into the swing of the long London campaign, and, as exemplified by his comments about the Government on anti-strike laws, he is running as a very independent Conservative, unafraid to bash the coalition, or distinguish himself from Government policy, as he has on low-paid workers.

Boris vs Ken is certainly going to be one of the biggest political stories of next year. It will also be a lose-lose situation for Ed Miliband: if Boris wins, Ed Miliband will be shown as unable to win London - one of Labour's heartlands; if Ken wins, Ken wins - Ken is of a more left-wing school of Labour thought to Ed Miliband, and has just as much personal recognition as Boris, meaning Ed Miliband would have had a negligible affect on a Ken victory. 


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