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The FT stays silent in the battle between Boris Johnson and the candidate who joked about hanging bankers

By Tim Montgomerie
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Lots of endorsements for Boris Johnson in today's newspapers.

Four years ago the first big sign that The Sun was deserting Labour came with its 2008 endorsement of Boris Johnson. It endorses Boris again today and more importantly gives him a big opportunity to make his pitch to White Van Man.

The Times (£) also gives Boris a big thumbs up, concluding that he deserves a second term.

More predictably The Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail have backed Boris. "A victory for Mr Johnson," The Telegraph declares, "would be a tonic for London and the country." Amen to that. The Mail endorsed him yesterday, saluting his Tory values and declaring that "he is undoubtedly the best man to be Mayor and represent London on the world stage during the Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee."

FTBut what about the FT? It has been silent in the battle between a man who has championed Britain's financial services sector and one who hates it. The FT still has time to make an endorsement tomorrow but I'm told that the newspaper doesn't want to get involved in "local politics" when it is an international newspaper. That's silly. A massive proportion of the FT's UK readership works in London. It is the newspaper of the City of London - or at least was.

Fortunately the increasingly succesful rival to the FT - City AM - has endorsed Boris Johnson. Allister Heath, its Editor, understands that London can't afford the return of Ken Livingstone:

"Livingstone is a class warrior, a throwback to a bygone era; he may like to “joke” that we should “hang a banker a week until the others improve” but few readers of this newspaper will see the funny side. Hundreds of thousands work in banking, wealth management and financial services – or in industries that depend closely on them, such as accounting, law, consulting, recruitment, IT, property and a host of other services. Ken also falls short on his attitude to public money, which he would spend too profligately, and on tax, which his instinct would be to hike. The last thing we need is a Mayor at war with the coalition, creating division on every issue where there needs to be cooperation and judicious, level-headed negotiation to ensure London gets the best deal. Livingstone’s one attractive pledge is to cut the price of public transport. Even if he could deliver it – and this is highly doubtful – it would come at the cost of slashing investment in infrastructure. We have tried that strategy before, with governments cutting back on capital spending and using the cash on benefits instead – which is the reason for today’s inadequate network."

The Tory leadership was, of course, grateful for the FT's endorsement in 2010 but is the pink one's Kinnock tendency still alive? Many of us will never forget that the FT endorsed a big government Labour Party in the 1992 General Election.


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