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"The primary election for the Tory London mayoral candidate could be an opportunity for a net-based campaign to choose an anti-establishment candidate. I am going to start giving this some serious thought..."

Surely any 'anti-establishment candidate' by definition, would stand as an independent or at least they would not stand for Labour or the Tories?

Not necessarily. Not necessarily. Ned Lamont certainly was a Democrat and Reagan was an anti-establishment candidate from within the GOP.

You are wrong about how it will affect Hillary Clinton.

Liberman is unusual in the Democratic party. During Clinton's impeachment hearings, which were intensely partisan over the non-crime of having an affair with a consenting adult (think John Major!), Liberman priggishly denounced Clinton on the floor of the house. I think his thought was that Clinton would be impeached and he might as well make political capital by being seen to be on the right side.

Of course the impeachment didn't quite happen. And Dems were infuriated with his lack of loyalty, as were the Clintons. Liberman has gone because he has put himself once too often before the needs of his party. I think Republicans would have reacted the same way if the roles were reversed, as would any political party. This staggering level of disloyalty usually turns people's stomach's.

Therefore not sure you can extrapolate to British politics (unless there is another case of similar disloyalty).


Lots of interesting stuff in this post, although I think you may need to separate it into the Foreign Policy threads & the Mayoralty threads, otherwise we might get very confused (Warwick Lightfoot for Shadow Foreign Sec!).


I am looking forward to seeing you elaborate on your thoughts as they develop...

Livingstone was the ultimate anti-establishment candidate from the left. That's still an important part of his persona. What would a Conservative anti-establishment candidate look like? Nick Ferrari?

To some extent Steve Norris ran against his party rather than with it - although it's arguable that ploy backfired because, if memory serves, he received fewer votes than the collective total for the Assembly canddiates.

What is the London establishment - or the London Conservative establishment - that the candidate would be running against?

Yours from the East Midlands.

Hmm, but the 'establishment' (of Labour and the Tories) took us to war with Iraq against overwhelming public opposition. How could any 'anti-establishment' candidate hope to capitalise on the anti-war feeling within either of those two parties?

I just can't see why any 'rebel in the pack' would seek to stand for the Tories, as they are not even offering financial support, are pushing to secure the establishment even further with the extension to state funding, so there seems to be all the downsides of being tied to the Tories, with little upside.

Of course I think Nick Ferrari should stand for UKIP, so I hope UKIP can sort out the financial support for his bid to facilitate this. :-)

Point being, Chad - would an anti-war stance be decisive for a Mayoralty candidate, or would s/he need to win on the vision for London? What are anti-establishment policies for London?

Hi Simon,

I completely agree, I see it a part of ticking all the boxes in hoping to beat Ken rather than the issue in itself.

I'd say any rival to Ken needs everything running in their favour over which anti-war sentiment is still an issue as we have just seen in the US.

My point is, I can't see why such a candidate would gain by standing as a Tory.

This is the Democrats imploding over their angst concerning Iraq. No-one seems to have a viable position, as SIG's proliferate. What US politics require is a Non-SIG Proliferation Treaty to keep politics onto central and safe ground.

Being pro-war & pro-Israeli, I hope your analysis is wrong Chad & that it would be possible to beat Livingstone regardless of views on foreign policy. A mayoral campaign fought on the war would be pure displacement.

I would hope that the Mayoralty can be won on the vision for London. That would include cleaning up the Mayoralty - Livingstone's comments to the Evening Standard reporter, for example, were a disgrace.

I guess my main question is for Tim - I would like to understand what he thinks a Conservative anti-establishment candidate would look like. Particularly bearing in mind that, as Peter Oborne pointed out in the Standard this week, the party doesn't seem to be saying very much about London at all at the moment - whether on crime, Crossrail or anything else.

Surely being "anti-establishment" means being an independent in a way in which candidates for public office usually are not? To run for mayor a candidate must build their own platform, run their campaign and raise their own money. Rather than being picked by a party hierarchy, they should be picked by an open primary. If all these things are done, surely the candidate would therefore be independent and anti establishment?

In my mind the first thing any candidate should say is that the war has nothing to do with the running of London. Anyone campaigning or using the issue as a campaign issue is therefore detracting from the point of the entire exercise. I look forward to the evisceration of the Respect candidate, whoever that is....

Forgive my musings aloud on this, which may cause the odd self-contradiction, like this one:

On further reflection, Henry, given London's vulnerability as a target in the War on Terror, and the Mayor's role in relation to policing, London's security has to come into the mayoral election. It would be depressing, though, if Londoners believed that they would be ensuring their security by picking an anti-war candidate.

I'm sorry but the war has a lot to do with the London mayoral campaign - remember 7/7?

Tories in the shires were perplexed at our support for an illegal invasion and depressed at the risible faith shown by the party (especially under IDS) in the WMD claims. Opposing the war should have been a political no-brainer from the start, especially for an opposition party at 31% in the polls (if it had gone well Blair would have had all the credit anyway, but in the event that it was a strategic disaster, HM opposition would have appeared foresightful and in tune with the doubts of the voting public). The Tory failure to hold Blair to account over Iraq is one of the key reasons behind increasing disillusionment in politics and the increased support for the posturing Lib Dems in 2005.

Our alliance with the US over Iraq and Afghanistan has made London a target in a way that it never would have been. We have gained nothing but the contempt of the wider international world and we have spent billions and shed the blood of British soldiers for nothing.

It is depressing that the pragmatic Powellite approach to foreign policy (suspicious of the EU AND of the USA) has been all but forgotten on the Tory right. It's a shame that the Tory neo-cons have forgotten these prophetic words in a 1967 speech:

'In our imagination the vanishing last vestiges... of Britain's once vast Indian Empire have transformed themselves into a peacekeeping role on which the sun never sets. Under God's good Providence and in partnership with the United States, we keep the peace of the world and rush hither and thither containing Communism, putting out brush fires and coping with subversion. It is difficult to describe, without using terms derived from psychiatry, a notion having so few points of contact with reality.'

I don't think Lieberman is popular enough to get on the Vice President ticket again, for either party.

Yes Simon,

I note that even though Spaniards elected a Socialist Government following the Madrid bombings - A government that then went on to pull troops out of Iraq, this has not stopped Al-Zawahiri including Spain in the plans for a new caliphate in recent comments.

Weakness in the face of terror invites worse. That siad, we must though broaden the war on terror from its military focus and be more successful in isolating radical jihadists from mainstream Moslem opinion.

Of course the easier way to understand eg Lieberman's defeat is - people like Tim, IDS &c were, are and will continue to be, it sadly appears, utterly wrong about Iraq. 'The people', cf. their settled opinion of that war, its genesis and aftermath, are wrong so much less than pontificators care to admit. Iraq was a mistake, it hasn't worked, and would-be polticos who, contrary to all the available evidence, insist on saying otherwise to the voters are more foolish even than Bennites urging more socialism after 1983 were.

Cynic indeed.

This is the very definition of a phyrric victory for left-wing Democrats.

'Weakness in the face of terror invites worse'...

The point is, Adrian old bean, that we weren't 'in the face of terror' at all before we joined in the invasion of Iraq, a country which posed no threat whatsoever to the UK.

I agree strongly with Porker @ 12.15:
"Tories in the shires were perplexed at our support for an illegal invasion and depressed at the risible faith shown by the party (especially under IDS) in the WMD claims. Opposing the war should have been a political no-brainer from the start,..".
Given the warnings from Robin Cook and others, the findings (or rather non-findings) of Hans Blix, the concerns of leading generals about the legitimacy of the war, how - admittedly in retrospect - did we ever allow Blair to go along with this adventure?
What we have never learned is exactly what the differences were in the wording between the first intelligence briefing and the second "sexed up" version; which version did IDS see?

Whoever we select to be our candidate for London - a multi-ethnic community - MUST be anti-war both Iraq and Lebanon.

Otherwise we may as well give up altogether.

"A government that then went on to pull troops out of Iraq, this has not stopped Al-Zawahiri including Spain in the plans for a new caliphate in recent comments.

Weakness in the face of terror invites worse."

So, support for the war puts us on the Al-Qaeda's death-list, and being anti-war puts us on the death-list. How is being anti-war "worse"?

In fact the anti-war option doesn't make wider more moderate muslims hate us, it doesn't waste British blood and treasure on exciting (but pointless) adventures in the desert, and it might have won the Tory Party the 2005 election.

I was in Hyde Park on Saturday for a family picnic. As we passed the anti-war demonstration I saw a woman carrying a breath-taking poster. It said "WE ARE ALL HEZBOLLAH NOW".

Of course we are not - and all 4 of the above posters from Porker at 1249 (interesting pseudonym - does it imply pig- or fat-headedness? :)) to Jon Gale at 1327 would I am certain dissociate themselves from that anti-war poster. However, they have not grasped the level of threat against the West as a whole - go read Michael Gove's Celsisus 7/7 for a better-informed case than I can put.

The onus on the anti-war camp is to explain why the continuation of Saddam Hussain in power was a better option, and how they would confront Hezbollah and other extremists whose goal is the end of Western freedom & democracy.

Clearly an anti-establishment Conservative would be someone like Ivan Massow, who defected to Labour, but then (I believe) defected back again. But an anti-establishment candidate would, by definition, be a loose canon.

Lieberman's defection to an independent ticket will be a building block for a Republican victory in 2008, led (probably) by Senator McCain.

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